Twenty students have committed suicide in India this past week after the Board of Intermediate Education (BIE) announced their exam scores, which Khaleejtimes reported have been marked in controversy after there were discrepancies in the results.
Nearly 1 million students took the exams between February and March, and nearly 350,000 failed, causing widespread protests from parents, student groups and political parties.
One student named Sirisha was failing biology and set herself on fire at her home in the Narayanpet district on Saturday after her parents went out to the fields, according to Khaleejtimes.
On Thursday, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao ordered the recounting and re-verification for all the students who failed their exams, while urging the students to not commit suicide, adding that failing the tests didn't mean the end of their lives.
According to the parents, what caused students to commit suicide was an error on the part of the software solutions firm, Globarena Technologies Private Limited, which had been hired by Telagana BIE to develop software for processing admissions, pre-examination and post-examination results.
A three-member panel consisting of G.T. Venkateswar Rao, Managing Director, Telangana State Technological Service, A. Vassan of BITS Hyderabad and Nishanth Dongari of IIT Hyderabad, submitted its report on Thursday to B. Janardhan Reddy, Secretary, Higher Education, Government of Telangana, which looked into Globarena Technologies. They also made recommendations to avoid examination lapses in the future, according to Khaleejtimes
12 BIE centers are currently in the process of evaluating the answer sheets of the failed students, says Khaleetimes, with each one handling between 70,000 to 120,000.
Reddy told Khaleejtimes they are still receiving applications and more than 50,000 students who passed also applied for re-verification because they weren't satisfied with their results.
The BIE says they have manpower to handle all the new tests, and they would release a daily bulletin on the status of those needing re-verification.
Answers were still wanted by the students and parents, who protested about the lack of information on the re-verification process. They wanted free re-verification for all of the students. According to Khaleejtimes they were denied entry to BIE offices by the local police.
"Why should we pay fee for the blunders committed by them?" a student told Khaleejtimes.
The student groups also asked for 25 lakh ($36,000) as compensation for the families of each student who committed suicide.
In 2017, both the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana regions of India saw more than 50 suicides by students between September and October.
On Friday, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to the Telangana government, seeking a detailed report by the Board.