China schooling blamed for suicides


China’s high-pressure, exam-driven education system is responsible for the vast majority of suicides by schoolchildren in the country, state media said Wednesday, citing a study.

Official statistics on youth suicides are hard to obtain, but a health ministry journal said that about 500 primary and middle school students kill themselves every year.

A study of 79 such suicides last year found that almost 93 percent happened following arguments between the pupils and their teachers, or after the students felt overburdened by their studies.

Most killed themselves because “they could not bear the heavy pressure of the test-oriented education system,” said the findings, quoted in the state-run China Daily newspaper.

The 2014 Annual Report on China’s Education was released on Tuesday after a spate of suicides prompted scrutiny of the country’s education system.

In January 2013, a student in Inner Mongolia jumped from the top of a building after learning that his test scores had dropped, while earlier this month a 13-year-old boy in Jiangsu province hanged himself after he failed to finish his homework, the China Daily said.