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1 in 3 young students felt suicidal due to academic burden: poll

All News 15:52 April 19, 2021

SEOUL, April 19 (Yonhap) -- Nearly one out of three middle and high school students in South Korea mulled suicide over the past year due to academic burden, a survey showed Monday.

In a poll of 5,669 middle and high school students conducted by the state-run National Youth Policy Institute from July to October last year, 27 percent said they had thought of taking their own life within the last year. By gender, 35 percent of female students said so, compared with 19.6 percent of male students.

Asked about the reasons for thinking of suicide, 39.8 percent cited academic problems, such as school grades and academic stress, followed by anxiety about the future and career (25.5 percent), family conflict (16 percent), conflicts with fellow students (4.8 percent) and economic difficulty (1.7 percent), the poll showed.

This file photo shows high school seniors taking an exam at a school near Seoul. (Yonhap)

This file photo shows high school seniors taking an exam at a school near Seoul. (Yonhap)

The ratios of students mulling suicide slightly differed depending on economic level, the institute said.

When economic level is divided into upper, middle and lower, 43.6 percent of students in the upper level thought of suicide, compared with 39.3 percent for the middle level and 29.3 percent for the lower level.

The survey was conducted with the aim of examining the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the Korean government in 1991, and promoting the human rights of children and youth.

It also polled 2,954 elementary school students from fourth to sixth grades.

Twenty-seven percent of all 8,623 students said they have felt sad or depressed for no reason over the past year, while 23.6 percent said they had felt the urge to quit school.


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