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Safety at schools: Why “only my children” approach?

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safety of kids in shimla schools

Shimla: The dastardly murder of an eight-years-old at a school at Ryan International School, Gurgram has alarmed parents all over India. The Supreme Court of India, while hearing petition filed by the father of the deceased child, said “It is not about one school, it is about all schools in entire India”

Several issues from callousness of the school towards the safety measures like installation of CCTV cameras, lack of separate toilets for the staff including drivers and conductors, boundary walls around the school to lack of police verification of employees have come to light.

The parents in Himachal are equally worried and doubtful how safe their children are even in reputed private schools. Citing an incident, Himachal Watcher had published a story regarding the safety measures and lack of regular professional child counselor in private school despite hefty fee structure.

HW’s story was intended to convey the same message which the Supreme Court has conveyed by saying that safety isn’t a matter of only one particular school.

However, a majority of readers were worried about their children only. They were concerned about the school in which their children study. This “only my children” approach of the parents is the reason private schools always dominated the parents despite extracting hefty fees. 

Now, after the Ryan International school incident, HW began to receive calls from persons who claimed to be government officials asking the name of the school claiming that the Ministry of Women and Child Development has sought this information officially. In reality, HW did not receive any such official regarding the same.

One such caller, who called us to know the name of the school said,

My own children study in school, so I am worried about them.

Why wasn’t he worried for all parents and all children in all schools?

The official asked,

Why you published news at all about it?

It was highly discouraging. The point is that we are at least speaking about the issues children are facing at schools. But at the same time, we bear the responsibility that we don’t defame an institution when it was not at fault. The nature of the incident was not criminal at all and there was no culprit to be punished. It was just a lesson for the schools and parents.

Kids can face behavioral issues in any school and there was no involvement of staff or any adult. It was just two kids – a pre-school boy and a five-year-old. The situation required the intervention of a counselor, which was duly given to them.

Exposure to unwanted content through electronic devices is not specific to one school. The domestic environment in which they grow up and quality of life of the family play a major role in shaping the mentality of children. At a tender age of five years, kids tend to replicate behavior they witness through one source or another source.

Not just from parents, but kids can learn a particular behavior from anyone with whom they come in contact. The society is the second major factor that affects the personality formation process of every individual.

The patterns of the personality formation process are going through drastic changes with the introduction of modernization or urbanization into our society.

The new generation is born in the age of computers and Internet while the previous generation was limited to Doordarshan or radio as compared to the present day long list of TV channels. The internet has revolutionized the academic field. It is an incredible educational tool. In fact, the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had distributed laptops to meritorious school students.

The prohibition or restricting children from accessing a smartphone or computer are not going to work.

The point is to understand the need of the time and keep up with modernization. In addition to good teachers, the children are in dire need of skilled guides, who could keep vigil on the mental health of children and accommodate their emotional and personal problems. Moreover, parents also need guidance to deal with problems like the “Blue Whale” concept.

After the gruesome case of rape and murder of a Class X girl in Kotkhai region of Shimla district had created panic among the children studying at the Government Senior Secondary School Mahasu. The school was compelled to call in counselors to deal with this panic among children. 

While the government is far behind in introducing regular counseling services at its schools, the private schools are evading guidelines so that they don’t have to spend on the salary of a counselor.

Next time, you go to the parent-teacher meeting, do ask the school authority about the status of safety features and regular counseling services at the school.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

Campus Watch

HP University: Student Agitations Over Vaccination Intensify, Delay in Opening Hostels Adds to Their Woes

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HP University Student Vaccination

Shimla-While the Himachal Pradesh Government has put the vaccination of the 18-44 year age group on hold till July 9, voices demanding vaccination of all students and staff of Himachal Pradesh University are rising. Today a student organization demanded to open the varsity for all, including the hostels and library. In fact, students had been demanding the opening of the varsity library and hostels for some time now.

On Thursday, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had also met the Chief Warden, demanding opening of the hostels as students were compelled to spend on renting rooms or making alternate arrangements for stay to take their exams. It’s adding a financial burden on students, ABVP said.

The student body also highlighted the plight of students hailing from tribal areas where they don’t have Internet connectivity to carry on online learning.  

The National Students Union of India is already on a chain hunger strike for nearly a week over its demand to vaccinate all students and staff before conducting exams. If it is not possible for the state government, then cancel the exams, the student body is demanding. NSUI had also been protesting against offline exams and demanding online exams for the students of the first and second years.

NSUI has taken to social media to mobilize students and had been posting videos/photos of students addressing the government and the people on the problems they are facing due to offline exams.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Nigam Bhandari (@nigambhandari_)

Leaders of the Congress party, including the opposition leader, Mukesh Agnihotri and GS Bali, were seen supporting the student body by visiting their protest sites.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Nigam Bhandari (@nigambhandari_)

“We know the entire world is suffering from COVID-19 and all educational institutions remained closed for more than one and a half year. But now all educational institutions should be opened for all as the situation is under control,” the Student Federation of India said in a memorandum submitted to the Vice-Chancellor today.   

Now, SFI has also included vaccination of university employees and students in its list of demands. 

SFI demanded that a permanent vaccination centre should be set up on the university campus.

“The only hope against the pandemic is vaccination. We demand setting up a permanent vaccination centre on the HP university campus so all students in summer could get vaccinated,” the student body said.

Other demands of SFI included issuing schedule for the pending recruitment exams  for the posts of non-teaching staff and Panchayat Sahayak, forms for which were invited in March 2020.

The student body said the varsity must conduct entrance exams for the admissions to postgraduate courses this year.

“Last year, we saw the university authority didn’t conduct entrance exams, which was against the varsity admission norms. The HP High Court had also declared it arbitrary and unethical. We demand that for the sake of quality of education, the varsity must conduct entrance exams for admission in postgraduate courses,” the student body said in its memorandum.

Further, the student body gave some suggestions to the varsity authority, which included strengthening the online mode of education, buy online web services/apps, like Microsoft Teams, Google Meet etc., and preparing for the third wave. 

It also suggested undertaking online assessments of the performance of students and teachers. The student body said that the varsity will have to prepare a proper pattern for the assessment of the students and offer an objective type alternate mode of examination.

Other suggestions included inviting the students for the practical examinations batch-wise and setting up face shields in the library to increase the capacity.

The student body also demanded extending library membership to all researchers and students till the completion of their courses.

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Campus Watch

HPU Exams Without Vaccinating Students Opposed, If Online Classes Are Possible, Why Not Online Exams, Asks Student Body

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Cancel HPU Exams

Shimla-Amidst the ongoing battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to hold exams for various Under Graduate classes.

The HPU has released the date sheet for B.Ed 1ST and 3rd-semester exams. The date sheet for M.Ed exams has also been released by the university. Final examination schedule for B.A., B.Sc., B.Com, Hons. and Shastri courses were also released on the University website on Monday.

However, ahead of the warming for the third wave, which is predicted to hit within the next 7-8 weeks, an HPU student body has opposed the decision citing the risk posed to students by offline examination in the middle of a pandemic.

Students have also taken to social media and have been demanding the cancellation of exams. Students had been Tweeting this demand with the hashtag #cancelhpuexams.

They also questioned why the government was not considering the safety of the college students while exams of school students were cancelled.

The NSUI state unit on Monday submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the Director of Higher Education demanding a statewide vaccination drive for students aged above 18 years before conducting the university exams. The student body also raised a demand for a reasonable reduction in the syllabus.

In a letter addressed to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, the student body raised three demands. The body has asked the Chief Minister to ensure vaccination of all students before conducting exams. It proposed conducting online examinations if the government can’t vaccinate all students in such a short span.

“If online classes are possible, then exams should also be conducted online,” said Chattar Singh, the NSUI state president.

The student body also asked the state government to find an alternative medium for conducting exams so that students are not put at risk. The student body urged the state government to not use the students as “experimental kits.”

ABVP, SFI Demand Re-Opening of University Library

The state unit of SFI (HPU) and ABVP(HPU) on Monday raised the demand to re-open the university library which remained closed for the students due to the pandemic induced restrictions. In separate memorandums submitted to the University Library in-charge, both the student bodies have said the state government had allowed the re-opening of libraries with a capacity of 50% students on June 19. Despite the notification, the University has not released any notice regarding the same.

Research scholars are unable to pursue and complete their research without access to libraries. Students preparing for various exams are suffering a loss, ABVP said.  

SFI also raised concern over keeping students deprived of the 24×7 library section.

“The university takes pride in mentioning that it has a 24×7 section in its library. But the same section remains closed for the last one year and seven months. Last year, when the library was re-opened, the 24×7 section was kept closed,” SFI said. The student body has demanded that this students shouldn’t be kept deprived of this essential facility. 

SFI expressed disappointment over the lackadaisical attitude of the varsity authorities towards the demands for basic facilities. It said that while the students had been demanding the replacement of furniture in the libraries which is in a very poor state, the university administration is “busy installing sculptures.”  Despite demands, the varsity authority hasn’t moved a muscle, it said.

The student union has demanded the replacement of broken furniture, maintenance of the library washrooms and frequent sanitization of the library.

The student bodies have warned of protests if the varsity authority still doesn’t pay attention to their demands.

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Video: How HPBOSE Will Calculate and Allot Marks to Class 10 Students

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hp board marks calculation formula for promotion

Shimla-The second wave of Covid-19 pandemic has washed out another academic session and disrupted the academic calendars of institutes. A

The HPBOSE recently notified its detailed criteria for compilation of result and promotion of students to the next higher class while focusing on, what it called, “Continuous Comprehensive Assessment (CCA)” and “Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE)”.

The notification came following the cancellation of the Annual Examination of Matriculation and Senior Secondary (Plus Two) classes of HP Board of School Education in wake of the pandemic.

The formula is based on class 9 result of the student, Class 10 first and second term exams, pre-board result, paper of one subject held on April 13, internal assessment and practical marks.

Himachal Watcher has prepared this video to help you understand the process.

Subject wise weightage will be allotted to students depending on the distribution of subjects by HPBOSE. Visit this link to check the weightage of marks per exams

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