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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

UHF Nauni Bags Rs.25 Crore Funding, Set for Major Overhaul

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UHF Nauni gets IDI funds

Solan: The learning and teaching environment at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni is set for a major overhaul under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) National Agricultural Higher Education Plan (NAHEP) funded by the World Bank, informed the Public Relation Officer, Suchet Attri. He said that under NAHEP, UHF has been awarded the prestigious Institutional Development Project  (IDP). The total outlay of the three-year project is Rs 25 crore with ICAR share of Rs 20 crore and Rs 5 crore funded by the state.

He said that this is one of the biggest projects in UHF’s history and a major achievement for the university. It will help to provide a holistic learning and teaching environment to the students and faculty as scientists and students will be exposed to foreign universities to learn and exchange researchable ideas and issues. The University Vice-Chancellor is the project leader while Dr KK Raina, Professor and Head, Department of Business Management is the coordinator and Principal Investigator of the overall project, he informed.  

The main objective of the project entitled ‘Quality Education in Horticulture and Forestry to generate Human Resource’ is to revamp the university’s UG education through innovative and modern pedagogy, skill development, improving placement opportunities and catalyzing entrepreneurship through global thinking and input. He further said that under IDP, the university will look to strengthen collaborations with leading academia and industry for student exchange and faculty development programmes. 

He informed that around 150 UG students and 50 faculty members will be selected through a competition, to visit top-flight foreign universities for a period of 3-6 months. Organization of webinars and seminars, workshops and capacity building, and engaging industry experts as adjunct faculty is also included in the project. In addition to the creation of several student amenities, the university will establish UG and language labs for improving soft skills, eight smart and two virtual classrooms. He said that the project will also push green initiatives like the use of solar energy for cooking, lighting, use of battery-operated vehicles, solid waste management and recycling, campus landscaping and development of nature parks.

He said that one of the highlights will be the development of Short-Term International Certificate course on temperate horticulture and forestry crops and the strengthening of Student Development and Career Development Cell by developing a proactive industrial interface to create job and internship opportunities. Remedial courses, special attention towards weak students, agri-incubation centres on hi-tech plant nursery, processed food and forest products for entrepreneurial and agribusiness skills will also be taken up during the course of the project.

He further informed that several works have already begun under the project, and initiatives like raising new plantations have been undertaken. The students are eagerly looking forward to this project and have been actively taking part in all activities. A review meeting of the core project team and the statutory officers under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor was held on Saturday. Director Extension Education Dr PK Mahajan, Deans Dr Bhupinder Gupta and Dr ML Bhardwaj also took part in the meeting. 

“This is a very proud moment for the university as we are among the national group that has got grants under this project. It will help us to improve the work culture and change the outlook of the students by providing a holistic learning environment. Besides, it will also help to enhance the quality of study and potential of the faculty will be fully utilized,”

said Dr Parvinder Kaushal, UHF Vice-Chancellor.

He said that only a select few agricultural universities have managed to bag the project through nation-wide competition.

The university will further focus on skill enhancement of students through study programmes with international collaborations and provide an inclusive and equitable quality education for the students through the faculty development programme. Dr Kaushal added that under the project, the university will ensure the sustainability of quality education and system effectiveness through the strengthening of the University Alumni network and industry interface. 

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Campus Watch

Nauni Varsity UG Admission Process Revised, No Entrance Exam, Seats to be Allotted on 10+2 Merit

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Solan-uhf nauni ug admissions 2020-21 session

Solan-Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has revised the admission process for its undergraduate programmes for the academic session 2020-21 in view of the COVID 19 pandemic. This year, the university will not be conducting an entrance test to fill the normal seats of UG programmes. The decision in this regard was taken during a special meeting of the Academic Council meeting held recently.

The basis of admission for normal seats would be merit drawn on basis of marks obtained at 10+2 level examination in four subjects-English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology/ Mathematics plus weightage of participation in sports/ NCC, NSS, scouting, co-curricular activities (if any). The university offers three undergraduate programmes B Sc (Hons) Horticulture, B Sc (Hons) Forestry while B Tech Biotechnology is offered only at the COH&F Neri. 

The candidates have been advised to download the counselling proforma from the university website and fill it as per the instructions mentioned on it. Those students who want to be considered for both normal as well as self-financing seats need to fill two separate proformas. A single page pdf file must be created, containing scanned filled counselling proforma along with legible documents mentioned in the checklist as provided in the counselling proforma. No column must be left blank. The counselling proforma for normal seats and self-financing seats will be uploaded on the university website on 3rd August (afternoon) and 5th August (afternoon) respectively.

For normal seats: The scanned pdf file must be sent through email to [email protected] on or before 18th August, 2020.

For self-financing seats: The scanned pdf file must be sent by email to [email protected] on or before 20th August, 2020. Every candidate must submit the duly filled counselling proforma in order to be considered for the admission. The detailed notification can be downloaded from the university website.

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Campus Watch

HPBOSE Syllabus to be Reduced by 30% for 2020-21 Session Following CBSE’s Lead

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HPBose Syllabus 2020-21

Dharamshala: The syllabus of Himachal Pradesh School of Board Education from 9th to 12th classes would be reduced by 30 percent following the lead of CBSE.  The Board today constituted a five-member committee for this purpose, informed Chairman of HPBOSE, Dr Suresh Kumar Soni. The step is being taken considering the disruption to regular classroom study of students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The committee comprises of Deputy Secretaries Anjali Saini and Sudarshan Kumar, and Anil Naag – the principal, Senior secondary School, Sulah, Kangra district-and Vijay Sharam- the principal, GSSS Daroh, Kangra. The fifth member would be Dimple Kanwar.

The Board also held a workshop in which experts in Hindi, Political Science, History, Geography, and Psychology subjects gave their opinion regarding the syllabus.

Further, the Chairman said that emphasis would be laid on reducing the syllabus for the board classes. Exclusion of topics from syllabus would be done in accordance with suggestions received from subject experts, he said.

The teachers should keep in mind that the students do not remain deprived of knowledge but at the same time keep the stress of syllabus off them, he said. He asked the teachers to not include any questions in exams from the topics which would be excluded from the syllabus. A proposal regarding it would be submitted to the state government for its approval, he informed.

Earlier this month, CBSE had announced a reduction in its syllabus for students of class 9 to 12. For class 11, CBSE had excluded chapters on federalism in the Constitution, political theory sections on citizenship, secularism and nationalism. For class 12, India’s relations with its neighbours, sections on social movement, regional aspirations, the changing nature of India’s economic development, and the Planning Commission were excluded.

For class 10, CBSE had excluded the chapter on forest and wildlife in contemporary India from social science. Besides it, chapters on democracy and diversity; gender religion and caste, popular struggles and movements, and challenges to democracy have also be removed. For science classes, the students would not have to study the human eye functioning, a section on concepts of evolution, several practical experiments, like tests on acetic acid, mounting a leaf peel, and studying the comparative cleaning capacity of soap in hard and soft, water were also removed from the syllabus.

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