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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

Proposed HPBOSE Date-Sheets for 8th, 10th, 12th Exams 2021 Issued, Objections Invited till Feb 10

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HPBOSE Exam Datesheet 2021

Shimla-Date-sheets for Class 10, 12, and 8 yearly examinations for the 2020-21 session have been released by the Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education yesterday. These schedules would apply to both regular and State Open School (SOS) students. 

These are proposed date-sheets, which have been uploaded on the official HPBOSE website and objections have been invited from teachers, students, and parents. Objections can be mailed on [email protected] till 10 February 2021.

According to the proposed HPBOSE date-sheets, examinations for 10th class would be held from May 5 to May 20, 2021. For 12th class, exams would be held from May 4 to May 29. Exams for 8th class would be held from May 5 to May 19. While timings for class 10th and 8th would be 8:45 to 12 PM, class 12th exams would be conducted from 1:45 PM to 5 PM.

The Board has already decided that yearly examinations of HPBOSE for Class 10th and 12th for the session 2020-21 would not be conducted online. The decision was taken considering the fact that several regions of the state do not have Internet connectivity due to which students face difficulties.

HPBOSE Class 12 Date-Sheet 2021

HPBOSE Class 10 Date-Sheet 2021

HPBOSE Class 8 Date-Sheet 2021

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Campus Watch

Class 10th and 12th Yearly Exams Will Not be Conducted Online Due to Lack of Uniform Internet Connectivity in State: HPBOSE

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hp bose board exams 2020-21

Dharamshala-Yearly examinations of Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education (HPBOSE) for Class 10th and 12th for the session 2020-21 will not be conducted online, informed Dr Suresh Kumar Soni, Chairman, HPBOSE. The decision was taken considering the fact that several regions of the state do not have Internet connectivity due to which students face difficulties, he said.

It was decided after the Chairman held a video conference with Deputy Directors and school principals/headmasters to discuss the matter relating to the conduction of examinations.

He also informed that due to the pandemic schools remained closed and the Board could not conduct online practical exams and said that it is considering to allow the schools to conduct them at their level.  Further, to avoid crowding at schools, exams would be conducted in morning and evening sessions and more examination centres would be created. He informed that the Board is also considering to provide question papers for 5th, 8th, 9th, and 11th classes to maintain uniformity in examinations across the state.  

Various aspects related to various classes are under consideration and would be forwarded to the Education Minister Govind Singh Thakur, he said. In accordance with Minister’s directions, the Board would try to resume regular examinations, the Chairman added.

Further, he informed that the Board is conducting examinations for 12th class (Science) in March 2020 and has invited applications from candidates. The candidates can apply online through nearest SOS centre between 28th December to 28th January.

HP SOS Examination Eligibility Criteria

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Campus Watch

Himachal Shuts Down All Educational Institutes A Week After Re-Opening 

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Himachal Pradesh Educational Institutes closed again

Shimla-A week after re-opening for regular classes, the Himachal Pradesh Government had to shut down all government and private schools, colleges, ITIs, polytechnics, engineering colleges and coaching institutes from 11th to 25th November 2020, for students, teaching and non-teaching staff amid alarming surge in COVID-19 cases and fatalities.

The decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting held on November 10, 2020. It’s pertinent to mention that the state government had re-opened the school for the students of 9th to 12th from November 2. However, during the past few days, hundreds of teachers and several students tested positive in various schools, especially in Mandi district.

Meanwhile, the unpreparedness of the state government came to light as the largest medical facility – IGMC Shimla- ran out of space in isolation wards for COVID-19 patients. It’s packed to full capacity. Reportedly, another dedicated COVID-19 hospital – DDU Shimla- was also running out of space. The government has also failed to establish make-shift hospitals, which it had been promising for the past couple of months. However, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had been maintaining in media statements that the government was prepared for all eventualities.

Questions have also been raised over the quality of protective gear provided to health staff as several officials tested positive at a COVID-19 hospital in Mandi district.

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