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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.

Stay updated on the go with Himachal Watcher News App. Click here to download it for your android device.

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 7 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 world around him in his DSLR lens.

Campus Watch

Internationally famed Indian violinist Johar Ali Khan performs at KV Jakhoo Hills, Shimla  

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SPIC Macy at KV Jakhoo hills 4

Shimla: The students and staff of Kendriya Vidyalaya Jakhoo Hills, Shimla, today, received an opportunity to watch the internationally famed Indian classical violinist Ustad Jauhar Ali Khan performing live. The occasion was an event organized by the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Among Youngster (SPIC MACY) – a non-profit organization formed in 1977 by Dr Kiran Seth with an aim to promote classical music.

SPIC Macy at KV Jakhoo hills 3

After 40 years of journey, the SPIC MACY is a movement to reckon with that has done a pioneer work in the promotion of not only Indian classical music but also in promotion of classical dance, folk music, yoga, meditation etc.  at national and international level.

SPIC Macy at KV Jakhoo hills 2

Khan is the elder son of late Gohar Ali Khan – the legendary artist of the traditional Patiala and Rampur ‘Gharaana’ (family).

In a duet with Indian ‘Tabala Vadak’, Amir Khan, Ustad Khan offered glimpses of rich and incredibly diverse Indian music of various states. It was followed by a session of ‘Sufi’ music performance.

SPIC Macy at KV Jakhoo hills

The artist also interacted with the teachers and the students regarding their knowledge about the Indian music. He appreciated the students of the school for their keen interest in music and encouraged them to pursue and promote what actually belongs to them – the Indian classical music and cultural heritage.

You should make music an integral part of your life and carry it forward to the coming generations,

he told the students after the performance.  

The artist concluded the event with the performance of a patriotic song.

The Principal of the school honoured the artist by presenting him a traditional cap of Himachal.

The staff and students are very fortunate to have received this opportunity to watch such a renowned Indian artist perform at their school,

said the Principal in the concluding speech.  

The Principal also expressed gratitude towards the SPIC MACY for the organization of such a harmonious event.

Stay updated on the go with Himachal Watcher News App. Click here to download it for your android device.

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HPU’s disabled students demand stay on M.Phil, Ph.D entrance exam results

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Disabled Students Association of Himachal Pradesh

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh University has scheduled the counseling for M.Phil for October 27, 2017. However, the disabled students, who had been demanding implementation of the reservation from some time, have opposed the move.

The Disabled Students Association (DSA) has written to the Governor of Himachal Pradesh Acharya Devvrat and urged him to immediately prohibit the HPU of declaring the M.Phil and Ph.D entrance exams results.

Earlier, a delegation of the Association had met the Vice-Chancellor in September this year and submitted a memorandum demanding reservation of seats in MPhil and PhD under the Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2016. 

However, it did not brought any relief to them.

Today, the distressed members of the association alleged the university of not implementing the five percent reservation quota provided under the new disability law despite the directions passed by the State High Court.

After the court passed its orders this August, the university implemented the provisions of the new Act and gave admission to the disabled students in M.A. and B.Ed courses.

However, the university is following the decades-old roster system while conducting admission in M.Phil and P.hD, which is contrary to law.

The DSA convener Mukesh Kumar wrote a letter to the Governor saying that it would attract the contempt of court if the disabled students are not accommodated in M.Phil and Ph.D as per the orders of the court.

He said,

The new disability law was supposed to be implemented across the country from April 19, 2017. When the university did not follow the Act, one of the blind students, Indu Kumari of Chamba, wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of the High Court, which was treated as a PIL

Thereafter, keeping in view the strict directions of the court, the university was compelled to enroll the disabled students in the PG classes, but is still reluctant to amend the old roster system for research classes.

The matter is listed in the High Court for hearing on 31st October, said the DSA.

Stay updated on the go with Himachal Watcher News App. Click here to download it for your android device.

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Court compels HPU to implement 5% reservation quota for disabled students

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rti in braille from blind

The varsity had to deliver what it owed to these students. Now, the students have also been provided with hostel facility.

Shimla: A visually impaired girl of Himachal Pradesh knocked the doors of the State High Court in June this year after the HP University denied her admission in the post-graduate course despite provision for five percent reservation.

Indu Kumari was not the only one to face the apathy of the varsity administration. There were other disabled students like Ravinder Thakur, Jitender Kumar, and Vijay Kumar, who had paved their way upto college despite their disability but were sent back by the varsity.

The disabled students had to form the Disabled Students Association (DSA) to highlight the fact that hundreds of disabled students are being denied education in the state.

Apparently, the court pulled up the state government and the varsity and asked them to clarify why they failed to implement the new guidelines of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

As a result of this struggle and the directions of the court, the varsity had to deliver what it owed to these students. Now, the students have also been provided with hostel facility. Though the varsity had to do it unwillingly, still it has become the first state university in the northern India to reserve 5 percent quota in higher education to disabled students.

The division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel had directed the University to enroll the petitioner and consider the similar cases of some other students for admission and hostel facility.

The bench also directed the state government to implement the provisions of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

It is the responsibility of the government to ensure complete and proper implementation of the provisions of the Act. It is an obligation, coupled with duty, cast upon the government to ensure compliance of the statuary provisions,

the High Court had observed while hearing the PIL.

Ajai Shrivastava, faculty member and the additional charge of nodal officer (disability affairs) at HPU, expressed satisfaction and said that now more and more disabled students would get opportunity access higher studies.

Ajai Shrivastava also runs a non-profit organization, Umang Foundation. It was due to his guidance to these students that the varsity had to implement the enhanced disability quota. He had also warned the varsity of legal action if the quota was not reserved.

The students are thankful to Shrivastava for his efforts.

Stay updated on the go with Himachal Watcher News App. Click here to download it for your android device.

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