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Child safety at schools: Teachers should refrain from shaming & making children subject of staffroom gossip

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children mental health In indian schools

Shimla: Yesterday, Himachal Watcher had cautioned media persons about ‘imitative suicidal behavior’ due to sensational coverage of news related to suicides or highly sensitive issues like the current Blue Whale concept.

However, some Hindi Dailies continued to print ‘Blue Whale’ and ‘Suicide’ in extra-large fonts with sensational graphics to make it more dramatic and scary.

Apparently, the majority of media has failed to understand that the root cause here is the suicide, suicidal tendencies, and poor mental health. Suicides among teenagers are not something new. India has the maximum number of suicide cases in the world. Most of them are related to poor mental health. India has one of the world’s highest suicide rates for youth aged 15 to 29.

Approximately, 10 million teens, aged 13-17, are suffering from one or another mental health problem.

As per a 2012 report, nearly 5300 children aged 0-14 years kill themselves each year in India – approximately 100 children a week. This number is about 85,000 for men and women aged 15-29 years. It implies that 1600 youth including teenagers commit suicide every week.

But sadly, this alarming rate of suicide failed to appeal to policy makers in education and health.

Nevertheless, another aspect that requires attention here is that the teachers must keep in mind is to never target children in class or make them a topic of staffroom gossip. A teacher gossiping about a child means forcing his/her personal perception about the behavior of the child onto other teachers.

It is like spoiling the image of a child. Humiliating and shaming children in front of a class, their teachers, and parents with sarcastic and nasty comments can have varied negative effects on them depending on individual personality traits.

Teachers should stop arguing that they have no other mean left to discipline students as laws against corporal punishment have become stringent now.

Other than the domestic environment, a large part of their emotional life depends upon their relationship with their peers and treatment by teachers at school.

Besides mental health issues, relationship issues between teens are real in the urbanized and global society. The world of teens is complex one nowadays.  However, the typical approach of parents and teachers to these issues force adolescence to keep their world secret. Further, the artificiality of the urban society has burdened the children with gigantic academic expectations of parents and schools.

Another noticeable aspect is that the prevailing panic due to Blue Whale concept has caught the government, schools, and parents off guard. The situation has come as a tight slap on their face for lagging behind in creating awareness about mental health, do’s and don’ts for teachers and the need of trained child counselors in schools.

All advisories issued by the government, schools and subject experts are requesting parents to pay more attention to their children, observe changes in their behavior, moods, habits, routine etc. The parents of children, especially teens who are introvert or facing any sort of mental health problems like depression and stress due to academic or domestic circumstances. Children with low self-esteem and sense of being an under-achiever are more vulnerable and easier to be abetted for self-mutilation and suicide.

The parents of children, especially teens who are introvert or facing any sort of mental health problems like depression and stress due to academic or domestic circumstances, need to be more cautious. Children with low self-esteem or sense of being under-achiever are more vulnerable and easier to be abetted for self-mutilation and suicide.

Rest, as the scientific studies suggest,  is the curiosity among children regarding the game about which everyone is cautioning them. This is something that has brought more attention towards children. As per inputs provided by a few counselors and teachers, in some cases, the children are boasting to impress their friend-circle when they are not even involved in playing any such game. Mention of paying Blue Whale brings a lot of attention to a subject.

Therefore, it is not just about the Blue Whale issue. Prevention of suicides among teenagers is going to take a lot of efforts including kind support of media. Parents and teachers need to change their approach toward children and their problems. 

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

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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Nauni Varsity Session 2020-21: List of Selected Candidates for UG Courses Released

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UHF Nauni UG Course Selection list 2020-21

Solan: Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni has released the college and discipline wise list of selected candidates, both for normal and self-financing seats for admission to BSc Horticulture, BSc Forestry and B Tech Biotechnology for academic session 2020-21. The list of selected candidates, college and discipline wise has been prepared on the basis of counselling proformas and the relevant reservation documents submitted by the candidates through email. 

The selected candidates have been advised to deposit the admission fee in the respective bank accounts of the colleges on any day between 9-12 November. Presently due to COVID, the concessional fee is being charged from the candidates. The candidates will have to send a copy of the bank receipt no/ screenshot of the fee deposited online on the email of the colleges mentioned in the notification. Non-deposit of the fee within the due date will result in the cancellation of the claim for admission.

The candidates are advised to go through the detailed notification uploaded on the university website. The concessional fee details, bank account numbers of respective colleges along with email address has been given in the list. In view of COVID, the classes of the students will be conducted through online mode till further orders.  

The selected candidates shall have to report to the dean of the concerned college along with original documents(list mentioned in the notification) as and when directed by the way of a notice on the university website.

 

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Himachal’s Schools/Colleges to Re-Open for Regular Classes from Today  

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Himachal's schools re-open for regular classes

Shimla-Schools in Himachal Pradesh are today re-opening for regular classes after remaining closed for over seven months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was taken to allow regular classes for the students of Class 9th to 12th  in the last meeting of the Cabinet. However, online classes would also continue. Regular classes would also be resumed in the colleges from today onwards.

The SOPs have also been issued in this regard. According to the SOPs, a written consent of parents to send their children to schools would be mandatory, and the students can opt to study online if they do not wish to attend the school physically.

Also, schools can’t enforce attendance on students. In case the number of students is more than that of the capacity of classrooms, then principals/headmasters have been given liberty to conduct classes on alternate days to maintain social distancing.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to tighten grip on the state as eight deaths were reported on November 1, 2020. Over two dozen staff including Dr Janak Raj, MS, also tested positive at the IGMC Shimla. Earlier, 22 school teachers in Mandi district and Education Minister had also tested positive.

Till November 1, 2020 (9 PM), the official statistics of the state Health Department showed the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to be 22264, of which 2973. A total of 320 persons had lost their lives due to COVID-19. 

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