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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

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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HP University Issues UG Date-Sheet, Exams to be Held from Aug 17- Sept 8

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HP University UG Exams Date Sheet

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh University has finally issued tentative date-sheets for the Under-Graduate examinations for the current session. The exams will start on August 17 and end on September 8. These are tentative dates and instructions with date-sheets said that dates may vary according to the situation but the pattern of the date-sheet will remain the same.

The date sheets are available on the official website of the varsity.

The Controller of Examination, JC Negi, informed that students can obtain their admit cards from the official website of the varsity. Exams would be held in two session – morning and evening.

It’s pertinent to mention that according to the University Grant Commission (UGC) guidelines, it was mandatory to hold examinations for the last semester of UG classes. The Commission had given an option to conduct these exams online, but the HP varsity isn’t prepared for it at all. Therefore, the students would have to appear at examination centres physically.

A section of students has been protesting against the UGC guidelines to hold exams amid a pandemic and at a time when the state is witnessing a sharp increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. The Student Federation of India had even staged a protest outside the Directorate of Higher Education, HP, a week ago.

The students said it would not be wise to conduct exams when the state is witnessing a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases. The Federation demanded that the UGC should instead promote the students of final year/semester too. They said their marks should be calculated based on the performance in all previous exams and assessments.

SFI argued that the varsity was already late in conducting examinations and it has no infrastructure to conduct online exams. Further, it argued that not all students in the State are well connected to the Internet and would not be able to take online exams.

However, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) is supporting the UGC and Government’s decision to conduct examinations.

Following instructions (unedited) were issued with the date-sheets:

  1. In view of the COVID – 19 pandemic the Principal and students are directed to keep updated for any changes in the date-sheets, if any, uploaded on the University website from time to time
  2. All the Principals are requested to hold the examinations strictly adhering to the guidelines and Standard Operating Procedure issued by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education vide its Memorandum dated 6th July 2020 for the conduct of examinations adopted by the Government of Himachal Pradesh vide letter No. EDN-B-B (14) – 12/2018 dated 13th July 2020 and further adopted by the Himachal Pradesh University vide Notification No. 16-18/79-HPU (Genl) dated 16th July 2020 which has been uploaded on the University website. 3.
  3. It has been decided to allow the candidate who may be stranded in their native place to appear in the examinations in nearby colleges. As such the Principals are requested to allow such candidates to take the examination in their colleges and intimate the University.
  4. All the Principals/Directors are requested to go through the date sheet and the same may be brought to the notice of the students. Objections if any regarding clash in papers in the same date and time, if any, may immediately be brought to the notice of the University through e-mail conduct.hpu {at}gmail.com. No objections shall be entertained after 30th July 2020.
  5. All the Principal(s) of the colleges concerned are requested to ensure that keeping in view the COVID – 19 pandemic the sufficient seating capacity to adjust the students is available on particular day in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and State Government from time to time. In case, the seating capacity is exceeding to their strength on a particular day, the same may be intimated to the University immediately before the commencement of the examinations.
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