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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

After CBSE, Himachal Postpones Board and UG Exams Till May 1st

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college and board exams in himachal pradesh postponed

Shimla-The ongoing examinations of the Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education and under graduate classes have been postponed, a spokesperson of the HP Government informed today. He said that the state government has taken the decision keeping in view the health concerns of the students and parents.

These exams included the ongoing board examinations for Class 10th and 12th and UG examinations starting on 17th April to 17th May, 2021.

The government said that the situation would be reviewed on 1st May, 2021, and further directions would be issued accordingly. In a separate notification, the HPBOSE said that the schools exams for the two board classes were postponed till May 17, 2021. The Board also relieved all the staff engaged in conducting examinations including Superintendents, Deputy Superintendents, Flying Squads, Invigilators and Peons except Chowkidards. 

The decision of the government came after the Central Board of School Education (CBSE) today decided to cancel the examinations for class 10 and postpone exams for Class 12 due to the ongoing surge in daily COVID-19 infections in the country. The Board said that there was a constant demand for postponing the exams from students, parents, and the state governments.

However, the state government in Himachal Pradesh had decided to go on with exams amid the peeking second wave of the pandemic.

“The pandemic situation in the country is seeing a resurgence of COVID 19 positive cases in many states, with a few states having been affected more than others. In this situation, schools have been shut down in 11 states. Unlike State Boards, CBSE has an all-India character, and therefore, it is essential to hold exams simultaneously throughout the country,” the Union Education Ministry today said.

Looking to the present situation of the pandemic and school closures, the Ministry decided that the Board Exams for Class XII to be held from May 4thto June, 14th, 2021 would be postponed. The situation will be reviewed on 1st June 2021 by the Board. A notice of at least 15 days will be given before the start of the examinations.

 The Board Exams for Class X to be held from 4thMay to June 14th, 2021 were  cancelled.

“The results of Class Xth Board will be prepared on the basis of an objective criterion to be developed by the Board. Any candidate who is not satisfied with the marks allocated to him/her on this basis will be given an opportunity to sit in an exam as and when the conditions are conducive to hold the exams,” the Ministry said.

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Campus Watch

Himachal’s Educational Institutions Closed Till April 4 Amid COVID-19 Case Surge, Pubic Holi Celebrations Prohibited, No Restriction on Tourism

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Himachal PRadesh closes Educationla institutes

Shimla– All the educational institutions in Himachal Pradesh, including Universities, Colleges, Technical Institutes and schools, would remain closed till April 4, 2021, as a precautionary measure keeping in view the spike in COVID-19 cases in the State, the government informed today. But schools would remain open for the classes having their examinations, it was informed.  

The decision was taken in a meeting held today that was presided by Chief Minister Jairam Thakur.

“Last year the spike in cases was gradual, but this year this surge is very rapid. In the last 20-25 days, the number of new cases has spiked from 220 to 2000, which is a matter of great concern for the state,” Chief Minister told media.

On being asked about tourist movement from neighboring Punjab – a state with massive surge in daily cases- the Chief Minister said that for now no restriction would be imposed on tourists given the peak tourist season starting from April.

Also Read: Himachal Reports Over 300 New COVID-19 Cases With 2 Deaths, Second Wave Could Peak in April & Last for 100 Days, says Report  

“Last year, the peak season was completely foiled. Therefore, it would not be favourable for the economy of the state and livelihood of the people to restrict tourist movement,” Jairam Thakur said.

“But if the surge continued and picked up more pace, then the government would review the situation again,” he told media. But the hotels and homestays would have to follow the SOPs while operating, he said. 

Chief Minister said that schools having residential facilities need not close their hostels, however, they would have to comply with all the SOPs to keep these residential areas cut off and appoint Compliance Officer to comply with all the orders. He said that teachers and other school/college staff would continue to attend the institutions.

Jai Ram Thakur said that no social and cultural events would be organized in the State by the Government and gatherings would be restricted to a maximum of 200 for indoor and 50 percent for outdoor events.

He said that nursing and medical institutions would continue to function as usual. He said that congregations and langers inside the temples would also be banned and other darshans would be allowed.

Chief Minister said that 3rd April would also be a holiday for all the offices in the State and there would be no public celebration of Holi.

He urged the people to celebrate Holi at their home with their family members only. He said that all the frontline workers would be sensitized to get themselves vaccinated at the earliest completing their second dose as per schedule.

It was also decided in the meeting that District Administration would take a judicious call on more restrictions keeping in view the positivity and fatality rate in their respective districts.

Chief Secretary Anil Khachi, Additional Chief Secretaries R.D. Dhiman and J.C. Sharma, Secretary Health Amitabh Awasthi, Mission Director NHRM Dr. Nipun Jindal and other senior officials were also present in the meeting.

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Campus Watch

UHF Nauni Gets New Labs Equipped with Latest Technologies, Nature Park for Students  

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UHF Nauni Soil and leaf analysis lab

Solan- Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, today dedicated four projects to the students and farmers at the university campus. 

Among the project inaugurated by Dr. Parvinder Kaushal, Vice-Chancellor, UHF, was a state of the art Soil and Leaf Analysis laboratory established with the financial assistance of Rs 4.55 crore (over seven years) from the World Bank-funded HP-Horticulture Development Project.

UHF Nauni Vice Chancellor

Dr. Parvinder Kaushal, Vice-Chancellor, UHF, Inaugurating Soil and Leaf Analysis laboratory

The laboratory is equipped with the latest equipment like Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, CHNS Analyzer, Microwave digestion system, UV-VIS Spectrophotometers. It is well equipped to analyze the different soil properties including different macro and micronutrients and as per the analysis values, the recommendations are also given to the farmers.

NEW UHF nauni lab building

Soil and Leaf Analysis laboratory

The samples received from different HP-HDP clusters of the state are being analyzed in the laboratory and ad-hoc recommendations for High-Density Planting on clonal rootstocks are given. A field laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology constructed for Rs 14.17 lakh met out of the pesticide testing scheme was also inaugurated today.NEW Labs in UHF nauni

Two projects- Nature Park and a Commercial plantation model of wild pomegranate developed under the ICAR National Agricultural Higher Education Project were also unveiled today.

Lab facility uhf nauniv

The nature camp developed by the Department of Floriculture and Landscape Architecture has been developed as a recreation cum activity area for the students and showcases different landscaping methods. Under NAHEP,a commercial model of wild pomegranate developed by the Department of Silviculture and Agroforestry was also dedicated to the students and farmers. 

UHF nauni nature park

Nature Park

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Parvinder Kaushal congratulated all the team members behind the completion of the projects. He said that both the laboratories will be immensely beneficial for conducting research. Speaking about the development of projects under the ICAR’s NAHEP, Dr. Kaushal said that the university is in process of developing more such plantation models which will not only be beneficial to the students but also help popularize new technologies among farmers. The statutory officers of the university, heads of all departments, coordinator and team members of NAHEP IDP, students and staff were present on the occasion. 

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