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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. 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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