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NITI moots school safety
NITI moots school safety programme in view of rising sexual assaults

New Delhi,-A sub-group of the NITI Aayog has recommended drafting of a comprehensive school safety programme as part of the consultative process on the new education policy (NEP).

Aayog’s civil society organisation subcommittee in its report on new education policy has argued that it was high time children were trained in identifying and mitigating all kinds of risks — from sexual and physical to natural. “We have recommended a comprehensive school safety programme, including age-appropriate modules on a range of risks. All kinds of abuses should be covered in the programme, be it sexual assault, accidents or natural risks. The module should not dwell just on signs of risks and manner of their identification, but also on coping and resilience mechanisms,” Amod Kanth, coordinator of NITI subcommittee for civil society organisations told .

The panel has further backed a dedicated Indian Education Service (IES) cadre to address the growing challenges of the sector and recommended a teacher-educator for each aanganwari centre that caters to children up to six years of age.

“Today, anganwari centres under the Integrated Child Development Services provide for only a helper and a worker to take care of children under six. These children are not covered by the Right to Education Act that includes children from six to 14 years. We need to create a post of teacher-educator at each anganwari centre to incorporate play-based learning component and train every child for the RTE Act system,” Kanth said.

Another crucial suggestion of the panel is the inclusion of NGOs in the RTE mechanism. As of today, the RTE Act does not provide for any engagement with the civil society organisations.

The only component of the RTE Act that allows for non-education sector people to be engaged is the school management committees that consist of parents.

“The school management committees are mostly defunct and rarely active. We have, therefore, said the law should allow interface between the school education system and the NGOs with experience in handling adolescents and children in general.”

The NITI subcommittee has also called for making the local language compulsory under the RTE system, besides recommending the incorporation of child education component at 9,000 child care institutions in India.(UPDATED ON AUGUST 13TH, 2019)

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