The Juvenile Justice Committee has asked the civic bodies and the Delhi government to complete a survey by June-end on the rate of dropouts, drug abuse among schoolchildren and the reasons behind them.
In November, in the wake of rising drug abuse and crimes by government and corporation school students, the panel asked the agencies to carry out the survey.
Senior officials said the survey was to be completed within 30 days, but it is yet to be finished in most parts of the city. “The east and south civic bodies have completed almost 90% and 70% of the survey, respectively. However, the north MCD has only been able to complete 40% of the survey,” said the official.
It is unclear how the government schools fare on the survey execution.
The juvenile justice panel had also asked the agencies to appoint educational and vocational counsellors in schools.
A government source said data from all corporation and government schools indicated that 326 counsellors were required.
“The vacancies for the counsellors will soon be floated. Apart from a basic degree in psychology, the counsellors must also have experience in dealing with children who indulge in drug or substance abuse,” said a high ranking official.
Corporation officials said the counsellors will help students fight peer pressure, overcome familial constraints and provide necessary guidance to parents, apart from providing career guidance.
The panel’s guidelines said that once the survey is completed, schools will have to take special note of dropouts and bring them back into the mainstream.
Authorities will also have to prepare special study material to ensure that students don’t indulge in drug abuse
“Even though the report is being compiled, there have been cases where the students or children have consumed tobacco and cigarettes, if not drugs. Subsequently, an attempt is being made to counsel the students so that they don’t indulge in substance abuse in future,” said a high ranking corporation official.
The Juvenile Justice Committees, headed by sitting judges of high courts, supervise and monitor the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, in areas under their jurisdiction.
Oppressed children take to drugs, crimes, say experts
Sameer, a 10-year-old has been admitted to a drug rehabilitation centre for the past six months. For two years, he used inhalants to get a high.
Eleven-year-old Ram has a similar story. “I have 11 siblings out of which three were involved in drugs and eventually I began using them too,” said Ram.
He adds that his father was an alcoholic too, which eventually led to an early drinking habit.
Sameer and Ram, are not isolated cases. They are among 54 other juveniles who are enrolled in a shelter home for juveniles run by Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM) near Delhi Gate.
These kids, rescued from railway stations, and streets, had resorted to begging, stealing and pick pocketing for money.
“The kids we rescue are mostly broken, they narrate stories of physical abuse and come in fear. It’s this continuous oppression which leads them to be impassive and aggressive in nature, and also indulge in drugs,” said Janhavi, a counsellor for the drug rehabilitation centre.
She adds that children are often found with knives, blades and drugs in their pockets when rescued. The shelter home works closely with hospitals to come up with a treatment plan for their detoxification. They are provided basic amenities at the home
A study by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) on 182 juveniles in correction homes, said only 25% of them were studying at the time of committing the crime. The figure is lower in cases of heinous offence such as murder and rape (10%).
“School and health facilities are the rights of every child. The government must have good counsellors to groom the child so that they are fully aware of the consequences of their actions,” said Rishi Kant, an activist with child rights NGO Shakti Vahini.
The report says that under achievement and truancy are related to children dropping out of school.
“A child who experiences neglect, non attachment and disruption at home tends to carry these to school. It…moves through low self-esteem, poor behaviour and school exclusion, and ends in offending,” the report said.
Weak bonding between family members is also a reason for rising juvenile crimes, the report said. All names changed to protect identity