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1.2 million schools’ teachers to be trained about mental health issues

Explaining the rationale, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, cited the murder of a seven-year-old boy, Pradyuman Thakur, by a Class XI student in the toilet of a Gurugram school on September 8. 2017.

india Updated: Jun 29, 2019 22:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The move is aimed at preventing violence involving students on school campuses.
The move is aimed at preventing violence involving students on school campuses.(HT file photo)
         

The ministry of human resource development (MHRD) plans to train principals and teachers of nearly 1.2 million government schools across the country to identify and address mental health issues in children, a senior official said.

The move is aimed at preventing violence involving students on school campuses.

Explaining the rationale, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, cited the murder of a seven-year-old boy, Pradyuman Thakur, by a Class XI student in the toilet of a Gurugram school on September 8. 2017.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, which took over the case on the recommendation of the Haryana government, claimed the suspect had chosen the child randomly. He allegedly slit the boy’s throat to get the school to declare a holiday and defer a scheduled parent-teacher meeting and an examination, the agency said.

“There is need to have safety mechanisms, CCTVs etc in place. But handling the psychological aspects is also the key. There are instances of students committing suicides due to exam-related fear etc,” the official cited above said.

As many as 4.2 million teachers and principals could be trained as first-level counsellors as part of the initiative, the official said. Hiring professional counsellors is not an option because not every school may not have the resources to do so; he added that recruiting such a large number of professionals would be a challenging task -- “one of them being the availability of so many trained counsellors in all parts of the country.”

The move comes at a time when the school education and literacy department of the human resource development ministry is already working on guidelines to make schools safer for children.

“Safety of children in schools is an area of focus of the ministry and several meetings and consultations have taken place in the run-up to the preparation of the guidelines,” the official added.

First Published: Jun 29, 2019 22:27 IST

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