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Scrutiny
  
Bu‘t[ea]chers’
Would electric shocks be next?
16/04/2009

After witnessing the shocking incident of a teacher severely beating up students in Delhi, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has decided to start providing a special training programme on human rights education to teachers. It’s an incident not only just happening in Delhi Municipal Corporation schools but also schools all across the country irrespective of whether they are private or government run. There are several such news items carried by local or national level newspapers, of children severely beaten up by teachers, and even hospitalised. This kind of violence in classrooms among students and teachers is sadly rapidly increasing and to that effect, it is highly commendable and creditable that a council, that is generally considered the hallmark of a lackadaisical institution, has urgently brought into action the above mentioned human rights programme.

One hopes this initiative is immediately replicated across India. According to the NCERT, the lack of sufficiently trained teachers and the teacher training course are the main causes behind violence within classrooms. NCERT is now also planning to make such training more practical instead of theoretical. Consequently, the duration of the B.Ed course is proposed to be increased to two years instead of the present one. The number of primary schools in India is around 650,000. Although in the 11th Five Year Plan, the government has decided to spend Rs.31,200 crores on various skill development programs across all primary and secondary teachers, it is still unclear how much money will be channelised for soft skill development. But still, seeing that the Central Government has been spending just around Rs 9 crores for various training purposes annually, the new figures is dramatically proactive and positive towards addressing the issue.

Human rights education in itself will be a key way of developing awareness of discrimination; it also could be conveniently integrated as a part of the current social studies curriculum. What remains unfulfilled is the setting up of a quasi-judicial national commission specifically for students that could address nationwide student complaints against teachers. Would the government act on this fast or would it wait till students start getting electric shocks?

By:- B&E
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