Relevant and Engaging Learning
Educational Offerings ought to help children to develop a range of skills, qualities and knowledge they will need to succeed and thrive in life. Educational institutions must ensure that the learning imparted to pupils is relevant and engaging and most importantly teaches them to take ownership of their learning.
We are way ahead of the time when parents wanted their children to do well only in academics. Now, they expect holistic development of their children and the schools toil hard to come up to their expectations. The modern day institutions are working towards the whole child approach which ensures that each student is safe, healthy, engaged, supported and challenged.
Children are the dreams that are handed over to the teachers and schools for a safe and secure future. Hence, a comfortable and a safe learning environment becomes mandatory for students of all ages. Students’ holistic development is not possible unless they are provided with the safe ambience where they consider school a home away from home. Amidst all these expectations safety of the children has become one of the most significant issues for the modern day schools. With student strength in thousands and staff in hundreds, tackling anti-social threats has become a real challenge for educational institutions. It is not only an issue of pride for the school but also moral conduct for the schools to ensure safety of children. The task is humongous but obviously possible with proper planning.
Here are a few ways the schools need to iterate to pave the way towards a secure environment wherein the pupils can be mentally strong to face varied range of abuses which includes violence, psycho-social issues, natural and manmade disasters and emotional safety.
- Special assemblies, workshops, symposiums, etc. can be used as a platform to create awareness amongst the children about the threats they are likely to face and the ways to combat the same.
- Good touch and Bad touch is an extremely sensitive issue that needs to be dealt with utmost care. Pupils must be explained the difference between right and wrong along with ways to deal with them.
- It is important to monitor the students when they exit the school premises.
- The school authorities should ensure a foolproof dispersal plan for students to be handed over to the parents or the authorized persons by them to avoid any mishaps like abduction, abuse, etc.
- I-cards should be made mandatory for every parent whenever they visit the school for any purpose.
- Injuries are a part of play at school and they may occur anytime during the day. Hence the infrastructure should be child friendly. The management should ensure that the furniture does not have sharp edges.
- In case of an exigency, the students should be trained to evacuate the school building. Evacuation plan should be displayed at every nook and corner of the school.
- Mock drills should be a regular feature of the school curriculum.
- The school should have regular checks to ensure that sharp weapons are not carried by the students in the school.
- The students and staff must be familiarized with POCSO and other sexual harassment prevention acts during special sessions.
- The institutions may form special counseling teams to address issues related to child abuse and to conduct regular sessions apprising students with measures to deal with such issues.
- Information regarding the health, transport, sensitivities, etc. of each student should be accurately documented and readily accessible to all.
- There must be a check on the cyber activities inside the school. The staff and students are supposed to be monitored while using computers.
- In fact, bringing cell phones to school by the students poses a larger problem to their safety than it seems.
- Bullying is the most common form of abuse in schools because of the clash between seniors and juniors. The segregation of the two wings can avert the problems to a large extent.
- A special security club can be formed in schools which will focus diligently on issues related to safety and security of children.
- The students must be given special self defence training as a part of their regular curriculum. Implementing this can avert the problem to a great extent.
The word ‘safety’ is not restricted to fencing, fire safety and installation of CCTV anymore. It is our moral duty to retain the smiles on the tender and delightful faces and we need to be on our toes to prevent a situation of turmoil for our students, parents and guardians.
Alka Kapur M A , B.Ed is the Principal of Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi She is always bubbling with enthusiasm, vivacity and cheerfulness. She is a lady of manifold virtues who has carved a place for herself in the hearts of one and all. Under her stewardship and enriched wisdom derived from experiences of her life, the school has reached unprecedented heights of success.
Alka Kapur is an Executive Committee Member of Forum of Public Schools. She has also served as Joint Secretary North West Delhi, Sahodhya School Complex. She is rendering her services to Central Board of Secondary Education and is on a panel of inspection of schools across the globe for up gradation, affiliation, etc
Alka Kapur encompasses her vision of making the world beautiful by spreading the light of education through her meticulous work, infinite patience endowed with divine blessings.