Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Hindu, 23-02-2012

Include life-skill training in syllabus

Syllabus for school children should include life-skill training programmes and sex education, a workshop on children's issues has pointed out.

Sadgamaya, a one-day national workshop for teachers and parents on ‘Early identification and remediation of learning, behavioural and emotional problems', was organised by the Thrissur Clinical Psychological Forum in association with the Innervision/Sloka Counselling and Learning Center.

According to the workshop, recent studies revealed the rise of serious disorders in children like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disorders, childhood depression and substance abuse leading to poor academic performance. Both teachers and parents were not equipped to identify such problems faced by children, the speakers pointed out. Researches also indicated that Kerala ranked the last in gender equality. Alarming increase in crime against children such as abduction and sex abuse was also reported. From 549 reported cases of child abuse in 2008, the number has hiked to 698 by the half of 2011.

Among the sexually-abused children, 55 per cent was boys and 45 per cent was girls, which was an eye opener to the fact that boys too were unsafe.

The workshop identified spread of consumerist culture, waning family values, deteriorating family bonds, extreme importance given to academic and material success, and misuse of social networking sites as major reasons of the increasing crimes against children.

The workshop suggested that more training programmes must be conducted for teachers, parents and children for overcoming the current situation. Parent support groups and peer counselling groups should be established to rediscover and affirm the actual human relationships.

P. C. Chacko, MP, inaugurated the workshop. A handbook, Nammude Kunjungal (Our children), on early identification and management of various problems affecting the learning, behaviour and emotional status of children, was released by Therambil Ramakrishnan, MLA. More than 1200 parents, teachers and people from the educational sector participated in the workshop.

The classes and interactive sessions were held by more than 35 national and international mental health professionals.

Originally published in The Hindu Daily.