The world is constantly changing. We claim to have moved to modern times. It is about comfortable lifestyle, modern technological advancements. The list is endless. With information technology and globalization, the quality of life has improved significantly. The world is at our finger tips. However, though we have improved by leaps and bounds in terms of material prosperity, technical advancements but it is quite clear that while getting to this stage we have lost a lot of our values and priorities due to the over influence of technology and globalization. Somehow our value system has taken a beating, and the world at large has become very selfish. We have lost the empathy towards our fellow beings sufferings and have become insensitive to violence.
With the television and internet bombarding our homes and lives, young children today are constantly viewing stories of violence, in the form of news, movies, and aggressive cartoon characters and with these cyber-crimes are steadily on the rise and young children get lured to this kind of unhealthy mindset.
A lot of evil has entered our lives. At times it feels like this world is no longer a safe place to bring up children. Children today do not have the luxury to grow up in a carefree manner, how they should actually. With all that is going around, in this kind of an insecure environment the children are getting conditioned to be suspicious of everything that comes their way.
What has changed?
The saddest part of all this is the schooling of children. Gone are those days when parents called school the second home for their children. School a place where children spent the better part of their days to become the responsible citizen of the country. Least that parents can expect is their children to be in a physically safe and sanitized school environment. However, recently there has been lot of untoward incidents taking place with children within school premises which is downright scary and pretty much unacceptable. Many incidents have raised a question in the minds of parents as to how safe are their kids in school?
The horrifying incidents that have recently happened in schools of Delhi NCR have left parents not just in Delhi NCR region but the whole of the country in shock. The brutal murder of seven year old Pradyumn in the bathroom of a reputable school, Ryan International School by yet another young student of class XI of the same school who wanted an examination to be postponed is an example of how bad things are. This is not just an isolated case, a ten year old student of GD Goenka School in Indirapuram, Ghaziabad died after a fall in the school. A six year old boy was found dead in the swimming pool of Ryan International School, Vasant Kunj. Apart from these, there have been the cases of children getting abducted en route to school; several child abuse and molestation cases have come to the fore by staff of schools. These are not cases that are happening only in Delhi NCR but child molestation cases have been reported from across the country. It is a very serious state of affairs. How do we protect the future generation? Children need education and exposure to the world outside. Parents shell out hefty sum of money for the education and rounded growth for their wards but sending children to school itself has become a cause of concern.
Schools: Educational or Commercial Institutes?
The implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (2009) has made way for the establishment of a great many schools in the country. Schools have increasingly become commercial institutions which operate on great profit margins. While services such as enhanced security, CCTV, and air-conditioning are promised at the time of admission, in reality many of these services are not provided. It was found out during the investigation of Pradyumn’s murder that the CCTV’s were not in working condition. It is not realistically possible for parents to keep a check on the internal infrastructure of the schools.
The Supreme Court has taken serious cognizance of this matter. The Delhi Commission for protection of Child rights is working on submitting a comprehensive report on all the schools in the Capital. At least 5800 schools will come under the purview of this report. There are four basic parameters of evaluation, Security, teaching, community involvement and social inclusion. The evaluation has to be completed by March 2019 and all the data will be made available in public domain.
Child Safety and Security will be the very first important aspect of it and it will be the responsibility of the school to ensure that it covers the physical, medical, emotional, social, hygienic, and sexual safety of the child within the school premises. Even under the UNICEF, The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the first legally binding international instrument which incorporates the full range of human rights—including civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. Under this convention four core principles were reinforced, the right to non-discrimination, devotion to best interest of the child, the right to life, survival and development, and respect for the views of the child. These core principles apply to schools as well. Each of the four points is vital to a child’s healthy growth and development of both in the physical sense of the term as well as mental. The child’s Right panel will ensure that the Safety and Security measures are well in place. This also includes the fire safety measures. If any school fails these aspects, adequate actions will be taken.
Secondly, teaching and learning, the school should have a holistic approach towards teaching, adequate number of teachers with the right skills, learning resources to ensure proper development and learning outcomes. The Community Involvement will depend on the frequency of PTA meetings, integration of students from Economically Weaker Sections.
Good news is that the evaluation of the schools will start by December 2018 and has to be completed by March 2019. This will ensure parents are aware about the schools’ fare in the list as all of the information will be made available on public domain. This also happens to be the time for school admissions. As per the Directorate of Education, Delhi Nursery Admissions for the year 2018-2019 would commence from the 27th of December 2018.
Some of the well-known schools in Delhi NCR (named in random order) are listed below:
Ahlcon International School, Delhi
Apeejay School, Sheikh Sarai, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi
St. Francis School, Janakpuri
Pathways World School, Aravali, Gurgaon
Bal Bharti Public School, Gangaram, Hospital Marg, New Delhi
Manav Rachna Interational School, Gurgaon & Noida
Delhi Public School, R K Puram
Somerville School, Vasundhara Enclave
Blue Bells, Kailash Colony
Modern School, Vasant Vihar
Father Agnel, Noida Sector 62
Shiv Nadar School, Noida Expressway
Prakriti School, Sector 22, Noida
Ukti Waldorf School, Sector 130, Noida
Some Schools are Setting Examples
There are some schools that have taken up the holistic method of imparting knowledge, namely Prakriti School, Ukti Waldorf School. These schools focus on educating the whole child, “head, hearts and hands”. With the ever-changing dynamics of life the system of education too needs constant revamping and it is no longer the 3R’s of reading, writing and arithmetic. With the change in technology, innovations across the world it has become important to make sure the students are well equipped with the right skills not just to succeed in school but to navigate their path through life after school. According to Pearson’s 2014 edition of the “Learning Curve”, in order to succeed in the 21st Century there is 8 more skills beyond the 3R’s. In order to deliver these essential qualities and to teach the students, the teachers themselves need to be well equipped with deep knowledge and understanding of these skills. These skills are Leadership, Digital Literacy, Communication, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurship, Global Citizenship, Problem Solving, and Team Work.
Apart from these there are also other areas that the school needs to focus on like , children with disability, dyslexia, reading and writing disorders, math, motor planning . Majority of the schools are not equipped and they do not accept differently-abled children. Thus mostly these children are forced to go to special schools. However, few schools have started to provide integrated learning facilities for such children. There are testing centers in Delhi NCR region and the school on receiving the reports arranges special classes or takes special care for these children. One such school is Shiv Nadar School, which helps children with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia. This kind of inclusion is the basis of accepting differences in the society and makes for a more non stigmatic environment for the children to grow as balanced individual. Such inclusion helps keep biases and prejudices at bay.
Mostly parents need to keep an eye on the different school news that is updated on a regular basis in different websites to keep themselves abreast and up to date about the latest development and achievements of different schools. Having the right information, and making the right selection of school is very important for a well-rounded growth of the child.
By: Madhuchanda Saxena
Posted By - Assistant Editor