Lakshadweep set to tackle sexual abuse with school-level awareness

The statement was filed in response to a petition for including prevention-oriented programmes on sexual abuse as part of the school curriculum.
In a statement before the Kerala High Court, the island administration said any modification to CBSE and Kerala board curricula will be adopted by schools on the aisles.
In a statement before the Kerala High Court, the island administration said any modification to CBSE and Kerala board curricula will be adopted by schools on the aisles.Photo | Express

KOCHI: Against the backdrop of the rollout of recent development plans and the attention garnered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, the Lakshadweep administration is set to adopt another landmark measure. It has decided to incorporate lessons on imparting awareness of sexual abuse into the school curriculum and train staff to deal with such issues, marking a significant step forward in educational reform.

Lakshadweep’s department of education currently follows the CBSE and Kerala board curricula for schools. This exposes it to the Kerala government’s decision to introduce new textbooks for standards I, III, V, VII and IX with several portions aimed at creating awareness of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act.

In a statement before the Kerala High Court, the island administration said any modification to CBSE and Kerala board curricula will be adopted by schools on the aisles. It further said that teachers and other school personnel will be imparted regular training as part of new initiatives by the boards.

The statement was filed in response to a petition for including prevention-oriented programmes on sexual abuse as part of the school curriculum.

V Sajith Kumar, standing counsel for the administration, submitted that comprehensive training programmes have already been conducted to equip teaching faculty with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively carry out prevention programmes and identify signs of abuse among students.

The Nishtha (National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement) training programme, initiated at the instance of NCERT and the ministry of education, offered training on the Pocso Act and on effectively dealing with issues faced by children. The island’s education department launched extensive awareness campaigns targeting students, parents and school staff to foster a culture of open communication and vigilance against sexual abuse.

Headmasters have been sensitised about the legal obligations of reporting cases of child abuse to authorities. The statement pointed out that protocols for reporting incidents of sexual abuse and consequential actions have been established, ensuring swift action and maintaining the confidentiality of cases to protect the rights and well-being of victims. Complaint boxes have been installed in all schools, it said.

As part of the policy adopted by the department, all schools exhibited ‘Komal’, a film on child sexual abuse. Faculties are given regular training for building up capacity for guidance and counselling. Recently, 10 teachers from different schools were sent for five days of training at the regional institution of education in Mysuru, Karnataka.

Avail KeLSA resources: Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court directed the Lakshadweep administration to avail the services of resource persons of the Kerala State Legal Services Authority (KeLSA) for imparting training to teachers on sexual-awareness programmes developed by Kerala’s department of general education for schools following the state syllabus in the Union territory.

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