27 June 2012

Child abuse in schools

According to a report published in this morning's edition of a newspaper, Tamilnadu Government has issued a Government Order to all K-12 schools in the State with a clear message that teachers who indulge in child abuse can not only be dismissed but also find that they don't get employed anywhere else. I think that the move will be welcome by parents and stakeholders in the system and the general public at large.

Schools have a crucial role to play in sensitising children and making them  aware of all the negative aspects of child abuse. Though schools cannot have control over children's behaviour outside their campuses, they should ensure that (i) resources with negative potential are not used and (ii) situations which can possibly give rise to child abuse are not created, anywhere in the school. In 2003 in a school where I worked, I was shocked to find a very popular book (written by an Indian writer who won the Booker prize for her book in the late '90s) in the school library. The problem was that the contents of the book were far from being conducive to the school atmosphere.

The news report reminded me of `Snehamulla simham' (which means `Friendly lion'), a Malayaalam language movie released in 1986. I had the pleasure of watching it when I was teaching in Kochi at that time. In this film, Mammootty, one of my most favourite actors, comes as a brilliant and strict college lecturer. Oddly enough, when not in college, he finds solace in liquor (due to a failed marriage) despite repeated doses of advice from his close friend and colleague (the role of which is played by Jayaram, a versatile and talented actor). In the college, one of his students is deeply in love with him. She tries to convey her love to him in many ways. But he is very stubborn and finds her love repulsive. He advises her as to how she is wrong in loving her teacher. One should see the movie to believe that this is the best part of the movie. (I think that his English is superb). The movie casts popular actors such as Lalu Alex, Mukesh, Nalini, Paravoor Bharathan and Sukumari.

As teachers, it is very important that we maintain a morally appropriate distance from children always.

Well, coming back to Tamilnadu Government's G O, let us hope that the Government comes up with similar measures to curb corruption at all levels in the K-12 system.

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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.