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Panel suggests new guidelines for teachers

Right to Education, Teacher education and training, Teacher performance

PUNE: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has framed new guidelines for teachers as per section 17 (1) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act. Under the new guidelines, teachers found discriminating against students on grounds of their physical disability, caste, colour, sex or religion will face strict action, which may include filing of a police case.

Speaking to TOI on Wednesday, NCPCR chairperson Shanta Sinha said, “The move come in view of several complaints received by the commission from across the country regarding teachers discriminating against students regarding their physical disability, religion, caste and even colour. The new set of guidelines is in context of the RTE Act and will be made public on March 5, the Foundation Day of NCPCR.”

The NCPCR has sent the new guidelines for approval to the Union ministry of human resource and development. “Once the ministry approves it , the guidelines will be implemented in every school in the country,” she added.

As per section 17(1) of RTE, no child shall be subjected to physical punishment or mental harassment. Speaking on how the new guidelines are different from those governing corporal punishment, Sinha said, “Though discrimination regarding physical disability, colour, sex and religion were not included in the guidelines for corporal punishment, we were receiving a lot of complaints related to these aspects. This made us decide that it was time we drafted new guidelines.”

Leena Chaudhari, principal, Symbiosis School, said, “I think the job of teachers is to educate children and not encourage any type of discrimination. Teachers should not bring these issues to school and, if they do, then I think they deserve to be punished.”

Anuradha Sahasrabudhe, founder-director of Pune Childline – a 24-hour helpline for children in distress and member of the Juvenile Justice Board, Pune, said, “There’s been a steady flow of complaints where students have been abused psychologically and mentally, which has lowered their confidence. Such cases are prevalent and the numbers are rising. The guidelines have come at the right time.”

Vinita Kaul, counsellor for Central Board for Secondary Education students, said, “There have been cases where students are abused by teachers on various issues. Therefore, drafting these guidelines was necessary. I alsofeel that if a student or parent complains, the genuineness of the complaint must be verified before initiating action. It’s like giving power which may be misused.”

The Times of India. 01 March 2012

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