Security: Major Concern For Schools : Prem Khatry

Whether ancient, medieval or modern, school (education) has always aimed at creating a social and cultural personality committed to serving the society as a bona fide, active and sensible human being. The first and foremost duty of educators is that they must change the attitude of the learners and make them good human being. 

Growing concern

Today, examples coming from all directions show that human values - social and cultural - are at risk. A part of man is behaving worse than the worst, worse than a violent and aggressive animal - always on the move to attack its innocent prey. The worst erosion on human values has been an issue of great concern.

The very tragic Basantapur acid crime involving a village youth as a predator, destroying the life of Sangeeta and her friend, has not settled yet.  However, the main and the only culprit has now been booked and is in police custody. This latest development has given some relief to the parents of the victims, the schools and the society as a whole. The Nepal police have done an appreciable job by nabbing the culprit, generating mixed feelings and opinions regarding the fitting punishment for the senseless youth for his heinous crime. Most of the people who have spoken to the media are of the opinion that the culprit must not escape with minimum punishment.

When cases like this are heard from neighbouring India on a regular basis, this still is a rare but very serious case in Nepal. Other forms of crimes involving women and girls are rapidly growing. For example, child molestation or sexual attack on females of different ages - from a toddler and minor to mothers and grandmothers - are growing very fast in recent times.

More pathetic are the examples involving school teachers and their students. Molestation apart, criminals commit double crimes - kill the ill-fated victim after fulfilling the heinous desire. One's hair can rise up, blood heat up, and anger comes up automatically after reading or hearing such news.  Male relatives as close as a father, uncle, grandfather, among others, have also been caught and delivered to the police, putting a big question mark on values and morals.

It is necessary, therefore, to make the schools aware that they must play a dual role - on the one hand, schools must educate and counsel their teachers and staff about the proper conduct in the school environment, warning them of severe action if found guilty; and on the other, it is now time schools played the role of change agents in society by making the parents and the families aware of the security need of females, in general, and girl children, in particular.

r education has been competitive, with special focus on English, Maths and Science as if we only need scientists, doctors, engineers, and we are in a hurry to produce as many and as soon as possible. This is so much so that Dr. Govind KC is having to risk his life once again for the fifth time to stop the fast track production of doctors.

Here also, it is the great hunger, unabated and aggressive hunger, for fast track money. Society has lost the value of hard work, honest income and just and harmonious living with the neighbours. See politics, see business, see around, you have it.

Whatever has happened to our moral education today? What has happened to our culture and conduct? These questions must be haunting sensible Nepalis these days. Who will take the lead in revamping the built-in values and morals of our culture with such a long history? Obviously, the schools are there working on our small, tender children. But the problem with our current education is that there is competition only on a few 'hard and important' subjects that help them make money quicker as they enter their professional life.  But at the same time, schools must impart value education. This appears as urgent as Maths and Science, or even more urgent that curricular education.

Not only students but even teachers need counseling on values these days. There is a growing number of incidents involving a teacher, in most cases, a male teacher preying on an innocent female student. Often the child is dumb or disabled, in other cases she is submissive, innocent, infant and helpless.  These people behave as if they have no sisters and daughters at home or there will be no issue in their married life. So they cannot posit themselves as suffering, tortured and hurt parents.

Our education that is at work today lacks proper psychological counseling. In the urban setting, one can see that some schools have this component with a part time counselor. Many don’t even know who that person is and what role he/she can play in the life of our youngsters. However, the growing number of incidents demands not just an 'after-incident' probe leading to legal action but also education and counseling. The worst part of the story is that government schools in rural Nepal have no access to such resources.

In such a case, the principals and senior teachers can play the role in constantly offering brief seminars, awareness talks and special security measures for the helpless girls attending their schools. In fact, degree courses in Education have such a content as psychology, and most schools have degree holder teachers. In the absence of such a teacher, the District Education Office can organise such courses in the form of compulsory seminars on the security of the girl child in school as security becomes the prime concern of our society today.

Greater responsibility of educators

Finally, education has a wide meaning, and educators have a greater responsibility to see that the learners not only attend classes and learn from their teachers in a conducive environment but that the environment is also secure for our daughters.

Legal wings of the governments, such as the police, can also expand their programmes to school and provide security-related seminars. The need is to make the girl child bold, conscious and secure at the same time.  As the new admission season arrives for the academic year 2072 B.S., schools better show their safety measures and convince the parents that their children are safe throughout the year.

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