Education Minister to Focus on Mental Health of Children
Union Education and Skill Development Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday chaired a review meeting focusing on mental wellness of students and zero tolerance towards discrimination in educational institutions across the country
The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Education Subhas Sarkar, and senior officials from the school and higher education department, CBSE, AICTE and UGC.
Pradhan asked the senior officials to put in place an effective grievance redressal system with shared responsibility. The minister also asked the officials to invite suggestions from all the stakeholders virtually.
Pradhan touched upon various subjects such as gender equality, caste sensitivity, easing academic pressure, robust system of counseling etc., adding that the Ministry of Education is committed to ensure physical, psychological, and emotional well-being of the students.
He said the ministry has undertaken various steps from time to time to ease academic stress. These include peer-assisted learning, introduction of technical education in 13 regional languages, entrance examination in 13 languages, 'Manodarpan' initiative to provide psychological support to students, guidelines on prevention, detection and remedial measures for mental health related issues etc.
According to the ministry, academic life is a critical phase of psychological and behavioural changes for the students involving complex patterns of social interactions, relationships and career trajectories.
The issues that may affect mental health of the students are varied and cover a wide spectrum ranging from academic pressure, peer pressure, intensely competitive educational environment, behavioural issues, performance issues, stress, career concerns, depression etc.
As per the directions of the minister and to further safeguard the mental and emotional well-being of the students, the Education Ministry is preparing a comprehensive framework of operational guidelines, covering holistically schools to higher education institutions.
The framework will institutionalise safeguards and mechanisms that can ensure comprehensive protection of students from any threat or assault - physical, social, discriminatory, cultural and linguistic, which may cause psychological distress leading to self-harming and self-destructive tendencies among the students.
The ministry officials said that it will include the creation of inclusive, integrative and non-discriminatory environment, sensitisation and capacity building programmes for faculty members, orientation, counselling and hand holding mechanisms, early detection mechanisms for immediate intervention, promoting close-knit student-faculty interactive communities, incorporating team activities within the curricular exercises, effective and speedy grievance redressal mechanism, physical fitness provisions and programmes, emphasis on nutrition, personal involvement and monitoring by the heads of the institutions, faculty and parents.