"In over five cases received at the clinic daily, the children shared experiences of being treated at schools in way that was detrimental to their growth and development." said clinical psychologist

As more and more incidents of students being subjected to physical and mental torture at schools in the district and across the country come to light, the much debated question arises again - how child-friendly are our schools?

N. Lakshmanan, clinical psychologist in the city, says: “In over five cases received at the clinic daily, the children shared experiences of being treated at schools in way that was detrimental to their growth and development.”

Psychologist and educationists say that acts and rules like Right to Education Act, 2009, would remain on paper until all stakeholders including teachers, parents, school managements, education officials and local administrators are not prepared and trained to implement them effectively.

“Teachers should be sensitised on the psychological impacts of their actions on children. The psychological training given to them in teacher training courses is inadequate to deal with more demanding classroom situations. More practical- oriented training in understanding child behaviour and psychology should be provided” say Purni Krishnakumar, Consultant Special Educationist and psychologist.

In order to protect their self-interests, there had been incidents of school managements’ denying admission to deserving students and denying them permission to appear for board examinations. Experts say that such discrimination and denial of justice would have cast negative impression on young minds.

Dr. Lakshmanan says that majority of the teachers and parents fail to identify learning difficulties and behavioural problems in children.

Behavioural problems in children continue into teenage in cases where the students are not given proper counselling or treatment if required.

However, teachers say that the practise of blaming the entire teaching community because of isolated incidents was unfair. “Inflicting physical or psychological pain on children can never be justified. But, some students misbehave taking advantage of the fact that the teachers would not punish them,” say R. Balakrishnan, State Advisor, Tamil Nadu Head High and Higher Secondary School Head Masters' Association.

According to Mr. Balakrishnan, children spend most part of their day at schools and teachers take care of them during this time. Sometime, teachers have to chide children to make them realise that they had done a mistake. But, it should be done in way that the students also understand that it is done for their own good.”

He added that through yoga, meditation, counselling and moral guidance, children could be groomed into responsible individuals. Counselling committees are formed in schools this academic year as per the Education Departments’ instruction to address problems faced by students.

More In: Coimbatore