After successfully trying out the idea of Class Sabha in high school classes, the Kozhikode district panchayat in a first of its kind initiative is introducing a similar concept in higher secondary classes in the district, aimed at addressing a variety of issues faced by students, especially in their adolescent stage. This is part of extending activities of the Smart Campus project of the District Panchayat to the higher secondary level as well, K.K. Sivadasan, district panchayat education standing committee coordinator, told The Hindu.

A workshop organised under the imitative of the district panchayat for a group of select higher secondary teachers here on Tuesday mooted the idea of starting a Kaumara Sabha, which is akin to Class Sabha, which was successfully functioning in high school classes in the district for the last three years with the objective of imparting to students a sense of responsibility to society, awareness about their rights, and values besides collectively attempting to solve common problems and achieving sustainable academic excellence.

The focus of Kaumara Sabha, which can be roughly translated as Teenage Assembly, however, will be a psychological empowerment of higher secondary students to creatively handle multiple challenges they face during their emotionally volatile stage besides infusing a sense of responsibility and concern for society in them, said Balachandran Parachottil, District Panchayat Education Committee member who among others conceived the concept. “It will also be an attempt to make them think and be vocal about what all that they lose and endure as young human beings in their forced and frenzied run to be a doctor or engineer,” said Mr. Balachandran alluding to the pressure students face from different quarters, including from their families, to become doctors and engineers.

The concept of Kaumara Sabha envisages constituting of one or more Sabhas comprising 12 to 15 members in a single class. Each unit will have a captain and a vice captain. A teacher will supervise the conduct of the Sabha, which will convene twice in a month. Its primary objective will be to act as a forum that will discuss various issues and challengers faced by students. It will also ensure that every student, who leaves the school, acquires a basic sense of values, concern for society and nature, tolerance for difference of opinion besides being able to think and talk for oneself.

This will be made possible through free and open discussions, seminars conducted by the Kaumara Sabhas on a range of issuesconcerning the students, school and the society in general. A secretary will prepare minutes of each meetings held by the Sabha.

The conclusions, findings, and observations of the Kaumara Sabha meetingswill be handed over to the Principal of the school periodically. According to S. Sreejith district coordinator of Kaumara Sabha project, the Principals can make the necessary and prompt interventions to sort out issues concerning the students, teachers or even the school, if any, mentioned in the report of the Sabha.

“For, the Sabha, among other things also aims to sensitise the students to the rights ensured to them by the Constitution as well as world bodies such as the United Nations,” he said.

Education psychologist P.K. Balakrishnan, who interacted with the gathering as part of the workshop, sensitised the teachers to the relevance of such a forum for teenagers in school besides reminding them how subtly and sensitively they should interact and deal with the students in HSS.

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