When a student in M. Premavathi’s class spoke about an ‘uncomfortable encounter’ he had with a man in his village, the middle school teacher did not know how to react.
On Tuesday, Premavathi was among a group of teachers, school heads and other education officials that attended a zonal-level awareness workshop on child sexual abuse.
Conducted by the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) and NGO Tulir, the two-day session culminated in a handbook on child rights prepared by SCERT with the support of Unicef and some NGOs.
S. Kannappan, director, SCERT, said the handbook would cover different aspects of child rights and also outline a format and timeline to report instances of child abuse. The handbook, he said, was in its final stages.
“Through the handbook and training programmes, the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, will be taken to schools.
The handbook will be a field-tested one. It will have common questions teachers have, and how they can be handled,” said Aruna Rathnam, education specialist, Unicef.
The handbook would also be published in Tamil, she said.
Vidya Reddy and Nancy Thomas of Tulir said the session addressed common myths and misconceptions.
The participants would serve as master trainers who would in turn conduct awareness programmes in the districts, they said.