Include human rights in school curriculum: Activist

Two-day orientation programmefor principals, headmasters begins

Updated - May 29, 2016 05:38 am IST

Published - May 29, 2016 12:00 am IST - PUDUCHERRY:

ROLE MODEL:Henri Tiphagne of People's Watch releasing a portrait of Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer in Puducherry on Friday.— Photo: T. Singaravelou

ROLE MODEL:Henri Tiphagne of People's Watch releasing a portrait of Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer in Puducherry on Friday.— Photo: T. Singaravelou

Winner of Human Rights Award of Amnesty International – Germany, Henry Tiphagne on Friday stressed the importance of introducing human rights education in schools as a step towards building egalitarian society.

He was addressing a two-day orientation programme on human rights education for principals in Puducherry organised by the Institute of Human Rights Education (IHRE), Tamil Nadu, and Holistic Approach for People’s Empowerment (HOPE).

Both the organisations teamed up to impart human rights education to school students in Puducherry.

“In 2004, we had proposed to introduce human rights education in schools in Puducherry. However, the Education Department wanted to make changes in the basic content stating that caste system does not exist in Puducherry. We did not agree to this and the programme was not implemented,” said Mr. Tiphagne.

The Executive Director of People’s Watch also said that they were coming back after 10 years to Puducherry to introduce human rights education. This time, interested schools have volunteered to teach human rights in their institutions.

Human rights education is being taught in around 3,900 schools in 15 States owing to the initiatives taken by the IHRE, Tamil Nadu, and local partners in each State. The programme covers 4,525 trained teachers in 3,909 schools involving 3,15,494 children.

P. Joseph Victor Raj, director, HOPE, said human rights classes would be taken for the Standard VI students.

In Puducherry, nearly 12 schools have volunteered to teach human rights to their students. The teachers selected and recommended by the principals or headmasters would be trained by IHRE team during a three-day residential programme in June. There are three modules for human rights education. It would be taught two hours a week, mostly during moral instruction class. Each student would be provided a handbook of human rights education module. The programme would be implemented without any financial obligation to the government or the management. “The aim is to inculcate in children basic human rights principles such as equality, non-discrimination and diversity, while affirming their interdependence, indivisibility and universality. The school principals or headmasters who are interested to introduce this in their schools can approach us,” Mr.Victor Raj said.

Mr. Tiphagne said, “the antidote to untouchability and caste system is in imparting equality through education. We cannot compromise on the content of human rights education texts. Human rights education can never be neutral. It has to always take sides with the affected people, and those whose rights are violated.”

M. Ramdass, former MP, and S. Kamalini, former chairperson Women’s Commission, were present.

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