Tamil Nadu

Call to implement rights of children aged 14-18

The central and state governments should ensure implementation of rights for children in the age group of 14-18 who are not covered by the existing laws, according to R. Vidyasaagar, Child Protection Specialist of UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund).

Delivering the keynote address at the inaugural function of the two-day UNICEF-sponsored Workshop on Child Rights Implementation with a Focus on Child Protection Issues organized jointly by the School of Social Sciences and Languages (SSL) and VIT Business School (VITBS) of the VIT University here on Monday, Mr.Vidyasaagar said that while existing laws such as the Right To Education Act and the Child Labour Abolition Act covered children below the age of 14, children in the 14-18 age group also face problems such as child marriage, child labour, sexual abuse, addiction to liquor, drugs and smoking, and suicides caused by the above problems.

New laws, new skills

About 40-50 per cent of the children in the 14-18 age group dropped out despite free education and education aids. Because of this, they went into the informal labour market.

“So, protection of the rights of children in the 14-18 age group should be covered through news laws and policies”, he said. The UNICEF specialist said that most of the existing vocational education courses are theoretical, and they are taught vocational skills which are not required by the industry.

The demand for vocational skills is increasing in the newly emerging sectors. Noting that the Vision 2020 of the Tamil Nadu government envisaged creation of one crore skilled manpower, he said that this skill creation should be based on the demands.

Mr. Vidyasaagar said that India had the unique population advantage wherein 40 % of the children are in the age group of 14-18. Unless measures were taken to address the problems of the children in this age group, it would not be possible for the country to reap the benefits of this demographic dividend. Laws and policies for this age group should be framed after eliciting the views of the children in the above age group on the problems confronted by them, he said.

Problem of poverty

G. Viswanathan, VIT Chancellor who inaugurated the workshop said that it had been organised in association with UNICEF in order to create awareness among the college students about the problems such as beggary among children and the social problems they encountered on account of poverty.

The workshop should also deliberate on what the central and state governments and educational institutions could do to prevent and address the problems properly, he said.

John Sundar David, Dean, SSL welcomed the august gathering. G. Karunanithi, Professor, SSL introduced the theme of the workshop. Kalyani Rangarajan, Dean, VITBS spoke. Suresh Mariaselvam of VITBS proposed a vote of thanks. About 200 students from VIT and other colleges in and around Vellore participated in the workshop.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 8:45:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/call-to-implement-rights-of-children-aged-1418/article7051800.ece

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