Saying yes to family life education

A new initiative.

A new initiative.  

If the increasing attention that is being paid to family life education is any indication, schools have begun to break out of their conservative mould in providing inputs for the all-round development of children.

While schools have taken steps to include in their curriculum activities measures to develop students' extra-academic skills and some have also employed full-time counsellors to help students overcome attitudinal and behavioural problems, they are usually hesitant when it comes to family life education.

Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP), Kerala branch, has started an initiative in this regard. It has just launched a year-long `Family Life Education Programme for School Students' with the aim of covering 63 Plus Two schools during the year. IAP intends to conduct at least two sessions in each school in a year.

According to Jesson C. Unni, joint-secretary, IAP Adolescent Chapter, "unless we take more classes little can be achieved. In fact, there is a lack of a dedicated group which can take such classes on a regular basis. In some schools parents have been asked to contribute to this important aspect of education while in some others they have appointed counsellors.''

Says the secretary, IAP, Kochi, M. Narayanan, "IAP had taken up this programme for the last 5-6 years, but this year it is going to be an intense one." The coming month of August has been declared as the month of teenagers. IAP will be covering as many schools as possible during this month.

The programme has been divided into parts like Life Skill Learning, Creative and Critical Thinking and Sex Education, How to say `No' to peer group pressures, how to tackle bullies, behaviour problems, developing communication skills, problem solving techniques, attitude towards a problem, taking decisions and so on.

Sexual attraction to the opposite sex, falling in love, rebellion against parents, influence of the West, depression, suicide, beauty consciousness, etc., and finally acceptance of self are certain other topics dealt with by the programme.

According to the paediatrician, Newton Lewis, it is always good to open up to someone with whom one can communicate with ease. The best option is to tell the parents about any problems the students have.

If communication at home is difficult, teachers are another group who can help. Doctors, uncles or aunts who are more close to them can be the others students can turn to in this context. A friend can help too, said Dr. Lewis, but for any grave problems, it is best to consult an adult.

The psychologist, Sneha Jacob, was trying to get the students respond to different situations. Students in various groups tried to create a "difficult situation'' and tried to argue their points with reasons. This gives an insight about the various situations they get into and how they react to these. The formal inauguration of the State level programme was conducted at Bhavan's Vidya Mandir, Elamakkara on Friday. Vinod Jacob Cherian, president, IAP, Kerala, inaugurated it. Varghese Cherian, IAP Kochi, presided. Says the Principal, BVM, Elamakkara, Meena Viswanathan, "we have been having a few classes like this for some time now. The students will have something new to learn each time.''

By Shyama Rajagopal

Photo: H. Vibhu

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