Jharkhand education council adds more schools, districts to school safety hub | India News | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

After relentless efforts over the past five years, the ‘School Safety Hubs’ initiative in Jharkhand’s Pakur district can boast of being in a different class.

Across 430 schools and the communities around them, around two-thirds of Out of School (OoS) students have re-enrolled, the number of students who know laws related to child protection has jumped by 71 per cent, child marriages have been delayed or averted by 70 per cent, over 64 per cent of the students were taken out of child labour, and at least 88 per cent migrant families have left behind their children with responsible relatives or guardians to prevent disrupting their education.

The stellar results, shared by a non-profit company, Aangan, working towards child safety over the last 22 years across 22 states, made Jharkhand Education Project Council (JEPC), which governs over 35,000 government schools in the state, to extend the programme to 330 more schools and two more districts – Dumka and Jamtara, which like Pakur, are under the Santhal Pargana Division. In Dumka and Pakur, which borders West Bengal, trafficking is a pestilence. Aangan’s data was corroborated by the government.

For implementation, the state government and Aangan have now entered into an agreement.

JEPC’s State Project Director, Kiran Kumari Pasi told The Indian Express: “The school safety hubs were created to ensure children prone to trafficking, child labour, sexual abuse among others, are identified and brought to schools. We have partnered with Aangan to work in Dumka and Jamtara.”

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The School Safety Committee (SSH) is currently functioning in all six blocks of Pakur. The committee comprises the school principal, a teacher and some members of the community, which represent the parents and adolescent girls as well.

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“So the primary responsibility of the committee is to identify any pattern and decide on preventive actions in either school or in the community. This would ensure re-enrollments and that children attend schools regularly, transition to higher grades with the intent that they would be safe from any child harm issues like early marriage, child labour and trafficking, among others,” said Aagan’s Programme Head, Safe Schools, Jharkhand, Sudeshna Basu.

However, this is just one component of the initiative. Government sources said that stakeholders also work on an extensive curriculum which focuses on safety of adolescent girls like identifying safe spaces, how to trust adults and child safety policies.

“This is a journey. At first, girls look out for themselves and after a certain point, help other girls by engaging with local stakeholders around the community such as anganwadis and panchayats. Community women are trained first and then a monthly session with the adolescent girls–from Classes 8-12–are trained on a regular basis. At the same time, the girls’ families are also trained for agency building, empowerment, and the children are safe in their community,” said a government source.

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

First published on: 26-10-2023 at 13:00 IST


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