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Friday, July 26, 2013

School children expose teachers’ harsh side at workshop

Shahroz Afridi, Hindustan Times  Bhopal, June 27, 2013

HT Bhopal 27 June 13

Not a single child represented teacher’s image as a kind and intellectual person in the ongoing workshop at National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research by CRY (child rights and you).
On the contrary, teachers were depicted as an oppressor intimidating children for one reason or the other.
About 40 children from Damoh, Indore, Gwalior and Bhopal, who are participating in this workshop, were told to represent what they go through at schools.
Talking about mid-day meal, one of the participants said they were discriminated and not even given utensils for having meal.
“I have seen my friends folding roti into cup-shape and taking daal into it, first sipping dal and then eating roti as we were not given utensils,” said the participant.
The Hindustan Times was provided with a photograph to prove the point by a local NGO working in Damoh area, where the incident occurred.
“We don’t have prepared skits and scripts.
Children participating in the workshop are told to narrate their experiences which have turned into a play,” said Walter Peter, former member of Theater-in-education wing of National School of Drama and trainer at the workshop.
Children also communicated the positive developments at schools, Peter said.
“This year’s workshop has highlighted developments as well as shortcomings in the system. Children said they get mid-day meals but are discriminated on basis of caste and not given utensils.
They have teachers but they are not interested in teaching; they have toilets but without water and so on,” said Peter.
Interestingly, when participants who undergo corporal punishment at schools were asked to raise hands, all hands were up.
And, what type of corporal punishments are they subjected to? Most replies include sitting like a rooster, pulling ears, making students stand with hands up, beating them up with vertical side of ruler, slapping and making them stand in sun.
“Many parents and even teachers are not aware that these things amount to corporal punishment. There is a need of awareness,” said Jaya Singh, associate general manager, CRY.
CRY along with its state alliance partner, Madhya Pradesh Lok Sanghrash Sanjha Manch (MPLSSM), is organising Shiksha Hamara Haq, an open forum for children whose voices are rarely heard, to speak out on issues that affect them the most -- their rights.
Three plays based on themes like corporal punishment and discrimination, child marriage and working children, barriers to education and lack of infrastructure would be prepared in a three-day workshop being held at NITTTR, which would be staged on June 28 at children’s festival.

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