“At 33, I wanna go back to school.”
“The girls in school in Rajasthan said they loved coming here every morning and were happy in their school. They also said they felt protected. I was happy to know that the school had a girls toilet too.”
“When I was young, I was not keen on school because I did not like going there. Being an average student, the teachers did not pamper me and thus school did not attract me. It is important to be heard and feel loved in school”
“There is nothing to do with bollywood here, I am associated with UNICEF because as a girl I connect and feel for the cause from my heart.”
All the above were said by Bollywood heartthrob and UNICEF celebrity advocate Kareena Kapoor at the launch of CFSS at India Habitat Center, New Delhi.
Child-friendly Schools and Systems (CFSS), a new package (guidelines) was launched by UNICEF on 4th September 2014 in New Delhi by celebrity advocate Kareena Kapoor. On the eve of teacher’s day it was a well chosen day to commence a new effort for bringing a positive transformation in the school environment. This one not just talks about education in schools but about its quality. The proposal is beautiful because it aims to bring a dynamic change in the teaching pattern as well as school environment so that a child makes the most of its time when he or she is there. Its time the government schools build up a reputation.
The RTE Act was passed in 2009 and it has been a wonderful initiative which entitles children aged between 6-14 years to learning and education. The enrollments did increase but the quality of education taken in by children is still poor. Parents were not keen on sending their children to schools because they were not learning. Children do no like schools because they are not happy there, the learning environment is not cheerful. Thus, we take a lesson that education is not just about enrolling to schools but also getting groomed positively. The new concept of CFSS is about child-friendly schools and systems which has some successful stories as to how the focus of schools and teachers should be on the overall personality development of the children. A perceived average student is not always average but he has to be heard. The teachers have to be trained methodically and they should know how to encourage such students to perform better in other things.
Teachers are agents of change!!!
RTE helped to enhance enrollments in schools but the quality of education has been poor till date. Ms. Kushal Singh, Chairperson National Commission for Protection of Child Rights rightly mentioned that education should ensure protection, promotion and participation of children. She also emphasized that corporate punishment should be eliminated. A slap teaches a child that a strong person can have his way on the weak by violence.
The highlights of the package are on child concentric, democratic participation and inclusive education.
Mr. Louis Georges Arsenault, country representative UNICEF India added to it saying that schools have to get friendly. In some places government schools have done better than private and in India we can bring a change. The thought is of utmost importance that a child has to feel happy in the school. The example set by school at Lalitpur is amazing.
Ms Urmila Sarkar, chief of education, UNICEF India said this was a step of hope and optimism. 90 countries have adopted child friendly strategies. I so agreed with her when she also said that more than books in school, health, safety, sanitation was also important for a child’s development.
This a great thought absolutely but it has to be reached as promised. In India we have huge gaps when it comes to reforms. The shortcomings have to be worked on. The government schools have to be made better for everyone to take benefits. Its heartening to see that UNICEF has come up with something so relevant for the children.
This step will provide an uplifting hand to RTE act. The guidelines have been launched in Delhi. Now they have to be spread all across the states. Together with UNICEF we must ensure that it reaches the root level where the real reform is needed. We can have a wonderful teaching and learning environment with the help of teachers. They have to come forward to own it up. It is actually them who are the real agents of change. Hoping CFSS tunes in with the teaching methodologies and UNICEF succeeds in its mission of bringing many smiles and doing the best for the children.