On March 20, 2023, Union Education and Skill Development Minister Dharmendra Pradhan chaired a high-level meeting focusing on the mental wellness of students and zero tolerance towards discrimination in educational institutions across the country. Minister of State for Education Subhas Sarkar and senior officials from the school and higher education department, CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education), AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education), and UGC (University Grants Commission) attended the meeting, as per a press release put out by Press Bureau of India.
What was discussed in the meeting?
The union minister asked the senior officials to put in place an effective grievance redressal system with shared responsibility. Additionally, he also asked to invite suggestions from all the stakeholders through online mediums.
Further, he touched upon various subjects such as gender equality, caste sensitivity, easing academic pressure, robust system of counselling and so on. He said that the Ministry of Education is committed to ensuring the physical, psychological, and emotional well-being of the students.
Initiatives by the ministry
So as to ease academic stress, the Ministry of Education has come up with various measures which include: peer-assisted learning, the introduction of technical education in 13 regions, entrance examinations in 13 languages, the Manodarpan initiative to provide psychological support to students, guidelines on prevention, detection and remedial measures for mental health-related issues and os on
As per the directions of the Minister and to further safeguard the mental and emotional well-being of the students, the Ministry is preparing a comprehensive framework of operational guidelines, covering holistically from school to Higher Education Institutions. What will this framework do? This will institutionalise safeguards and mechanisms that can ensure comprehensive protection for students from any threat or assault — physical, social, discriminatory, cultural, and linguistic — causing psychological distress leading to self-harming/self-destructive tendencies among students.
Further, it also includes the creation of an inclusive, integrative and non-discriminatory environment; sensitisation and capacity-building programmes for faculty members; orientation, counselling and hand-holding mechanisms; early detection mechanisms for immediate intervention; promoting close-knit student faculty interactive communities; incorporating team activities within the curricular exercises; effective and speedy grievance redress mechanism; physical fitness provisions and programmes, emphasis on nutrition; personal involvement and monitoring by the heads of the institutions, faculty and parents, and so on, as stated in press note posted by the Press Bureau of India.
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