India: NCERT to introduce human rights education in school

Linked with National Council of Educational Research and Training NCERT.

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From: Global HRE List Moderator
Date: 21/03/2009

New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) – Owing to the growing number of human rights abuses, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is planning to introduce human rights as an optional subject in schools.

Savita Sinha, head of NCERT’s department of education in social sciences and humanities, said Friday that they were working on including the subject in Class 11 and 12.

Talking on the sidelines of a conference on human rights education in schools, Sinha said: ‘After the first draft of human rights education as an elective subject was prepared, we found it was very complicated and filled with technical jargons which children will not be compatible with.

‘When you talk about teaching something to children, you have to understand that concepts and terminologies have to be simplified. We are working towards that now,’ Sinha told IANS.

Simplification of technical jargons is not the only challenge NCERT faces.

‘Until Class 10, subjects are broad-based. In classes 11 and 12, they become more streamlined in accordance to what a student wants to do later. The challenge here is hardly any university offers a course on human rights.

‘There are law colleges which do so but even then options are far and few. If a student does not see a future in pursuing a subject after school, why should he or she take it as an elective?’ Sinha said.

‘Therefore although we do realise that children have to be sensitised and made to understand human rights, their rights, in a world with escalating violence, it has to be a unified approach. There has to be a larger network with the University Grants Commission (UGC),’ she added.

According to Sinha, human rights is being taught in schools but in a more integrated manner with other subjects.

‘Human rights is an intrinsic part of all other subjects. Till Class 5 we teach it with environmental studies, from Class 6 to Class 8 it is included in social and political studies, and further on in political science.

‘Then in association with the National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), we introduced special booklets on human rights issues compatible with the age group of those between Class 5 and Class 8,’ she explained.

‘Also, it is the responsibility of parents, teachers and the community to lead the children by example. Many times kids find things they read in books hard to digest because what they see outside is completely different,’ Sinha added.

Source: Indo-Asian News Service IANS

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