Now school books to ensure the safety of students, courtesy NCERT

In an effort to provide protection to school children, the National Council of Educational Research And Training (NCERT) has published information about helplines for children in all course books from Class VI-XII, the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry said on Thursday.

“The NCERT has published the information regarding Childline (1098) – 24×7 Helpline for children and POCSO e-box on the back side of the front cover of all course books from Class VI to Class XII. This will equip children with the information regarding the possible modes of protection/complaints,” the WCD Ministry said in a statement.

WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi had earlier requested HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar to popularize POCSO e-Box and Childline 1098 through NCERT publications, screening of educational films on child sexual abuse in all schools and having strict norms for employing the support staff.

Thanking the HRD minister and NCERT for implementing her suggestions, the minister said, “Parents, guardians and teachers should remain vigilant about the children as well as their behaviour and any suspected situation should be reported immediately on the Childline No.1098 and the POCSO e-Box.”

Through these course books, the information is expected to reach approximately 26 crores school students in 15 lakh schools. The NCERT, on the other hand, was also advised that there may be chapter in social science regarding such issues.

“The narrative may continue till Class XII for having a reasonable impact on young minds. The information will not just reach these children, but is about to stay with them on daily basis. As a result, it is expected that the children will be more aware and they may use the Child Helpline or POCSO E-box in case of any distress,” the ministry said, adding, “The easy accessibility of this information in the hand of children themselves may also deter the prospective abusers, at least to a reasonable extent.”

The WCD Ministry also said that the information in these books will also be available to 10 lakh teachers who are teaching through NCERT books along with the family members and to the care givers of these children.

“The percolation of such useful information directly up to the last mile, is expected to create an environment of child safety and empowerment in the country,” the ministry added.

Childline 1098 is a national 24-hour toll free emergency phone service for children in distress. It is currently operational in 412 locations across the country and provides assistance to children in distress either by way of tele-counselling or physical rescue.

POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) E-box is an online complaint management system for easy and direct reporting of sexual offences against children and timely action against the offenders under POCSO Act 2012.