Panel discussions

Posted by on Dec 6, 2018 in School News | Comments Off

Panel discussions on ‘A safe, secure and supportive environment for children in schools’ were organized by UNICEF and Expressions India on 19 & 20 November 2018 at Doordarshan House and the Thyagaraj Sports Complex, respectively.

The event was a part of Children’s Day celebrations on 20 November. It was attended by a group of select students of The Indian School- Debarpan Kole IX E, Anushka Saxena IX E, Sarvagya Puri IX A, Anshika Sharma XI E, Jahnnobi Roy XI D, Mehar Saxena XI C and Ms Neha Sachdeva.

This year UNICEF initiated #GOBLUE with the aim of spreading awareness about underprivileged and specially-abled children.

The eminent panelists included Saundarya Pradhan, visually impaired international chess player who bagged three medals at only 19 years of age, Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF Ambassador to India and Dr. Jitendra Nagpal, leading psychiatrist and psychologist, Psychology Centre at Moolchand Hospital, and Head-Expressions India which works towards moulding youth into future leaders of through overall development.

The event was co-hosted by Prallati Puri (17) and Dhruv Bindra (15) of Ahlcon International School on both the days.

On 19 November 2018 the panel discussion was recorded at Doordarshan House and then broadcast on 20 November. The children were delighted to experience their first TV recording! They appreciated the effort and planning invested by artists and assistants, to host a show and the precision and fine details of the task involved

The next day, Air Marshall Denzil Keelor, chairman and founder of Special Olympics Bharat and legendary Indian batsman, Sachin Tendulkar joined the panel discussion along with Saundarya Pradhan and Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque.

The two-day event saw a veritable exchange of views and counter-views, ideas and opinions, problems and suggestions put across by the distinguished panelists on a range of issues relating to children and their safety .

When asked about the elements that comprise joyful learning at school, Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque responded that sanitation, sports, ample interaction between teachers and students and a safe and protected environment, are the elements that comprise joyful learning in schools. Her answer reflected on ways to make a school safe and supportive towards a child.

Dr. Haque reiterated that it is important that students are assured a state of normalcy in their environment. There should be no stress, and the quality of the education provided should be robust. The support of teachers and parents is crucial in developing a child’s personality. Everyone around the child should be caring and supportive.

When asked about the need for Children Rights, she replied that children and their parents do not feel adequately secure at school, and hence are voicing their rights.

Me. Sachin Tendulkar felt that sports has the strength to bring everyone together. It doesn’t discriminate. But, children must balance between sports and studies. He also advised the students to be fearless but not careless.

Saundarya Pradhan agreed that a sport doesn’t discriminate by contending that it was chess that allowed him, a 100% blind 19 year-old student to be a part of mainstream society. He admitted that he had been discriminated against in the past because of his inability to see. As a child, he did not get admission in schools easily. However, he believes that it is merely the mindset of people and with time it changes, like it did in his case.

Dr. Nagpal was asked about his organisation’s most rewarding experience. He replied that it was quite a shock that with over 2 million schools in India, there were only 4000 counsellors available. The ratio was astoundingly dismal and disheartening. According to him, a happy child is one who has overall development and that is what his organisation aims at. His motto is to create a “healthy, happy and harmonious child.”

On being asked about the various mental issues prevalent in today’s youth, Dr. Nagpal commented that cybercrime rates have gone up quite a bit. He believes that real-time communication has decreased and that its value has gone down. Youth now prefer to be connected only virtually.

Dr. Haque referred to the different ways that UNICEF has come up with for young children and their problems. She added that a poll was conducted in schools where children were asked about their problems and possible solutions for the same. The children felt there was a communication-gap. Therefore, it is necessary to open channels of communication between the children and their teachers and parents. There is a dire need for children to voice their opinions because they are the future of the nation.

Mr. Soundarya reposed that it is important for people with disabilities to pursue their dreams. A higher degree of dedication is just what everybody needs. One should chase one’s dreams for as long as one can- determination can never be defeated. He advocated that although it may seem hard and difficult to do so, one should never procrastinate or give up, for then, one would have wasted one’s time.

Dr. Nagpal was asked how students can be of to one another. He answered that students can help other children better because they understand the situation from the same perspective. Thus, by being peer educators, they can ultimately arrive at better solutions.

To a question about the workings of the UNICEF for children, Dr Ali responded that she was thrilled to work for children through UNICEF. They receive resources from governments, donors and other sources. Everybody works as a team.

The programme concluded with Sachin Tendulkar’s succinct and sensible message -”To the parents I would say, they (the children) are going to make mistakes. But don’t clip their wings. Encourage them. To the children, respect your elders, they speak from their experience. Being nice is not weak. Be nice and humble to everyone. Understand what is right and what is wrong. When we are passionate we can overcome challenges. If you fail to prepare then you are preparing yourself to fail. Always give your hundred per cent and result will follow.”

In the segment for comments and suggestions, our students Jahnnobi Roy and Anushka Saxena spoke about counselling sessions for parents. They expressed their gratitude at being a part of an event in which they were able to seek counsel and clarity on several sensitive issues relating to student safety from eminent personalities and psychologists themselves. Other students who offered their views were from the Govt. Senior Secondary School and DAV Public School.

The event concluded with a flourish. The students gained an everlasting and empowering experience and were overjoyed at being a part of a national event.

Mehar Saxena XI C and Debarpan Koley Class IX E

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