DOE teacher workshop on POCSO and cyber security

On 27th April 2023, a workshop on POCSO awareness and cybersecurity held at Amity International School, Pushp Vihar  was attended by Principal Ms Tania Joshi (Principal), Ms Meghna Joshi (School Counsellor), Ms. Sheeja Menon (Headmistress, TIS SS)  and Ms Neha (Special Educator). Organised by the DOE (Directorate of Education), the workshop aimed to enhance the legal understanding and to provide clarity on the POCSO (Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act) for principals, counsellors, and other school stakeholders.

Alongside focusing on the POCSO Act, the workshop also addressed cybersecurity, considering the susceptibility of most young digital citizens to online sexual offenses. Eminent names from the field of education greeted the occasion with Ms Madhu Jain ( Ld. Principal District and Sessions judge) as chief guest. The special guests included Ms Jyoti Maheshwari (Secretary, District Legal Services Authority), Ld. M. Chaitanya (DM- South IAS). Mr. Ankit Chauhan (DCP- South IPS) and Mrs. Anju Chawla (DDE- Zone 23). The workshop commenced with the dignitaries lighting the ceremonial lamp, followed by students captivating the audience with a musical presentation.

In her welcome note Ms Madhu Jain (Ld. Principal District and sessions judge) emphasised on the need for a comprehensive understanding of the POCSO Act and the legalities that surround it. Internet is a boon but can turn into a bane for the impressionable minds of young students who may not always know how to safeguard themselves on the internet.

Following this, Ms Jyoti Maheshwari conducted a session, delving into the details and complexities of the POCSO act. The session outlined the legal provisions, the various types of assaults, key features of the act, penalties for offenders, and specific guidelines for schools. Emphasis was placed on mandatory reporting to the appropriate authorities, with non-compliance resulting in up to 6 months of imprisonment. Additionally, Ms Maheshwari introduced the POCSO E-box, an online platform accessible to children for reporting any misconduct. She also shared the child helpline number 1098, encouraging all attendees to widely distribute it among students as a valuable resource.

A cybersecurity expert was later brought in to educate attendees on cyber awareness. The workshop segment focused on online threats targeting children, with the expert detailing how hackers leverage technology and personal information to manipulate and endanger children, regardless of gender. The discussion covered instances of financial fraud, impersonation, and posing as government officials to instil fear, highlighting the importance of legal understanding and protective measures. Participants were advised to implement two-factor authentication, regularly change passwords, and use random phrases instead of common dates for enhanced online privacy. Additionally, Dr Ashok Tyagi, Director of Education for the South District, highlighted the crucial role of schools in safeguarding children from harmful influences. Proposals were made to introduce similar workshops in schools to foster a culture of awareness. This initiative aimed to combat the stigma associated with reporting incidents, educate all staff on appropriate responses, and provide basic legal knowledge for prevention and empowerment. The session concluded with Ms Anju Chawla, DDE-Zone 23, expressing gratitude on behalf of the attendees.