Close to 5,000 children studying in Delhi government schools will find support from a Kerala-based NGO. A total of 4,800 children picked from 17 Directorate of Education schools will be part of a pilot programme - Hopes - aimed at 'ensuring better productivity in students' and 'better communities.' Delhi government's own system has very few counselors. After recruiting some this year, there is just one for over 5,000 children.
As per The Compass Team's proposal, it provides 'screening, identification and remediation services' to students. The programme will begin in January, once schools reopen after the winter break. The issues it generally covers include academics; behaviour problems; speech, language and communication; nutrition and health; adolescence; anxiety, stress and depression; effective parenting, family counseling; and substance abuse. The last has emerged as a real cause for concern recently and the government has even launched a campaign to address it.
The pilot will be implemented in two phases over four months. The first phase will be one of assessment. 'This will be a two-tier process that involves students and teachers for testing done in a single sitting. This will be followed by focus group discussion,' said the project details.
Reports on the findings will be generated too. 'We will be screening for a range of issues including substance abuse, behaviour problems and learning disability and provide remedial measures too,' said Raveendran who handles such projects for The Compass Team. They have worked with children studying in CBSE and ICSE schools in Kerala and other states as well. In Delhi, all 17 schools are in east Delhi.
This will be followed by the 'intervention' phase, delivered through counselling sessions with psychologists. There will be 'follow-up orientations', counselling of students and parents. The director, education, said in her letter approving the project that an outcome report must be submitted within three months.