All schools to have Child Rights Clubs soon

In an attempt to provide child-friendly atmosphere in schools, the Department of Public Instruction has asked all schools (government, aided and unaided) in the State to immediately set up 'Child Rights Clubs'. The clubs will be run by children themselves under the supervision of a teacher in the school.

According to a circular issued by the Commissioner of Public Instruction (CPI) K S Sathyamurthy, the clubs will be mandatory in every school. Children from Class 4 will be part of it.

The structure
The club will have two representatives from every class. Four students will function as the directors of the club and they will be selected by other students. These representatives will change every two months. Even though the primary responsibility of managing the clubs lies on the children, a teacher will co-ordinate the club.

The selection of this teacher too, will be done by students. While there will be two or four primary members in the club, the rest of the school students will be ordinary members of the club.

One parent, the school principal and a representative of the School Development and Monitoring Committee (SDMC) will be part of the club as well.

Through the club, children will learn to identify instances where there has been violation of their rights and understand the process for registering a complaint.

The members of the club will also ensure that there are complaint boxes in schools and that the teachers address these complaints. Monitoring of school infrastructure, participation in children's gramsabha, ensuring that the SDMC functions are among the other activities of the club.

The club will also work towards identifying out of school children and encourage them to enrol back. There are already various clubs in schools such as cultural club, science club, environment club, mathematics club etc. Now, all these clubs will be sub-committees of the child rights club, according to CPI K S Sathyamurthy.

Several unaided schools in the State already have the concept of children's clubs for safeguarding their rights. The government circular is just old wine in a new bottle, stated D Shashi Kumar of Karnataka State Private School Management Federation.

However, he welcomed the move and said it would be beneficial to students if implemented across all schools. “They should ensure that even government schools follow these norms,” he said adding that he would be sending out messages to all schools under the federation to constitute these clubs.

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