TN: Control room for sexual harassment complaints

Tamil Nadu to set up control room to receive complaints of sexual harassment at schools

The announcement was a part of the policy note tabled by School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi in the Assembly

 Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

Tamil Nadu government on Thursday announced setting up of a control room with a toll-free hotline and private email facility to receive complaints of sexual harassment and violence at schools, while an orientation module will be prepared to raise awareness about the POSCO Act among all stakeholders. 

The announcements were part of the policy note tabled by School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi in the Assembly. The government’s move comes months after teachers from several prestigious schools were accused of sexual misconduct with students during online classes and outside school hours. 

Poyyamozhi also said Child Abuse Prevention Week should be observed in all schools every year during November 15-22 and a Student Safety Advisory Committee will be set up in each school to monitor students safety and wellbeing.

The control room will be set up at the Directorate of Public Instructions (DPI) campus in Chennai to receive complaints specifically pertaining to sexual harassment and violence at schools, from students, parents and others. 

“An orientation module will be prepared for use by schools to raise awareness about POSCO Act among all stakeholders and to improve safety in schools,” the minister said in the policy note. Among other measures is a self-audit module to be filled up by schools and the installation of safety boxes in school premises to enable students to lodge their complaints and feedback. 

The minister said 12 new primary schools will be opened and 22 schools will be upgraded in hilly and remote areas in the 2021-2022 academic year and added that an amount of Rs 20.76 crore is earmarked for establishing smart classrooms in 865 Government Higher Secondary Schools. 

Laying emphasis on inculcating reading habit among students, Poyyamozhi said dedicated library hours will be earmarked for every class and the same would be incorporated in the timetable of the respective class. “Every student will be encouraged to borrow a book from the library every week. Activities like quiz, elocution, storytelling, essay writing, etc. will be introduced in the library hour,” he added.

On Kalvi TV, the minister said efforts are on to produce concept based videos instead of content-based videos, while much emphasis is being laid on enhancing the content telecast on the channel with the help of subject experts. 

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