Kerala government takes initiatives to incorporate POCSO awareness in school curriculumtext_fields
Thiruvananthapuram: In a move to educate schoolchildren about the nuances of the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the Kerala government has decided to integrate this vital information into the school curriculum.
The Kerala High Court, on June 8, 2022, took suo motu action to request the government, the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), and the Kerala State Legal Services Authority to collectively issue guidelines. The aim was to ensure that adolescents possess a comprehensive understanding of the legal consequences pertaining to sexual relationships, reported The News Minute.
Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas of the HC introduced the directives while adjudicating the bail application of a 23-year-old individual who impregnated a 15-year-old girl. The accused contended that their relationship was consensual, with plans for marriage. The judge, however, expressed deep concern over the prevalent lack of awareness among adolescents about the legal implications of their consensual interactions.
As a response, on August 10, the SCERT submitted a report detailing the measures they have taken to implement the court's mandate. They assured that awareness concerning the POCSO Act will be seamlessly integrated into the curriculum for specific classes. Beginning from the academic year 2024-2025, the awareness module will be included in classes 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 11, while it will extend to classes 2, 4, 7, and 10 from the subsequent academic year, 2025-2026.
In acknowledgment of the collaborative efforts of the Kerala State Legal Services Authority, the state administration, and the SCERT in pursuing this initiative, the Kerala HC expressed its commendation. The court also emphasised that once the curriculum has been revised, comprehensive workshops should be organised for all educators.
Advocate TP Hood, representing the state government, apprised the court of a one-day POCSO awareness program conducted for teachers in May 2023, which witnessed participation from approximately 1,12,000 educators in the state. Advocate Parvathy Menon, representing the Kerala State Legal Services Authority, further noted that similar training sessions had been arranged for teachers as part of the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), along with Higher Secondary educators.
The Kerala HC, acknowledging these dedicated endeavours, expressed in its oral remarks that Kerala could potentially become a trailblazer in incorporating POCSO awareness into the school curriculum.