Govt. will set up complaint centres in schools: Minister

It will be a one-stop agency to ensure protection for children

The State government is planning to print information about the toll-free ‘14417’ counselling helpline on the front page of all school textbooks, School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi said here on Friday.

Awareness of the helpline would help children reach out for help in time of need. As children are returning to schools after 19 months, awareness posters about child safety, the ‘14417’ helpline and other such details would be placed in all schools, Mr. Poyyamozhi told reporters after inaugurating a workshop on child safety on the occasion of World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse.

A central complaints centre, consisting of a dedicated team, would be set up. It will be a one-stop agency for the protection of children in each school. These arrangements will come into force with the soon-to-be-announced government order, he said.

The School Education Department, with the help of other stakeholders, will strengthen School Management Committees so that they become a monitoring system in all schools. He urged school authorities to keep a child’s safety in mind and take necessary action when needed. “Please do not try to cover up any incident with the motive of preserving the school’s reputation,” the Minister said.

Workshop for teachers

A three-hour-long workshop for teachers and non-teaching staff from all schools in the district was organised by Tulir, a not-for-profit working towards child safety.

Around 350 teachers who took part in the workshop would be able to impart the acquired information to their schools’ other staff and act as nodal officers of child safety in their respective schools. A similar workshop has been planned in Chennai on November 25.

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