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NCERT asks schools to set up mental health advisory panel

BENGALURU: The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has directed schools to ensure students’ mental wellbeing. The directive comes in the wake of a national survey undertaken by the NCERT, in which students flagged schoolwork, examinations as well as the wait for results as some of major causes of anxiety.

The survey also found that students faced difficulty in online schooling and experienced mood swings, a lack of concentration and peer pressure. Based on the findings, the NCERT released guidelines in a report titled Early identification and intervention for mental health problems in school-going children and adolescents.

“Schools are generally seen as spaces where students can grow in a safe and secure environment… It is the school’s responsibility to ensure the safety, security, health and well-being of all children in schools and hostels,” the guidelines read.

NCERT has asked schools to set up a mental health advisory panel to counsel students. School have also been asked to ensure proper awareness about mental health issues, including introducing mental health programmes that are gender- and age-appropriate.

However, the setting up of a mental health advisory panel in each school recommended on earlier occasions too have failed to achieve the desired results. “While guidelines can be issued, they must be followed by adopting proper policies and arranging funds,” said R Vishal, Karnataka Commissioner for Public Instruction.

“School curriculum has been framed in order to ensure mental wellbeing of students, including play learning and Nali Kali methods of learning. However, in terms of addressing mental disorders, schools are ill-equipped. Very few major private schools have school counsellors,” the official told this newspaper.