Parent Counselling is the Way Forward

pune_mirrorSept. 18, 2013 – In the wake of Right to Education (RTE), while private schools focused on primary level entries, PMC schools enrolled at all levels, including secondary. This exercise  was meant to get drop-outs back. But, counseling students brought on the realisation that given the background these children come from, counseling parents is crucial.

Bhawankishan Tapkare, principal of the PMC-run Acharya Atre School, which has counseled 50 families, thinks the same. “The lack of awareness among parents directly impacts the child’s overall development. In most cases, we have succeeded.”

Schools have also joined hands with NGOs to counsel parents. Jyotika Wale a member of Action for Rights of Child (ARC), said that it is key get to the root of the child’s problem, which is mostly influenced by the environment at home. “Overall development is harmed if the environment at home is not supportive,” she said.

Cases of the presence of an alcoholic father and domestic violence are quite rampant. Wale also informed that in most cases they tackle, the child is the first generation school-goer. Tapkare added, “There have been instances when our teachers have been verbally abused.”

Suman Shinde, Director of Education, said, “Counseling is the school’s responsibility. The school board has nothing to do with it.” Rajani Paranjpe, Director, Door Step School (DSS), an NGO which works in the education sector, said that education suffers because the government expects the teachers to perform all roles.

“They are expected to find students , enroll them, get drop-outs back, ensure that they remain in school and when not, help them get back. They are now expected to even counsel parents. Where is time for them for teaching?”

Seema Walunjkar, project coordinator of a DSS initiative called Parents Participation in Children’s Education said, “940 counseled parents from Kondhwa have sent 500 students back to school. Twenty familes from the whiplashing Potaraju community have been convinced to send 14 children to school.”

~ Jahnvi Sreedhar,