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The author analyses the New Education Policy in light of its effort to lay greater emphasis on the mental health of students.
In the Indian context, the very thought of monitoring the psychological well-being of students needs to be appreciated.
Education is not about loading a child with information. It is just to develop the body and the mind to the highest possible capability.
The New Education Policy (NEP) announced after 34 long years has taken many steps in this positive direction, and is expected to transform the education system. Allocation of 6% of the GDP to education, importance to vocational courses, standardisation of Indian sign language (ISL) are some of the highlights of the New education policy, 2020.
However, what attracted me is, as part of the regular health checkups for students, mental health checkups are also to be included. This new policy of education is still in its budding stage but the very thought of monitoring the psychological well being of the students is to be appreciated; for health is not limited to the concept of mere physical wellness.
The human mind thinks both emotionally and rationally. Right from birth, until adulthood, a child undergoes progressive stages of development with cultural, social, genetic and environmental factors contributing towards his/hers mental development.
Many schools in the developed nations check for the psychological well-being of the students periodically and the same is reported back to the parents. In this way the emotions and the emotional needs of the child are taken care of.
In our country, if this is implemented, we would be able to address the issues of the children and counsel them appropriately. Issues disturbing students may range from something very fundamental like less marks or improper sleep to severe issues like domestic violence or abuse.
It’s difficult for children to explain what they’re going through but psychologists observe how a child interacts with their parents, teachers and themselves. As the child develops, more complex emotions such as confidence, hope, guilt, and pride emerge. It is important to teach them how to cope with their emotions. Therapists/psychologists can identify unusual behaviours early and can help the child express their emotions in a healthy, positive way.
The government’s initiative to improve and enhance the mental health of the students would be fulfilled only with the keen involvement and participation of the schools. Every school at the state, district, sub-district, and block level has to take the ownership. School counseling would lead to the adoption of a school curriculum promoting not only intellectual development but also personal and psychological development.
Schools may organize online workshops on the highlights of the new education policy for better clarity. Appointment of a psychologist or counselor as a permanent staff in the school (rather than a visiting faculty) would yield the best results because students need not wait to discuss their issues until their next visit. The school managements can also encourage their teachers to take up diploma courses on child psychology/school counseling.
The modus operandi for the Psychologists /school counsellors can be as follows although it is not limited to this.
(Again, need not be limited to this list).
Though we live in a world of Artificial intelligence (AI), in order to achieve a life of high quality, with harmony and good health, emotional intelligence and emotional well being should be prioritised over the Intelligent Quotient (IQ). We have achieved tremendously in the field of education and if educators rise to the occasion by taking up this challenge, we are certain to witness and be part of an amazing societal transformation.
Image source Pixabay
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