Catching Children Young

It is long felt that sustained efforts are to be made to inculcate in the children & youth values for which propriate educational inputs are to be provided right in the homes where they grow up, in he schools where they study and in the society  here they blossom into adults. Unfortunately very little serious attention is paid at the level of children’s ducation and precious little is done to catch the children young and lead them on with concrete and maginative programmes which alone will generate n the children what the adult world always want he children to be.

A new emphasis on value inculcation

Gandhi wanted educational institutions to help the child to discover the child in himself or herself and certainly not to give them doses of advice which the children are not normally able to digest. This can be done only with the full and joyous involvement of children, parents and teachers.

In the present context of growing violence,terror and frustration, serious efforts to involve children in meaningful creative activities which will supplement their education are to be thought about.In the anxiety of every parent to ensure that every child gets quality education and she or he should invariably become the topper in their class which is possible only by scoring highest marks in the  subjects becomes ‘be all and the end all’ of education. The principals and teachers of the   institutions in their anxiety to ‘cover’ the portion and ‘produce’ rank-holders and obtain highest percentage of marks are again only shaky characters on a chess board. The child suffers silently and the amazing thing is the fortitude a creative child exhibits in surviving. Infact, learning has become the most poignant and difficult process in the present day society for a child.
It is in these circumstances that peace cells (shanti kendra) in educational institutions is designed to involve large number of students in activities which will give them opportunities to involve joyfully in a variety of activities which will, in turn, offer them fresh insights, cooperative learning, instead of competitive spirit, develop attitude of tolerance, love and compassion.

The ultimate aim of education is to produce good human beings, men and women of character.This is possible only if there is a meaningful input of human values in the process of the development of young people. The traditional sources of this input,the school, the home and the environment have unfortunately ceased to be the active generators of positive values due to distortions that have crept into these systems.

With the changeover to the nuclear family set-up and the pressure of existential problems, the parents get too little time to help the children to ease their tensions and solve their problems. The environment, on the other hand, is completely under the grip of television and other mass media that have shut their eyes to the attitudes in the minds of the younger generation. Character and the moral fabric of the society are the biggest causality in this situation and that should rightly agitate the mind of all those who care for our nation and the society.

Children and youth need to be helped to ease pressure and anxiety, reduce aggressive traits and negative inputs, and encourage positive thinking and healthy attitudes to overcome difficult situations.With this background the Indian Council for Gandhian Studies and G. Ramachandran Institute of Nonviolence & Shantisena, propose to introduce Peace Cells (Shanti Kendras) in Schools. This will be a joint programme in active association of school authorities, Parent-Teacher Associations and local government and non-government bodies.

Through these Shanti Kendras, Indian Council for Gandhian Studies and G. Ramachandran Institute of Nonviolence & Shantisena endeavor to help train children and youth in:

· Inter personal relations and promote dialogue leading to identify structures of violence

· be conscious of those who advocate terror

· Group activities for confidence building

· Individual-focused efforts to enhance communicative competence

· Leadership and self-management

· Generate love of nature

· The concept of My School/My Community

· Join efforts to get themselves trained in Peace building, Peace making and Peace keeping in their community and in the institution where they study.

The activities of the Peace Cells (Shanti Kendras) in each of the institution will be supervised by a Committee consisting of representatives of Indian Council for Gandhian Studies and G.Ramachandran Institute of Nonviolence & Shantisena, School/College Management, PTA and the local body.

While Indian Council for Gandhian Studies and G. Ramachandran Institute of Nonviolence & Shantisena will make available trained and experienced resource persons and supporting material, the PTA/School Authorities will ensure proper implementation of the programme in the respective institution.

school is assigned will periodically visit the school to guide and assist the school in the planning and implementation of programmes. Five student representatives may also be nominated to the organising committee.

Orientation to the Staff and Student

At the beginning of the academic year an orientation programme for the functionaries of thev arious Shanti Kendras will be held at GandhiBhavan, Thycaud, Thiruvananthapuram. A three monthly review of activities will also be undertaken jointly in order to modify or assess the programmes.

The students’ group in each school

Each Shanti Kendra should have a minimum 50 students as members and these students, the staff advisors and a member of staff from G. Ramachandran Institute of Nonviolence & Shantisena will be the core group of the Shanti Kendra in each school.

Incentives to students

(a) Creative talent competitions will be held periodically and prizes will be given to winners.

(b) Participation in Bharat Darshan Programmes: outstanding students will consider for Bharat Darshan Programmes.

(c) Certificates to all active participants.

(d) Special camps and children’s programmes: student who evinces keen interest in the activities of the Kendra will be invited to the special camps and national programmes organised by Gandhi various Gandhian organisations from time to time.

It is obvious that the success of this project will depend on the initiative of individual school.

They may devise their own programmes.

Training Centre: Ahimsa Samavaay Kendra
27 Museum Bains Compound,
Thiruvananthapuram - 3
Phone : (0471) 2534397.
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