Child Rights Body, Delhi Govt Tussle On ‘Desh Ke Mentors’ Programme

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has published to the Delhi administration, requesting that the currently underway Desh Ka Mentors' scheme for academic students be suspended, expressing concern about children being subjected to strangers, perhaps as the Aam Aadmi Party slammed the fundamental children's rights body, telling it was just another opportunity by the Bharatiya Janata party to stymie another ground-breaking initiative.

The commission said in a document dated the 11th of January that the initiative, in which academic pupils are given job advice from famous individuals, exposes them to various dangers, and requested that the Delhi administration suspend the programme until the vulnerabilities are addressed.

The Desh Ke Mentors initiative, which began in October 2021, seeks to link 900,000 students in Delhi administration schools from grades 9 to 12 with notable residents who can provide them with career and general advice. The mentors will speak with pupils for 10-15 minutes each day over the phone to guide many facets of life, according to the administration.

The previous month, the panel addressed Delhi's chief secretary, citing the issue, and received a reply on the 3rd of January from the Delhi administration's directorate of education (DoE). The approach was ineffective, according to the commission.

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It was claimed in the reply that trainees are allocated mentors of the same gender to prevent breach; however, it is essential to note that harassment or assault, whether sexual or anything else, is not gender prejudiced. The fact that a youngster is of the same gender does not guarantee their safety in any way.

The message, according to Atishi, an AAP Legislator and chairwoman of the standing committee on schooling, exposes the BJP's and its administration machinery's superficiality again. Placing roadblocks in the way of a game-changing programme such as Desh Ke Mentor demonstrates the BJP's and its administration's shallowness. The Bharatiya Janata party has abandoned governmental schools across the nation. In Uttar Pradesh, where the Bharatiya Janata Party is in power, the percentage of pupils aged 11 to 14 has dropped from 56 per cent to 39 per cent in 2019. Upwards of 18,000 classrooms are in insufficient supply in Gujarat, and 1700+ administrative institutions have closed. Enrollment in Delhi administration institutions, on the other hand, is at an all-time high. Students from public schools perform superior to those from private institutions.

The scheme could become yet another stumbling block between the AAP-led Delhi administration and the BJP-led national administration. The two administrations are already locked in a legal battle over the former's ration-delivery plan to people's doorsteps.

The reality that the exchanges are conducted over the phone, according to the commission, does not imply that they are free of criminal activity. It should be underlined, according to the committee, that child-related crime could also be started over the phone. Children, for example, are vulnerable to possible child trafficking via phone conversations. Is there a way of preventing cyberattacks and child smuggling from starting?

The panel also claimed that the program's administrators do not appear to be sensitive to gender issues. They also appear to lack awareness of the intricacies of child sexual assault and are unaware of child-related regulations such as the Pocso Act of 2012 as well as the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015.