Address educational needs to cut juvenile crime

Address educational needs to cut juvenile crime
Highlights

Address Educational Needs To Cut Juvenile Crime, Early Childhood Care and Education Policy. News of atrocities against children is not unheard of. However, of late even crime by children are more prevelant. Hitherto this type of news was restricted to western countries only, but now the same is heard in India also.

Address Educational Needs To Cut Juvenile CrimeNews of atrocities against children is not unheard of. However, of late even crime by children are more prevelant. Hitherto this type of news was restricted to western countries only, but now the same is heard in India also. It may be recalled that at least one juvenile was involved in each of the Delhi Nirbhaya and Mumbai photo journalist cases.
Five boys aged between twelve and sixteen were involved in a recent rape case on twelve- year-old girl in Guwahati. News papers from Tamil Nadu reported a murder by a child who was involved in homo sexuality in the second week of October. The Christ Church Girls school of Kolkata also witnessed a ragging case recently by minor kids. An eleven-year-old girl was kept locked by them in the toilet for her refusal to contribute donation for Teachers’Day celebrations.
This act cost her life. On the other hand, the crimes committed by juveniles kept in Observation Homes are also on the rise. In the first week of October, around fifty boys rioted inside a North Delhi Juvenile Observation Home and thirty three inmates escaped.
Thirty five juveniles accused of serious charges like rape, murder and assault escaped from a reform home in Madhya Pradesh days before the North Delhi Observation Home incident. In view of these incidents the Supreme Court responded and constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Justice Madan B Lokur to study the conditions of juvenile homes.
The crimes committed by children in the large society and even in reformation centres are the evidences for changing societal trends in crime. Critics are of the view that the severity of punishment the Indian Penal Code offers even to the severe crimes committed by less than eighteen years is minimal. Hence a revival of IPC is necessary.
This argument has got much importance when the juvenile in Nirbhaya case was sentenced to a three year imprisonment by the apex court. Consequently, the Women and Child Welfare ministry initiated measures for the amendment of juvenile justice act on the line of Western countries. United States of America, Britan, France lowered the age of juveniles after severe crimes were committed by minor children.
Last year, when a boy of thirteen years old in Florida state committed a murder, he was considered as an adult and was sentenced to rigorous punishment. On the other hand, there is a widely accepted argument that for reforming the juveniles severity of punishment is not the solution, instead inculcating right values and attitudes are necessary.
The role of right parenting, formal schooling and the Observation Homes is very crucial in this context and hence it is said that there may be bad parents or teachers but not bad children. The Nordic [North Europe] countries strengthened their child welfare activities to the world’s best based on this spirit. A recent study on the rate of children who were taken into police custody reveals that the Nordic Country Finland has the lowest rate, i.e.0.2, whereas in Britain it is 23, Australia 38.
The importance of quality of preschool education is also worth notable in this regard. Interesting things were also revealed by a research article titled, ‘The Perks of Pre School-Why Early Education is Vital’ published by Prof. Julian Vasquez of University of Texas in April this year.
The study reveals that the children who had preschool education have fifty per cent lesser chances of undergoing imprisonment, twenty three percent less prone to severe crimes and also thirty percent less vulnerable to alcohol and drugs to that of who did not have preschool education. The study further revealed that the rate of academic failures is less and it contributes more to the development of human capital and social capital compared to who did not have preschool education.
Similar studies done by Indian born Harvard Economist Prof.Raj Chetty who recently won the John Bates Clark Medal, often called, the baby Nobel also highlighted the importance of preschool education in affecting the quality of life. The first world conference on early childhood education was held in Moscow in 2010 declared preschool education as the fundamental right of every child. Modern neurobiological research findings also reveal that eighty percent of human’s brain is developed before the age of five years and sixty percent of one’s language development completes by the age of six years .
Montessori’s research in this area is also worth notable. On the whole it is universally accepted that preschool education is vital for emotional and intellectual development. The negligence of this area will result in developmental disorders and behavioural anomalies which cannot be substituted in any form in later stages.
This is the reason why the poor who are deprived of preschool education cannot cope with the set educational objectives in spite of provision of various affirmative actions in later stages. This leads to the perpetuation of poverty and education cannot contribute to sustainable development. India has the biggest education system after China in the world. It has sixteen crores of children who are below six years of age. A major chunk is deprived of the preschool education although the Integrated child Development Scheme of Union government is said to be catering to the needs of forty eight percent of the relevant age group.
In fact the access to preschool education is much lower than this due to the severe absenteeism in this area. No professional qualifications ware set for workforce in this area of our country. whereas the Nordic countries are taking much interest in recruiting qualified teachers in this area resulting in imparting of high quality preschool education.
This foresight is paying much dividend in human resources development in these countries. And these countries are standing ahead in various parameters of human development index. Last month, the Union Women and Child Development ministry has initiated ‘Early Childhood Care and Education Policy’ which is ignoring these crucial issues and confined to the monitoring of private players in the preschool education, designing and implementation of the uniform curriculum only.
The comprehensive policy needs to be devised taking into consideration all other pertinent issues of the field. It is very urgent to amend RTE Act to include below six years aged children’s right of education in to the Act’s purview. Pre-primary education is to be developed as a separate department and the teachers’ status to be elevated to complete professional.
Development of special teacher education programmes and providing handsome salaries for the faculty is the need of the hour. Control over children programmes in the media which are by and large more prone to inculcation of unwanted attitudes should also be taken into serious consideration. The chance of juveniles for reformation in observation homes should not be weakened by any means.
The observation homes need to be working towards strengthening of various means of understanding and reforming children in proper way. Critics have the opinion that the present observation homes in India are missing many scientific ways of reforming children. Since children are glued to TV sets most of the time, there is no scope to liberate their energy through play. Observation Homes are in dearth of qualified counsellors having degrees in child psychology and criminal psychology.
If we make a scrutiny of these issues with serious consideration, we can certainly curtail the rising criminal tendency in children and enhance the human as well as the social capital of our country where the demographic dividend is more.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of our organisation.
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