Education ministry preparing guidelines for students' mental, emotional wellbeing: Pradhan
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

New Delhi: The Education Ministry is preparing a comprehensive framework of operational guidelines to safeguard the mental and emotional well-being of students, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday.

The education and skill development minister asserted that there should be zero tolerance for any discrimination in educational institutions across the country.

“The ministry is preparing a comprehensive framework of operational guidelines to safeguard the mental and the emotional well-being of students which will holistically cover schools to higher education institutions,” Pradhan said.

“The framework will institutionalise safeguards and mechanisms that can ensure comprehensive protection to students from any threat or assault — physical, social, discriminatory, cultural, and linguistic; causing psychological distress leading to self-harming and self-destructive tendencies among students,” he said.

Pradhan on Monday chaired a high-level review meeting focusing on the mental wellness of students. It was attended by senior officials from the school and higher education department, Central Board of Secondary Education, All India Council for Technical Education and University Grants Commission.

He directed the senior officials to put in place an effective grievance redressal system with shared responsibility.

Gender equality, caste sensitivity, academic ease of pressure and a robust system of counselling, were among the measures suggested by Pradhan to ensure the physical, psychological and emotional well-being of students.

“Academic life is a critical phase of psychological and behavioural changes for students. It involved complex patterns of social interactions, relationships and career trajectories.

“The issues that may affect the mental health of the students are varied and cover a wide spectrum ranging from academic pressure, peer pressure, intensely competitive educational environment, behavioural issues, performance issues, stress, career concerns and depression among others,” he said.

According to ministry officials, the framework will include creation of an inclusive, integrative and non-discriminatory environment, sensitisation and capacity-building programmes for faculty members, and orientation, counselling and hand-holding mechanisms.

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It would also include early detection mechanisms for immediate intervention, promoting close-knit student faculty interactive communities, incorporating team activities within the curricular exercises, effective and speedy grievance redress mechanism, physical fitness provisions and programmes, emphasis on nutrition, personal involvement and monitoring by the heads of institutions, faculty and parents, they said.

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