“MY father drinks a lot and beats my mother everyday.” “My father makes me work and molests me often.” “My mother has an extra-marital affair.” “My parents don’t want me to study, instead they want me to get married.”
These are the kinds of concerns that government school students, from Class V to XII, ended up discussing while interacting with their counsellors during the past few weeks.
From family to property to drug addiction to learning disability — these are the major issues that have cropped up during the counselling sessions started at the city-based government schools for the students of primary classes to Class XII. The education department appointed 52 counsellors in the schools a month-and-a-half ago. While some of the schools do not have a counsellor yet, some of the counsellors are managing two schools a week.
Anuradha Jaidka, a full-time counsellor at Government School, Dhanas, said, “It’s been more than a month and many students have turned up for counselling. Around five-seven students come up daily to share their problems on the condition of confidentiality. Sometimes the students are in tears when they start sharing their problems regarding their parents who fight for no reason, due to which they find it difficult to concentrate on their studies.”
Prabhjot Kaur, a counsellor managing the government schools of Hallomajra and Behlana, said, “It is surprising to learn that students start taking drugs at an early age. Most of them carry chewing zarda and tobacco in their pockets. The students start earning to support their families, along with pursuing their studies. Once they start earning, they lose their track completely. I have a case of a student of Class VI who is a drug addict and a smoker. He says, ‘Ma’am, doston ke chakkar mein aake, sutta peena shuru kar diya.’ I feel helpless to tackle certain situations and I have to refer such students to some organisations or GMCH-32 or GMCH-16.”
“Learning disability is another major issue which students face. A Class V student doesn’t know how to read and write properly. He/she cannot even recognise Hindi alphabet which is taught in Class II.