INDIA WILL SEE A SHARP DECLINE OF DROPOUTS IN THEIR GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS IF THEY BEGIN TO ASPIRE TO BE TRAUMA SENSITIVE SCHOOLS. AN INSIDE VIEW OF A REPLICABLE MODEL
Parikrma Humanity Foundation (INDIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:There are 1,08,3678 government schools in India, 84,614 aided schools and 3,25,760 private schools. As per the Education Ministry, 65.2% of all school students in 20 states go to government schools. 27 million children go to aided schools and 83 million to private. Nearly 4,00,000 schools have less than 50 students and a majority of schools have a maximum of two teachers per school. In reality, there is about a 1:100 teacher-student ratio in most schools. What makes it even more complicated is the multiple age and learning levels in one class. Around 115 million children in India study in such unviable schools.
It is, therefore, no surprise that the dropout of children from schools is one of the highest in the world – at nearly 75%. While there have been many speculations as to why such a high number of children get disillusioned with the idea and practice of education, the author believes that it is not necessarily the hardware (distance from home, lack of toilets, lack of computers etc in schools) but the software (sense of well-being, motivation, self-esteem and confidence) that plays a significant role in the children continuing education.
The author, therefore, suggests that government schools and any other schools dealing with deprived children from urban slum communities should aspire to be recognized as Trauma-Sensitive schools to give their students a wholesome joyful learning experience in an environment that not only helps them survive but thrive in the education system.
In India, trauma and psychotherapy are usually associated with the stigma of failure and weakness. It is also associated with extreme factors like witnessing suicide or being a victim of both sexual, physical or extreme verbal abuse. In this study, there has been an attempt to prove that all marginalized children going to free schools, either government or private because their family cannot afford to pay fees, experience trauma of ‘some’ kind. Domestic violence to moderately even witnessing parents struggle through finance and be subjects to verbal abuse by landlords and creditors can create a great sense of fear and insecurity leading to trauma in these children. Trauma can happen anywhere. It can happen from the home, the neighborhood or the community around. If the trauma is from the family itself then the child has nowhere to turn to for comfort or safety. In short, most children living in deprived communities experience some degree of trauma.
Educators informed about the specific needs of these classrooms can help everyone benefit. When all educators are sensitized they can create a generative social environment in which all can learn. Educators need to have an in-depth understanding of the trauma these children go through and then plan on how to optimize the learning in the classroom and the relational skills that a classroom environment can nurture.
The author recommends that the teachers of government and low-end private schools should have a sustained training program to sensitize them to their students and that can only happen if they declare themselves as therapists rather than just teachers. Government schools should label themselves as Trauma-Sensitive schools and set up systems, curriculum, pedagogy and assessments that is conducive to dealing with children that are going through trauma but have all the potential to overcome it with sensitive help.
Keywords: Trauma-sensitive schools, education, special schools, education for the poor, education issues.