Is Education department under-reporting child abuse cases?

“We didn’t receive any child abuse case from any government school this year from district nodal officers,” an official at DSEK said wishing not to be named.

SYED RIZWAN GEELANI
Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 23 2017 12:44AM | Updated Date: Nov 23 2017 12:44AM
Is Education department under-reporting child abuse cases?File Photo

It seems that the school education department is under-reporting the child abuse cases as most of the cases don’t exist in official records.

The figures available with the directorate of school educating Kashmir reveal that no child abuse case was reported this year in schools. The official record has no mention of the case wherein a teacher was arrested on charges of molestation and lodged at police station Magam on May 10.

As per the figures available with the grievance cell of the directorate of school education Kashmir (DSEK), only three child abuse cases were reported in 2016 besides 11 cases of corporal punishment given to students in government schools.

“We didn’t receive any child abuse case from any government school this year from district nodal officers,” an official at DSEK said wishing not to be named.

As per the figures one each case of child abuse has been registered in Bandipora, Pulwama and Shopian district during the year 2016. Also, five cases of corporal punishment have been registered in Kupwara besides one case each in Bandipora, Baramulla, Kulgam, Budgam, Shopian and Srinagar districts in the same year.

Later no case was reported in 2017. “The grievance cell was established in 2015 and it started fully functioning from 2016,” the official said

However, the grievance cell which was established to receive complaints and grievances was apparently made defunct as no case was sent to the cell from districts in 2017.

“The fact is that most of the cases go unreported now. In case of any child abuse case or incident of corporal punishment, no report is submitted to the directorate. As a result of which the cases get hushed up,” the official said.

“Earlier, the authorities had asked all CEOs to send all child abuse cases to the directorate but now nobody cares for these issues,” he said.

The official said apart from child abuse cases, the grievance cell used to register other grievances of teachers who were denied timely salaries or promotions.

“Earlier, department used to take cognizance of grievances received and were addressed accordingly. But the priorities have changed now,” the official said.

Director school education Kashmir GN Itoo said the directorate has setup an internal grievance cell wherein all grievances or complaints are registered online and processed accordingly.

“We have a separate team for it who check online complaints and grievances which are followed by appropriate action as well,” Itoo said.