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The right of the child, should not be abused in a society, also in the school campus and even at home. Yet there is not enough protection, even in schools, when children are burdened carrying school bags, which are heavier than the weight of the child. This is a sort of punishment, that the child has to suffer day in and day out. Coming back home, the child is also burdened by home work, and there is hardly time left for the child to spend in games that can refresh their minds. There is a saying that ‘All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy’.

Then there are cases of high handedness by some of the teachers who bully children in the class room. In a recent case in Tura in the Garo Hills, the headmistress of a school beat up a student on her failure to bring her workbook to school. The assaulted girl child suffered severe pain in her head, as well as a deep gash behind her ear. This was confirmed by the District Administration and an FIR had also been filed, with steps in following up an investigation. The District Deputy Commissioner Ram Singh said a magistrate and the District Child Protection Officer would conduct an enquiry, and action would be taken. The Deputy Commissioner had also called a meeting of all private schools in discussion of the matter and to see that such incidents are not repeated in the future.

Therefore, Children’s rights are the perceived human rights of the child, with particular attention to such rights and at the same time special protection and care taken for those who belong to the young and tender age. Children’s right has therefore become a slogan in need of a definition.

Carrying of overweight school bags for instance has been a great concern nationwide. It has become the prerogative of the school teacher in framing the school routine in such manner, thus forcing the children in bringing sometimes all the books including copy books. Shillong for instance is known as the centre for education in the entire North East, where students are admitted in both private and public schools including those run by the Government. The main concern of parents is therefore in getting a child admitted in one of the schools without caring of the suffering of a child.

The Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) had also submitted a letter to the Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui expressing their concern over the weight of school bags of children. KHNAM State Youth Wing President Thomas Passah said that “with great concern on the health of the school going children, we have on several occasions submitted a memorandum to the Government of Meghalaya to ensure that weight of School bags for Children is well within the limits, but we have not been informed weather any steps have been initiated till date”. Thomas Passah said they had spoken to parents and found out most schools by-pass the guidelines in the notification of the Education Department on February 11th 2019.

The KHNAM recently conducted surprise checking on school in Mawprem and Lower Mawprem and found out several school do not follow the norms laid by the Ministry. The KHNAM has urged the State Government to ensure that the guidelines are strictly followed and to take punitive actions against schools. In this connection, the KHNAM said it will continue to conduct a surprise checking in schools and to lodge a complaint against the schools to the authorities concern if the guidelines are not adhered to.

Sumar Sing Sawian

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