Kerala to include POCSO Act awareness in school curriculum: SCERT tells Kerala High Court

The Court was considering a case that it had kept open to assess and rectify the specific issue of cases being filed against teenagers for unwittingly committing a crime punishable under the POCSO Act.

The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) has informed the Kerala High Court that awareness of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) would be made part of the school curriculum from the next academic year onwards. [Anoop v State of Kerala & Ors.]

The standing counsel for the SCERT told Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas of the development in a case before the Court to assess and rectify the specific issue of cases being registered against teenagers who unwittingly commit crimes punishable under the POCSO Act.

The Court was informed that text books would be prepared by experts giving due importance and sensitivity to this issue.

It was also assured on behalf of SCERT that awareness about POCSO will be made part of the curriculum with effect from the academic year 2024- 2025 positively for standards I, III, V, VI, VIII and IX while that for standards II, IV, VII and X will be implemented from the academic year 2025-2026,” stated the order passed on August 10.

The Court also noted that after the curriculum is revised, workshops will have to be conducted for teachers.

During a previous hearing of the case, the Court had strongly rebuked the State government for delaying the implementation of its orders to create and include in school curricula, a prevention-oriented programme on sexual abuse.

However, when the matter was heard last week, the State government informed the Court that in May this year, a one-day training programme was conducted for teachers regarding POCSO awareness. Around 1,12,000 teachers had attended the training held at various venues in the State, the State said.

The Court was also informed by the Kerala State Legal Services Authority that under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, higher secondary school teachers were given orientation classes.

The Court recorded its appreciation for these efforts by the KELSA, the State as well as the SCERT for their attempt to implement POCSO awareness through a revised curriculum for children and other methods.

The matter will be taken up next on September 18.

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