The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) told the Kerala High Court that awareness of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) will be included in the school curriculum from the upcoming academic year.
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.
Textbooks would be prepared by experts giving due importance and sensitivity to this case, the court was told.
The Court order passed on August 10 stated, “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.”
Following the revision of the curriculum, workshops will have to conducted for teachers, the court further noted.
Earlier, the Court had strongly rebuked the state government during a previous hearing of the case for delaying the implementation of its orders to create and include in school curricula, a prevention-oriented programme on sexual abuse.
The state government however, told the Court last week that in May this year, a one-day training programme was conducted for teachers regarding POCSO awareness which was attended by around 1,12,000 teachers across various venues in the state.
The Court was told that the Kerala State Legal Services Authority that under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, higher secondary school teachers were given orientation classes.
The Court also placed on record 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 among other methods. The matter was posted for next hearing on September 18.