July 16, 2007

Bihar Schools to have Children's Parliament

Bihar State Governmment (India) has decided to set up Bal Sansad's (Children's Parliament) in 70,000 elementary schools of the state. State Minister for Human Resource Development Brishn Patel recently inaugurated the training programme for the Master Trainers which will support setting up of the Bal Sansads. He in his address said the Bal Sansads would assist in improving the content of development and curricular activities in the schools. It will help to make the schools child-friendly. It is proposed to constitute the same by August 5, 2007.

The Master Trainers and other participants were presented the models of functioning Bal Sansads in the schools of Vaishali and Nalanda districts. As conceived, the 12-member body of the Bal Sansad would be elected by the assembly of students in a school, and would have one each of prime minister and deputy minister as well as five each of ministers and deputy ministers.

The five ministers would hold the portfolios of education, health and sanitation, water and agriculture, science and library, as well as culture and sport. Each ministry would be aided by a council of 10 to 16 students, which would advise the minister.

The students in each school would be divided into five houses to help the minister in carrying out various activities. As planned, the Student Government would meet once a month, and it would report to the students' assembly on quarterly basis the activities taken up. The aim of the Bal Sansads is to provide a platform for children to express their views and to also involve them in the developmental activities of the schools. Expectedly, the measures taken would improve the personality of the students in terms of self-awareness, leadership quality, group activities, motivation and communication skill.

UNICEF's Job Zachariah present at the occassion of its launch said 'Children, as per the Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC), have right to be consulted and involved in all matters relating to their edeucation'. 'Bal Sansad would go a long way in making the school child-friendly by improving the participation of children in school management'.

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