Saturday, Jul 02, 2022

We Have Expectations

A Ch Marak

Education Secretary, Meghalaya, A Ch Marak, says that programs like TBBT can teach children about their growth and development, both physically and mentally

What benefits can you achieve from this program?

I think there are a lot of benefits. TBBT will teach children about growth and development, both physically and mentally. It will be a good and ideal program for especially those who are approaching adolescence. Our schools’ curriculum is not designed to address issues like kids’ sexuality, adulthood and gender parity. Therefore, TBBT will be a great help.  

Meghalaya runs an awareness program on similar lines? So will PLAN India’s initiative complement it and take it forward?

What we are running is not a special curriculum framework about sexuality and the physical and mental growth of children. TBBT will spread awareness among children heading towards adulthood. It is quite difficult to talk about sex and sexuality with kids. Especially among the parents who feel shy to explain to their children. Irrespective of gender, children feel shy to talk about sexuality and their physical growth. It is a challenging program, especially among the tribal population. I believe that the people involved with PLAN India are trained and know how to handle the situation. They can deal with it and address the problem of sexuality among young adults. Although it is difficult, the experts from PLAN India are resourceful and capable of sensitizing the children and adolescents for this cause.

How do you implement it with PLAN India?

We have introduced it among school staff, school principals, churches, coordinators, district education officers, block school education officers, etc. In the next step, we will run an awareness program in the districts with the active support and help of the PLAN India group. Hopefully, the awareness campaign will enhance people’s participation. Of course, we haven’t been able to incorporate it in the curriculum and textbooks. However, we believe that with the help of our stakeholders, we will be able to achieve the desired benefits.

Since you have a MoU, can you share the role of the state government and PLAN India?

As per the MoU, we give logistic arrangements and coordination. For instance, coordinating with school heads, institutions, principals, and providing infrastructure is our responsibility. PLAN India provides us with trainers and mentors. So we both have collaborated to make this program a success.

What are your expectations from TBBT?

We have high expectations. I believe the children will benefit by learning and listening to the lectures, participating in the talks and awareness campaigns. We expect that it will have a great impact on their minds and physical education. Also, this will help the children to understand their sexual health and physical growth. It will help reduce crime against children too.

Who are the other stakeholders?

We will collaborate with NGOs. We will discuss with PLAN India on how to take the program across the state so that we will cover all the schools. We will talk to community leaders in the rural and urban areas.