Reputed city schools have started counselling Plus II students to help them handle ragging in college and to ensure that they themselves don’t rag their juniors.
Ragging is rare in schools, but the authorities of many ISC and CBSE institutions feel that counselling sessions will stop students from taking part in ragging when they are in college.
“Some students have the tendency to bully others. We keep an eye on students of Classes XI and XII who show such an inclination. Special counselling sessions are also organised for these students. They are told about the consequences they will have to face if they rag juniors in college or university,” said the principal of St James School, Terence Ireland.
According to the school heads, the sessions will also help students deal with mental and physical torture by seniors in the first year of college.
Ragging has been banned by the central and the state governments. Colleges and universities in West Bengal have set up special committees to prevent ragging. Almost every college and university now takes a written undertaking from students during admission, stating that they will not take part in ragging. But such measures have failed to curb the offence.
Two students of Jadavpur University were punished last year for ragging a junior. A student of Bengal Engineering and Science University fell off a balcony of a hostel, allegedly while trying to escape being ragged by seniors.
School principals feel that regulatory measures are not enough.
“Students must learn to respect the dignity of others from a young age. We have decided to organise regular counselling sessions to sensitise senior students about human rights so that they do not rag juniors in college,” said Anindita Chatterjee, the principal of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
The Raghavan Committee constituted by the Supreme Court in 2002 to suggest ways to prevent ragging in educational institutions suggested to the government that the process of motivating students against ragging should begin in school. The panel’s views prompted some of the schools to start the counselling sessions.
“We have not received any complaint about any of our former students ragging juniors in college. Still, we have decided to incorporate chapters in our value education course to help students develop the habit of respecting others. These lessons will create awareness against ragging,” said Mukta Nain, the principal of Birla High School for Boys.