In a bid to provide psychological support to young students during the testing times of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 1,000 government schools in Jammu have started ‘happiness zones’. According to officials, these zones have been created according to the directions of the education ministry endorsed by the directorate of school education. Officials said that more such zones will be opened in schools as they reopen after vacations.
“Acknowledging the importance of mental health, especially in the post Covid pandemic scenario, more than 1,000 government schools of Jammu division have created happiness zones to provide safe and psychologically comfortable spaces within the school premises where students can talk about their feelings and emotions unhesitatingly and in a confidential manner,” a senior officer said.
This is a first-of-its-kind initiative. All schools from middle to higher secondary has been asked by the directorate of school education, Jammu
to create such zones to provide psychosocial support to students as per ‘Manodarpan’ guidelines.
According to officials, trained faculty counsellors working in counselling cells of these schools are rendering their services in these zones.
Mandorpan is an initiative that has been started by the Ministry of Education with the aim to provide psycho-social support and counselling to students for their mental health and well-being during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond.
The pandemic is not only a serious medical concern but also brings mixed emotions and psycho-social stress for all, the official said.
The counselling cell is organising regular capacity development programmes and webinars for teachers in collaboration with reliable institutions to develop counselling skills in teachers, they said.
Ravi Shankar Sharma, Director of School Education, Jammu said students coming to schools after such a long gap may experience a heightened level of stress, anxiety, and fearfulness along with a wide range of other emotional and behavioural issues due to the Covid situation.
“We need to be prepared to offer students a healthy and psychologically safe environment to safeguard them. Happiness of the child is directly linked with academic outcomes and to improve attention, retention of students we have to ensure mental health, safety and security of students,” he said.
Romesh Kumar Sharma, in-charge of the counselling cell said constitution of happiness zones in schools will create a culture of individualised guidance and counselling. It will go a long way in ensuring the overall well-being of students besides providing psychosocial support to them, he said.