Coming down heavily upon Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia today alleged that “BJP has become an adversary of education; plotting to derail ‘Desh Ke Mentor’ program” with the help of National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), which has recommended that the programme be suspended until the safety “loopholes” is “overhauled”.
“BJP is giving ridiculous reasons to halt the ‘Desh Ke Mentor’ program; They want Delhi government to do police verification of poor government school students instead of giving them career guidance,” alleged Sisodia.
Talking about the complaint registered against the ‘Desh Ke Mentor’ program at NCPCR, Sisodia said that the complainant, in this case, is none but a worker of BJP from Chhattisgarh.
“When they had sent us the notice, we replied to the commission clearly that we are taking all precautions for children’s safety and use specially designed psychometric tests to assess mentors. But they have sent another notice highlighting that mentees (who are students of Delhi government schools) are not undergoing police verification and mentors (who are from such reputed colleges and universities) might be involved in crimes related to children,” said Sisodia.
The minister said, “‘Desh Ke Mentor’ program is the country’s largest mentoring program by the Kejriwal government. Its aim is to build a community of youth who are part of the culture of volunteering and are working to create spaces for students to have an open dialogue about their careers, opinions, and everyday choices.”
Under this program students and professionals from educated backgrounds are given an opportunity to help or mentor a student/students (of Class 9-12) from Delhi government schools. Mentors counsel students about new-age professions and job opportunities and how one can choose a correct path for their dream jobs or business.
Sisodia said that all students who have got mentors have submitted consent letters from their parents. Also, we have made sure that all female students are guided by female mentors and male students by male mentors.
Currently, 1.76 children are being mentored under this program and they are very happy, he added.
The Deputy Chief Minister said that the BJP alleges that the police verification of school children was not done. And the extent was reached when NCPCR said that it can lead to child trafficking and cybercrime.
The Commission stated that it received a representation from one Lalit Wadher last year, who alleged that the programme allows children to get in contact with “unknown persons”, and exposes them to danger.
To which, Sisodia said: “Those who volunteered to be mentors are made to undergo a psychometric test, their educational background is taken care of and they have trained accordingly, only after which they are assigned a mentee. We have also ensured that mentees are only assigned mentors of the same gender.”