Mission Navchetna: when schools open, the Center is preparing to launch a drug awareness mission for grades 6 to 11

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As schools across the country resume regular offline classes, the Center is preparing to launch a major mission to educate 11-16 year olds and their parents about substance abuse, associated coping strategies and life skills.

Under this initiative named Mission Navchetna, ministries and departments are teaming up to train more than one million teachers in every district of the country to raise awareness of the threat. These teachers will take the message to every school in the country, public and private, starting in July, people familiar with the development told ET.

It is considered crucial, as studies have indicated that the age of initiation into drug abuse has decreased. A 2019 survey by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) had indicated that more than 4.58 lakh children engaged in the abuse of inhalants.

A high-level interdepartmental meeting was held on April 6 to ensure the mission moves forward this month, so that it is fully launched in July as the school’s academic session kicks off in apart mode. whole, said the people quoted above.

The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) of the School Education Department of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will unite and coordinate down to the level of the district to begin teacher training from May 15, they said.

The Department of Social Justice writes to District Collectors asking them to identify 4-5 Master Trainers in each district to help further the mission.

At the center of the mission, however, are online modules called Navchetna. Prepared by the non-governmental organization Society for Promotion of Youth & Masses (SPYM) in collaboration with World Health Organization representative Gary Reid and consultant Kalyani V, the Navchetna modules are divided into two – one set targeting children in classes 6, 7 and 8, and the other for classes 9, 10 and 11.

Class 12 has been left out for the time being given their preoccupation with academics and entrance exams.

In total, there will be nine segments in these modules – four each for outreach to students in both age groups and one dedicated to parents. The module for grades 6, 7 and 8 will start with aspects such as living and eating healthy and the recognition of food groups, and will continue with the assessment and management of risk situations, good and bad contacts and smart ways to stay safe. It will end with awareness sections on drugs, alcohol, tobacco and inhalants.

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