With some help from the toll-free telephone number 14417 that is to be launched before the year-end, the education department in Tamil Nadu will be testing a different way of dealing with academic bureaucracy, exam stress and sometimes even children looking for homework help.
Education minister K A Sengottaiyan had earlier announced that a special student helpline would serve as a platform to redress grievances of students and parents and also provide career guidance, especially for higher secondary students. This is also aimed at guiding students especially in rural areas.
Health minister C Vijayabaskar said the idea came up when health department officials found that students and parents had very little information and most weren’t happy with circulars pinned up on the school notice board or with reports in the media.
A five-member team including psychologists, career guidance professionals, retired teachers and education department officials will be handling calls. “All calls will be recorded. Attempts would be made to provide immediate solution to the grievance. If it is not possible, problems will be transferred to the respective district officer,” he said.
Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) officials said upon receiving a call, the emergency response officer will receive details of the caller, record the nature of the issue, and disseminate information to the official concerned.
EMRI also said that after 48 hours, a follow up call will be carried out for unresolved issues. Daily or monthly reports may also be shared with the respective department heads.
The department officials said that data generated by the helpline centre will enable planners to make timely interventions and course corrections. It would also help assess new trends and measure impact of new regulations and welfare schemes of the department.
The counsellors will also disseminate information about students’ welfare schemes, and also take comments and complain about teachers or infrastructure on campus.
The helpline will function with an integrated approach along with other helplines like 108 Emergency Response Service, 104 Health Helpline, 1098 Child Helpline, 100 Police, and District Child Protection Officers.
Source: Times of India