Maharashtra Government is planning to make self-defense training a mandatory part of the school curriculum. Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde shared this idea as a response to the online petition by Neha Shrimal, a self-defence coach from Pune.
The petition was posted on Change.org in September 2018, where Shrimal asked to self-defence training compulsory for all the schools in Maharashtra. This move by a mother of seven-year-old girl received 1.38 lakh signatures in support.
She also made an example of the 18-year-old girl from Birbhum in West Bengal who fought off three men harassing her. She said, “This brave student shows us that girls can be empowered to face such situations with confidence, rather than feeling scared, victimised and helpless.”
“In India, over 53% children face sexual abuse. Whenever any such incidence happens, we just look at police and legal system for help. We never imagine that a girl can also have power to deal with such situations,” she added.
Shrimal also stated, “I believe that every child should be trained to protect themselves from an early age. I am asking Maharashtra Government to make self defence training compulsory for all the students from 5th standard onwards.”
“The first petition that I have received is from a Pune citizen and a mother, Neha Shrimal. Neha and 1.37 lakh citizens have asked me to Make self-defence training compulsory for all the schools in Maharashtra. I have heard you and 1.37 lakh citizens,” replied Education Minister Tawde.
Tawde also commented, “Taking due cognisance of the petition, I am now considering running the programme, and making it a part of the curriculum. We recently decided to introduce an hour-long sports session for school students. And we are planning to introduce self-defence as a part of these sessions. With this, we have decided to start mandatory self-defence training in schools.”
“Our department went through the issues raised on the online platform and we found merit in the petition. Therefore, we are seriously considering to introduce the self-defence session in the curriculum,” said a senior official from the School Education Department