Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Yuva School Life Skills Programme: Its Role in Promoting Physical and Mental Well-Being of Students

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Yuva School Life Skills Programme: Its Role in Promoting Physical and Mental Well-Being of Students

Article excerpt

Adolescence is the growth phase when psychological and physiological changes take place. India has the largest population of adolescents in the world, being home to 243 million individuals aged 10-19 years. About one-quarter of India's population comprises of adolescents. India's adolescents constitute 20% of the world's 1.2 billion adolescents (UNICEF, 2009). Investing in the world's 1.2 billion adolescents, aged between 10-19 years, can break entrenched cycles of poverty and inequity, said UNICEF in its 2011 State of the World's Children Report entitled 'Adolescence: An Age of Opportunity'. It is time for India to address the issues of empowering its adolescents who are now part of global village through electronic media and internet.

The surveys conducted by Government agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations present us a picture about the physical and mental well being of India's adolescent population. Some of the figures are being presented here. 30% of the billion-strong population of the country is young people while 20% would qualify as adolescents (Census of India, 2001). The projected number of drug abusers in India is about 3 million, and most are in the age group 16-35(UNODC, 2003). More than one-quarter (27%) of Indian women age 20-49 married before age 15; over half (58%) married before legal age of 18, and three-quarter (74%) married before reaching age 20 (NFHS III, Vol. II p. 212, 2007). Only 15% youth reported that they had received family life or sex education in school or through special programs sponsored by the government or NGOs ('Youth in India: Situation and Needs 2006-07'). 83% young men and 78% young women in the age group 15-24 expressed that they perceived family life education to be important (IIPS: Pop Council Youth survey, 2006-07). As regards discussion on sexuality issues with parents, low figures of 0-2% of young men and 1 -6% of young women had discussed romantic relationships and reproductive processes with either parent. An extremely significant 47% of women and 16% men reported having never received any information on sexual matters from anybody. 19% of young women aged 20-24 were married before age 15,49% before age 18 and 67% before age 20. In contrast, just 7% of young men aged 20-24 were married before age 18 and 16% before age 20 ('Youth in India: Situation and Needs 2006-07'; conducted by the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, and Population Council, New Delhi). Among women age 25-49,20% had sexual intercourse before they were 15 years old, and 55% before age 18 (NFHS III, Vol. II p.217,2007). Overall, one in six women age 15-19 has begun childbearing (NFHS III, Vol. II p.33, 2007). 35% of all reported AIDS cases in India occur among young people in the age group of 15-24 years and more than 50% of the new HIV infections occur also among young people (NACO, 2005). Over 50% of all new HIV infections in India take place among young adults between 15-24 years (UNICEF India). In spite of heavy campaigning, 60% women in India had never heard of HIV and AIDS (NFHS III, 2007). According to a national level Indian study on child abuse conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2007, out of a total of 12,447 children, across 13 states, 53.22% reported having faced severe and other forms of sexual abuse. Among them 52.94% were boys and 47.06% girls. Approximately 70% of abused children have never reported the matter to anyone. In Uttar Pradesh, only 8.7% of married women ages 15-19 reported use of condoms. (NFHS-3,2005-06: UP 2007).

These figures make us aware about the alarming conditions. Many state governments as well as NGOs have taken initiatives to address these problems. Uttarakhand's Government launched Vidyalayi AIDS Shiksha Karyakram (Schools AIDS Education Programme) and Rajasthan's Government launched Jivan Kaushal Shiksha (Life Skills Education). Rajasthan Govt, introduced Life Skills Education as a compulsory subject for class XI in all Govt, and Private schools in year 2005; they used the framework of Core Life Skills with a focus on empowering adolescents to make informed choices and decisions. …

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