Mentors for Delhi govt programme to undergo psychometric evaluation: Sisodia; NCPCR raises doubts

All guides involved in Delhi government's 'Desh Ka Mentor' programme are being made to undertake psychometric evaluation before they are taken on board, Manish Sisodia said on Friday

Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia
Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia
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PTI

All guides involved in the Delhi government's 'Desh Ka Mentor' programme are being made to undertake psychometric evaluation before they are taken on board, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Friday even as the NCPCR questioned whether the tests can identify potential pedophiles.

Sisodia made the comments in response to objections raised by child rights' body National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Thursday seeking suspension of the programme saying children are being exposed to unknown people and the potential for crime and abuse.

He also accused the BJP of "plotting to derail" the programme and becoming an adversary of education and said all objections raised by NCPCR are "politically motivated".

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter saying, "if some good work is happening in the country than rather than trying to stop it, it should be implemented across the country. I appeal the BJP to not politicise the issue. This is the question of poor children's issue and through this programme education is becoming a mass movement."

Addressing a press conference, Sisodia said, "We have taken extreme care on these subjects while deciding the structure of the programme. Under the programme, all female students are allotted female mentors while all male students are allotted male mentors. Parental consent has been made mandatory for students to seek allotment of a mentor under the programme."

"All those who have come forward to participate as mentors are being made to undertake psychometric evaluation and only those who pass the test are being allotted mentees. We have rejected 750 people who failed the test," he said.

Responding to Sisodia's comments, NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanongoo alleged that the Delhi government is politicising the issue. Delhi BJP Spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor also alleged that the way Sisodia has reacted on NCPCR order withholding continuation of the programme once again reflects the "anarchic behaviour and disrespect of Delhi Government towards quasi judicial bodies".

The 'Desh Ka Mentor' programme, which has Bollywood actor Sonu Sood as its brand ambassador, was launched by the Delhi government in October. Under the programme, students of classes 9 to 12 of Delhi government schools will be guided by dedicated mentors in exploring diverse career and life options.

It entails "adopting" up to 10 government school students to be mentored by citizens who are successful in their respective fields.

Claiming that the programme which aims at providing career guidance to schoolchildren will expose them to certain dangers, the NCPCR last month wrote to the Delhi chief secretary and again earlier this week to say the response received was "ineffectual".

The programme should be suspended till all loopholes pertaining to the safety of children are "overhauled", it said, adding that the response received appears to be "ineffectual in completely dousing the safety issues pertaining to the exposure of children towards unknown people leading to potential crime/abuse".


The NCPCR chairperson questioned what issue does the Delhi government has in conducting police verification of the mentors of the programme.

"The Delhi government is hiding its own inefficiency by not conducting the police verification here. Moreover they are saying that a psychometric test of the mentors is conducted," Kanongoo told PTI.

"I want to ask them: Is this psychometric test a full proof assessment of a person in terms of potential threat to any child? Is this psychometric test analysed, checked or scrutinised by professional practising experts? Can this psychometric test identify pedophiles or potential pedophiles," he asked.

He also said that Sisodia mentioned that parents consent is taken, if you are repeatedly saying that these children come from poor sections of society and need career guidance then how can you expect the parents to be capable of taking the decision of participation in the programme.

"Delhi government is washing its hands from responsibility of these children. Instead of fixing the loopholes highlighted by us, they are turning a blind eye," Kanongoo said.

Sisodia alleged that BJP doesn't want poor children to have a chance to attend world-class universities.

"BJP has become an adversary of education. It is plotting to derail 'Desh Ke Mentor' program assisting thousands of Delhi Government school students in shaping their careers. BJP doesn't want poor children to have a chance to attend world-class universities so it can spread hate & filth through its 'WhatsApp University'. BJP is terrified of the success of poor children through 'Desh Ke Mentor' and is stopping the program using a planted complaint of a BJP worker.

"They have given absolutely ridiculous reasons to stop this program. They want us to do police verification of students who are undergoing mentoring. We have a well designed process to assess and select mentors for our children of Delhi government schools. All those who apply for being mentors go through a psychometric test and then they are trained on all aspects of mentoring children," he said.

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