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Maharashtra government stays new school bus policy, for now

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday stayed implementation of a recent controversial Government Resolution (GR) on school bus policy that had come into effect on November 18. The GR had raised hacckles among principals since it held them responsible for anything that happened to a child, even outside the school premise while travelling in school bus.

The GR also stated that no private vehicles would be allowed to ferry children to and from school. It also made the school responsible for making an agreement with the bus operators and also on keeping a check on school bus.

While several schools have okay with taking responsibility for ensuring that their buses follow all safety norms, there are man yprincipals who are upset at the idea of being made responsible for the children's safety outside the school premises.

The Maharashtra State Secondary and Higher Secondary School Principals’ Association (MSSHSSPA) has written to school education minister Rajendra Darda, demanding four guidelines of the policy be changed.

“We want the department to improve guideline number 1, 2, 4 and 6,” reads the letter. Guideline numbers 1, 2 and 4 refer to the responsibility that the principal must undertake and guideline number 6 says no school shall allow any student to come to school by vehicles other than buses provided by the school.

The state level principals association have also threatened to boycott the board exams if the policy isn't taken back and changed in consultation with them. 

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