NGO demands regulations for school picnics across Maharashtra

Schools across Maharashtra may soon have to comply with specific regulations to organise picnics if the demand made by an NGO is accepted by the state government.

The casual approach of certain schools toward organising picnics has raised serious concerns over various issues including over the quality of food, water and transport services offered on a trip by the school. More importantly complaints have been registered on students’ safety being compromised on several occasions. Following the entire scenario, 'Forum for Fairness in Education', an NGO working in the education sector, is demanding the state government fix specific regulations for schools to take children on picnics and also for picnic venues.

Jayant Jain, President of the NGO, said, “Picnics are many times an expensive affair, yet schools make it mandatory for students putting parents in a difficult situation, whereas it is just an additional extra-curricular activity. Moreover, such expensive activities are organised with a most casual attitude where children’s safety is compromised, they are not given appropriate food and water; the transport conditions are pathetic leading to inconvenience and mishaps. Norms have to come into place to regulate this mess. It is mandatory for schools to take prior permission from government before picnic. But neither schools do so nor parents are aware of it to pressurize school authorities.”

A parent, whose child is studying in a Navi Mumbai school and who recently registered a complaint with the Forum about problems with a school picnic, said, “After the trip, I learnt from my child how the bus ride was most inconvenient as they were filled beyond capacity. Three students were made to sit on a seat for two and four students were made to sit on a seat for three. There have to be regulations for school picnics.”

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