Issues circular listing guidelines for all its schools to implement with immediate effect, failing which strict action, including disaffiliation, will be initiated
Children's safety in schools has become a major cause for concern, and to that end, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has directed all its schools to get safety audits done by their local police stations within two months. It has also told schools to get police verification as well psychometric evaluation done of all employees, especially the non-teaching staff, namely bus drivers, conductors and peons among others. And these people should be employed from authorised agencies only, it has added.
The CBSE has issued a new set of safety guidelines for its schools, accompanied by a strict warning that any school found not adhering to these would face appropriate action, including disaffiliation.
Following the murder of a Std II student in Gurugram's Ryan International School, alarm bells rang all across the country over safety of children in schools. In the absence of any standard operating procedure, CBSE's safety guidelines have come as a relief for parents, who hope that other schools will follow suit. CBSE has issued a circular in this regard to all affiliated schools.
"With children spending most of their time in school, parents' concern about their safety is increasing… regarding their physical safety, mental and emotional health… owing to increasing (worrying) incidents. The onus to ensure safety of children on school premises lies solely on school authorities. It is the fundamental right of a child to engage and study in an environment where s/he feels safe and is free from any form of physical or emotional abuse or harassment," states the circular.
It lists out a few measures that need to be taken care of by schools with immediate effect. These include a safety audit of the premises and the staff and a compiled report uploaded on CBSE's official website within two months from the date of the circular. The police verification and psychometric evaluation of the non-teaching staff in particular should be done in a detailed manner, schools have been told.
Yes and no
Reacting to the new guidelines, Deepshika Shrivastava, principal of Andheri's Rajhans School, said, "Earlier, safety guidelines by the board included an audit of school bus service providers. This is the first time that such an exhaustive list of guidelines has been issued by CBSE. It's a good move though, as it not only brings uniformity and clarity, but also allows principals to demand that staff members as well as management get it done, as it is board mandate."
Shrivastava added, "It might be a bit embarrassing at first, but then, we need to be transparent, and all this is for a good cause."
"While the guidelines are welcoming, it will add to a school's responsibilities. Other than (imparting) education, schools have too many other tasks to take care of. Once we submit the safety audit, it will end up becoming a regular thing, with schools asked to keep conducting them periodically," complained a principal from a school.
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>> Get a safety audit of the premises and personnel done from your local police station and follow security-related advice for students' safety. Upload the report on www.cbse.nic.in within two months of receipt of this circular.
>> Instal CCTV cameras at vulnerable areas/points on the school premises and ensure that they are functional at all times.
>> Get police verification and psychometric evaluation done of all employees. That of non-teaching staff should be done very carefully and in a detailed manner.
>> Ensure that support staff is employed only from authorised agencies, and proper records are maintained.
>> Constitute a parent-teacher-student committee to address children's safety needs and take regular feedback from parents in this regard.
>> Control and monitor access to school building of outsiders and visitors.
>> Provide training and development to staff to make them aware of their responsibilities to protect children from any form of abuse.
>> Constitute separate committees for redressal of public/staff/parents/students' grievances, an internal complaints committee on sexual harassment, and committees under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, 2012, and display details of these along with contact information prominently on notice boards and the school website.
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