iconimg Saturday, September 05, 2015

Shaswati Das , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 03, 2013
The shocking incident of a javelin piercing an 11-year-old student at a school in Chittaranjan Park has raised serious questions about the safety of children in playgrounds. The incident happened at the Government Boys Senior Secondary School in south Delhi when a group of 15-odd boys of Class 10 were allegedly playing with a javelin.

The physical education (PE) teacher was in the staff room at that time.

Though the Delhi government later terminated the services of the teacher, it is still not known how the boys got access to the equipment.

“There has to be complete accountability as far as school playgrounds are concerned. There are issues of physical safety here, especially when it comes to sporting activities such as discus, shotput and javelin which are dangerous games and should only be played under strict supervision. These objects should only be handled by the teacher alone,” said Ameeta Wattal, chairperson, National Progressive Schools’ Conference (NPSC).

Schools say close monitoring is necessary to cater to medical emergencies.

“Whenever children assemble on the playground, there must always be someone to monitor them. These children are always susceptible to physical injuries... if any one gets an asthmatic attack, there must be a professional to assist them. A playground is a massive space and it takes quite a while to get help if there is trouble,” Wattal added.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has already issued safety guidelines to schools regarding disaster management.

For example, schools need to post lifeguards at swimming pools; they also need to ensure no hazardous materials are stored near playgrounds.

The Delhi government has also maintained that it is the job of the PE teacher to ensure safety of children.