After recent cases of child abuse reported in schools, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has announced new initiatives to make its premises safer for children.
The schools will install CCTV cameras, form complaints committee and train teachers to monitor any misconduct by staff.
These initiatives have been taken in compliance with the Protection of Child From Sexual Offence (POCSO) Act 2012.
“Teachers, management and all employees of the institutions need to be aware about the provisions of the Act, some of which entails them to be vigilant and report instances of child abuse, as in sections 19(I) and 21,” said Rama Sharma, public relations officer, CBSE.
To improve the response system to complaints of child abuse, the schools have been asked to form committees consisting of a male and female student, the principal, teachers and members of the non-teaching staff.
“This committee will help in taking immediate action on the cases,” said Sharma.
Complaints or suggestion boxes will also be provided in each school so that students can make written complaints. “Any complaint of sexual abuse need to be acted upon immediately,” he added.
Initiatives have also been taken to focus on training teachers to be gender-sensitive and monitor children closely for signs of child abuse. Under the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) scheme, 23 modules based on life skills have been prepared for the trainers to give an insight to the growing up issues, managing emotions, gender, social and other issues of discrimination.
Principals from city schools said it will be easy for them to follow these measures. “Since the role of the school has been clearly defined, we will be able to follow them properly. A lot of these are already in place in our school,” said Avnita Bir, principal, RN Podar International School, Santacruz.
Making schools a safe haven
* Gender-sensitivity: CBSE has developed educator’s manual and cards on gender sensitivity. It has been designed as a practical guide for making teaching and learning processes gender friendly. Schools have been asked to hold in-house induction sessions for teachers
* Safe premises: Installing CCTV cameras at various places on the premises, forming complaints committee and placing complaint or suggestion boxes are on the agenda
* Training: Conducting camps on health and sanitation and karate / self defence for girls
* Awareness: Teachers to be trained to address issues related to adolescence to understand students better
* Monitoring: Teachers will be told to monitor academic performance and psychological behaviour of the students and counsel them accordingly
* Informal chats: Teachers will be encouraged to hold informal conversations with students in hostels, classrooms and playgrounds?