Taking note of the ignorant attitude of local schools in implementation the safe transport policy for students nearly two months after its formation, the UT education department on Tuesday sent notices to all government and private schools, addressing concern regarding the same.
Commenting on the issue, deputy director school education Chanchal Singh said, “After receiving a letter from the Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CCPCR), we decided to address the issue before it’s too late as the department is concerned over the safety of the students.”
This comes at the backdrop of the advisory sent by the child rights panel on Friday after contraceptives were found in school buses, the third instance over a span of less than 10 days. The directives issued to all schools stated, ‘Keeping in mind safety of children, this is being considered as a serious action and the schools are directed to ensure that the first aid box do not contain contraceptive, failing which the CCPCR in future will recommend stringent action to the state transport authority’.
CCPCR president Devi Sirohi said, “We have been very lenient so far, but looking at the laid back attitude of the school authorities in abiding by the safety transport policy during the inspections, we have decided to not refrain from taking action if such an incident occurs again. It is perhaps the last warning to all the schools.”
Meanwhile, the inspections being conducted by the committees, comprising of members of the education department, state transport authority as well as the commission itself, has clearly revealed that not even a single government or private school has been, so far, found to be following the guidelines to the fullest. Most schools don’t have verification documents of the drivers and conductors, while others are deprived of emergency exit doors and how to use the same.
Sources in the commission office also shared that few private schools were even deprived of GPS to date. Furthermore, during the inspection of Mount Carmel and Bhavan Vidyalaya, lack of proper emergency exit in school buses was taken note of. Mount Carmel even submitted an undertaking to the CCPCR, claiming that they abide by the same at the earliest.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Sirohi said, “Let alone female attendants being less qualified, the drivers aren’t even carrying the list of students and their blood groups as stated in the policy. Besides, barring Crocin, the medicines in the first aid box are supposed to vary prescription by doctors.”
President of the Independent School’s Association HS Mamik, said, “It is like the chief justice asking as to why the cars are not parked properly in the high court. The buses belong to the contractors and they are instructed to do so. The schools are trying to help, but it is not their core competency. Is anybody checking the local buses for similar requirements, these commuters are as precious as our children.”