Rights body writes to chief secretary on poor infrastructure of government schools
In July last year, Nainital High Court had ordered to improve infrastructure of government schools.Updated: Mar 05, 2018 22:49 IST
Once again highlighting the palling condition of state-run schools in Uttarakhand, the state child rights body on Monday asked the state government to enforce guidelines issued by the Centre for safety of students.
The Uttarakhand Commission for Protection of Child Rights (UCPCR), in a letter to chief secretary, also suggested a list of measures to be taken immediately to improve the safety of children in state-run schools, especially those in the hills.
“Even 18 years after Uttarakhand got statehood, appalling conditions prevail in state-run primary and middle schools especially in the hills. The commission continues to get complaints to this effect and its own surveys confirm this,” UCPCR chairman Yogendra Khanduri said.
Schools are being run in dilapidated structures risking the lives of children and the roads leading to it are so unsafe that students are always under the threat of slipping down or being attacked by wild animals such as leopards, Khanduri said.
The commission’s chairman, in his letter, asked the chief secretary to ensure that immediate measures were taken by the school authorities for the safety of children.
Khanduri also suggested a list of 19 steps to be taken immediately to ramp up safety of children at schools including not permitting them to sit in dilapidated buildings, bringing the entire premises under CCTV camera surveillance and underground electric wiring among others.
It also said that schools should compulsorily have two gates and keep a first aid box always ready. Those being run in double-storey houses must have railings on the staircases, the panel said.
There should be no high tension overhead electric wires running over schools. There should be speed breakers in front of the school gates and roads leading to them should not either be slippery or overgrown with shrubs where wild animals can hide conveniently, the UCPCR said.
It said that there should be fire alarm and fire-fighting equipment, ramp for physically disabled students, and cleanliness in toilets, apart from periodic cleaning of drinking water tanks.
The commission also made a reference to directives issued by Ministry of Human Resource Development in this regard in 2014.
In addition, the letter also asks to ensure that children are not served food items prepared from products that are past expiry date. “The meal should neither be cooked nor served in open areas,” the letter read.
Routine medical check-up, limited time for prayer so that students do not have to stand for long, and lab equipment under strict observation should be ensured. Also, the Commission suggested, the students should not be scolded in public or in front of any other student.
“Our team investigated the condition of several government schools and found lacuna in security of children and also lack of basic infrastructure. We have appealed CS to ensure the listed basic requirements till July,” Khanduri said.
There are over 17000 government schools in state. In July last year, Nainital High Court had ordered to improve infrastructure of government schools. Following which the state government is engaging establishments under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to fill in the gaps.
“We are working towards providing better facilities and infrastructure to students,” Alok Shekhar Tiwari, director general (DG) school education said.
Earlier last month, the state government had imposed a ban on the use of loudspeakers at public functions, weddings, and religious places during the class 10 and 12 board examinations, which began Monday.
As per an order issued by additional secretary (Uttarakhand Administration) Ajay Rautela, music played at marriage ceremonies should not be louder than 45 decibel. The ban on the use of loudspeakers is in compliance with section 13 (1) (a) of the Protection of Child Rights Act, the government had said.