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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Student safety at risk in MCD schools due to lack of guards

Officials from a majority of schools under Delhi’s three civic bodies — east, north and south — complain about lack of security guards.

delhi Updated: Feb 06, 2019 12:45 IST
Fareeha Iftikhar
Fareeha Iftikhar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Officials of many schools under Delhi’s three municipal corporations complain of a lack of security at the gates which put students at risk.
Officials of many schools under Delhi’s three municipal corporations complain of a lack of security at the gates which put students at risk.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo )
         

Around 10:30 on a January morning, 42-year-old principal at a North Delhi Municipal Corporation school in Jahangirpuri was busy checking files. He abruptly came out of his office, having heard some noise at the school gate. That was the third time that morning when he had to leave his work to check the gate.

“Two unknown persons were fighting on the street. One of them hid inside the school premises and the other was standing at the gate, shouting. I had to make them leave the premises. We don’t have a security person to guard the gate. The school helper sits near the gate. But, she regularly has to take the children to the washroom and also feed them. Most of the time, the main gate is left unmanned and I have to keep checking if everything is fine. It’s an all girls’ school and I can’t take any risk,” the principal said.

This is not only corporation school where officials are being put to trouble in the absence of security guards. Officials from a majority of schools under three civic bodies — east, north and south — have similar complaints. The north, east and south corporations run 765, 365 and 581 schools, respectively, and they have children up to class 5.

At an east municipal corporation school in Gandhi Nagar, the principal said she has to make the cleaning staff guard the main gate. “We have only one cleaning staff and he has three floors and the toilets to clean twice a day. He can’t guard the main gate all the time. It’s so unsafe to leave the gates open, so we latch them from inside. Someone has to go and open it every time there is a visitor,” the principal said. Similar issues were raised by the principals of south corporation schools.

Vibha Singh, senior vice-president of the MCD teachers’ association and principal of an east Delhi school, said, “It’s a long standing demand of schools under all three civic bodies to have security guards. Some schools have hired guards but there is no recruitment drive for this post. Every time we visit a school, we see gates lying open with no one watching it. Last year, a girl was molested on the premises of a civic body school in central Delhi. Who will take the responsibility if something so unfortunate happens?” she said.

Officials at education department of the civic bodies said there are no posts for security guards. “The MCDs have only “chowkidars” posts’ and they guard the school at night. The schools have safai karamchari (cleaning staff) and one or two helpers during the day. We have written it to the Delhi government’s education department multiple times to make provision for security guards for MCD schools,” a senior official of the north municipal corporation said.

Sanjay Goel, director of the Directorate of Education (DoE), said there was no need to create these posts. “The Delhi government schools also don’t have any such post but we outsource the security work to a private agency. The MCD schools can also do the same. Since these are primary schools catering to young children, they need security persons more than Delhi government schools do,” he said.

South corporation mayor Narendra Chawla said, “We don’t have resources to hire more staff members in our schools. But we understand the issue and are soon going to hire 4,000 security guards from a private agency.”

Adesh Gupta, north corporation mayor, said north civic body is also contemplating outsourcing the work, while east corporation mayor Bipin Bihari said the civic body will soon hire security guards. “The civic body understands the issues schools are facing. But we have to decide whether we will outsource the job or hire security guards,” he said.

First Published: Feb 06, 2019 12:33 IST

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