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Ryan school murder: Why schools are successful in flouting security norms

While the new guidelines are good, the real problem lies in implementation and monitoring of these schools. While CBSE has come out the rules with security, it is not responsible for monitoring them.

editorials Updated: Sep 20, 2017 00:20 IST
Hindustan Times
Ryan Internation,Gurgaon Ryan International,CBSE
Parents demand better security at Ryan International School in Navi Mumbai, September 12 (Hindustan Times)

The murder of an eight-year-old student of Gurgaon’s Ryan International allegedly by a bus conductor has pushed authorities to release a raft orders to ensure a repeat does not take place. On September 14, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the country’s largest education board with more than 19,000 schools, asked schools to conduct a security audit within two months.

The advisory also had eight other directives such as installing CCTVs, psychometric evaluation for staff, constitution of a parent-teacher body, and controlled access to school premises. It also asked schools to constitute separate committees for redressal of public/staff/parents/students grievances, Internal Complaints committee on sexual harassment and committees under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence) Act, 2012. Details of these committees along with contact details shall be displayed on the notice board and the school website.

The Haryana government on Tuesday issued its own set of safety guidelines.

All schools will have to mandatorily install CCTV cameras at entry and exit points, in corridors and staircases, library, infirmary, auditorium, inside elevators, dining halls, sports rooms, computer labs, entrance to classrooms, toilets, sports fields, swimming pools and areas where buses are parked.

In NOIDA, the district magistrate recently organised a daylong workshop to train the staff of schools for safety measures.

The Delhi government too had made police verification and CCTV schools a must in all private and government schools.

Meanwhile, the School and Mass Education Department in Odisha has directed all schools that each visitor, including parents, would have to produce their identity cards before entry into school premises. It also said that the contractual staff of a school should be appointed only after proper verification of their identity. This apart, they have also stressed on installing CCTV cameras at all strategic locations of the school premises.

The Mumbai Police is expected to soon issue their own set of guidelines for schools.

The Ryan International case is not a one-off incident, as Priyank Kanoongo, member-RTE and Education at National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), told HT. It is a national crisis. “A student drowned in a swimming pool at Bhopal. Such incidents are happening everywhere, in urban and rural schools. But it happens more so in private schools because there is a lack of vigilance,” added Mr Kanoongo. A major reason for this, according to him, is a lack of parents’ intervention in private schools, affecting accountability. “Under the Right To Education, the formation of a School Management Committee is mandated for government schools, but private schools are exempted. This means that around 73% of schools in India have SMCs, while others don’t. And most of schools that do not have SMCs are private schools,” he said.

While new guidelines are good, the real problem lies in implementation and monitoring of these schools. While CBSE has come out the rules with security, it is not responsible for monitoring them. It is up to the State to do so. But even in the government there’s no single-point authority that looks into the security aspect in schools in a wholesome manner. While the fire department looks at fire clearances, the police will look at security and the transport department at schools buses. This multiplicity of authorities and lack of regular review of security arrangements embolden unscrupulous schools management to cut corners, which puts children at risk.

First Published: Sep 19, 2017 16:14 IST