After serious concerns were raised over security measures at municipal schools, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) education committee has decided to get CCTV cameras installed in all corporation-run schools. The committee, in a meeting held last week, also made police verification before appointing security guards and caretakers mandatory in the schools.
BMC’s education committee chairman Shubhada Gudekar has sought a report from the administration on the number of CCTVs needed and the total cost of the project. The murder of seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur at Ryan International school in Gurgaon, apart from several cases of sexual harassment of children in schools reported from different parts of the country, worried some corporators who took up the issue. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), corporator Dr Saeeda Khan, inquired as to how many BMC schools have installed CCTVs.
“To my shock, I was told that not a single BMC school has CCTV cameras,” Khan said. She alleged that the administration had often told her that there was no budget provision for installing a CCTVs. It prompted Khan to raise the issue at the education committee meeting last week. During the meeting, she raised a point of order over the issue of safety of children studying in BMC-run schools. She alleged that the behaviour of security guards and other staff like caretakers in the schools is bad with the students. Many other corporators agreed with her, she said.
“The safety of students at civic schools should be a priority. When installing CCTV cameras in private schools has been made mandatory then why not the same be implemented at BMC schools?” asked Khan. Following her point of order, other members of the committee, too, agreed that CCTVs must be installed at all civic schools.
Education committee chairman Gudekar said: “I clearly said that a report on the number of CCTV cameras needed and the cost estimate should be submitted at the earliest. We want CCTVs to be installed at all civic schools by the end of this academic year.” She added: “Now, it will be mandatory to get a police verification before appointing security guard or a caretaker at BMC schools.” Mahesh Palkar, the BMC education officer, was unavailable for comment.