Schools to face de-recognition if they fail to form transportation panels by June 30; decisions follow ‘sexual assault’ on 2 girls by drivers & attendants.
From the new academic year, a character certificate from the police department will be mandatory for school bus drivers and attendants appointed by the managements of educational institutes or private contractors.
The office of the deputy director of education (Pune region) has taken the decision in the wake of the latest two separate incidents of sexual abuse of school girls by school bus drivers and attendants. While an 11-year-old girl from a CBSE school in Wanowrie was allegedly raped by an attendant, a four-year-old girl from a school at Erandwane was allegedly raped while being taken to school.
Pune city and outskirt areas have more than 2,500 schools who rely on school buses for transportation of students. All these buses will have to abide by the decision.
“Character verification of drivers and attendants would ensure safety of students. It will also create an authorised database of these outside elements, who play a crucial role in school transportation,” Deputy Director of Education Suman Shinde told Newsline on Thursday.
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Shinde also said schools could face de-recognition if they failed to form mandatory transportation committees as stipulated in the school bus policy of the government.
“Several schools have not yet formed transportation committees even more than three years after the framing of the policy. We have set June 30 as the deadline for setting up these panels. If schools do not take necessary steps within the stipulated period, we would issue show-cause notice followed by recommendation for de-recognition in case of non-compliance,” she said.
As per School Rules and Regulations, 2011 (under the Maharashtra Motor Vehicles Act, 1989), the transportation committee would be headed by the school principal and comprising a representative each from the parent-teachers’ association, the police department, the regional transport office, the education department, local self-governing bodies and a bus contractor.
Only around 1,100 out of the 2,500 schools in the city that have school buses have set up these committees so far, as per official record.
Meanwhile, the education department, with help of the RTO, is developing a special web portal for collecting data related to school transportation committees. “The education department has the database of schools in the form of District Information System for Education (DISE) under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. On the same lines, the proposed web portal will keep record of the status of school transportation committees and their working. Any lapse on part of schools in ensuring desired functioning of the transportation committees would came to notice through the entries on the web portal, which will also be verified through surprise checks,” said Shinde.
Speaking to Newsline, Deputy Regional Transport Officer Anil Aliv said it was the responsibility of the education department to ensure schools set up transportation committees. “We can crack down on school buses and other vehicles involved in school transportation for flouting norms spelled in the school bus policy. We can also initiate on-road action,” he said.