DAYS AFTER seven-year-old student Pradyuman Thakur’s murder in a Gurgaon school, the Haryana government on Friday announced that the law related to the safety of students would be amended. State Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma said it would be amended in the ensuing session of the Assembly. Education department officials have the power to give directions to the management committees of schools under the Haryana School Education Act, 1995.
Sharma said the Pradyuman murder case has been handed over to CBI and keeping in view the current situation, the state government has appointed the deputy commissioner of Gurgaon as administrator of Ryan International School for three months. Thereafter, the situation would be reviewed and if any loopholes were found in the implementation of rules, then the term of the administrator could be increased further. The minister said the state government was committed to ensuring the safety of students without compromise. “If any school does not comply with the prescribed rules, the state government could take over the school concerned and strict action would be initiated,” he added.
Additional Chief Secretary, School Education, K K Khandelwal, said the state government has framed regulations on school safety for government and private aided and un-aided schools. He said three-level safety committees at district, subdivisional and school levels would be formed, headed by the deputy commissioner, subdivisional magistrate and school head, respectively.
Khandelwal said according to the safety measures, while the child is on the way to school, students would be provided safe transportation with female escort. Trained and trusted staff such as driver, conductor, escort and manager, safe picking up and dropping, smart monitoring through CCTV and GPS tracking, handing over child to authorised persons only and fire safety, first aid, speed governors and proper visibility inside the vehicle are also part of such measures.
Khandelwal further stated that when the student reaches school, entry and exit records of all visitors should be maintained without fail. Other steps are attendance and reporting of absentees, compulsory ID cards for staff and students, special attention to secure access to accident and abuse-prone areas inside the school and extreme caution to prevent child from drowning, electric shock, fire or injury. No labourers in proximity of students, no construction work to be carried out during school hours and no adult, except female sweepers, would have access to student toilets.
He said the schools should have adequate surveillance via CCTV cameras besides ensuring safe neighbouring premises, no intrusion or peeping into school premises. Other safety measures include mock drills for any hazard, proper sensitisation and practice for children, parents and staff, providing training in self-defence, special attention to children with special need and no suppression, violation and humiliation. He said school counsellors should be engaged or empanelled, besides having a dedicated child helpline. The complaints should be disposed of in a time-bound manner and prompt action be taken against wrongdoers. Awareness should be created about internet hazards, road safety and legal literacy.
Khandelwal even warned of stern action if the regulations were not complied with.