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A first: Punjab govt schools to get security guards, sanitation staff, campus managers

School Education Minister Harjot Singh Bains said that the posts of sweeper-cum-peon were lying vacant in most of the government schools.

Minister Harjot Singh Bains said Rs 123.62 crore has been sanctioned for this purpose under "Financial Support for up-keeping of Government Schools." (Express file photo by Gurmeet Singh)

Seeking to create “clean and safe” campuses, the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab has sanctioned a budget of Rs 123 crore for hiring sanitation and cleanliness staff, security guards and chowkidaar (watchmen) at state-run schools. The budget also includes fund for hiring “campus managers”, on the lines of “estate managers” in Delhi government schools, as was announced Finance Minister Harpal Cheema while tabling the Punjab Budget earlier this year.

School Education Minister Harjot Singh Bains said that the posts of sweeper-cum-peon were lying vacant in most of the government schools. “To ensure that teachers don’t have to do the job of sweepers, it has been decided to give a monthly fund to School Management Committees (SMCs) who can further hire a person for the job. Similarly, a monthly amount has been approved for SMCs to hire a security guard in all senior secondary schools and girls high schools for the safety of children. All senior secondary schools will also now have a watchman for night duty and campus managers for all managerial work that used to burden the teachers,” said Bains, adding that Rs 123.62 crore has been sanctioned for this purpose under “Financial Support for up-keeping of Government Schools.”

Sanitation and cleanliness staff

The detailed proposal, approved by the department, says that although almost all government schools in Punjab are having adequate toilets, there is no sanitation staff to clean them hence teachers and students are at health risk while using unclean washrooms. A proposal has been cleared to provide a fixed monthly amount to SMCs for hiring sanitation staff. Schools will be getting funds according to the strength of students. For sanitation staff, schools having 100-500 students will get Rs 3000 a month; 500-1000 will get Rs 6000 a month, 1000 to 1500 will get Rs 10,000 a month, schools with more than 1,500 students will get Rs 20,000 a month, and those with more than 5,000 students will get Rs 50,000 a month.

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A total budget of Rs 17.37 crore has been approved for sanitation staff for the next six months. However, this budget will not be provided to at least 10,800 government schools in the state having less than 100 students.

Security guards

The proposal says that each senior secondary school (6 to 12) and girls high school (6 to 10) will get a security guard who will be hired via an outsourcing agency on DC rates (as fixed by deputy commissioner). The guard will be “uniformed” but “without weapons.”

Two security guards in all senior secondary schools, two in each girls high school (having more than 500 students) and one security guard in girls high school having less than 500 students, will be provided, says the proposal.

Estimating Rs 20,000 as minimum expenditure for each guard per month, a budget of Rs 49.58 crore has been sanctioned.

Night watchmen

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While security guards will work in daytime, chowkidaar (night watchmen) will be roped in for keeping vigil at night. The proposal says that government schools are now equipped with computers, LED screens, projectors, tablets and other gadgets and due to lack of watchmen, many thefts are being reported. The SMCs of senior secondary schools will be given a fund of Rs 5,000 per month to hire a watchman. Currently, there are only 30 senior secondary schools in the state having watchmen on duty, says the proposal.

Campus managers

Campus managers are being hired to ease the burden of principals and teachers who have to engage in extra work due to lack of manpower, says the proposal. They will also handle maintenance work of schools and ensure that funds released from time to time are utilized in the proper way. Each senior secondary school will get a campus manager who will be paid Rs 25,000 a month. A campus manager has to be a retired government employee from either state or Centre. The concept has been taken from Delhi government schools where ‘estate managers’ were hired to help teachers in administration work.

The government plans to implement the proposal from October.

First published on: 27-09-2022 at 07:06:31 am
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