In a move to ensure safety of students, the state education department has made it mandatory for all schools (regardless of affiliating boards) to install a complaint box on their campus and place it at a prominent place. The state has directed the schools to record all the complaints received in the box in a logbook, along with its status and action taken.
The directive also states that a police representative, and parents’ and students’ representatives should be present when the complaint box is opened on the last working day of every week.
As per a GR issued on Friday, the schools have been asked to address minor internal issues at the school level, while for serious issues, like sexual harassment and abuse, police intervention should be sought and heard before women grievance redressal cell.
“A representative can also mean a civilian appointed by the local police specifically for this purpose. It also makes clear that in case there are problems in engaging a police official, the principal can still open the box with the remaining members,” said B B Chavan, deputy director of school education, Mumbai.
The state has asked all the District Education Officers to start informing schools under their jurisdiction and start compiling data on how many boxes have been installed. A district wise report will be collected by every deputy director of education for the respective divisions. This report will then be sent to the directorate of primary and secondary education in Pune.
There is no timeline for this task, however, it is expected that by the start of new academic session, every school must have complaint boxes installed on their campuses. “When the box is opened, all complaints have to be recorded in a logbook. The name of complainant, wherever given, has to be kept confidential. Later, the logbook has to be updated on the status of the complaint as and when. A report of the same has to be submitted to the state education department through the respective deputy directors and education inspectors of the region,” said an official of school education department.