AROUND 1,60,000 students, studying at 114 government schools in the city, have no permanent medical option if any untoward incident happens because the education department has made no effort over the years to recruit permanent qualified medical staff at the schools despute having provision to hire them on part-time basis.
While the concern was expressed on Thursday, two Class VI students from a government school in the city were admitted to Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH) in Sector 16, after they consumed over a dozen iron tablets inside the classroom on Thursday afternoon.
After the incident, Chandigarh Newsline talked to some teachers of government schools as to why the education department and school authorities have failed to appoint permanent qualified medical staff. The teachers blamed the education department for risking students’ lives by not hiring medical experts.
“It’s been ages since the education department has been constantly risking students’ lives. We have been writing about this to former school education director also but the department never heard us. On the one hand, the Chandigarh Administration is spending a lot on improving the infrastructure of schools but is ignoring the importance of providing a special qualified medical expert,” said Ranbir Rana, secretary, Joint Action Committee of Teachers, UT.
“The students generally complain of abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, toothache, bodyache during school hours. So, the school first tries to give paracetamol or Crocin and if the situation worsens, the schools have to take the ailing child to hospital,” added Rana.
“Students can do anything anytime and it is the responsibility of the education department and then teachers to ensure medical help but the department is sleeping over this concern and unfortunately, our teachers who give first aid to kids are also not properly trained,” said Krishan Kumar, mathematics teacher at Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Sector-37B, Chandigarh.
“Right now, each school is dependent on dispensaries and hospitals to deal with medical problems faced by a student. Also, if a student reports of any kind of medical problem, the schools have nothing apart from common drugs like paracetamol or Crocin. Secondly, contrary to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), government guidelines, there are no officials, who are trained in administering first aid,” added Swarn Singh Kamboj, music teacher at GMSSS in Sector-20, Chandigarh.
“I have ordered an inquiry in the case and appropriate action will be taken if anyone is found guilty. We don’t have any permanent medical staff at the school but we have a proper tie-up with the Director, Health Services, UT, ensuring health facilities for the children. Though there is a provision that if the schools desire to get any medical expert, then the education department can hire experts on part-time basis,” said School Education Director Rubinderjit Singh Brar.