Revised school transport policy puts onus of students’ safety on principals

Earlier provision that enabled formation of school bus safety committees done away with.

Written by PRASAD JOSHI | Pune | Published: November 19, 2013 4:01:27 am

Now,principals will be held responsible for safe transportation of students to and from schools and will be duty-bound to take appropriate steps for day-to-day supervision of the school transportation system.

This was made clear by the school education department through its revised school bus policy. The policy is understood to have done away with the earlier provision enabling formation of school bus safety committee in each district under police commissioner and heads of local self-governing bodies and educational authorities,among others.

A Government Resolution (GR) issued on Monday notified the revised school transportation policy of ‘superseding’ the

existing policy that had came into effect in 2011 after two kindergarten students were killed and more than 15 injured in a road accident involving their Maruti Omni bus in Navi Mumbai in 2009.

As per the revised “The salary of these traffic wardens shall be paid by school authorities,” the GR stated.

Also,the school administration,in consultation with and the help of traffic police and local authority,will ensure that necessary road markings and signs are installed near the school as well as the signs of ‘no parking except for school buses’. Wherever available,the school authorities shall provide for space on the school premises to ensure safe alighting and boarding of children from the vehicle.

The revised policy has asked schools to enter into a common standard agreement (CSA) with the transporters to administer the school bus service through the bus administrator. “School children shall be suitably insured by their parents and the bus owner shall obtain third party insurance for every vehicle and also abide by the insurance cover points mentioned in the CSA,” it stated.

Some of the key provisions from old policy — including setting up school-level transport committee to look into matters pertaining to safe transportation of students and making available female/male attendants-cleaners to assist children while

they board or alight from buses,facilitating first-aid box and two fire extinguishers of specified type — have found place in revised policy.

The revised policy further made it mandatory for school authorities to conduct one-day refresher course of first-aid and fire extinguishing techniques twice a year before the commencement of semesters.

The GR also made public modified guidelines for school transportation and rules to be followed by students on school buses among other rules.

Authorities from several local schools and government officials concerned,including state director of education (secondary and higher secondary) Sarjerao Jadhav,said they were unaware about the revised school transportation policy.

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