Alarmed by the murder of seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur, who was found dead in his school washroom in Gurgaon last week, the UT Administration on Monday framed a set of guidelines for private, government and government-aided schools in Chandigarh whereby all institutions would have to ensure that the entry of drivers, conductors and peons is restricted up to a defined area in the school and only female sweepers, attendants are assigned duties in the primary wing.
UT Education Secretary B L Sharma told Chandigarh Newsline that punitive action would be taken against the schools if the instructions were not complied with. The guidelines, focusing specifically on the movement of drivers, conductors and other male staff within the schools, stated, “Schools shall devise a protocol to ensure that drivers, conductors and other support staff are not given unrestricted access during school hours. Schools shall delineate well-defined area within the school premises where drivers, conductors and other support staff of buses can enter and use.”
The guidelines also mentioned that entry to the school of people other than students, teachers and non-teaching staff be regulated so as to ensure that no unauthorised person is able to enter thel premises during school hours. A proper record of visitors alongwith their contact details also needs to be maintained.
“Also, in the primary wing, only female sweepers or attendants shall be assigned duties as far as possible. Drivers, conductors, peons, gardeners, watchmen and other support staff shall not be allowed to use the toilets meant for students. Separate toilets shall be provided for such supporting staff,” it was added.
The principals and heads of schools have also been directed to organise periodical orientation and counselling sessions for drivers, conductors, peons, gardeners, watchmen and other support staff for their sensitisation about the safety and security of children.
For private schools, the directives clearly stated that principals, heads of schools and management of private schools shall be responsible for the safety and security of students from the time of their arrival till the time they leave the school.
“It has also been made clear that whether schoolchildren are transported by buses owned by a school or by an independent contractor, the school management cannot disown its responsibility regarding the safety of school children,” the order stated.
To get the antecedents of all drivers, conductors, helpers, attendants, sweepers, gardeners and other staff from the police shall be the sole responsibility of the principals or heads of management.
The education department also directed that CCTV cameras shall be installed at all important spots such as rest rooms, entry gates, boundary wall on the school premises and they should be in good working condition, alongwith the provision of adequate recording or storage facility.
A compliance certificate has to be submitted before September 30.
The schools would also have to ensure that they have properly built boundary walls of adequate height in order to pre-empt the entry of any unauthorised person or antisocial element in the school.
“The Gurgaon incident is an eye-opener for all of us and we cannot take any chances. That is why these directives have been issued,” said a senior officer of the administration.
A meeting of managements of government and private schools was called by the director of school education on Monday.