Centre forms panel to monitor safety measures in schools

RSTV Bureau

The Centre decided to from an inter-ministerial committee to monitor implementation of safety measures in its schools across the country in the wake of brutal killing of a student in Gurgaon and rape of a girl by a school peon in the national capital.

Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar

Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar

The decision was taken during a meeting between Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar and WCD minister Maneka Gandhi. It was also suggested that Nirbhaya funds, set up in the aftermath of brutal gangrape of a physiotherapy student here, can be utilised for various school safety measures.

“The existing measures for school safety were reviewed and new suggestions were discussed during the meeting. A committee of six secretaries will be constituted to monitor the implementation and progress of the guidelines,” Maneka told reporters after the meeting.

The high-level meeting, comes amidst increasing number of reported crimes against children in school, which has sparked a debate over the existing safety measures within premises of educational institutions.

The committee will have secretaries of Human Resource Development, Women and Child Development Ministry, Tribal Affairs, Minority Affairs, Social Justice and Empowerment and Drinking water and sanitation and will conduct a series of meetings to develop a roadmap as well as a timeline for implementation of the measures recommended, she said.

WCD minister Maneka Gandhi.

WCD minister Maneka Gandhi.

Employing women drivers, screening of short film about child abuse in schools and setting up of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) awareness booths were among the suggestions discussed during the fifty-minute-long meeting.

“Setting of POCSO booths, where students can be made aware about the mechanism to file complaints, screening of ‘Komal’– a short film on concept of good touch, bad touch– were among the measures discussed. We also suggested that Nirbhaya fund can be utilised for the purpose,” Maneka said.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of the National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), CBSE, NCERT and Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan.

Greater and well-defined roles for the Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs) in safety and security aspects of school management, expansion of scope of School Management Committee (SMCs) to private schools, implementation of Gender Champions programme in schools were among the existing measures reviewed during the meeting.