Friday, July 24, 2015

A year later, child safety seems to be a forgotten issue - Bengaluru (Bangalore), India

Managements have increased fees citing expenditure on CCTV cameras, installing GPS in school buses and other safety measures, but parents feel that safety measures are not up to the mark.

Schools prefer to wait for the child protection policy before “investing” in safety

Exactly a year ago, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) formulated guidelines to be implemented in schools following a spate of sexual assaults on children. However, the situation on the ground has not changed much, as most schools are yet to implement all the guidelines.
Significantly, the comprehensive child protection policy (CPP), which was formulated to collate guidelines issued by multiple departments, is yet to get the government’s nod. A high-level committee under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary V. Umesh was formed to look into child safety and the policy. The policy has been placed before the cabinet, but was sent back several times for corrections, sources said.
Managements have increased fees citing expenditure on CCTV cameras, installing GPS in school buses and other safety measures, but parents feel that safety measures are not up to the mark.
The managements’ defence is that there are multiple guidelines and they would rather wait for the CPP to be finalised before “investing” in safety.
D. Shashikumar, General Secretary of the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, said, “The guidelines issued by the police are in the High Court. Besides this, guidelines have been issued by DPI and the Transport Department. However, multiple guidelines tend to be confusing. We would rather wait for the CPP to be finalised.”
In the tussle between managements and the government, parents feel that their child’s safety is forgotten. Parimala S., a parent, feels that most schools have not even done basic things such as setting up parent teacher associations, installation of CCTV cameras in the premises and hiring support staff to accompany children in buses.
The worst of the lot are government schools which have not even issued identity cards for parents, let alone installation of cameras, due to paucity of funds. “Some government schools, which have found donors, have implemented some guidelines but a majority have not initiated any measures,” a teacher from a government school said.



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