Now, a government panel to monitor safety in schools

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The Central Government has formed an inter-ministerial committee to review and monitor the safety measures in its schools across the country.

The decision was taken during a meeting between Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar and Women & Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi in wake of the brutal killing of a seven-year-old child in a Gurugram school student and rape of minor in Delhi school.

“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 said.

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The committee members will include secretaries from Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Women and Child Development Ministry, Tribal Affairs, Minority Affairs, Social Justice and Empowerment, and Drinking Water and Sanitation. WCD minister secretaries will prepare a roadmap and a timeline to implement the suggestions by a panel after conducting a series of meetings.

During the meeting, it was also suggested to utilise the Nirbhaya funds for various school safety measures. In order to make students aware, it was suggested to show a short film about child abuse in schools, along with setup of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) awareness booths and to employ women drivers.

“Setting of POCSO booths, where students can be made aware of the mechanism to file complaints, screening of ‘Komal’ — a short film on the 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.

During the meeting, the measures suggested by the participants is to enhance the role of parents and teachers in safety and security aspects of school operations, to expand the scope of School Management Committee (SMCs) in private schools and to implement Gender Champions programme in schools were among the existing measures reviewed during the meeting.

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