The brutal murder of seven year old Pradyuman Thakur at Ryan International School, Gurgram has left the Nation shocked and horrified. While the entire country is sharing grief with Pradyuman’s family, parents are raising concerns about the security and safety of their children in schools and other academic organisations. Frequent similar cases of security and safety lapses substantiate that institutions are not able to carry out due diligence in their premises on their own, and they need the assistance of expert agencies/ individuals to guide them in this endeavour.
Security Sector Skill Development Council (SSSDC) has sought to engage with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to educate school management and administrators to provide them with the objective and expert based school safety and security principles, and help them become ‘a designate safe and sound school’ as enumerated in CBSE safety guidelines.
SSSDC works under the aegis of National Skill Development Council (NSDC) and Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) in the security domain. Maj. Gen.
- K. Sakhuja (Retd.), CEO, SSSDC said, “The Council is responsible for standardization of security training across the country. It has the expertise in training ‘security risk management auditors’ for both physical and electronic security systems. The auditors so trained are professionally competent to identify the gaps in security and advise the stakeholders on optimum solutions. They are fully aware of the statutory guidelines enumerated in Government directives, thereby contributing in the national focus of crime prevention.”
The Council offers to help schools in identifying security gaps, upgrading their safety and security mechanisms and systems, and creating, updating and exercising emergency preparedness and crisis management plans. This is done through security audits, deployment of security guards through PSARA licensed private security agency, training and assessment of presently employed security guards under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) program, and psychometric testing of the deployed workforce, if necessary.
“SSSDC has devised a two day special audit module for security auditors whereby experienced security personnel will be taught about specialized ways of dealing with safety and security of school children,” said Kunwar Vikram Singh, Chairman, SSSDC.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India has issued a comprehensive set of guidelines vide D. O. letter No. 10-11/2014-EE.4 dated 09.10.2014 (Annexure-1) regarding preventive mechanisms and procedures for institutionalizing a system to ensure safety and security of children in schools.
From time to time the CBSE Board has also issued instructions to the affiliated ones to implement and sensitize the schools towards ensuring the safety and security of students during school time and while in transit to school and back home.
It is a fundamental right of a child to engage and study in an environment where he/ she feels safe, and is free from any form of physical or emotional abuse or harassment. As the children spend most of their time in school, the concern of parents about their safety in schools is obvious. Growing incidents of child abuse are increasing their anxiety day by day and they are more concerned about the physical safety, and mental & emotional health of their children. The onus for safety and security of children in school campus solely lies upon the school authorities.
Schools should strive to promote a better understanding amongst their teachers and staff on the laws protecting the safety, security and interests of the students, and devise means to take immediate remedial and punitive action against such violations. The staff members should be educated to recognize their protective obligation towards students and to ensure safety and well-being of children in schools.
The Board has recently reiterated to all schools affiliated with CBSE to strictly adhere to all the guidelines issued by MHRD and Board from time to time. Any violation/ lapses with regard to safety and wellbeing of children in school campus would invite appropriate action including the disaffiliation of the school as per the provisions under Affiliation Bye-Laws of the Board.
- Get the security/ safety audit done of their premises and personnel from their respective local police station, and follow the security related advice for the safety of school children. This may be compiled and reported online on CBSE website www.cbse.nic.in within 2 months of receipt of the circular.
- Install CCTV cameras at all vulnerable areas/ points in the school premises and ensure they are functional at all times.
- They must get the police verification and psychometric evaluation done for all the employed staff.
- Ensure that supporting staff is employed only from authorized agencies, and proper records are maintained.
- Constitute a parent-teacher-students committee to address the safety needs of the students and to take regular feedback from parents in this regard.
- The access to school building by outsiders should be controlled and visitors monitored.
- Provide training and development for staff to address their responsibilities to protect children from any form of abuse.
- The school shall constitute separate committees for redressal of public/ staff/ parents/ students grievances; internal complaints committee on sexual harassment, and committees under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offence) Act, 2012; and details of the these committees along with contact details shall be displayed prominently on school notice board and conspicuously on the school website for information of all stakeholders.
After the unfortunate incident of the death of Pradyuman, many schools have approached us to help them carry out security audits of their institutions. Since SSSDC supervises and guides the government approved institutes where security guards are taking trainings today, we decided to collaborate with the CBSE to help schools strengthen their safety and security apparatus
Kunwar Vikram Singh