Safety audit to be taken up in all schools in Bengaluru

The Department of Public Instruction, along with the city police, has decided to conduct safety audits in private, aided as well as government schools across the city. The decision to conduct this exercise was taken after a sample survey by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in August found that the overall safety in schools in Bengaluru and Kolar was just 50.8% of the expected levels.

K.G. Jagadeesha, Commissioner for Public Instruction, said a circular would be sent to the jurisdictional Block Education Officers instructing them to make the necessary arrangements and coordinate with the city police. “Department officials will get in touch with the Deputy Commissioners of Police in the city to collaborate with us and conduct the audit,” he said.

Although it has been several years since the Karnataka Child Safety Policy came into force, the department has not conducted an inspection on such a large scale. Officials will be given a safety checklist and will inspect schools to ensure they have complied with the regulations.

The August survey, in which NIMHANS partnered with Underwriters Laboratories, a private global safety certification company, had also found that fire and road safety were areas that school managements paid the least attention to. In June this year, an eight-year-old boy was killed when he came in contact with a live wire on a flight of stairs in his school building.

In 2017, the State government amended the Karnataka Education Act, 1983 and made it mandatory for every educational institution and its employees to take measures to ensure the safety and security of students. Schools that fail to comply with this can be penalised up to ₹10 lakh.

The move has been welcomed by parents as well as school managements. Chandana R., a parent whose son goes to a nursery school, said, “It is a great move as it will help schools ensure that safety measures are in place. Moreover, school managements need to be told what the shortcomings are and need to be advised on how they can improve,” she said.

Mansoor Ali Khan, general secretary of the Management of Independent CBSE Schools in Karnataka, while lauding the initiative, emphasised the need for the audit to be conducted in an unbiased manner. “It should not become a tool to harass private schools. In my opinion, private schools invest a lot on improving infrastructure with regard to child safety, but government schools have a long way to go,” he said. More often than not, government schools don’t get the funds to improve infrastructure. For the safety audit to be effective, this needs to be addressed first, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 1:35:02 PM |

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