Chennai

Schools now have to pass the safety test

Many government schools are in a state of disrepair. File photo

Many government schools are in a state of disrepair. File photo  

As directed by the High Court, all schools across the State, both government and private institutions affiliated to different boards, will be inspected to ensure compliance with building regulations and safety norms ahead of the upcoming academic year.

Pradeep Yadav, Principal Secretary, School Education Department, said that all District Collectors had been informed about the order and instructed to form a committee.

“The committees have been inspecting schools in their respective districts for the last one week. They have been given an exhaustive checklist that includes building specifications from the School Safety Policy and other important specifications from government orders and policy notes,” Mr. Yadav said.

Mobile app

The committees will be armed with a mobile app, which will have the checklist as well and use it during the inspection process. “This will help us keep track of the number of schools inspected and the violations on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

The checklist features ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ questions for the committee and focusses on the infrastructure of the school as well as the facilities on offer for students such as labs. Access to the school buildings for the disabled is also verified.

Apart from infrastructure, the committees will also examine the implementation of the RTE Act, the Fee Regulation Act and the health status of the students in the schools.

Schools now have to pass the safety test
 

Chennai Educational district CEO S.M. Manoharan said the committees had inspected around five schools already and would continue inspecting all schools in the district over the next few weeks.

The High Court order came after a PIL was filed by Change India, an NGO, which had sought a direction to the government to ensure that school buildings complied with norms set under the National Buildings Code.

‘Focus on govt. schools’

Narayanan A., founder of Change India, said that while the formation of the committees was a step in the right direction, there should be added focus on government schools, including Corporation schools across the State, as well as the Adi Dravidar welfare schools. “A few of these schools do not have basic infrastructural facilities and grapple with issues such as access to clean water and sanitation,” he said.

Mr. Narayanan further said that the exercise would also help in keeping a check on private schools which had mushroomed across the State and offer no basic facilities despite charging high fees.

Apart from the CEO, the committee will also have representatives from the Public Works Deaprtment, the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, the Fire and Safety Department, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board and the Health Department.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 12:28:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/schools-now-have-to-pass-the-safety-test/article23733324.ece

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