Child safety precautions to be part of school textbooks

Safety of students in schools is our main concern, and creating awareness among students, parents, and teachers about POCSO Act is very important, said DPI Commissioner Vishal R.

November 29, 2022 09:56 pm | Updated 11:21 pm IST - Bengaluru

The Commissioner has issued a circular to form child care committees in all schools, and make it mandatory to write the Child Helpline number: 1098 on all school walls across the State. 

The Commissioner has issued a circular to form child care committees in all schools, and make it mandatory to write the Child Helpline number: 1098 on all school walls across the State.  | Photo Credit: file photo

The child helpline number, good and bad touch, and other such aspects will be a part of school textbooks for the academic year of 2023-24 as the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has ordered to effectively implement the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO)-2012 in schools in the State.

This is following the recent recommendations of the Juvenile Justice Committee, High Court of Karnataka, after reviewing the POCSO Act and after the arrest of Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, seer and chief of Murugha Mutt in Chitradurga, on charges of allegedly sexually harassing minor girls who were residents of the hostel run by the mutt, and a minor girl’s rape and murder by her tutor at Malavalli town, Mandya district.

Speaking to The Hindu, Vishal R., Commissioner of DPI, said: “Safety of students in schools is our main concern. The POCSO Act exists. Creating awareness among students, parents, and teachers about the Act is very important. Therefore, we decided to print the child helpline, good touch, bad touch, and other child care precautions, in the school textbooks.”

“We have also decided to print tips such as on washing hands and good health. It will be helpful to the students. We have already instructed the Karnataka Text Books Society to print these precautions in the school textbooks for the academic year of 2023-24,” the Commissioner explained.

The Commissioner has issued a circular to form the child care committees in all schools and make it mandatory to write the Child Helpline number: 1098 on all school walls across the State. He also instructed schools that complaint and suggestion boxes should be opened once a week to address those received. The department has asked all schools to teach children about safe and unsafe touch, according to their age.

The circular also made child rights’ club and parents’ meeting mandatory. Teachers and other staff must reach the schools half an hour before commencement of the school. The attendance of students has to be taken during entry and lunch break, and entry of unauthorised persons on school premises should be restricted, the department said.

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