‘Safety task force’ in SDMC schools

July 08, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:39 am IST - NEW DELHI:

From earthquakes to exposed wiring, all potential hazards for students of South Delhi Municipal Corporation schools, are being mapped and task forces being set up to deal with them.

About 2.94 lakh children study in the SDMC’s 578 primary schools which are currently being audited for their safety.

In January this year, the lack of safety at an SDMC school in Kapashera was exposed when a four-year-old boy fell into an open septic tank and died.

The cover of the tank had been broken for days, officials of the SDMC Education Department admitted later.

To make sure that the tragedy doesn’t repeat itself, the SDMC is conducting an extensive programme to make its schools safer with the help of NGO -- Save the Children. The programme includes setting up of safety task forces in all schools, conducting a ‘hazard hunt’, training the students and holding mock drills.

“We will set up safety task forces, comprising students and teachers, in all SDMC schools. So far, 32 schools have set up these task forces,” said SDMC’s Additional Commissioner for Education, Meeta Singh.

According to ‘Save the Children’, the 32 SDMC schools have not only set up the task force, but also conducted mock drills, set up disaster resource rooms and mapped out potential dangers within the school and outside.

154 schools being assessed

Around 154 schools of the SDMC’s Central Zone are also being assessed for potential risks and resources.

Avinash Kumar, the State programme manager for Save the Children in Delhi, said the authorities tend to focus on natural calamities like earthquakes or man-made devastation like fire when it comes to disaster preparedness.

“However, when we talk about building the resilience of children, we must think larger and include everyday risks that the children face, especially in urban areas,” said Mr. Kumar, adding that road safety as well as protection from abuse are important aspects.

Potential dangers within the school as well as outside will be mapped by the teams of students and teachers, and then based on their findings changes would be suggested to make the schools safer, he said.

Officials of the SDMC said the programme would be ramped up in the coming month as the schools have reconvened after summer break this week.

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