Published: 08th December 2018
HRD Ministry sitting on guidelines fixing accountability of management in case of safety violations in schools
The management to be taken over by the state government in case of serious violations or a major crime on campus
The Union Human Resources Development has failed to notify guidelines on fixing accountability of school management in case of violations related to children's safety in campuses despite a Supreme Court directive. On April 11 this year, the Apex Court, while hearing a petition demanding to fix accountability of the school management related to the safety of school kids following sensational murder of a school kid in a Gurugram school in September last year, had asked the Centre to come up with the guidelines within six months.
Eight months on, the guidelines which the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights had formulated after being assigned with the task, have not been notified yet- in what appears to be a violation of the SC order. The NCPCR guidelines had said that schools which do not follow the 164 parameters prescribed under the Manual Of Safety and Security of Children in Schools, should be made to pay 1 per cent of the total revenue generated by it in a year in case of first violation and 3 per cent in case of second violation. It also said that the penalty would be 5 per cent of revenue for the third time non-compliance and debarring the school for taking admission in the subsequent academic year.
The guidelines also said that if the private school further fails to comply with safety measures or there is the case of extreme violence in the campus, the district magistrate will have the authority to recommend the state government to take over the management. Officials in the school education department of the HRD Ministry conceded that while the proposed guidelines had been shared with the states-the government had not yet endorsed it to them. "The delay has been caused because we want to hold larger consultation on it with various stakeholders including management of private schools," said a senior official.
Some recent shocking cases of serious crimes committed against school children in campuses across the country:
1. In June 2018 a 14-year-old boy was found murdered in a school in Gujarat's Vadodara with at least 10 knife stab wounds
2. In September 2017, a 7-year-old boy was found murdered in Ryan International school in Gurugram with his throat slit
3. In September 2018, a five-year-old girl was raped by a school employee in Hyderabad
4. In October last year, a six-year-old girl was raped inside the washroom of a South Delhi school
5. In November 2017 a 14-year old tribal girl was raped and killed in a North Dinajpur school in West Bengal
Some of the recommendations of the draft guidelines include:
- Financial penalty for violation of safety norms
- Barring the schools from taking new admissions in case of a repeat violation
- The management to be taken over by the state government in case of serious violations or a major crime on campus
- Withdrawal of recognition in case of repeat violations
- In case of an accident, if the negligence is proven on part of the school, it may be treated as a violation of the Juvenile Justice Act and a criminal case be lodged against the school management
- NCPCR or State Child Rights Protection Committee be made responsible to monitor implementation of the guidelines