In Gurgaon, all private and public schools are required to follow ‘Regulations on School Safety’ as published and prescribed by the Government of Haryana Directorate School Education. These regulations were formally issued by State Government on 15th September 2017. This policy details each and every aspect of security required and do’s and dont’s at each step that school must follow.
A few years ago at the Gurgaon district level, Gurgaon Police and few child welfare organizations formed very comprehensive guidelines for schools required for the safety of students. These were shared with all schools but not highly enforced as a policy.
In 2014, the Government of Haryana Department of Transport had made Surakshit School Vahan Policy. This policy requires the schools to adhere to set norms to run transportation vehicles under its umbrella. Regional Transport Authority looks at the enforcement of this policy.
After a Gurugram school came into limelight in early September 2017 due to a child’s death, the State Education department immediately enforced the School Regulations as a mandate for Haryana.
The schools at their end also receive separate safety guidelines by CBSE or other education boards. There was a dire need to have a standard across-the-board policy which takes into account all parameters of security irrespective of the school affiliations.
District School Safety Committee was formed in December 2017 under the office of Deputy Commissioner Gurugram to monitor and enforce safety measures in schools for children.
In December 2017, then Gurugram Deputy Commissioner Sh. Vinay Pratap Singh constituted a district-level team under DC Gurugram office. This District School Safety Committee comprising of officials from various department i.e. District Education office, District Regional Transport Authority, Municipal Corporation, Gurugram Police, Chief Medical Officer, PWD Department, Red Cross Society; heads and representatives of few schools of the city; and few non-official volunteer members from Child right NGOs, Child welfare Committee, Child Psychologists, parent representatives and road safety volunteers.
This team studies and comprehends the state-defined policies i.e Regulations on School Safety and Surakshit School Vahan Policy. They conduct audit at schools across the district in this regard. Since early 2018, this team distributes into 3 groups and every quarter audits about 15 private schools across Gurgaon district. These schools are chosen by draw of lots from a total list of all schools existing.
The key objective of the team is to create awareness of the policy in schools and enable them to follow effectively. The checklist for audit tracks presence of a school safety committee, checkpoints for entry and exits in premises, CCTV cameras and their records, presence of police verification for all staff, statutory clearances for fire safety, health and sanitation and building safety. They also check medical support in school and affiliation to the nearest hospital, training of staff and transport staff from Regional Transport teams or Red cross teams, the safety of a child in school transport. Processes for training, feedback process and counseling for students and requirements for special needs children, etc. are checked to see to mental health and psychological aspect of child welfare. This team does a full day tour in each school and checks all parameters.
The District School Safety Committee makes a comprehensive report for each school after visit listing its adherence as well as non-compliance. It also gives clear timelines to the school to make sure any non-compliance found is rectified at the earliest. These audit reports are reviewed at end of a quarter, shared with schools and appropriate action where needed is decided by the chairperson, Deputy Commissioner Gurugram. These Audit Reports are also posted for public information on Gurugram District Administration website.
As a Gurgaon citizen, any concern or non-compliance to the policy seen for any school can be brought to the notice of parent representatives in the School level Safety teams. They can also be shared with local police stations or district education officers. The officials as well as non-officials are fully committed to the cause and work diligently for the safety of all children stepping out of the house.
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