It is really alarming that our schools are fast turning into breeding grounds of violence, drug abuse, and many other social evils. Though Indian school campuses were considered comparatively safe than those of the West, the latest reports and statistics show that the menace of violence, drug abuse and cultural degradation is spreading fast to our campuses, too.
The ancient Indian educational campuses like Nalanda and Thakshasila were in fact revered temples of knowledge, and the gurukula system of education had its lasting impact on the very culture of our nation. But, what happened to that legacy?
It is estimated that two out of every three schoolchildren in India are physically abused. To add to this menace, schoolchildren are also at a risk from man-made disasters like terrorism. From natural calamities to man-made ones, our children are no longer safe in schools. Children are the very future of our country, and it is the duty of the government and society at large to prevent such menaces and provide our children with a safe environment in which they can blossom into responsible and cultured citizens.
There is an urgent need to formulate a child protection policy with a view to protecting the child from abuse, harm, neglect, and exploitation of any nature. As of now, such a policy has been adopted only by the State of Delhi, based on the recommendations of the Delhi Commission for Protection of
Creating a safe environment in school also calls for better systems for disaster management. The National Disaster Management Authority strongly feels that there has to be structural as well as non-structural intervention to ensure safety of the children. Structural intervention should include strict
check on the guidelines set up for disaster management, while non-structural intervention involves educating the staff, teachers, students and even the community at large.
With terror attacks on schools rising across the world, India should prepare itself for any such eventuality. The schools must take necessary precautions against entry of unknown individuals into the school premises, and security checks should be stricter. Students may be given tips as to how to behave in a hostage-taking situation.
Safety Messenger is happy to present some informative articles and features on this topical issue. We hope that they will be enlightening and also generate useful debates and discussions among our readers and decision-makers, so that our educational campuses return to their old glory sooner than later.