Centre to use Nirbhaya Fund for school safety measures

Seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur was found murdered at the Ryan International School on September 8.

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Centre to use Nirbhaya Fund for school safety measures

As a fallout of the Ryan International School incident, where a 7-year-old child was found murdered in the school’s washroom, the Centre will now utilise a corpus from the Nirbhaya fund to train drivers and other non-teaching staff in schools to ensure safety and security of children. 

This is the first time that money from the Nirbhaya fund will be used for children. Official sources said that the decision has been taken looking at the increasing number of crimes against children in schools. 

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting of officials from the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Women and Child Development on Monday. Officials from CBSE, NCPCR, KVS and other organisations were also present in the meeting. A six-member committee consisting of secretaries from Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Minority Affairs, WCD, HRD, Social Justice and Water and Sanitation will look into the implementation of schemes.  

Among the major initiatives that the government plans, is establishing POCSO booths in each school equipped with the Childline helpline number (1098) where a child can lodge complaints of any deviant sexual activity or any form of sexual harassment. Details of the eBox facility, an online platform where children can lodge complaints online about sexual harassment, will be printed by the NCERT on textbooks, along with details of POCSO to make both children and their parents aware about the existence of a POCSO committee in schools. 

“The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has in the past also sent various circulars to schools to maintain POCSO committees and display it properly in school corridors so that they know that such a committee exists. The same rule will be re-asserted in view of latest incidents,” said a senior official from CBSE.  

Apart from this, the NCPCR will issue guidelines for routine security and safety audit of schools. The role of parent-teacher associations will also be increased inside the school management to strengthen the security and safety inside the school.

Komal, a movie developed by NCERT on child sexual abuse, will be shown to children in schools as a part of educating them about good touch, bad touch. The movie, which is available on the official website of NCERT as well, shows what child sexual abuse is through the life story of a young school girl abused by her neighbour. 

Gender champions, children above 16 years of age screened by the school committee to create awareness of gender-sensitive campaigns, will also be deployed.  

As per a set of directives sent by the NCPCR to schools in 2016 for the safety and security of schools, the verification of all staff members, affidavits by newly selected candidates that they have not been accused of any offence under POCSO, gender sensitive curriculums, etc were part of the safety audit. 
A two-member committee constituted by CBSE had fixed responsibility of the 7-year-old child’s death on Ryan International School, Gurugram. It said that the death could have been averted had the school been more ‘cautious’. 

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