The Central Board of Secondary Education has moved to check sexual abuse of schoolchildren on campuses after taking a tough stand on cyber-bullying and ragging.
The board, last week, issued a circular to all affiliated schools to ensure no child suffered from this crime and listed out certain steps as preventive measures.
Defining the Protection of Child from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, the circular reads: "The challenges of gender inequality, eve teasing and sexual abuse in school environment call for increased awareness and creating synergy among parents, teachers and schools. In order to ensure strict compliance of the Protection of Child from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, the CBSE has taken several initiatives and actions for creating awareness about sexual exploitation of schoolchildren."
The board has suggested schools to form a committee, which may consist of principal/vice-principal, one male teacher, one female teacher, one female student, one male student and one non-teaching employee. The panel would serve as a complaints and redressal body. However, improved response system and alert administrative machinery is required to take immediate action on reported cases of misbehaviour.
"We have a student council where we have boys and girls of the school, the vice-principal and male and female teachers. The council looks after problems faced by the students and conveys it to the school administration," said Anita Chaudhary, principal, Tribhuvan School.
The CBSE has asked the schools to report sexual abuse as soon as the institutions come to know about it. The board has made training compulsory for teachers to attend to adolescent (gender) related issues, conduct of adolescent education programmes and special activities that promote gender equality and sensitivity.
The notice also states: Camps on sensitisation of girls on health and sanitation issues, karate/self-defence training should be conducted at regular intervals. Programmes like folk dance, nukkad natak, poster competitions, quiz, debate, and exhibition can also be conducted to foster gender equality".
"Last week, a leading Patna-based school was involved in the issue. This stringent step of the board will check these kinds of activities inside the campus," said Shingini Singh, a Class IX student of Radiant International.
Schools have been also asked to put up complaint/suggestion box so that students can make written complaints.