The Telegraph
Wednesday , September 13 , 2017

Schools, pull up security socks

- Taking lessons from Gurgaon boy's murder, Patna administration cracks the whip

Private schools will face action if they lack security features such as CCTV cameras and GPS-enabled buses, Patna district magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agarwal said on Tuesday.

Agarwal has sought information from the schools on various security aspects for a review of the arrangements following the murder of seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur in Gurgaon's Ryan International School last week.

Managements of the private schools have been directed to attend a meeting on September 14 at the Patna collectorate.

"We have called this meeting to ensure a better and secure environment for boys and girls in schools, better communication between parents and school managements, and improvement in the atmosphere of education. Everything will be reviewed intensively and action will be taken against schools that are irresponsible towards the security of the students," Agarwal said on Tuesday.

The district administration, he said, will write to CBSE, ICSE and Bihar School Examination Board for cancellation of affiliation of private schools found guilty of being irresponsible towards the security and safety of the students.

Nearly 2,000 private schools in Patna and the district have been provided a format in which they have to submit the information to the administration. Questions have been sought on availability of closed-circuit television cameras, security guards and their training, disaster-fight measures, fire extinguishers, GPS-enabled buses, and records of drivers and conductors of school buses among others.

Class II Ryan International School student Pradyuman was found murdered in his school last Friday, an hour after his father had dropped him off, his throat slit allegedly by a school bus conductor.

His family is from Madhubani in Bihar.

"A team of sub-divisional officers and deputy superintendents of police will be formed after the meeting (on September 14)," said district magistrate Agarwal. "The team will inspect the required basic facilities in the schools. Any lack or lacunae will invite action against the school management."

Parents and guardians can also register complaints against private schools on, or approach the district education officer of CBSE, ICSE and BSEB.

Agarwal appealed to the people not to ignore any incident with their wards, and bring it to his notice on the district's email address, and inform the school principal. The women's helpline number 181 can also be contacted in case of any matter related to girls.

Private Schools and Children Welfare Association president Shamael Ahmad welcomed the meeting called by the district administration but said the district administration "should also include government schools because so many children study in them as well".

"It will help address the lack of facilities in schools. Private schools try to provide the best of facilities, but they are not 100 per cent," he added.

Sharad probe call

Rajya Sabha member Sharad Yadav on Tuesday called for a court-monitored probe into the murder of a Gurgaon schoolboy Pradyuman.

He asked the Union government to set up a commission to end "double education" policy governing schools.

The veteran leader also met Pradyuman's parents Varun and Jyoti Thakur at their residence and pitched for an overall review of school education policy.

He said private schools have flourished under political protection and claimed that the management of the private school under scanner has had links with different political parties.

"The agenda of many private schools is business," Sharad said.

"They defy all norms and breed discrimination in society. I demand that the government set up a commission to put an end to this double education policy governing our schools. There should be a court-monitored probe."


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