Safety steps for private schools

Female attendants with male physical education teachers, says govt

By Subhankar Chowdhury in Calcutta
  • Published 12.12.17
CCTV cameras came up at GD Birla Centre for Education in the midst of protests

Calcutta: The school education department has suggested various steps to private schools to prevent the recurrence of an incident like the one at GD Birla Centre for Education.

Department officials met members of the fee-structure committee that has private school representatives at Bikash Bhavan on Friday and gave them a list of steps.

"Schools with male physical education teachers should have female attendants who will be there during class," education minister Partha Chatterjee said on Monday.

'There has to be at least one female attendant. School buildings must have CCTV cameras, including in the area adjoining washrooms."

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had formed a five-member committee of private school representatives in May to collect fee-related data from schools and the facilities they provide to help a "self-regulatory commission" decide if the fees are justified.

Last Tuesday, when the GD Birla school was besieged with protests, minister Chatterjee had said "that committee" could discuss the lack of infrastructure at private schools and suggest steps to overcome shortcomings, if any.

Two physical education teachers of GD Birla have been accused of sexually assaulting a four-year-old student of the school.

Last week during a meeting with school authorities, representatives of parents had told them that the school should do away with male physical education teachers and non-teaching staff.

Terminating the services of other male physical education teachers of this school will not be right, an education department official said. "All male physical education teachers can't be bad. So, we have suggested a way that would ensure the safety of a girl child even if such teachers hold classes."

The other steps include having female attendants on school premises and school buses, Chatterjee said.

A representative of a private school said security matters were discussed. "The department had sent us an advisory in October in the wake of Ryan International School incident. The new advisory will have some of the earlier ones with some changes."

A Class II student had been found dead an hour after his father had dropped him at the Gurgaon school in September.

The October advisory had called for separate toilets for boys and girls, school employees and visitors and CCTV cameras at all vulnerable spots. The advisory had said the cameras should be working at all times.

Chatterjee had said in Krishnagar on Sunday that he would hold a meeting in Nabanna on Monday to issue fresh directives. No such meeting was held, though.