Safety in Schools

Safety in Schools 

State Governments and Union Territory Administrations have the direct responsibility to ensure safety of students in schools under their territorial control. The Ministry of Human Resource Development has issued guidelines in October, 2014 to State Governments for safety and security of school children, including preventive mechanisms and procedures required to be put in place in the schooling system alongwith relief and redressal strategies in case of any incident. Further, Sub-sections 1 and 2 of Section 17 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 states “No child shall be subjected to physical punishment or mental harassment. Whoever contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be liable to disciplinary action under the service rules applicable to such person.”

The Schedule to the RTE Act, 2009 provides for norms and standard for a school, which inter alia stipulate for all-weather school building. Under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme, School Management Committees (SMCs) are trained especially on all aspects of safety and security of children in schools. Also, the guidelines on Food Safety and Hygiene for School Level Kitchen under the Mid Day Meal scheme stress on the safety aspects of procurement, storage and preparation of food items.

This Ministry has communicated the National School Safety Guidelines prepared by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to all the States/UTs on 1.9.2017, for taking necessary safety measures in their schools.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has also suggested authorities at different levels such as SMC, School Principal, School Management, Education Department and Boards, to conduct safety audits in schools.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has formulated and circulated detailed guidelines to its affiliated schools for safety of students in schools and prevention of accidents relating to school children. Rule 8.5 of the Affiliation Bye laws prescribes that the School should scrupulously observe prescription from the Municipal Authority/District Collectorate/Transport Department regarding drinking water, fire safety and transport precautions in the school. A certificate from the Municipal/Fire/Transport Authority regarding sanitary conditions, water/fire/transport safety should be submitted along with the application. A fresh certificate regarding fulfilment of these requirements should be obtained and submitted to the Board every five years. CBSE in its guidelines issued on 12th September 2017 has also directed all affiliated schools to get the security/safety audit done of their premises and personnel from their respective local police station and also reiterated that all schools affiliated with CBSE strictly adhere to all the guidelines on the safety measures in schools issued by MHRD and board from time to time.

Encouraging students to study in the country
India’s Higher Education budget (Actual Expenditure) during 2016-17 was   29019.16 Crore. However, the data regarding spending by Indian Students in USA is not maintained by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).

The Central Government and the University Grants Commission (UGC) are taking various measures to improve quality of higher education in the country by way of taking several initiatives. Some of the latest initiatives are:

        i.            Declaration of Educational Institutions as lnstitutions of Eminence(IoE) to provide world class education to the Indian Students within the country, the Government has approved the Regulatory Architecture in the form of UGC(Declaration of Government Institutions as Institutions of Eminence) Guidelines, 2017 for public Institutions and UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2017 for private Institutions for setting up / upgrading of 20 Institutions (10 from public sector & 10 from private sector) as world class teaching and research institutions known as Institutions of Eminence for which applications have been received. These Institutions will provide world class education to Indian Students at an affordable rate.

      ii.            Creation of the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) to give a major push for creation of high quality infrastructure in premier educational institutions

Other initiatives include:
                                i.            National Institution Ranking Framework(NIRF) - for ranking of our higher education institutions covering engineering, management, pharmacy, architecture, universities and colleges
                              ii.            Global Initiative of Academic Networks(GIAN) to invite distinguished academicians, entrepreneur’s, scientists, experts from premier institutions from across the world to teach in higher educational institutions in India, hence, promoting international collaborations and improvements in quality of higher education in India
                            iii.            Impacting Research Innovation & Technology (IMPRINT) to address engineering challenges in ten technology domains through the collaborative efforts of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc)
                            iv.            Uchchtar Avishkar Yojna (UAY) - to promote innovation in IITs addressing issues of manufacturing industries; to spur innovative mindset; to co-ordinate action between academia & industry and to strengthen labs & research facilities
                              v.            Study Webs of Active–Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM) - an instrument for self-actualisation providing opportunities for a life-long learning through massive open online courses

The UGC undertakes maintenance of standards in teaching and research and quality assurance in Universities, Deemed to be Universities and Colleges through framing regulations and schemes and disbursing grants to the eligible institutions. The UGC has notified and amended several regulations with the objective of sustenance and improvement in the quality of higher education and for undertaking academic reforms. In order to encourage research and development in the country, the UGC is implementing several schemes, awards, fellowships, chairs and programmes.

The Government is in the process of formulating a New Education Policy for which initially, it had constituted a Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy in October 2015 under the Chairmanship of Shri T.S.R. Subramanian, former Cabinet Secretary to the Government of India which submitted its report in May, 2016. The Report of the Committee is available on the website of National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), which was the Committee’s Secretariat. After perusal of the report of the Committee and the based on reports of various consultations as well as views and comments received, the Ministry prepared “Some Inputs for the Draft National Education Policy, 2016” which is available on the MHRD website. Both these reports have been treated as inputs for education policy formulation. The exercise of preparing a New Education Policy is still ongoing as the Government has recently constituted a Committee for preparation of the Draft National Education Policy under the Chairmanship of Dr. K. Kasturirangan, which is due to submit its report soon.

Disabled children in regular schools 

Department of School Education & Literacy is implementing the centrally sponsored schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) at elementary level and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shikha Abhiyan (RMSA) at secondary level, whereby provision is made for inclusive education of children with special needs (CWSN), besides other components.

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is the main programme for universalising elementary education for all children from 6-14 years of age. Its overall goals include universal access and retention, bridging of gender and social category gaps in education and enhancement of learning levels of children. SSA focuses on providing inclusive education to CWSN, wherein children with and without disabilities participate and learn together in the same class. Under SSA, an amount of ₹ 3000/- per child per annum is allocated for the interventions related to education of CWSN. The major interventions for the education of CWSN are identification, functional and formal assessment, appropriate educational placement, preparation of Individualized Education Plan, provision of free aids and appliances, transport and/or escort support, teacher training, appointment of resource teachers, therapeutical support and barrier free access. As per the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) 2015-16, 22.86 lakh CWSN are enrolled at elementary level of schooling.

Under SSA, during the year 2017-18, 3762 assessment camps have been conducted, 65596 CWSN provided assistive devices, 16731 visually impaired children provided Braille Books and 37741 low vision children have been provided large print books, till 30.09.2017. Further, transport and escort support has been provided to 92539 and 75889 CWSN respectively. Therapeutical support has been provided to 137507 CWSN and 222602 teachers have been given training on curricular adaptations.

At the secondary level, the Ministry is implementing the scheme of Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) as part of RMSA with an objective to provide all students with disabilities an opportunity to complete four years of secondary schooling (Class IX to XII) in an inclusive and enabling environment. Under IEDSS component, central assistance is provided for student oriented assistance @ ₹ 3000/- per child per annum, besides support for engagement of special teachers, equipping resource room, making school barrier free, orientation of parents, administrators, educationists etc. As per UDISE 2015-16, 2.79 lakh CWSN are enrolled at secondary and higher secondary level of schooling. An amount of Rs.6689.40 lakh has been approved for student oriented activities under IEDSS in 2017-18.

Identifying fake universities in the country 

University Grants Commission (UGC) has maintained the list of 23 fake Universities/Institutions, which is available on UGC website In addition,  Bhartiya Shiksha Parishad,  Lucknow, UP; and Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), New Delhi are also not recognized by the UGC under Section 2(f) of the UGC Act, 1956. The following steps have been taken by the UGC in the last one year to identify such Institutions/Universities:

        i.            Published public Notices on list of fake Universities/Institutions in Hindi and English Newspapers.

      ii.            Sent letters to State Chief Secretaries, Education Secretaries and Principal Secretaries to take action against fake Universities/Institutes of located in their jurisdiction and identify such Universities / Institutes which are functioning in their State.

    iii.            Show Causes Notices have been issued to the unauthorized institutes awarding invalid degrees.

    iv.            Public Notices have been issued on illegal status of Bio-Chemic Education Grant Commission, Nadia, West Bengal and IIPM, New Delhi.

Apart from the above, following fake Universities/Institutes have been included in the list of fake Universities maintained by the UGC:

        i.            Institute of Alternative Medicine and Research, 8-A, Diamond Harbor Road Builtech inn, 2nd Floor, Thakurpukur, Kolkata-700063

      ii.            Viswakarma Open University for Self-employment, India, Rozgar Sewasadan, 672, sanjay Enclave, Opp. GTK DEPOT, New Delhi-110033

    iii.            North Orissa University of Agriculture & Technology, University Road Baripada, Distt. Mayurbhanj, Odisha-757003

    iv.            Sree Bodhi Academy of Higher Education, No. 186, Thilaspet, Vazhuthavoor Road, Pondicherry-605009

Drinking water and toilet facilities in Government schools 

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 under Section 19 provides for Norms and Standards for a school. The appropriate Governments have the responsibility and mandate to provide school infrastructure including drinking water facility and toilets in schools in accordance with the norms prescribed in the Schedule to the RTE Act, 2009 and respective State RTE Rules. All States and UTs have been advised to comply with the provision of the RTE Act, 2009 which interalia states that every school building should have safe and adequate drinking water facilities to all children; and separate toilets for boys and girls.

The Central Government supports States and Union Territories (UTs) for creation and augmentation of infrastructure facilities including drinking water and toilet facilities in schools across the country under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA). Ministry of Human Resource Development annually sanctions drinking water and toilet facilities in elementary schools under SSA and in secondary schools under RMSA to the States/UTs based on the gap determined by Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) database and proposals received from States/UTs. Since inception of SSA in 2001 till 30.09.2017, 2.41 lakh drinking water and 10.53 lakh toilet facilities in elementary schools have been sanctioned, out of which 2.32 lakh drinking water facilities and 9.90 lakh toilets have been constructed by the respective States/UTs. Under RMSA, 24,546 water facilities and 65,882 toilets in secondary schools have been sanctioned to States/UTs till 2017-18, out of which 17,749 water facility and 44,692 toilets have been constructed by the respective State/UT.

Under Swachh Vidyalaya initiative 4.17 lakh toilets in 2.61 lakh Government elementary and secondary schools have been constructed / re-constructed in one year in association with States, UTs, Public Sector Undertakings and private corporate, to achieve the target of separate toilets for girls and boys in schools.

This information was given by the Minister of State (HRD), Shri Upendra Kushwaha today in a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question.

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