Monday 8 January 2018

Comprehensive School Safety and Security Programme: Legislative Framework and Further Actions

How to make National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) work on the ground at the community level? One of the important steps is to start at school level. Comprehensive School Safety and Security Programme (CSSSP) has been designed and developed, aiming to make 15 lakh schools in India safe. AIDMI and UNICEF are taking initiatives with various programs and activities, including shaping and spreading the concept of School safety and Security. 

Regarding to legislative framework, different Ministries of Government of India have issued and established guidelines or advisory boards regarding to School safety and security of schools, which has greatly assisted the implementation of CSSSP. To name a few, Ministry of Human Development established Advisory Board on Corporal Punishment in schools in March 2014, which is fairly widespread and includes activities on different aspects of CSSSP. The Central Board of Secondary Education focused on School Bus as a useful start for school-level activities in School Safety Programs for students in March 2017.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) developed a Guideline for state and district authorities on Safer Schools in October 2014. In December 2014, the Ministry also issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on dealing with terrorist attacks on schools. This SOPs is considered to be inclusive for schools guidelines. In February 2015, Guidelines on Food safety and hygiene for schools kitchens under Child Day Meal Scheme was also developed by the Ministry to covers nutrition and safety aspects of schools. (Table 1).

Towards this end, here are some points to be noted in CSSSP:
1. Ministry of Human Resource Development     
    (HRD) must take a greater role in developing 
    and  advancing the concept of CSSSP.
2. The 13th Formation Day of India organized
    by National Disaster Management Authority
   (NDMA) witnessed a veritable gathering of 
   key stakeholders who deliberated upon the key 
   activities to be embedded in the CSSSP     
   processes of the country. Among the key  
   themes discussed were the challenges of lack 
   of skills among teachers and students on topics of 
   school safety and security.
3. Affirmative action is important to make education become inclusive and equal, but to what degree, 
    the state authorities have to define it and take this ahead in DRR activities. A more focus on girl 
    child in mock drills, for example, is one step ahead. Specific roles of disabled children in       
    awareness raising campaigns is another step forward. Similarly, the role of media to comprise 
   different perspectives needs to be leveraged.
4. The school bus is an indispensable asset for schools as it helps students to commute from home to 
    school and then back again. However, the legal liability in case of untoward incidents is not clear, 
    making these buses extremely unsafe for the students when travelling.
5. Are we missing "Safety as a medium" of DRR learning at schools? There is an opportunity to 
    teach math's through mock drills and geography through hazard assessments. At some points, 
    safety as a medium must come in. In this regard, school-to-school exchange is important.
6. Role of Members of Parliaments is crucial in making schools safe.  Each MP can have a review of 
    the performance of private and public schools -in their agenda in making the students safe.
7. Information security is another important aspect. Children are more and more exposed to the 
    Internet and virtual games. Without the supervision of adults, this can lead to different problems 
    ranging from a neglect of studies to sexual and physical abuse along with anxiety and depression.
8. 'Gender' must be included in CSSSP. Safety of Girl Children is key and essential Women and 
Child Development Department must take a lead role to ensure gender based safety and security.

Some initial work on CSSSP has been successfully done in Kashmir, and there are clear indications that it is possible to upscale and broaden the CSSSP across India.

The time has come for State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) and State Education Departments to find ways to design and develop CSSSP for 2018.

– AIDMI Team
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