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Infrastructure for child safety in schools poor, says study

Most schools fared poorly on physical safety infrastructure, safety on roads adjoining the schools and maintaining health records of students.

ET Bureau|
Aug 08, 2019, 11.06 AM IST
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The study also observed that 43% of school buses had closedcircuit television (CCTV) cameras and 58% had a global positioning system (GPS).
BENGALURU: The overall infrastructure for child safety in and around schools is largely poor, an appraisal of 131 private and government schools in Bengaluru and neighbouring Kolar district has revealed.

Most schools fared poorly on physical safety infrastructure, safety on roads adjoining the schools and maintaining health records of students.

These are the findings of a new report titled ‘Advancing Child Safety in India: Implementation is the Key’, by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a global safety science company.

In the backdrop of a growing number of child deaths in the last decade, the report emphasises the need to prevent child injuries and increase awareness about safety in schools. It also assessed physical infrastructure, road and fire safety, and first-aid facilities provided in schools.

The study found that the physical infrastructure with respect to safety components such as flooring, staircases, corridors, balconies, windows and railings in school buildings and classrooms was acceptable in a majority of schools. The study found that anti-skid flooring was present in 54.2% of the schools.

Most schools, however, did not rank well regarding safety of their students on roads adjoining the schools. Little or no importance was given to road safety components such as school zone signage, speed limit display, presence of speed breakers, potholefree roads, footpaths, zebra crossings, supervised lane crossing and designated drop and pickup zones. Only 17% of schools had roads that showed school zone signages and 11.5% displayed speed limits.

The study also observed that 43% of school buses had closedcircuit television (CCTV) cameras and 58% had a global positioning system (GPS). Fire safety in most schools was compromised, with many schools not even having a fire-safety certificate. Evacuation plans, fire logbooks, detectors and alarms were present in less than 8% of the schools. However, 94% had extinguishers.

“Various policies and legislations like National School Safety Guidelines, the National Disaster Management Authority’s School Safety Policy Guidelines, the National Building Code, etc, are in place to promote safety and prevent injuries to children. There are several implementation challenges,” the study said. “Children need to be safe in all places. Proper implementation of existing policies, programmes and legislations is the first step and key to reduce child injuries in India,” the report said.

KG Jagadeesha, commissioner for public instruction, said he would appoint safety officers at the booth level for monitoring and auditing safety in the state’s schools.

Dr Gururaj G, dean of neurosciences at Nimhans, said death, hospitalisation and disabilities of children due to injuries is a neglected and hidden problem in India.

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