Schools – My Safe Place

Schools – My Safe Place:

Our children are our future. Our children have responsibility to take the generations further by discovering new methodologies/ innovations to make human life sustainable. However let us bring our focus onto the present day and let’s talk about the safety of our children in present. With some of the recent incidents of crimes against children be it in our neighbourhood, schools or even our homes, are we 100% sure that our child is safe today? Can any of us say that there is we need not worry when it comes to the safety of our children?

A total of 33,000 cases of sexual assault of children were registered under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act last year (2017), with Uttar Pradesh recording the highest number of cases at 6,782, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday. Quoting the National Crime Records Bureau, Minister of State of the Women and Child Development Ministry Virendra Kumar said, "While 33,000 cases were registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in 2017, about 36,022 cases registered in 2016." In 2017, Uttar Pradesh registered 6,782 cases of sexual abuse of children, Maharashtra recorded 4,354 and Madhya Pradesh 4,118, Kumar said. In 2016, 3,659 people were convicted under the POCSO Act with 792 convictions from Madhya Pradesh” (Deccan Herald dtd. Jul26 2018).

For every child there are two safe places. First his own home and second his school. It is important that children feel absolutely safe in the schools. It is collective responsibility of teachers, parents and we as member of society to ensure that children feel safe and protected be it schools or any place.

Reportedly mostly physical harm in schools occur due to accidents such as slips, trips and falls, manual handling and contact with equipment. While the level of reported injury is low, it is worth noting the effect of such accidents, as in terms of time that the person being absent from work. It is significantly higher in education sector than in any other.

“School Safety” has been defined as creating safe environment for children, starting from their homes to their schools and back. This includes safety from any kind of abuse, violence, psycho-social issue, disaster: natural and manmade, fire, transportation. Emotional safety is especially important because it is often difficult for teachers and parents to detect emotional problems and difficulties in children. Bullying can cause victimized students to suffer from lower self-esteem and daily stress about their well-being.

In Constitution has guaranteed all children the fundamental right to live with dignity and to have access to education in an environment that is safe, protective and conducive to growth and development. Everyone in the school management including teachers, contractors, special educators, and Students themselves have a role to play in ensuring good safety, healthy and secure environment within the school. The healthy and supportive environment to will help the children to grow and develop in to a citizen of future.

In order to help School management to make the Schools a Safer place and reinforce confidence of teachers, staff and parents and students TUV India has developed a Standard “My Safe School”. The Standard is developed considering the Health and Safety concerns from a youngest school going kid’s point. The Standard can be adopted by Pre-Schools, Day Care & Activity Centres, K-12 Schools and also by the group of institutions operating from same campus having students of various age groups.

The Standard addresses safety concerns in the Schools Premises, Transportation, Events, etc. It also gives strong emphasis on the communicating with all the interested parties (parents, visitors, etc.) on the importance of safety and demonstrating safe behaviour so that the children understand that safety is paramount for themselves as well as fellow students.

My Safe School assessment is based on following main pillars:

1. Organisation Control

2. Safe School Programme

3. People, Premises and Tools

4. Monitoring, Measurement and Analysis

5. Communication

Each assessment pillar has further sub-pillars focussing areas and sub areas of the school. TUV India with their expertise in the quality, environment, health and Safety management services and with large footprint in India can provide assessment services to any location in India.