Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 4:
The Women and Child Development (W & CD) department of the Odisha government today issued new guidelines for the safety and security of children in schools of the state. The notification calls for the mandatory implementation of the new guidelines in all government, private and residential schools and hostels in the state within a period of two months.
The W &CD department notification on guidelines for ensuring a safe environment in institutions where children are housed and/or study reads; “The child protection protocol shall be hosted on the institution’s website, painted and displayed at a prominent place within the institution’s premises”.
The protocol will contain information on security, police and phone number of the official in-charge of child security in the school, the notification said.
The guideline says “Headmaster/Headmistress/Principal/Superintendent will be designated as the Child Protection Officer for the institution”.
As per the new guidelines, institutions will be required to maintain a suggestion box in their premises in the corridor or at any other location within a child’s reach. The suggestion box shall be opened bi-weekly in the presence of two parents, a lady teacher and the child protection officer of the institution.
The guidelines further states that each school will be required to appoint a lady warden while a woman official shall remain in-charge of security of girl students in school buses.
The new guidelines issued by the W &CD department makes verification of the antecedents of the teachers/other staff and service providers (school bus providers) mandatory before allowing them access to these institutions.
The guidelines clearly says; “Institutions shall conduct a criminal history assessment for staff and volunteers who are working with or around children with the local police station (teaching and non-teaching, direct and service providers and volunteers)”.
There are around 73, 000 schools in the state with about 75 lakh children in their rolls.