NEW DELHI: The Centre is roping in various NGOs and civil society groups to chalk out a strategy for preventing with cases of child sexual abuse in schools.
The move comes following the recent sexual assault of a four-year-old girl in a prominent Delhi school by a classmate.
"We have decided to form a panel for discussing ways of curbing instances of sexual abuses as despite rules and guidelines in place, there has been no stopping such disturbing cases,” a senior HRD official told this newspaper.
“This issue needs to be tackled beyond the usual good touch-bad touch lessons," the official added. "The ministry and the Central Board of Secondary Education have initiated discussion with several NGOs and civil society groups in this regard," the official added.
Last week, mother of a 4 year-old girl had approached police in Delhi alleging that her daughter was assaulted by a classmate who had used “fingers and sharpened pencil to rape her”. Police investigations in the case are still underway.
Only in April this year, the CBSE had sent out a notification to about 20,000 of its affiliate schools across the country in order to sensitize them on the subject and enhance security provisions.
“Children are spending most of their time in school, the concern of parents about the safety of school children is increasing every other day. It is a fundamental right of a child to engage and study in an environment where he or she feels safe and is free from any form of physical or emotional abuse or harassment,” the notification had said.
Among the instructions issued by the CBSE were safety audits of schools done by their respective local police stations, installation of CCTV cameras at all vulnerable areas inside schools and limiting the entry of outsiders.
Additionally, schools were also asked to constitute separate committees for redressal of grievances of the public, staff, parents and students. Further, the board had also directed the schools to constitute an internal complaints committee for complaints regarding sexual harassment and committees under Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act, 2012.
“Details of these committees along with contact details shall be displayed prominently on school notice boards and conspicuously on the school website for information of all stakeholders” the CBSE had said.
“However, these guidelines are not sufficient nor are those being strictly mandated. We therefore are starting a fresh round of exercise to lay down rules and provisions aimed at curbing instances of sexual assault in schools,” a CBSE official said.