BANGALORE: With the city police issuing a fresh set of guidelines to schools for ensuring security of children, many high-end schools have already fitted their school buses with GPS and CCTV cameras.
Harvest International School, Legacy International School, The Deens Academy, Baldwin’s School and Indus International School already have security measures in place.
Harvest International School has fitted both a GPS and a camera in each of its 24 buses at a cost `7.6 lakh. The cost for each student for this facility is Rs 950 to Rs 1,000 per year.
Principal Dr Dakshini said, “It is not just this, we have even installed 70 CCTV cameras on the campus at a cost of Rs 8 lakh to monitor movement of children and staff. We are in the process of adding another 30 cameras. With the installation of GPS in buses, parents will get an SMS if there is a deviation of route or any delay. Further, we can also monitor the behaviour of drivers and children through the cameras. In fact, the video recording is saved for 15 days to allow us to check them later. The new guidelines are good, but the burden on the school will be more and expenses are passed on to the parents.”
A member of a school management committee said every bus is fitted with speed governors and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) allowing constant tracking and communication while efficiently mapped-out bus routes further ensure that children spend the least amount of time travelling to and from school.
Some schools have even installed CCTV cameras in classrooms, corridors and other vulnerable areas while deploying duty officers on every floor to monitor movement of students and staff.
Puja, a working mother whose son studies at Indus International School, is all praise for the school’s GPS tracking facility. The school has CCTV cameras on every floor which have been operational for the past two years, she said. “It is a pretty accurate and convenient system and timely alerts sent by this system reduce one’s tension while regular updates in the morning and evening make one aware of unforeseen delays and problems. There is always a coordinator to monitor children in every block while an attendant on the bus ensures the child reaches home safely,” she added.
Monitoring students’ movement has become imperative and today technology is doing its best to come up with such devices that can help parents heave a sigh of relief, says Bobby Kalra, CEO, North Stars, a company that focuses on child safety and well being.
Till date, the company has installed GPS tracking devices on 2,000 to 2,500 buses in 50 city schools, he said.
“The response has been very good from high-end schools. Initially, when we approached the schools, parents were reluctant but once they saw the benefits, they agreed to it. On a daily basis, we get every bit of information even if the bus has a small puncture, road block, etc. The same information is immediately sent to a registered mobile number, usually the parents. One can even dial a toll-free number to know the location of the bus. Apart from this, if the driver takes an alternative route or the bus has broken down or there is some problem in the set route, accident reports, speeding reports, behavioural reports, etc are sent,” Kalra added.
Challenge for Schools
It is a huge challenge to set up CCTV cameras and GPS facility within August 31 as a network of partners are needed for installing them and the number of children using school buses runs into thousands, said a company official. With thousands of school children ferried by BMTC buses and only 500 of them being fitted with GPS trackers, adding devices to the rest of the buses will also be a mammoth exercise, he said.