BENGALURU: Setting up a new primary school in the state will henceforth no be so easy. Under the new rules, physical and infrastructure safety, personal and sexual safety, social, emotional and cyber safety for children have to be ensured at the time of application itself.
The Department of Public Instruction has issued mandatory regulations for those who are planning to submit applications to set up new schools. The regulations are part of Karnataka Education Institutions (classification, regulation and prescription of curriculum, etc.) Amendment Rules 2018.
According to officials in the department, considering the increasing cases of sexual abuse, corporal punishment, threat to physical safety of children at schools, these regulations have been made mandatory for granting permission to start a new school.
Physical safety includes infrastructure, health and transportation facilities provided at the school. “There are cases where there are no basic infrastructure facilities like toilets and drinking water. One should ensure this while submitting his/her application. At the same time, considering the safety issues raised with transportation facilities provided by schools, this has been made part of physical safety,” explained a senior official.
Under physical safety, the rules require an educational institution to have proper compound wall, temporary fencing, well-lit classrooms ventilated with sufficient doors and windows.
When it comes to sexual safety, the department insists that schools conduct age and class-appropriate training for both students and teachers from Classes 1 to 12. “They must be taught gender sensitivity, disability sensitivity, social responsibility, respect and dignity for fellow human beings, harmful effects of substance abuse, consequences of illegal behaviour or action under Juvenile Justice Act and also under Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act,” said an official.
One of the important aspects is cyber safety, under which the department has directed schools to have proper internet security which restricts access to sites with adult content. Schools have also been directed to block social networking sites.
The applicants have to provide details about all these measures in the application itself and if the information provided is found to be incorrect during the expert committee visit to the proposed school, permission will be denied. All existing schools are also required to ensure that all safety measures are in place.