NEW DELHI: Some of the most prestigious schools in the country do not provide secure spaces to their students, safety audits conducted by the CISF have revealed.
From the inadequate number of CCTV cameras to lack of background verification of security guards, CISF has pointed out many glaring omissions that put the lives of students of nine schools across the country at risk, this newspaper has learnt.
Following the murder of seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur at a school in Gurgaon in 2017, the paramilitary force had written to various schools offering consultancy services through a security audit. Nearly two dozen schools agreed to the proposal and CISF conducted the audit at nine.
This newspaper accessed the audit results and found glaring lapses. After having analyzed the entry and exit points of the schools, CISF found that CCTV cameras were not installed at proper locations, some schools did not have enough CCTV cameras and some needed to improve the quality of cameras to enable them to recognize individuals and vehicles.
The absence of these measures shows that unauthorized entry of individuals and vehicles, smuggling of objectionable items is a big possibility in the schools, making students susceptible to threats.
The cameras should cover entry and exit gate corridors, lobbies and parameters of the building but this was missing in most schools.
The absence of security gadgets and insufficient lighting has also been flagged as a concern. Four schools have been asked to procure X-ray baggage machines in their canteens to ensure that snacks and other food materials make way to the canteen only after proper inspection.
Safety of schools has been a concern for many years. CISF has recommended all nine schools to put in place an electronic key management system that will maintain a record of rooms being used.
The force, in its reports, has pointed out the lack of fire safety measures in some schools like a non-functional fire hydrant and insufficient fire fighting gadgets. Of the nine schools, five had sought fire consultancy and all five have been asked to get more extinguishers.
The schools that were audited were St Xavier’s Institution (Kolkata), Oakridge International School (Hyderabad), La Martienere Boys (Kolkata), La Martiniere Girls (Kolkata), Nirmal Bhartia School (Delhi), Vibgyor School (Bengaluru), Sree Vidyanikethan Educational International (Tripuati), La Martiniere College (Lucknow) and Daly College (Indore).
This newspaper contacted all the schools for their responses but only La Martienere Boys (Kolkata) and La Martiniere Girls (Kolkata) responded.
They said they have undertaken upgradation of the security system in both the schools. From increasing the number of CCTVs from 565 to 755 to raise the height of the boundary wall, the school cited many such measures being undertaken to upgrade its existing security system.
Children at risk:
- Lack of CCTV cameras at vantage points.
- Background verification of security guards missing in some schools.
- Lack of fire safety measures and an inadequate number of fire extinguishers in some schools.
- Insufficient lighting highlighted in cases of some schools.
- Poor quality of CCTV cameras found in some schools.