PATNA: The special 'POCSO Cells' in Bihar’s 75,000 govt-run primary and middle schools will start functioning by March this year to deal with the cases of child abuse and crimes against children.
The Special POCSO Cells will have a full-bench of members with two pupils including a girl and a boy of the same schools, who will take notice and act thereupon on the complaints received against bad touches, sexual abuses and other kinds of abuses meted out to the school children. The cell's members will have a collectively responsibility to forward the complaints of child abuse to concerned police station for further legal action as per the POCSO Act.
Confirming this to TNIE, Kiran Kumari, special project officer (SPO) of Bihar Education Project Council, said that the cells have been designed in a way to make it functional on two levels. An official instruction has already issued to the district education officers (DEOs) of all districts to set up a POCSO Cell reach in schools providing education from primary to middle classes".
She claimed that the POCSO-Cells will formally start functioning by March and from April onward, the DEOs would start monitoring the cells.
Detailing about it, she said that the headmaster of each school will head the committee of POCSO-Cell.
"Besides this, complaint boxes would be put up in each of 75000 schools in which the victim of child abuse or any kind of inappropriate treatments can put complaint without losing privacy. The cell will act upon the complaint letters put into the boxes also", she said, adding that confidentiality of complainant will remain 100% confidential.
Till date, 450 teachers of both primary and middle schools have been trained as master trainers in Bihar, who will train other teachers on how to ensure better functioning of the cells.
She said that the department has developed an APP also for monitoring the functioning of POCSO Cells directly.
The Bihar chapter of UNICEF has provided technical support to this initiative, a first of its kind in framing guidelines and training modules to the teachers.
According to official figures, more than 1,275 cases were registered in Bihar in 2019 under the POCSO Act of which 672 cases are under investigations while charge sheets in 515 cases have already been submitted.
Official sources said that proposals have been sent to the state government to pay compensation to the victims of around 150 cases so far.
Recently, CM Nitish Kumar had also shot-off a letter to the Centre urging to ban pornographic sites on the internet.
A Delhi based renowned activist, who runs the Anand NGO working on bad and good touches for children, Dr Jyoti Anand said that the move to set up POCSO cells will help a lot but the government should take the help of NGOs in promoting knowledge on bad and good touches among school children also.