PATNA: All 75,000 primary and middle schools in Bihar will have cells for protection of children from sexual offences by March. The special POCSO cells will have two students — a girl and a boy of the same school — as members, who will take note of crimes against children and act on complaints received against bad touches, sexual abuses and other violations. Complaint boxes are also being installed in all schools to help children lodge their grievances in full confidentiality.
The cell will act upon the complaint letters put into the boxes also. Kiran Kumari, special project officer of Bihar Education Project Council, said district education officers have been directed to monitor the setting up of the cells. These cells have been designed to be functional at two levels, with the headmasters heading them. Cell members will have the collective responsibility to forward the complaints of child abuse to the police station concerned for further legal action under the POCSO Act, she said.
Also, 450 teachers of both primary and middle schools have been trained as ‘master trainers’ to train other teachers to ensure better functioning of the cells. A mobile app has also been developed to monitor their functioning directly. The Bihar chapter of UNICEF has provided technical support for framing guidelines and training modules for the teachers.
According to official figures, over 1,275 cases were registered in Bihar in 2019 under the POCSO Act. Of these, 672 cases are under investigation, while charge sheets have been filed in 515 cases.