BANGALORE: The rigorous safety guidelines issued by Bangalore Police Commissioner M N Reddi to make schools safer for children could pinch the pockets of parents by way of a hike in school fees.
August 31 is the deadline for schools to appoint vigilance officers, install surveillance cameras in all school buses and hire escorts for children. These measures have been spelt out in a set of guidelines issued by the police on Saturday.
Compliance with the guidelines will result in escalation of costs and will require more manpower, said Mansoor Ali Khan, a member of the board of Delhi Public School.
“Somewhere along the way, we will have to pass on the costs to parents. Not all private schools are in a financial position to meet these requirements,” Khan said.
All branches of the Delhi Public School have over 200 cameras and GPS devices in their buses, he said.
“A good CCTV camera may cost anywhere between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000. The GPS cost-per-student that companies quote is around `250 to `300, and this alone comes up to Rs 2,000 a month. This is what happens when the government has a knee-jerk reaction without discussing it with managements,” he said. An association of schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations held a meeting here on Sunday to discuss the possible financial implications these guidelines could have on parents and other stakeholders.
“Will these guidelines prevent crimes against children totally? Vibgyor High had 99 CCTVs. The point is that it has to be a collective societal effort involving schools, parents and even children,” said Usha Mohan, director, The Bangalore School.
“You never know the impact the guidelines will have on fees, but it will certainly pinch parents’ pockets. Where will the managements get the money from? Perhaps, schools may resort to a hike in the next academic session, instead of effecting one in the middle of a year,” she said.
D Shashi Kumar, director of Blossoms School in Nagasandra, says the guidelines are unacceptable.
“There are several problems in this diktat, but nobody is listening to us. Are we also expected to appoint people to make sure the cameras in buses are not stolen? Implementation of the guidelines will naturally burden parents,” Kumar said.