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CBSE issues fresh circular

CBSE issues fresh circular
After years of discussion regarding the safety and security of children in Indian schools, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had finally issued a circular, with a fresh set of rules, outlining steps to ensure the safety of children in schools. Coming against the backdrop of a series of incidents in schools across the country in recent times, including the horrific murder of seven-year-old Pradyuman at a Gurugram school, the circular has recommended for installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras on school premises along with police verification and psychometric evaluation of all the teachers and non-teaching staff, including bus conductors, drivers, peon, and other support staff. The CBSE circular, published on its official website, states that school authorities are solely responsible for the safety and security of children on their campus, calling it a fundamental right of the child to 'engage and study in an environment where he/she feels safe and is free from any form of physical or emotional abuse or harassment'. By making it mandatory for the CBSE-affiliated schools to comply with the new guidelines within two months, the circular has also asked the schools to conduct safety and security audits of their premises and employees from the respective local police stations, within the next two months. It has also asked the schools to install 'round-the-clock operational' CCTV cameras at all vulnerable points within the school premises. The CBSE has also directed all schools to ensure that the support staff are employed by authorised agencies who also maintain proper records of their background and conduct. Parent-teacher-student committees should be set up to address the safety needs of the students, and parents' feedback must be taken regularly. Notably, it called for controlling access to the school building by outsiders while also regularly monitoring visitors. The circular added that the staff should be given appropriate training in discharging their responsibility to protect all children from any form of abuse. Schools have also been asked to constitute a separate committee for redressal of public, staff, students, and parents grievances, an internal complaint committee on sexual harassment and a committee under Protection of Children from Sexual Offence (POCSO) Act. Details of all these committees along with the contact details must be displayed prominently on the school notice board and on the school website as well. CBSE also stated that if any affiliated school fails to follow the board-issued guidelines or goes ahead to violate them, they might lose their affiliation.
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