“Onus Of Security Lies On School, Government And Community”: Kalorex Group

Dr Manjula Pooja Shroff, MD &CEO, Kalorex Group, opens up to BW Education about how security of school children is becoming a harder task every day and what can be done to tackle this ongoing issue.

 What is a more permanent solution to the security problems that have been encountered after the incident at Ryan and Tagore International School?

In my view, the onus of security lies on the school, the government as well as the community. So, actually a permanent solution is a tripartite one.

The schools should implement the guidelines issued by CBSE and government, especially the verification of employee part. Any person with a criminal background should not be employed. Each member of staff should be trained to be alert and prevent/report any suspicious activity. The school should have one nodal officer to address such queries whose phone number should be circulated to each and every staff member.

The government has to ensure quick justice in such cases and harsh terms to deter people from committing child related crimes. Also like some prominent slogans have been created for eradication of polio or other social issues, a slogan for prevention of crime against children should be created and circulated on radio and newspapers.

Community has a large role to play in this aspect. Non- governmental organizations can play a vital role in creating awareness among the populace about the crime against the children and its consequences. Each and every member of society should feel responsible towards protecting children and raise an alarm in case of suspicion.

 How are schools/institutions coping with the new guidelines issued by CBSE and the government?

 Kalorex group of schools have always been very proactive when it comes to safety of students. For example, our preprimary students’ bus has had a female non-teaching staff on duty for many years. The new guidelines of CBSE and Government are a welcome measure. We as educational institution that call ‘school, the second home of child’ are bound by a moral duty to take utmost care of our children.

 Safety of children is becoming a harder task every day. With such incidents, has an educator's role and responsibility changed? 

Ans. An educator’s role otherwise also has changed with times. As we moved from rote teaching to holistic learning, the educator has already taken up a whole lot of responsibility of shaping the 21st century learners. Yes, such incidents do put an additional responsibility on the teacher to be extra cautious about the child’s safety, especially when they are on field visits and outside classroom.

What are your views on how owners are marginalized on incidents like these and how does it ultimately affects the delivery of education? Do you feel compelled to be cautious of delivery and be blamed for anything that happens in your institutions specially after taking every step necessary for the safety of your students? 

It’s not very encouraging to see the public response towards the owners in case of such untoward incidents. Owners are also humans who get shaken up by the loss of a child or a mishap in the school.

I don’t think, it affects the delivery of education if proper processes have become a way of life for the school. It would affect the routine at school, only if the measures are considered a burden.

Unfortunate accidents do happen everywhere, not only at school. Justice should prevail but after thorough investigation.

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