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Pradhyuman Shows Us The Way

In the past, there have been several accidental deaths in schools which should have been our wake up call. Pradhyuman’s murder was no bolt from the blue. It was a systematic corruption in the education system that was withering away in front of our eyes. And while we chose to look away, Pradhyuman paid the price for it.

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The morning of 8th Sept, 2017 will be etched in my memory forever. I woke up watching the news in disbelief. How can a 7 year old be murdered inside his own school? I spent the whole day debating the loopholes in our school safety system with experts in my news studio. I came back home, only to realize that several sleepless nights of concern and anguish were to follow. Me and my team at Mirror Now were driven to start the campaign #MakeOurSchoolsSafe , to get some real answers.

In the past, there have been several accidental deaths in schools which should have been our wake up call. Pradhyuman’s murder was no bolt from the blue. It was a systematic corruption in the education system that was withering away in front of our eyes. And while we chose to look away, Pradhyuman paid the price for it.

 Almost four months have lapsed since the horrid tragedy. His parents are running from one court to another, to take the school management to task. And we’re still struggling to understand what are our rights as parents. Let’s not be innocent about our responsibilities. Have we made an effort to educate ourselves on what these safety measures are? To make our work simple, there are well defined security guidelines chalked out by both the Supreme Court as well as the CBSE. Read them! Any lapse should be raised with the management. You can demand to be taken on a school tour to ascertain security. You can ask for security certificates issued by the CBSE to be shared with you. A school is believed to be second safest place for a child, after home. But we are at this unfortunate juncture where the parents will need to show more rigor.

So here’s what I’ve learnt so far. Parents associations are a strong tool to gather momentum on issues. It’s important for an individual parent’s woes to be understood within this structure and collectively be raised with the school. If you think you’ve hit a roadblock with a stubborn and nonchalant management, turn to consumer courts. Yes! Schools are often misunderstood as simply providing a service to society for educating children. But many corporate houses have stepped in the education sector and are treating the running of schools as a ruthless business. Many come with a powerful political backing as well, which helps them circumvent the rules, fake their registration certificates and flout safety norms. With exorbitant fees and random hikes, it is safe to look at education as a product. The fees that we pay for is in lieu of a service. Parents today are consumers of the current education system. Therefore we can rightfully approach consumer courts.

And finally, do not ever sign an indemnity bond provided by the school. It is illegal and you can rightfully turn it down. Do not let a school management believe that you can be arm twisted. There’s nothing to be helpless about. We have enough rights both as parents and as consumers.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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