The below article on ‘How to assess school safety standards’ is a work of our Guest Author and Contributor Shampa Moitra, who is running her own education venture and knows in and out of various safety related concerns and measures that shall be adopted by schools.
Incidences of Child Abuse in school premise has every time left us shocked and stirred! We as parents feel confused and doubtful when it comes to our child’s environment- but how much importance do we attribute to this factor while choosing a school?
Every time I hear about an incident of child abuse, someone inside me screams- do whatever is there within your capacity.. I keep warning the parents.. keep guiding them on how to make their Juniors formal school ready- while we try our level best at our end as well.. but this post is not about that.. I am sure you all are doing your bit in terms of discussion on good/bad/safe/ unsafe touches.. I would only request you to do that more frequently if your child is joining formal school soon! But this post is about choosing the most important environment for your child- his/her school! Have seen people asking on what should be the criteria for choosing the school.. well Curriculum.. Methodology.. Board..
Pedagogy.. Past Results.. all are important but- I would say- above everything else – keep your child’s safety as the top most priority or criteria for your choice.
How to assess school safety standards:
*Ask: Ask the school representatives about their Child protection policies- they should be able to share some documents or if not so at least details around the measures taken.. because as per the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offense) act 2012- every school is required to establish their Child Protection Policy- The policy must apply to all related to the school and who come in direct or indirect contact with children.
*Check: Now cross check with the parents you bump into while at the school, if those safety measures- the protection policy mentions- are in place- if they are happy with the safety practices of the school- if yes why.. if no , why not so… This will give you some clarity.. try to understand how active is the complaint mechanism- how sensitive and supportive is the school towards the children.
*Get a feel: Last and most important is to get a feel- because here you are not depending on any secondary source of information- while inside the school or around- observe how kids are managed- if younger ones are left unattended/ if too many male staff / how safe otherwise is the school premise- if any part of it is accident prone or not! How smaller kids are being handled.. bus safety..etc.. this will give you some more clarity around the environment of the school!
While you choose a school for your little one-learning , methodology.. pedagogy.. results..grooming.. development.. fee.. all are important factors no doubt about it, but MOST important is the Safety of our kids.. if the environment is not safe for them, everything else becomes irrelevant! So choose wisely!
Shampa Moitra: A Post Graduate in Sociology with work experience with International NGOs, I started my Education venture five years ago.. running my own Pre-School and Daycare – Genius Juniors is not my profession but my passion! Developing curriculum , working closely on kids comprehensive development and grooming and counselling new parents are some of my interest areas. A mother of two preteens- my another love is art- Canvas Painting in particular.. I have done
group exhibitions and participated in community art projects as well.