Safety norms for govt schools relaxed: Why?

Guidelines are relaxed for government schools because, there may not be enough infrastructure to implement the rules. Why does this double standard exist?

After the huge, city-wide wave of protests that we saw in the wake of the rape of a six-year-old schoolgirl, we now have a set of ‘guidelines’ issued by the city police on July 26, for ensuring safety of students. Read through the details, and you find the kind of chicanery and lack of genuine regard for equity that marks most of the official responses to social problems.

The report says that while the guidelines have been mandated for private schools with a deadline of August 31. “The police may not insist on government schools to implement the guidelines as they may not have the necessary resources – they will require a lot of clearances from the government which is a time consuming process” as explained by a “senior police officer.”

Chew on that. Girls in private schools have to be protected, never mind whether those schools have the resources for installing closed circuit television monitors around the school premises, but girl students in government schools don’t deserve such protection. Meaning, the poor can be condemned to rape and molestation, it does not matter, because the “government does not have resources.”

If anyone has the resources, or can find it, it is the government. Lack of funds never stops the government from apportioning money for VIPs – Rs 1.16 crores for minister Ambarish’s medical treatment (as an actor he has earned crores, and is not dependent on state support), posh new air conditioned cars for MLAs, new wall-to-wall carpets for a swearing in ceremony because our VIPs cannot be condemned to the indignity of walking on ordinary floors; thousands of banners and hoardings around town, greeting this or that politician on his birthday; statues of Kempegouda, et cetera. Not to mention foreign jaunts to Russia, New Zealand and Fiji, to “study garbage disposal” (waste management is the politically fashionable term).

But, no money for improving safety for girls who have the misfortune of being enrolled in government schools because they are poor. Isn’t democracy all about ensuring equity, treating all, the rich and the poor, with dignity and ensuring basic human rights? A slum child has as much right to  protection from rape by her school staff , as a girl from a rich family that can afford to send  her to a private school. On what grounds are the guidelines exempting government schools? I find this attitude obscene in the extreme.

A “senior police officer” assuming that guidelines for safety are not needed in government schools? I thought the police force is supposed to protect everyone, especially the weak and the poor, who cannot engage private security. Is the state’s policing machinery only for ensuring safety for VIPs (look at the  bus load of policemen sitting outside the chief minister’s residence, round the clock, chatting, reading the paper, yawning, getting paid for being “on duty”)?

As it is, government schools are in a shambles, with shortage of teachers, shoddy (or nonexistent) infrastructure, not even toilets and safe drinking water; text books are not made available till half the academic year is over. “No money”?  No one says councilors or corporators cannot have their perks because there is no money. It is not even the lack of funds that bothers me (though that is unacceptable as a genuine excuse – money is always found when there is a political will to find it) but the assumption that safety of girls in government schools need not be seen on par with that of girls in private schools.

Non-government schools that cite lack of funds for installing CCTV or other measures listed in the guidelines, will be penalized. Thousands of government schools, citing the same, will not. One set of rules for the rich, another for the government machinery. Some democracy.

If the procedures in government organizations are “cumbersome,” who made them so? Certainly not we the people. Is anyone raising questions?

Post script: At the end of a talk that I was asked to give last week in South Bengaluru, a young woman from the audience came up to me, to narrate her experience. I had suggested that girls learn martial arts to protect themselves against molesters. She said she was learning karate while in college, but the instructor himself misbehaved with her. When the fence eats the crop, when teachers see female students as playthings, it is time to concede that we need ‘education,’ not just for students but also for adult teachers. And adult ‘leaders’ too, many of whom have come up with outrageous comments condoning rape and sexual assaults. If I was asked to describe today’s social scene in one word, I would say “sickening.”

Related Articles

Safety for all children: Can we look at this atleast now?
Who cares for the security in Bengaluru’s government schools?


  1. George Abraham says:

    How many of the private schools can follow these guidelines in the first place? There is talk of GPS tracking for school buses. Can it be implemented on autos, Omni vans, and BMTC buses that ferry majority of the students? The need of the hour it to take firm action on the criminals and instill fear in them instead of instilling fear in the mind of parents and children.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

“Blood. Sweat. Tears. Repeat”: What NEET aspirants are in for as NTA bungles

The future of 24 lakh students is at stake, and teachers predict a tough next year too. Experts call for urgent reforms in the NEET exam.

What does the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) mean to the 23.8 lakh students aspiring to become doctors? "Blood, sweat, tears, repeat" — this is how a second year MBBS student described her years of preparation for the NEET, while studying in classes 11th and 12th. At least a year before that is consumed by anxiety, decision-making, determination and planning for the preparation. And, all this does not include the financial aspect, which amounts to lakhs and sometimes even crores.   Shalmali (name changed) is a second-year MBBS student in the Government Medical College in Dhule. She recounts the long…

Similar Story

Mount Carmel College turns co-ed: Students allege mismanagement

Students say they learnt about the decision of the college on social media. The management says campus safety won't be impacted.

The theme for Mount Carmel College's Platinum Jubilee last year was ‘Herstory'. However, starting from this academic year, the college will not entirely be 'hers' since Mount Carmel, which has been a women's college for 75 years, has opened admissions to boys. Dr. Lekha George, principal of Mount Carmel College, says this decision was not taken overnight. "It was in discussion for a few years and the management took a call to start it this year." Mismanaged communication The students have expressed disappointment over the way the announcement was made. “It was posted on social media, even before we, the…