The National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005 developed by National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT) emphasizes on providing space for the awareness and management of natural and human-generated disasters in school curriculum across the subject areas at all the stages in its syllabi and textbooks.
Disaster Management and natural calamities are not taught as separate subjects in schools; instead, their references are integrated across the disciplines viz Social Science and Science at upper primary, secondary and senior secondary levels. As education is in the Concurrent List of the Constitution, the majority of the schools are under the jurisdiction of respective States/UTs.
The Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has written to all the States and UTs vide letter dated 01.09.2017 regarding the National Disaster Management Guidelines on School Safety. It was emphasized that the guidelines on School Safety Policy, 2016 prepared by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) are statutory in nature and are required to have complied without any deviation.
The NDMA guidelines provide for conducting quarterly safety audits by the School Management Committee (SMC) in schools including fire safety and food safety. The guidelines are in the public domain and hosted on www.mhrd.gov.in.
The Manual on Safety and Security of Children in Schools developed by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has also identified authorities at different levels such as School Management Committee, Parent Teacher Association, School Management, authorities at Block, District, State and National levels to monitor the implementation of the manual. The details are in the public domain and hosted on www.ncpcr.gov.in.
All schools under Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan (KVS), Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) and Central Tibetan Schools Administration (CTSA) conduct mock-drills, training, and use of certain gadgets like fire extinguishers for the benefit of students.
The Department of School Education & Literacy, MHRD has not held any consultation with disaster management institutes of other countries for imparting disaster management education to students in schools.
The MHRD has issued detailed guidelines on safety and security of children vide letter dated 09.10.2014 to all State and UT Governments suggesting preventive institutional mechanisms and procedures that should be put in place in the schooling system along with the relief and redressal strategies in case of such incidents.
The guidelines cover various aspects related to the safety and security of school children including infrastructure which includes physical structures of school building, playground, water bodies, electrical and fire safety mechanism, school transport etc. health and hygiene which includes drinking water hygiene, toilets hygiene, food safety and hygiene in mid-day meal; psychosocial aspect which includes elimination of corporal punishment, eve-teasing/sexual abuse, school environment; role and responsibility of teachers in monitoring, Monitoring and implementation mechanism of the guidelines is also provided.
The Department of School Education & Literacy has again advised all States and UTs on 11.09.2017 to sensitize the entire administrative and monitoring machinery towards effective implementation of the guidelines on safety and security of school children; and institutionalizing and ensuring a safe, secure and vibrant environment in schools for children.
Also, the schools affiliated to CBSE are required to follow the guidelines relating to the safety of children in schools, including the following:
(i) The guidelines issued by the Supreme Court of India in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 483 of 2004 in the matter of Avinash Mehrotra (Petitioner) Versus Union of India & Others (Respondents);
(ii) The guidelines on School Safety Policy, 2016 issued by the NDMA which is statutory in nature;
(iii) Manual on Safety and security of children in schools developed by NCPCR &
(iv) National Building Code-2005, as amended from time to time.
The information was given by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.
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