#schoolsafety | As physical classes resume, Education Department calls for school safety

The School Education Department Saturday passed instructions for the safety of the students and school buildings, days after physical classes resumed in all the educational institutions across Kashmir.

In a circular issued from the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK), the Chief Education Officers (CEOs) have been directed to ensure implementation of National Disaster Management (NDM) guidelines on School Safety Policy-2016 in the schools.

The directions have been issued in wake of the recommendations made by the joint monitoring committee on February 24 chaired by Joint Secretary NDMA Ramesh Kumar to review the status of the implementation of NDM guidelines on School Safety Policy-2016.

J&K lies in the seismic zone and almost all districts of Kashmir and erstwhile Doda district fall in Seismic Zone-V while rest of the districts fall in Seismic Zone-IV.

In view of this, the monitoring committee has recommended that the district nodal officers (Dy CEOs) should monitor the implementation of 10 points of sensitisationprogrammes and periodic mock drills at regular intervals which are essential for school safety.

“School Safety Audit is a very important technical feature which should be conducted in every school in consultation with district disaster management authority,” the committee has recommended.

The directorate of the School Education Kashmir in its circular has said that the school safety and security of the students was of utmost importance and should be ensured as schools have reopened for physical classes.

In this regard, the concerned officials have been directed to ensure implementation of guidelines in schools with proper monitoring of implementation by district nodal officers.

“The quarterly reports should be forwarded in time to the Directorate of School Education for submission to the concerned quarters,” the DSEK circular reads.

The CEOs have been instructed to share the best practices adopted by schools in the district with the directorate while the district nodal officers have been asked to focus on the implementation of directions issued by Prime Minister NarendraModi during the 6th meeting of NDMA.

The School Education Department in 2017 and 2018 ordered safety audit of old school buildings in Kashmir and instructions were issued to all CEOs, Zonal Education Officers (ZEOs), Principal of Higher Secondary Schools and headmasters to get the safety audit done within 45 days in consultation with the respective district administrations.

As already reported by Greater Kashmir, the instructions were issued after the department received inputs that several unsafe blocks in the schools were used as classrooms, putting students at risk.

However, the circulars were silently shelved by the department for reasons unknown.

The successive regimes in the past have admitted that the schools buildings were not fully safe for students and around 50 percent of the buildings were in semi-dilapidated conditions.

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