SCHOOL SAFETY PLAN
Ensuring a safe environment for the children at school level is the most important task, as in the case of any emergency they are the most vulnerable. 'Disasters’, are defined as “a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society causing widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources”. Due to a lot of factors, including age, physical ability, gender, health conditions and, dependency on care givers, many children are extremely vulnerable in the event of a disaster. Such events cause a serious interruption in their healthy growth and development as well as overall well-being.
‘School Safety’ shall be ensured for the creation of safe environments for children starting from their homes to their schools and back. This includes safety from large-scale 'natural' hazards of geological/climatic origin, human-made risks, pandemics, violence as well as more frequent and smaller-scale fires, transportation and other related emergencies, and environmental threats that can adversely affect the lives of children.
Right to Education Act 2009: Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009 guarantees free and compulsory education to all the children in the country till the age of 14. The Act sets minimum norms and standards with regard to location and quality of schools and in Clause 19, lays down that no school shall be established, or recognized unless it fulfils the norms and standards specified in the schedule. One of the key standards is in relation to access to “all weather buildings”; in “areas with difficult terrain, risk of landslides, floods, lack of roads and in general, danger for young children in the approach.The State Government / Local Authority shall locate the school in such a manner as to avoid such dangers”. The Act lays down the formation of the School Management Committee for planning of infrastructure and other requirements with respect to operational functioning of schools. The School Development Plan, as laid out by the Act, spells out the physical requirements of additional infrastructure and equipments to meet the norms spelt out in the schedule (in relation to all weather buildings). The RTE Rules provide detailed guidance on implementation of the Act on the ground.
The National School Safety Policy Guidelines apply to all schools in the country – whether government, aided or private, irrespective of their location in rural or urban areas.
National Disaster Management Authority, of the Ministry of Home Affairs, strongly feels that there has to be a structural, as well as non-structural intervention, to ensure the safety of the children.
The National Policy on Disaster Management 2009 highlights the need for structural as well as non- structural safety in schools and educational institutions.
This may include natural hazards such as floods and earthquakes as well as manmade hazards. Hazards include structural and non- structural factors. Structural factors include dilapidated buildings, poorly designed structures, faulty construction, poorly maintained infrastructure, loose building elements, etc. while non structural factors include loosely placed heavy objects such as almirahs, infestation of the campus by snakes and any other pests, broken or no boundary walls, uneven flooring, blocked evacuation routes, poorly designed and placed furniture that may cause accidents and injury, inadequate sanitation facilities etc.
Safety of children, their teachers and parents needs to be approached holistically to include visible as well as invisible risks that may be sudden on-set or have built-up slowly over a period of time.
The Ministry insists that every school adopt a school safety programme targeting the educational institutions, emergency officials, teachers, students and even the community at large.
Action Initiated under Disaster Management
Guideline of NDMA on safety and Security of children has been circulated to all Districts, Block and School point.
• District Education Officers were declared as Nodal officer.
• SMC guideline has been provided to all districts.
• Plan of action for school safety and disaster management has been issued to all districts.
• There is a chapter on safety security/disaster management at curriculum of elementary level.
• State level Advisory committee for school safety has been constituted.
• Instruction has been issued to form Advisory committee at District, Block and at school level.
• State Action Plan has been communicated to NDMA and all districts were instructed to complete all woks in time.
• Districts were instructed to initiate preparation of School safety plan and Disaster Management at school level.
• Districts were instructed to initiate Hazard Hunt Exercise at school level.
• Child safety guideline in Odia Language has been communicated in Odia language.
NOTICE / CIRCULARS
1. Notification for DEOs as Nodal Officers vide no. 357/SME dtd.05/01/2018
2. Guidelines on Safty & Security of children vide letter no. 87(30)/Plg dtd.04/01/2018
3. Plan of Action for School Disaster Management Plan (SDMP) / School Safty Plan (SSP) vide letter no. 3756/SME dtd.20/02/2018
4. Revised Guidelines on Composition & Function of School Management Committee vide no.3766/SME dtd.20/02/2018
5. Compliance of Apex Court Order on School Safty vide letter no. 3437/Plg dtd.05/04/2018
5.1 Notification for Constitution of School Safty Advisory Committee (SSAC) vide no.4824/SME dtd.08/03/2018
6. National Disaster Management Guidelines
7. State Action Plan vide letter no.6263/Plg dtd.28/06/2018
8. Hazard Hunt Excercise at School Level vide letter no. 6905/Plg dtd.19/07/2018
9. Organization of Fire & Evacuation Drill in Schools vide letter no. 10430/Plg dtd.12/11/2018