Authority moots action plan in schools to avert Peshawar-like carnages

Authority moots action plan in schools to avert Peshawar-like carnages

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has drafted rules to ensure the safety of schoolchildren in case of such an eventuality as the terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Pakistan earlier this week. But surprisingly, the disaster management cell in Karnataka doesn’t seem to be aware of such a draft policy.

In the aftermath of the attack, the NDMA issued a directive to all states to beef up security at educational institutions. The ‘school safety’ of the NDMA rules specify measures at the national, state, district and school levels. At the state-level, a ‘school safety advisory committee’ comprising officials of the education department and the State disaster management cell should be formed.

Besides, works related to reduction of disaster risk under the national schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) or the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) should be mainstreamed, experts appointed to advise schools on local adaptations in school design and an action plan developed along with other departments, the draft says.

At the school level, an emergency response plan should be developed, including evacuation procedures, stockpiling of emergency equipment and materials, handling of chemicals in the laboratory. Besides, a school safety focal point teacher should be appointed to oversee safety-related actions as part of his/her routine duties in the school, as per the draft.

Replying to a query on safety measures in schools if such an eventuality ever struck, K Anand, director, Primary Education, Department of Public Instruction, said, “A committee under Additional Chief Secretary, V Umesh, will have to take a call on improving safety measures in schools to counter such situations. Once they take a decision, a frame of rules will be made which has to be passed by the Cabinet.”

When asked if the State disaster management cell would work to ensure the safety of schoolchildren by taking measures specified in the draft policy, an official at the cell denied having knowledge about the policy.

“You will have to speak to the education department on this matter,” the official said.
Schools, however, say no authority has specified measures to deal with terrorist attacks. “If terrorists can strike there (in Pakistan), they can carry out similar attacks here too. One needs to be always prepared. But as of now, no measures have been specified by any authority to deal with such a situation,” said M A Khan, Principal, K K English High School, Varthur.

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