Draft rules propose to improve safety at schools

The draft amended rules published by the primary and secondary education department on Saturday may make schools a safer space for children.

The draft Karnataka Educational Institutions (Classification, Regulation and Prescription of Curricula) Amendment rules require educational institutions to prepare a student protection plan, carry out annual hazard hunt exercise, and provide a safe learning environment.

Existing educational institutions have a period of one year from the publication of the rules to comply with the building and infrastructure norms necessary to ensure student safety.

The draft rules also prescribe a checklist of safety measures to be maintained by the schools with mandatory and recommended measures. Some of these measures include making the school environment mandatorily disabled-friendly, ensuring licences for elevators, safe drinking water, proper electrical wiring and so on.

Regular health checkups and a doctor-on-call are also recommended. Schools should have to maintain medical information of students such as blood groups, allergies and important medication.

The schools are also expected to have a child protection policy. Even life skills and mentoring are recommended for the emotional well-being of students.

The minimum space for each student has been increased from six square feet to one square metre while overall land requirements have been reduced.

The draft Karnataka Educational Institutions (Classification and Registration) Amendment Rules 2017, proposes to increase the registration fee for new educational institutions.

In addition, the procedure of registration has been made online and a processing fee will also be charged.

Institutions are to update details of student enrollment to the Student Achievement Tracking System and even information of teaching resources is to be provided on the website of the department's IT portal.

Similarly, the draft rules have revised the security deposit for institutions seeking recognition.

The amount has been increased from Rs 10,000 for lower primary schools (class I to IV) to Rs one lakh for lower primary schools. For higher primary school, the amount has been increased from Rs 20,000 to Rs two lakh for Kannada medium and Rs 5 lakh for English medium.

Any objections to the draft rules have to be addressed to the principal secretary to the department within 15 days of the publication.

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