In order to ensure the safety of children, the Department of Public Instruction has made it mandatory for those planning to open schools to make sure fire safety and building security measures are in place.
Previously, new applicants were granted permission on the submission of an undertaking to the department that they would put all the measures in place within a year of their functioning.
In 2017, a few schools were given conditional permission to function following a government order on the fire safety measures to be adhered to by the schools. However, in a recent circular, the department has asked the applicants to ensure that measures are taken as per the provisions of the National Building Code of India.
This is based on a Supreme Court judgement on a writ petition in this regard in 2009.
In a circular, P C Jaffer, Commissioner, Department of Public Instruction, said that this would be applicable for those establishing new schools and the existing schools seeking the renewal of permission.
Meanwhile, a senior official in the education department said that these checks happened at the block level.
“Previously, they would seek permission and give an undertaking. The onus was on block-level officials to follow up and ensure that measures are in place. This was a tedious task and there was a possibility of missing out on a follow-up. With this system, safety is ensured,” he added.
Shashi Kumar D, general secretary, KAMS, said, “These rules must be applicable only to schools which started functioning after 2017. Officials in the education department have
been harassing school authorities seeking an upgrade.
“Also, why is the condition laid only on private schools while it is essential to have it in government schools as well,” he asked.