1,000 Residential Schools To Come Under Camera Surveillance

Bhubaneswar : The State government has decided to bring the government-run residential schools for tribal and scheduled caste children under CCTV surveillance to ensure the safety of inmates.

The decision to this effect has been taken in view of yesterday’s unsavoury incident of a girl student giving birth to a child in a school hostel in Daringibadi in Kandhamal district. The district administration had later dismissed six hostel employees for their failure to report the matter.

Over 1,000 residential schools mainly in those where girls are studying will be brought under CCTV scanner in the first phase. Later the rest of the residential schools will come under electronic surveillance, said a senior official.

The Welfare Departments in all the 30 districts have been directed to ensure strict enforcement of safety and security measures in residential schools and girls’ hostels. The departmental officers have been asked to act vigilantly and proactively in the matter so that safety of children mainly are not jeopardised, said a senior official.

In these schools, children are provided free food and hostel facilities. The classroom teaching is also free of cost as per right to compulsory education act. Odisha government bears the entire cost of running these residential schools, the official added.

The government’s move to install CCTV in schools and girls’ hostel is definitely a positive step. It will go a long way in invigorating the school safety and security, said child rights activists.

On the contrary, the living condition in school hostels is found to be inhospitable in majority of the schools. Food quality served to the school inmates is alleged to be substandard. Medical care of inmates eludes the inmates.

Cases of sexual exploitation of girl children in residential school hostels have also come to the fore from across the state. The state government had earlier issued direction to ensure strict implementation of guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Guidelines and SOP on safety and security of boarders, safe cooking and serving, food menu chart along with code of conduct and duties of the each staff were circulated to school authorities. But its implementation seems to have remained on paper only, said rights activist, Biswapriya Kanungo.