Karnataka: Child protection policy caught in bureaucratic tussle

Bengaluru: In order to ensure the safety of children in schools the state government has formulated Child Protection Policy, but most schools authorities are casual about it. The state has more than 1,37,810 schools and many of them are yet to implement it.

Dr Kripa Amar Alva, Chairperson, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) said, “The schools have taken the policy very lightly. They should have adopted it when it was approved and the education department had passed the order to implement it.”

The State Cabinet had approved Child Protection Policy in April 2016, to curtail incidents of sexual violence against children in schools.

According to the Karnataka State Child Protection Policy, every ‘safe school’ must have a child-centric approach and the active involvement of children in all the school-related activities.

It also stated that it is necessary to ensure that all communication with or dealings with children, are child-friendly, age-appropriate and do not intimidate or offend, humiliate or degrade their self-respect and dignity.

Tussle between two depts
“It’s a must to implement the policy for schools. The reason why this policy is still lying on papers is because of the blame game between Women and Child Welfare department and Education department. The responsibility of the Women and Child development was just to make the policy and Education department had to implement it,” said Nagasimha G. Rao, Director of Child Rights Trust.

He also said that no training was being provided to the teachers on this and private schools are not even considering this seriously. “This policy was made when there was rise in child abuse, now that the momentum is gone, no one is bothered,” Nagasimha added.

No training
A Principal of a private school in Bengaluru said, “We had formed the committee long back, but we don’t have any orientation class or particular teachers assigned for it.” A private school teacher from Chitradurga also said that the committee was formed for the sake of it and nothing is been done in the school now. 

While Likith, administrator of Euro School said, “The Child Protection Policy was adopted year back along with the committee and we are creating awareness for children every day,”The new policy also stipulates that all schools must include child protection in staff appraisals and is applicable to all the schools including CBSE, ICSE and international schools.“This policy plays a vital role in bringing down the kind of offence that takes place at school level and it is extremely important for the schools to adopt it,” Dr Alva added.

In next academic year
An official from Department of Primary and Secondary Education said, “We are making it mandatory for schools to implement the policy from the upcoming academic year and we have also recently issued a circular to the schools to implement the policy within six months.”

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