Recently, the Delhi government has mandated the live streaming of CCTV footage to parents in every government school. It is really a huge step to safeguard our children in school. However, I still think it’s a privacy breach. Most of the teachers in early childhood stages are female. What about their privacy? They may not feel free to play, dance, sing with the children. Singing, dancing and playing are the pillars of early childhood education. It’s good to have CCTV installed in class but I think live streaming to parents is against the teachers’ rights.
I believe safety can’t be ensured just by automating system unless we all are accountable to ensure safety. India is a country of high population. So we should learn to use our human resources. To ensure school safety, we should educate our parents, teachers, staff and even students in such a way that they should realise that ensuring safety is actually their responsibility.
No system is safe unless the stakeholders of those systems are responsible enough to ensure safety. This rule applies for every organisation be it a corporate office or a school.
So we need a better reporting mechanism through which parents, teachers, non-teaching staffs and even older students can report any safety-related issues to a dedicated safety team. Remember, safety is not always about the physical safety of the students but also about their emotional safety. Even inappropriate content in textbooks can mentally disturb our children. According to a recent report, in every hour there is at least one incident of student suicide in India. It is high time we prioritise the emotional safety of our children.
A school is not just a place to acquire cognitive skills but also social and emotional skills. A school is an extended home for our children.
A school can never say that they don’t have any safety-related issues. However, it can definitely say that it has better preventive and corrective measures to safeguard its students.
I would request both the parents and school not to play the blame game on each other. If we don’t trust each other then how can we inculcate the sense of safety and trust in them? We should work on building better parent-teacher and parent-school relationships.
I am running a campaign called #ParentInSchool to include parents as equal stakeholders in the process of making schools safer. Let’s have a dedicated safety team for each school and include equal parent members in it.
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I would request every school to at-least have a reporting mechanism where all the stakeholders (parents, teachers, staffs and students) can report safety-related issues. Analyse those reports to take preventive and corrective actions accordingly. I have partnered with change.org to build a reporting app for the same purpose.
Remember, due to current socioeconomic demands, children are mostly living in nuclear families and both the parents are very busy. It is the school where children can make friends and get the love and affection which we used to get from our grandparents. So it’s my earnest request to schools as well as parents to be accountable to make school a happy place where our children can feel safe to express themselves.