Safety and Security of School Children

It is almost July and almost all schools would have been opened for the academic year 2006-07. While commuting from Tambaram to Guindy, I witness the phenomenally heavy school bags that these students carry along with them.  At least with respect to Chennai, the bus services are acutely in shortage and hence the buses overcrowd. With these, are we training the kids for porter services or professional careers. It is just six hours of schooling with a period ranging about 40 minutes and 20 minutes break in between.

Does the schools really need to have the students carry back and forth a minimum of 15 per cent more heavy bags than thier body weight. This brings in a lot of health hazards, which is as described in the Indiatimes Health article here. I think, schools can really make plans to lighten thier bag loads.

Also, the traffic police has to be vigilant near the school areas as also the bus operators. Darting across the roads by kids should be strictly prohibited. Such actions are very much discouraging and dangerous for the following reasons:

  1. Should they encounter vehicles at the vicinity while crossing the roads, the kids might not have enough of presence of mind to manage through the mess.
  2. In the most unfortunate case of encountering an accident resulting in loss of life or limb, it is great loss for the parent and the nation. Damages to limb of young people may render them incapacited for all life along. Should we not take enough care to safeguard our tiny tots?
  3. The young minds should be taught and moulded to obey traffic rules and disciplines. If they start learning that darting across roads throwing the rules to air is no problem, then they would start getting used to it as they grow old too.

Parents should be careful with the money or valuables that these students carry with them. Why should a student have more than five hundred rupees per month in hand even if he is staying in a hostel? Excess Pocket Money would make them go for watching unsolicited movies and spending in hotels and inviting much of health hazards and security hazards as well. Thieves and robbers might fleece them by extortion etc. There might be instances of drug addictions too. Should we leave our tiny tots to succumb to such perils? And mobile phones are strictly no-no. Thanks to Anna University Vice Chancellor that he brought a restriction for dress code and mobile phone use in colleges. All schools should also take the initiative in implementing them for the benefit of thier students and future prospective national citizens.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Schools and parents see thier kids as mark-minting machines and only target them to get more marks in the examinations. As a result, parents deny permission for even a half an hour play after the schools. In schools, even the regular PT (Physical Training) classes are borrowed by other subject teachers particularly in tenth and twelfth standard. This should be strongly discouraged. There is a famous poem by Bharathiyar which tells an advise to the kids:

Odi Vilayadu Pappa Nee Oeyndirukkal lagathu Pappa.
Koodi vilayadu Pappa Oru Kuzhandhaiya Vayyathae Pappa.

The meaning of these lyrics are:

“Dear. Run and Play. Good play is good for physique and mental growth too. Play and interact with others and do not cultivate habit of fighting with anybody and avoid developing enmity with anyone”

The next important thing that must be concenterated in the infrastructure of the school. To develop a potential student, careful infrastructure has to be planned. A school must at least focus on the following infrastructure:

  • Well-Stocked Laboratories and Computer Lab (preferably)
  • Moderately Tariffed (without burdening the parents’ wallets)
  • Well-Stocked Sports stuff.
  • Protected Environment against rain and shine besides emergencies like Fire and Floods. We all remember that missing emergency evacuation procedures in a nursery school in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu resulted in death of more than 83 kids. Check out the news here.

At the start of academic year, let us try and spread the message to various schools and educationists in helping them build strong pillars of the nations.