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New Delhi: The lack of institutional system for orientation of teachers and other staff in private schools on critical issues like safety and security often leads to lapses, says a member of NCPCR, the apex body for protection of child rights in the country.

Also, private schools have exploited policy loopholes and shortcomings to deny the parents of their students any say in important aspects of infrastructure development and safety in schools, says Priyank Kanoongo, member, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

He made the remarks in the context of the killing of a seven-year-old boy in Gurgaon's Ryan International School on September 8. The class 2 student was found dead inside the washroom of his school with his throat slit allegedly for resisting a sodomy bid.

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The NCPCR, which has prima facie found negligence on part of the school in this case, has already sought reports from district authorities, Haryana's education department and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in the case.

Kanoongo said there are around 7.5 crore students up till standard 8th in private schools, which constitute 23.08 per cent of the total schools. He said there are over a dozen and a half guidelines related to security in schools.

The NCPCR, he said, had last year issued these guidelines, which among others make verification of employees before appointment mandatory. It has sought a report from the Hayana education department and the CBSE over the status of their implementation.

"Now a few points that have emerged in this episode is that despite all these (guidelines and huge numbers of students in private schools), school managements and teachers are not aware (about security measures) because they don't have any institutional system for orientation of teachers," he said.

He was scathing in his assessment over private schools' failure to establish such an institutional mechanism.

"Unlike government schools, private schools never developed such institutional system and just opened their shops (schools) without bothering about having necessary mechanisms," he told PTI.

Kanoongo said another "shortcoming" that has come to the fore is that when the Right to Education (RTE) Act was implemented, it talked about having a "school management committee" in which the parents of students were also to be involved.

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"However, private schools were exempted from this. It is seen that private schools generally do not involve parents in important aspects like infrastructure development and security in schools. This immunisation given to private schools should be done away with," the NCPCR member said.

He added that the commission will soon talk to the government and recommend that "loopholes in policy" like immunisation to private schools should be plugged and the RTE Act amended.

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