The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has recently conducted an enquiry to check on the condition of safety and security of girl students in schools after the recent horrific case of molestation of girls in an MCD run school.
The team inspected the school buildings as well as interacted with students, teachers, and other staff of the school.
During inspection it was found that the condition of the schools was pathetic, unsafe and deeply disturbing.
The Commission found that the gates of each school were open as there were no security guards in the schools. In the school at Aruna Nagar, many times several groups of people high on drugs enter the premises and threaten the authorities.
“In the school at Kewal Park, the Commission was shocked to find used syringes, drugs, cigarette boxes, gutkha wrappers and even broken alcohol bottles. The Commission has recommended filing an FIR in the matter urgently,” stated DCW in a press statement.
Besides, most of the school buildings were severely damaged and unsafe for children.
Parts of the ceiling and walls have fallen several times in the school at Aruna Nagar and there have been several narrow escapes. In Bhati Mines, the children were forced to sit in a tin shade in scorching heat, added DCW.
The Commission also observed that the schools did not have a single functional CCTV camera. The schools as well as the toilets were extremely dirty. Also, there were several toilet gates that were broken or could not be locked from inside, which raises serious concerns regarding safety and privacy of children.
In the school at Bhati Mines, the girl toilets were locked and the boys and girls were forced to defecate in the open, as there was no water connection in the toilets, said DCW spokesperson.
In the school at Bhati mines, it was observed that even at 9 am (1.5 hours after the school started), teachers had not arrived at 3 out of 9 classes for girls. The school incharge was also not present in the school by then. The students informed that teachers generally come after 9 am to the school.
Overcrowding of students in the classes was observed in all the schools and it was clear that the norms for teacher pupil ratio were not being followed. While the schools seemed to have several empty classes, the children were stuffed together in the heat in limited rooms, probably, due to lack of sufficient number of teachers.
The Commission was informed that MCD is running summer classes for the children studying in its school from 7:30 am to 11:00 am. However, the mid day meal is presently not being served in any of its schools.
In the school at Aruna Nagar, we were informed by the management that they were providing 2 bananas per student each day as per North MCD orders. The same was not being done in any of the other schools.
The Commission observed the issue of unavailability of proper drinking water in schools. In the school at Bhati Mines, there was only one place where drinking water was provided and the same was very dirty and unhygienic.
DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal stated, “I am shocked to see the hopelessly dismal condition of MCD schools. These schools are horror houses where students and teachers are extremely unsafe. How can a school exist without a security guard and CCTV? How can a school exist in a building where a board has been put up by MCD itself, requesting people to stay away as the building is damaged! In today’s world, MCD is running schools where girls are forced to defecate in the open! So much so for the Total Sanitation Campaign! The situation is extremely alarming and urgent steps need to be taken to safeguard the future of the children. I have issued a notice to MCD Commissioner in the matter. The situation must urgently improve and action should be taken against the officials who are responsible for such dismal condition of schools.”*