Stakeholders Voice Out Drawbacks On MSCPCR's Guidelines To Install CCTV And GPS In School Buses

Stakeholders Voice Out Drawbacks On MSCPCR's Guidelines To Install CCTV And GPS In School Buses

MSCPCR mandates school commute safety measures following rising harassment incidents. Guidelines entail GPS, CCTV, and trained attendants in buses, drawing mixed responses. Students stress the need for parent contact books and emergency phones. Principals urge thorough implementation. Parents express concerns about attendant behaviour monitoring and overall school commitment.

Krisha V BhattUpdated: Friday, March 29, 2024, 08:41 PM IST
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Representative Image | FPJ File Photo

The Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) recently released a set of instructions for schools regarding students' commute. This action was taken in response to the increasing incidents of harassment reported by the students during their journey to school.

According to a statement by Susieben Shah, the chairperson of MSCPCR, all school buses must be equipped with working GPS and CCTV cameras, as well as have a well-trained female attendant on board.

The guidelines also state that speed governors be installed in all buses. Additionally, alarm and siren systems should be equipped in the vehicles for emergencies. as reported by PTI.

Student Views

"It would definitely make me feel more safe if the bus had CCTV. Along with these safety measures, I feel the buses should also have a book with the contact information of all parents which would make it easier to reach parents at the earliest," expressed Himangi Mirchandani, a Class 6 student at Saraswati Vidyalaya High School, Thane.

"A phone should also be installed in buses with emergency contacts on the speed dial for the students to reach the school authorities on time," she further added.

The guidelines also mention that school administrations must make sure that information about the driver, school's contact information, bus owner, and school name are all visibly displayed on the outside of the bus, where they can be seen by all passengers and the general public.

Principals Opine

Dr Seema Saini, principal of N. L. Dalmia High School, Thane highlighted the majority of schools in Maharashtra already have these safety measures. "It is important for all schools to follow these measures thoroughly and also make sure there is a person to always monitor the CCTV and GPS," she said.

Talking about the implementation process of these measures in Maharashtra schools, Ishita Chowdhury, principal of Pawar Public School, Dombivali emphasised the increase in the bus fees post the installation of these facilities. She said, "The parents have to agree with the increase in the fees and be ready to pay them and only after that will the schools be able to install these things."

Further adding to her point, she stressed the fact that to ensure every student's safety during travel, the government should also mandate CCTV and GPS in private vehicles hired by the parents. She said, "The vans don't have these safety measures. The parents prefer private vans more because they provide door-to-door services and it is equally important for them to have these rules."

Agreeing with Chowdhury's thoughts, Mrs Suma Das, principal of Pawar Public School, Bhandup revealed that after implementing the CCTV and GPS features in the school buses, parents switched SWITCH to private vans due to the increased bus fees. "We had installed these features long back in our school buses but even after the vans do not have a female attendant or the safety features, some parents switched to private vans since we increased the bus fees."

The guidelines also require schools to establish a Transportation Committee that includes representatives from the school management,  Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and students. This committee will ensure that these safety measures are implemented on school buses.

Parent Expresses Concern

Expressing concern over the functioning of these measures by the school, Dolly Vishwakarma, a parent of a student at VIBGYOR Roots and Rise School, Malad emphasised the potential drawbacks of these measures.

She said, "Firstly, my biggest concern is what if the female attendant herself indulges in abusing the student due to her foul mood or something else? As far as I know, schools don't have a dedicated person to monitor CCTV and GPS all the time, what if the student cannot report the incident, how will we ever come to know of it?"

"This is a good step to mandate it but parents need assurance on how serious the schools are about these measures," she added.

Additionally, in the notification, the school administration is also advised to maintain CCTV camera recordings as a backup for a minimum of 15 days.

The guidelines aim to guarantee the well-being of children while they are in a school bus. The responsibility for implementing these guidelines lies with the school management, stated the notification.

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