Post 26/11, security, self-defence are buzzwords in Delhi schoolsJanuary 7th, 2009 - 3:46 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) From putting up metal detectors to imparting self-defence training to students to mock evacuation drills, schools in the Indian capital are steeling themselves against the threat of terror that could find an easy target in children.Shaken by the Mumbai terror attack of Nov 26, Delhi’s educational institutions, at least the ones that are privately run, have stepped up security in and around their campuses.
“It is a fact that the Mumbai attacks have revealed how terror can be most appalling when the innocent and weak are targeted, thereby making schools vulnerable and easy targets. So the need of the hour is to be proactive,” Vandana Puri, principal of the Salwan Public School in west Delhi, told IANS.
The school has put up a door frame metal detector at the entrance gate and no stranger is being allowed into the school. Teachers and students are also being trained in using fire-fighting equipment.
“Regular mock drills for effective evacuation are being undertaken under the guidance of the fire department. We are training our students and teachers on how to make the best use of resources in case of an emergency,” Puri said.
Tagore International, Shri Ram School, Modern School and Mothers International have been regularly carrying out lectures and practical sessions on self-defence techniques that might prove crucial in times of emergency.
The schools say imparting self-defence training to students and teachers is not aimed at creating any fear psychosis but at preparing them to handle any situation not just in school but even outside.
Government schools, where over a million students study, have not taken any extra precautions after the Mumbai terror attack in which over 170 people were killed.
“We do organise some awarness programmes for students in the school as and when we receive a circular from the higher authorities in the education department,” the principal of a Kendriya Vidyalaya in south Delhi said.
But private schools, which have around 700,000 stuents and are high on funds compared to state-run institutions, are not taking a chance.
“We have put up notices in each class on emergency exits and phone numbers. At regular intervals we will call experts to talk about self-defence techniques. We tell students to use common sense to deal with any adverse situation,” said Madhulika Sen, principal Tagore International School, Vasant Vihar.
Almost all private schools in the national capital have made identity cards compulsory for parents, with stray visitors not being allowed to enter the campus.
“Identity cards are being made for parents and the entry of other visitors is being controlled or restricted at the main gates,” Sen said.
R.P. Mallick, chairman of the Federation of Public Schools, an organisation of over 200 private schools in the capital, said: “I have written a letter to the Delhi government regarding enhancement of security around schools, but I am yet to hear anything.
“Meanwhile, I have asked schools to employ more security guards.”
Most parents are satisfied with the tightened security and are cooperating with school managements.
“I am happy that schools are taking such steps. After all, it is necessary for the safety and security of my children. The school doesn’t allow me to enter the campus if I forget to carry the identity card issued by the management,” said Sangeeta Singh, the mother of a 10-year-old boy studying at Tagore International.