In an ideal world, sending your kids to school would be as routine an activity as it’s meant to be. But waking up to headlines like, ‘7 year old found murdered in school’, ‘5 year old raped by sweeper in school washroom’ and ‘3 year old assaulted by security guard’, makes it a formidable task for the parents to brace themselves to wave their children goodbye as they leave for school every morning.
You might have CCTV cameras and GPS devices to track, but you cannot ignore the human angle. One of the main reasons parents get restless is the fact that just technology is not enough to safeguard the kids from untoward incidents. Virtually traversing through their activities might not suffice the bid to keep our children safe at school; and this might not even be an infallible approach for certain spots like, say washrooms or deserted corners. If someone is intent on harming, there are many a blind spots, as we have seen in recent cases.
The kids are not just surrounded by teachers and classmates while at school, but also the non-teaching staff providing the support backbone with day-to-day operations, like that of the security guards, van drivers, housekeeping staff, maids, peons, gardeners, maintenance staff and so on. Even though this a very critical function for any school and most times a thankless job, there is no dearth of people with ambiguous and precarious backgrounds here.
In a sample set of 3,000 profiles from 300 pre-schools across India, We found some eye popping insights.
While 8.2% of staff had fake IDs, the percentage of fake DLs was the highest at 32%! What it means is that the details provided in their ID cards (like Aadhaar, Voters ID, PAN, DL, etc) do not match with the original in the government systems. Sometimes the card never even existed. So the person is not whom you think they are.
Similarly, the percentage of people with wrong or untraceable address was 20.7%. What it means is that if you go searching for these people, there is a 1 in 5 chance that you will never be able to locate them.
The worst part was that there were 12 cases of criminals amongst the staff, who had committed some heinous crimes! These were the same people who were in close proximity of our children. The fact that even if the person is fired from one school, they can join another unsuspecting school easily, given the severe shortage of staff, is spine-chilling.
As a parent, I strongly feel that verified and trained staff is sacrosanct for any school, and that security services and staff training should be an essential part of their agenda.
In fact, it holds true even if you think about it from the school’s perspective – the success of a school is also directly proportional to how serious the school is about their staff, especially the safety and quality angle. Verified staff ensures safety, and trained staff ensures quality.
What has been your experience ?
The author, Anupam Bonanthaya the CMO at BetterPlace – https://www.betterplace.co.in – A startup working to transform the Indian Blue-collar Workplace, helping employers manage the lifecycle of their workforce like Hiring, Onboarding, Verification, Training, Attendance, Exit, etc using their (digital) trust platform, while helping the semi-formal workforce get a better life in terms of Skilling, Financial Services, etc.