Across all MCD schools, which have children studying from nursery to class V, the bolt of the front gate latched from inside is the only security measure during school hours.

The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has pulled up the three MCDs for lack of safety standards – particularly, security guards – in their schools, stating that they “have turned a blind eye” to safety and “left children to their fate”.

Across all MCD schools, which have children studying from nursery to class V, the bolt of the front gate latched from inside is the only security measure during school hours. “Every MCD school has a chowkidar who comes after school hours and leaves when it reopens the next day. Ideally, there should be three guards working through the day,” said an MCD official.

A senior official in South MCD’s education department said the proposal for hiring security guards is currently in limbo. “We have already initiated a proposal… but we are yet to receive sanction. I heard there is a problem with budget allocation from the government,” the official said.

The DCPCR notice said “it is a matter of serious concern”. “The school gate remains without security guards, making the… schools vulnerable to anti-social elements in the society…. This also means that children so young can leave the school premises unsupervised should the smallest attention lapse happen,” read a showcause notice to the commissioners and education directors of all three corporations.

School principals admit the lack of security guards is a matter of concern among teachers as well. “The one guard who is provided to schools is a chowkidar to protect the school property and not to protect the children. Many of these schools are in vulnerable areas and the children are very young,” said the principal of a school in northwest Delhi.

The principal said that an informal security arrangement is made, with teachers checking if anybody arrives at the gate and regulating who comes in and when. “The staff are teaching in classrooms and also manning the gate. We need to check to see whenever visitors, parents and the vehicle bringing food for the mid-day meal programme arrive. We are limited in what we can do and unfortunately, if anything untoward happens, we will face the brunt of it,” she said.

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