Safety & Security Of Tribal Girl Children In SC/ST Residential Schools: A Diagnostic Study In Odisha, Jharkhand & Madhya Pradesh Under CSS 2015-16
Residential Schools Zero Tolerance Safety & Security Exploitation & Abuse School Management Committee Life Skill Trainings
Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI), Bhubaneswar, 751003
Residential Schools are considered as an important strategy to enhance the enrollment of ST students, arrest their high drop-out, and improve educational attainment among these disadvantaged communities. These schools have also provided an impetus to the education of ST girls in significant ways by offering them an environment away from strong gendered expectation of shouldering various household responsibilities, addressing concerns of travelling long distances to access schools, addressing parent's concerns of meeting the education costs of their daughters, and by providing a proper teaching-learning experience coupled with tutorial support, vocational education, life skill education etc. However, exploitation and abuse of boarders, especially girls, in the residential schools is increasingly becoming a major concern for the policy makers, administrators, parents and other stakeholders alike.
The study undertaken by the SCSTRTI, Odisha on Safety and Security of Tribal Girl Children in Residential Schools has attempted to delve further and understand the safety concerns of tribal girl children in the residential schools run as part of Central and State government schemes in three of the States namely Odisha, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. Various Safety & Security parameters (physical facilities to protection, human resources, policy guidelines, monitoring & supervision, training & orientation and watch mechanism/grievance sharing)were taken to gauge the overall scenario safety and security of Tribal girls in residential schools.
As per the study findings, each of the States presented mixed picture across the six broad categories of the Safety & Security parameters and none of the State was found to be fully compliant to the Safety and Security parameters. Provisioning of basic infrastructure and other physical determinants for ensuring safety & security in residential hostels was found as one of the major areas of concern. School Management Committee are found to be weak and non-functional. Formal training/orientation/ sensitization of school/ hostel staffs on safety & security concerns needs further strengthening. Percolation of exiting government policy/guidelines concerning the safety & security of girl boarders to the schools was found as another grey area.
Key recommendations suggested for improving the safety & security of girls are to ensure a safe & secured physical environment in the residential schools,dedicated full time staffs for hostel management with better training and incentives, strengthening of reporting and redresssal mechanism, making Life skills programmes for girl inmates compulsory, adequate medical and health Facilities, creating mechanism for continual assessment and reinforcement and ensuring strict implementation of Safety & Security policy/guidelines with emphasis on zero tolerance to abuse and harassments in the residential schools.