Panaji: From mobile jammers to CCTV cameras to barbed wires, Goa's schools are taking no chances ever since the spine-chilling rape of a seven-year-old girl in a school toilet on January 15 shocked the state. With the rapist still untraced and on the run and a team of over a dozen policemen floundering in their probe, institutions spurred on by a worried education ministry are now coming up with 'innovations' to keep their children safe.
At the institution where the rape occurred, Deepvihar School, funded by the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT), a central government agency will install 14 close circuit TV (CCTV) cameras in its premises as a security measure. "We are installing 14 CCTV cameras. At the latest PTA (parents teachers association) meet, we have identified spots where we want the cameras to be installed," a spokesperson for the school management said.
Being close to a port, and run by the port trust authorities themselves, the school is already guarded by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel. Goa Police have recommended mobile phone jammers for the security of children in school premises.
Another leading school, AJ de Almeida School, located 30 km from here in Ponda, also is reeling from the shockwaves of the minor girl's rape. The school authorities have now decided to ring the school with barbed wires to ensure that "unnecessary elements" do not enter the premises.
"We have a compound wall but to make sure that no one scales over it, we have installed barbed wire on it now," said Bhasker Khandeparker, chairman of the trust which runs the school. He told IANS that the school was also in the process of eliminating the entry of random outsiders from the wing where primary students are located. "Anyone who comes in will have to carry some kind of identity card which will be deposited with the guard," he said.
A reputed school here which caters to the upper middle class segment and has children of leading politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen on board is also planning to install CCTV cameras on its premises. It has engaged a consultant to enhance security. "The security consultant has been engaged to increase the security level which we have at present. The brief is to plug all security related loopholes," a school official said on condition of anonymity.
The Goa State Women's Commission (GSWC) has already recommended that girl students should be discouraged from being attended to alone by male teachers. "No girl student should be taken for any other exam/extra classes/coaching, explanations, physical training, etc., alone in a locked room specially by a male teacher/physical education teachers," outgoing chairperson of the GSWC Ezilda Sapeco has said in her written recommendations to the state education ministry.