Serious questions on safety of school hostels:
Need efforts of all
How safe is the environment of the numerous hostels or boarding houses established for young school going kids in Imphal ? Tragic it is that it has taken a tragedy for many to start raising this question and so even as demands and protests have been launched to get to the bottom of the death of young school girl Ningthoujam Babysana, who was found hung to death in her hostel on July 18, this is also the right time to start questioning the safety measures taken up in all the hostels of young school children in the State, particularly in Imphal where there are hostels galore, especially for students at the plus two level. Private schools and private hostels-these are the options which many parents and guardians have opted for and most of these schools and hostels are located at Imphal. The question is, how safe is the environment of these numerous hostels ? In the absence of any particular Government Department existing solely to check this, then the responsibility for this should fall on everyone and not merely only on those running hostels or schools which have hostels built for the young students. Voluntary organisations and the numerous student organisations in the State may also keep a vigil on how these hostels are run and managed or else a case similar to the present tragedy that has struck the place cannot be written off. God forbid, no one would want to see a repeat of the tragedy, but this should be the warning bell for everyone and this is where all need to come face to face with this harsh reality.
Let the numerous private schools come together too and float a unified body that should have the mandate to check the hostels and see how it functions. What are the rules and regulations ? What is the visitors’ timing to these hostels ? What is the curfew hour for the young students ? All these need to be studied together and any opinion or suggestions from the parents, guardians and elders of the family should be taken into consideration. Moreover the Government may also set up students friendly cell at the nearest police stations so that the young students may lodge complaints if they have any. Authorities of the hostels too need to keep the parents and guardians updated on a regular basis on how their children and ward are doing. Medical tests can also be made mandatory for the hostels to carry out periodically, say once in six months etc. All these are steps which may be studied diligently by parents, guardians and those who are about to set up hostels. Hostels should ideally be a home away from home and safety should be the first stepping stone towards achieving this target. Let the young children pursue their academic pursuit freely and without any fear and apprehension over their personal safety. This should also give a certain degree of comfort to the parents and guardians of the young school children. Let the tragedy of Babysana usher in some new thoughts for the young school children.