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Six-year-old girl raped in washroom of south Delhi school
Despite all kinds of measures being taken after Ryan International School's washroom incident such as CBI enquiry, protests, CBSE inquiry, police verification, more CCTV cameras, state's taking-over of the school, new circulars and directives, etc., almost daily new cases of sexual assaults and rapes are being reported from high-fee charging and well resourced schools.

The latest being the case of a six-year-old girl, who was allegedly raped in the washroom of Delhi's Malviya Nagar located private school leading to the arrest of a sweeper who had joined the school about two weeks ago.

The police have said that despite their directives and advisories sent to the schools in their area, the school in which the rape has allegedly occurred, appointed a male sweeper recently, that too without getting his police verification done. The police has claimed that they had also instructed schools for better safeguards for girls' washrooms.

It has been seen that often no justice comes to the victim or their families immediately and many times after the parents and the community register a case, long legal fight over whether the school had done enough to protect the child, leaves the victims and their families frustrated and depressed.

In our country, no university ever takes up research work to collect the data even in a district regarding sexual attacks in the schools to determine the 'educational and sociological factors' and causes of such incidents.

"The stray incidents reported in media do not fully capture the problem since many sexual attracts and exploitation cases by the school teachers and management are often get hushed up, and consequently, such attacks are greatly under-reported. Even those cases which are reported to the police do not get tracked to find out how widely the cases vary and so as to classify them to make schools safe internally and externally with specific measures for children to get the joy of learning," said a retired teacher in Jaipur.

The private schools are insensitive business enterprises and for them children are consumers of their facilities and course-wares. The psycho-social foundations of such schools are so week that despite all the externalized measures of CCTV cameras, female sweepers, women conductors in the buses, sexual attacks of students will keep on increasing and ultimately the children will be asked to get trained in 'self-defence skills' to protect themselves, I feel.

We must learn from the example of Japan, where for sweeping their classrooms and washrooms, the responsibility is given to students themselves which is also shared by the teachers along with supportive supervision as a part of life-skill education. The schools are the places for learners with teachers as senior co-learners and they have a joint responsibility to arrange the place and make best use of it, I think.

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