GOA witnessed three cases of attack on students in three different educational institutions in the last five days. The motive in all cases seems to be personal grudge or enmity; however, the alarming fact is they occurred on the educational campus. Two cousins dealt fist blows at a student of a higher secondary school in Baina. Another student was stabbed at a Ponda higher secondary school. In both the cases the attackers and victims had a quarrel. In the third case, a relative of a girl studying in a school at Rumdamol attacked a student of the school; this attack was attributed to a quarrel between the families of the attacker and the victim. Luckily the injuries of the victims in every case did not turn out to be fatal. However, the injuries were grievous and severe. While police cases have been filed in the first two cases, the third case was settled ‘amicably’ by the families. Since the attack in the third case had happened on the premises of the school, the school management should have reported the matter to the police so as to send a strong message that no one should indulge in violence on the campus.
The authorities of educational institutions need to take steps to prevent such attacks on their campuses in the future. Keeping the safety of students and the prestige of the institution in view, they have to secure the campuses and not allow violence between students and not allow outsiders to gain access without permission. The institutions should install CCTVs to monitor the activities of students on campuses. Although it would be going too far to check the bags of students, the very fact that a stabbing took place should awaken the authorities to the danger of cult of weapons growing among students. Awareness should be raised among students about the qualities of restraint and solving disputes with dialogue between themselves. The students whose behaviour is not appropriate and who need corrective guidance should be counselled by the in-house counsellor. As the recent cases suggest students often turn aggressive. They should be counselled regularly on issues affecting them such as academic pressure, love and family issues. The authorities of educational institutions have the responsibility not only to teach students but also to address their behavioural issues on the campus. Of course, in all this the parents of the students must be taken on board. For, outside the school, it is they who must do everything possible to keep their children away from violent quarrels.
After the rape of a seven-year-old student took place in Vasco more than four years ago, the state authorities had directed school managements to install CCTV cameras to monitor activities of the students and others on the campuses. But in the case of Baina higher secondary school CCTVs were found to be missing. Though the school is entitled to appoint security there was none to be found. The situation could be similar in other schools and colleges. The recent murder of a student at Ryan school in Gurgaon has stirred up parents and children who have called for adequate security in educational institutions all over the country. The educational institutions in Goa should take adequate measures without waiting for a tragedy to happen. Of course, the managements of educational institutions are not expected to pry into personal affairs. In the case of the attack on the Baina school student, love angle is being suspected. Love, romance and crush are things no authorities can have control on; it is not proper for them to get into private affairs. However, they should take all the measures to prevent violence. Violence is not a private affair.
The government should not limit its role to just issuing circulars and memoranda but direct education officials to monitor if every educational institution has taken adequate security measures. After the Ryan school incident, the CBSC issued press releases stating that they had given detailed guidelines for establishing a strong security system at every school. Most schools were found to be lacking in such a system. The authorities have to evaluate whether hiring ‘security guards’ from security agencies is any worth. Most of them are untrained, lazy, coward and unhelpful. The outburst of female students of Banaras Hindu University took place because of coward and unhelpful security guards. Before signing a contract with a security agency, the authorities of the educational institutions must take an undertaking from them that if the security guards posted by them are proven to be lazy, coward and unhelpful they would have to pay financial penalties and blacklisting.