The Punjab government decentralizes power to permit educational tours of schools

In a bid to cut the red tape and make outings safe and secure, the state government has decentralized the powers to permit educational tours of schools in the state.

The new instructions have empowered the District Education Officers (DEOs) to permit educational tours of the schools in their respective districts. Earlier, such powers were vested with the Director of General School Education (DGSE), which involved much time and energy on the part of the schools concerned to get permission from the head office.

The School Education Department has now made the written consent of the parents mandatory for sending their wards for educational tours while the school heads will be held responsible for the safety and security of the children during such outings. The women teachers will now be necessarily required to accompany the girl students during the school trips.

Confirming the development, the DGSE-cum-State Project Director (SPD), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Authority (SSAA), Punjab, Varinder Kumar Sharma, said the fresh directives and procedures have been issued to check the anomalies, if any, and ensure the safety and security of the students besides making the educational tours more meaningful and educative for the students.

The fresh directions mandated that the school heads will ensure that the educational tours so planned were related to the curriculum of the students concerned and enhance the knowledge and information of the children.

It also directed that besides written consent of the parents/guardians, self-declarations from the students and school heads have also been made mandatory.

While the students will give an undertaking that they will follow all the rules and regulations during the tour, the school principals will undertake that every possible help and assistance will be made available to the children in case of any emergency or untoward incident during the tour.

The students going on the tour will carry the identity cards while the school heads will prepare a pro forma mentioning all relevant details like name, parentage, address, contact number, and email address, if any, of the students, and a copy of this pro forma shall be made available to all students and teachers going on the outing.

The DGSE further instructed that the senior and responsible teachers should be assigned to accompany the children during the tour and in the case of girl students, the presence of women teachers should also be ensured.

Also, the prior intimation of the educational tour should have been sent to the concerned Deputy Commissioner and other authorities concerned.