Sources said tragedies, like the Beas river one in June in which 24 engineering students from Hyderabad were washed away after authorities released water from a reservoir without knowing that students were visiting the place, made CBSE officials feel the need to issue instructions to educational institutions.One of the other important instructions to schools is to ensure that the district magistrate or other authorities concerned are informed in advance about tours taken to public places like dam sites, power plants and beaches.
Sources said board officials are also worried about the subtle discrimination that arises from the selective nature of foreign trips, which only few students’ families can afford.Other safety measures include keeping parents or guardians in the loop about the visa procedures and travel itinerary, getting a no objection letter signed by them, having a senior teacher accompany the group and a lady teacher if there are girls in the group, apart from taking travel and health insurance. The circular also instructs schools to hire a local tour operator aware of the conditions, ensure that teachers stay abreast of news such as the safety situation and infectious disease alerts and swear in an undertaking to help students in case of an emergency.
Academics said the threat of parents taking schools to court made them unwilling to take students on trips. Many schools have stopped taking schoolchildren on field trips or picnics so as to not be held accountable for any eventuality.
Source: The Times of India