Vadodara Fatal School Tour Mishap: Administrators Neglect 9 Safety Rules, Did not Take Education Authority Approval

In the Gozari incident in Vadodara, negligence is evident on the part of the boat contractor. Simultaneously, the school management appears equally culpable. The tour was not organized in accordance with the travel guidelines issued by the state government, and it seems that the school administrators disregarded most of the rules.

Rule-1: Formation of Tour Committee

The school management neglected 10 out of 22 government rules, the first being the formation of a committee under the school principal’s chairmanship for organizing tours. The violation includes selecting a dangerous place for the trip without thorough discussion of pros and cons, despite the involvement of small children.

Rule-2: Travel Time and Planning

The school failed to adhere to Rule-2, which specifies not traveling after sunset, limiting travel hours for different levels. Primary school students, for example, should return by 7.00 pm, but the school did not inform parents even after the tragic incident.

Rule-3: Age-Appropriate Tour Planning

Violating Rule-3, the school did not plan trips considering the students’ age, nor did they check factors like boat capacity and safety.

Rule-4: Safety Equipment and Training

The school breached Rule-4, as safety equipment and first aid kits were lacking on the boat. No training for safety was provided to anyone before boarding.

Rule-5: GPS Tracking and Journey Organization

Rule-5 violations include putting more children in the boat than its capacity, essentially risking lives. The school failed to ensure the use of a GPS tracking system in the vehicle and did not monitor the driver’s behavior.

Rule-6: Safety Plan and Supervision

No safety plan was prepared, and there was a lack of supervision over the students, violating Rule-6.

Rule-7: Thorough Verification for Complete Safety

The school failed to thoroughly verify matters related to safety, violating Rule-7, and did not exercise vigilance to prevent untoward incidents.

Rule-8: Informing Education Authorities

Violation of Rule-8 involves the school not informing the district primary education officer about the tour.

Rule-9: Informing Traffic Authorities and Police

The school breached Rule-9 by informing the police only after the incident, neglecting the importance of prior notification to local authorities.

Government Regulations for Educational Travel

(1) Planning to Minimize Disruption to Studies

Ensure that school and college studies are not disrupted during travel.

(2) Committee Formation and Trip Organization

Constitute a committee, chaired by the School or College Principal, to organize tours. Discuss and decide on the trip details, including location, arrangements, routes, and advantages and disadvantages. Appoint a responsible trip convenor. Avoid traveling after sunset and establish travel limits.

(3) Time Management and Safety Measures

Set arrival times for students based on their school level. Plan trips according to students’ ages. Obtain and verify documents related to the journey. Ensure fire safety equipment and first aid kits are in the vehicle, with staff and students trained in their use.

(4) Parental Consent and Communication

Hold meetings with parents, informing them of the plan and obtaining written consent. Collect ID proof and contact information. Travel should be voluntary, and no one should be compelled to participate.

(5) Vehicle Safety and Permits

Choose vehicles with GPS tracking. Ensure bus drivers and staff avoid caffeinated substances. Do not proceed if the driver is unfit. Adhere to RTO permits and limits on the number of journeys.

(6) Accommodation and Food Safety

Select hygienic and safe places for overnight stays. Check food quality to prevent accidents.

(7) Student Guidance and Supervision

Meet with students, provide clear guidance, and arrange for supervision. Develop a safety plan.

(8) Comprehensive Safety Planning

Ensure thorough safety planning to prevent incidents during the journey. Exercise vigilance for student safety.

(9) Financial Transparency

Maintain clear and transparent financial accounts. Inform students and guardians.

(10) Reporting to Educational Authorities

Inform the respective education officers (district primary education officer, district education officer, or university) depending on the educational institution type.

(11) Applicability to Various Educational Institutions

Applicable to Government Schools, Colleges, Aided Schools/Colleges, Private Schools-Colleges, etc.

For travel within the state

1District Primary Education OfficerAll primary schools under Tabani
2District Education OfficerAll Secondary Schools, PTC Colleges under Tabani
3Principal DietAll affiliated colleges, P.T.C. Colleges
4The Principal of the CollegeAll subordinate colleges and subordinate educational institutions.

For out-of-state travel

orderName of the office
1Office of the Director Primary Education
2Office of the Director Schools
3Director Gujarat Educational and Resource Training Council
4Director entire education campaign
5The registrar of that university

(12) Educational Institutions:

For educational institutions such as Government Schools-Colleges, Aided Schools-Colleges, Private Schools-Colleges, etc.

(13) Approval Exemption for Private Institutions:

Educational institutions not approved by the Education Department, functioning as private entities, are not required to seek approval from the Education Department. They travel at their own risk, and the responsibility remains with them.

(14) Exclusion of Certain Students:

Visibly sick students, those unable to endure the journey, weak students, and those allergic to travel shall not be part of the tour.

(15) Prohibition of Substances:

During the journey, it must be ensured that no alcohol, caffeinated liquids, or substances are consumed, both within and outside the State. Careful supervision is essential during the entire journey.

(16) Safety Measures for Joint Tours:

In cases of joint tours involving both boys and girls, women staff must be engaged, and adequate measures should be taken to ensure their safety.

(17) Identity Cards Requirement:

All individuals on the bus, including the driver, support staff, school-college personnel, and students, must carry identity cards containing necessary information.

(18) Notification to Authorities:

Inform the local regional traffic office and the local police station about the travel arrangements.

(19) Applicability to All Institutions:

The aforementioned guidelines are applicable to all types of schools, colleges, including government, aided, and private institutions. Strict adherence to these instructions is mandatory.

Niyati Rao

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