The CBSE board has issued a circular (PDF) that sets standards and guidelines for the creation of a safe environment in which students can use information technology.
Stating that students might fall prey to “cyber bullying, fraud or something even more serious”, the circular makes it obligatory for schools to control and monitor the use of electronic devices by students. The steps outlined in the circular are designed to promote “a safe and secure educational environment” and to “discourage students from actions detrimental to themselves.”
The circular advises schools to take several measures to achieve the above goals. Primarily, schools will be required to educate students on the safe and effective use of the internet and to install firewalls and other such monitoring mechanisms to control internet access.
The circular even recommends that a digital surveillance system be deployed and that children only be allowed to use the internet in “highly-visible areas of the school.” Students must only be allowed access to websites that are appropriate for their age-group, suggests the board.
Other guidelines recommend that disciplinary action be taken against students who attempt to bypass filters, compliance with relevant copyright laws, using licensed software, etc.
The circular also refers to the safety of school children in school buses and recommends that a basic mobile phone be made available in every bus. This phone should not have access to the internet or data storage facilities.
As per the circular, students must not be allowed to carry “electronic communication devices” without prior permission from school authorities. Any violation of the rules will lead to disciplinary action from the CBSE.
The timing of the issuance of this circular to the heads of educational institutions could be related to the Blue Whale phenomenon, where several suicides have been attributed to the online game.