After the Haryana government upgraded a government high school in Rewari district to a senior secondary one, following a hunger-strike by girl students, students in neighbouring Gurgaon district staged a demonstration on Friday morning to make a similar demand. The protest, during which students locked up the gates of the school, was called off after authorities assured that they would consider the demands, according to a report by The Indian Express.
The Government Senior Secondary School in Kadarpur of Gurgaon district holds classes only up to class 10. Students end up travelling up to 10 kilometres if they enrol in the government school in Badshahpur.
“Since the school lacks infrastructure to support higher studies beyond class 10, we have to take admission to a school in neighbouring Badshahpur if we wish to pursue higher education. However, there is no public transport and many girls have to give up studies. Our protest will continue till we see some action on the ground,” Sonia Dayma, a student and resident of Kadarpur, told Hindustan Times.
“For the boys, this is a problem only as far as cost or distance is concerned, but for us, this commute becomes an issue of safety,” a student of class 9 told The Indian Express. “Girls have to travel to the school by autorickshaw, and often get harassed on the way. Men on motorcycles put their hands inside the auto to touch us inappropriately and sometimes even follow us to our homes,” she added.
Similar concerns were also raised by students in Gothra Tappa Dahina of Rewari district recently. Eighty-six girls had gone on a hunger strike for two days, last week. Of them, 13 had gone on an indefinite hunger strike to demand an upgradation of their school.
The norms of the Haryana government require at least 150 students in classes 9 and 10 for a school to be upgraded to class 12. The school in Rewari did not qualify for such an upgrade. However, the government gave sanction for it last week following the hunger-strike.
Students in Kadarpur claimed that they had also made a demand for upgrade four or five years ago but it was not accepted. District Education Officer (DEO) Neelam Bhandari told The Indian Express that the demand had not been met earlier because the school did not meet the eligibility criteria. He added that the school is eligible for being upgraded now.
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