Taking a cue from the success of Rewari schoolgirls who sat on a hunger strike seeking a qualitative upgrade of their school, the students of Kadarpur government school in Gurgaon also sat on a protest on Friday outside their institution demanding that it be upgraded from class 10 to 12.
Over 250 students locked the school gate at 8.30am on Friday and staged a sit-in, stepping up pressure on the authorities to accede to their demand.
As per Haryana government norms, the high school must have at least 150 students in classes 9 and 10 to be upgraded to class 12.Though the school at Gothra Tappa Dahina in Rewari had 70 students in both classes, the state government tweaked its rules to upgrade the school after the girls went on a hunger strike for eight days. The girls said that the nearest school having class 11 was three kilometres away and many have been sexually harassed by men on motorcycles on way to the school in the neighbouring village.
Both boys and girls studying in the co-educational school in Gurgaon have been similarly vocal on the need to upgrade the institution.
The Friday morning protest by the students forced the district education authorities and the SDM, Satish Yadav to rush to the school. Tough the government authorities assured the students that requisite steps would be taken soon, the students were adamant on continuing their protest.
The students said that they have been urging the state education department to make the necessary upgrade over the last three years, but no action was taken. The girls said they have little option but to go to a school in a neighbouring village should they wish to take up higher studies. They said the difficult choice forced many girls to give up studies.
“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,” said Sonia Dayma, a student and a resident of Kadarpur.
The authorities told the students that they had already sent their application for upgradation to Chandigarh. “This request came to us on April 14 and was sent to Chandigarh for required action. It will take some time,” said Ritu Chowdhary, block education officer.
The district education officer Neelam Bhandari, who also reached the spot after the students sat on protest urged them to call off the stir as their cause is being pursued vigorously and has already reached an advanced stage of settlement.
Satish Yadav, SDM (South), said that they will take up the matter on priority and pleaded with the students to give up their protest. However, they held their ground and continued with their demonstration under the sun.