Among the numerous complaints lodged against the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) in Gujarat, seventeen female students allegedly fled the school on September 18 after being forced to do domestic work.
Over 50 girls from neighbouring villages are enrolled in the school, and many of them have previously complained about the teachers’ physical and mental abuse.
The Central Government-run school was established to promote the right to education for girls in rural and remote areas. The plight of this initiative has come to light as a result of the teachers’ alleged treatment of the female students.Students Under Scheme Intended For Empowerment
KGBVs are schools set up under the Central government to provide free lodging and educational facilities for upper primary level studies for girl children from minority communities, predominantly the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, migrant children, and other backward classes. It was intended to lower the dropout ratio among girl students.
The Merupar primary school in Gujarat is part of this scheme and has enrolled about 50 girls studying in Classes six to eight. As reported by the Free Press Journal, 17 girls from this school recently fled from the school, alleging that they were being forced to do domestic work at the homes of the teachers.
Supporting this allegation, the Halvad Merupar school campus headteacher said they had previously received complaints from students of class eight that two teachers were calling them over to their homes to do domestic work. On some days, the girl students were even asked to take care of the teacher’s children. If the students didn’t obey the teachers, they would be punished and harassed. Not being able to take it anymore, the girl students fled from the school.
The headteacher has now taken up the matter with the education department, and the students have been permitted to return to their homes.
A Possible Unraveling Of Many Such Unfair Practices
Many students had also complained about how the teachers were conducting weekly tests without any prior notice, thereby increasing the exam pressures faced by students. The issue was later sorted out after the students took the complaints to the higher officials. Students were assured by the district primary education officer (DPEO) of Morbi that “tests will be deferred if they (students) were not mentally prepared.”
However, the scoldings and unfair treatment allegedly continued on the school premises. Protesting against this, many students refused to have their breakfast and started feeling weak to the point where they had to be taken to the hospital. An article by the Indian Express quoted officials who said that students had gone into depression due to emotional and physical stress and were being treated by the Morbi government hospital doctor.
After multiple accusations, the students have now been permitted a break to go home while the authorities look into the matter.