REWARI: A Gandhian protest by a group of 86 village girls in a Haryana village proved stronger than the bureaucratic red tape as the state government today agreed to upgrade their school to class XII.
On the sixth day of their protest, Haryana education minister Ram Bilas Sharma announced that the Government High School at village Gothda Tappa will now be upgraded from class X to Class XII.
"In view of the hunger strike of girls in the village and the government's commitment to provide education to every girl in the state, the Haryana Government has accepted their demand," the minister said.
The announcement came after 86 girls studying in classes IX and X in the village school went on an indefinite protest.
Thirteen of them were on a hunger-strike, according to village head Suresh Chauhan.
The girls feared harassment and even molestation, if they were to travel to another village for studies.
"We fear harassment and molestation by youths of other villages and hence, we are demanding up-gradation of our school up to Class XII," said one of the protestors.
Haryana is a state which has one of the lowest Child Sex Ratio (CSR) in the country. The state has also witnessed some horrifying crimes against women in the recent times.
But the biggest hurdle that stood in the way was that according to the district education authorities, the school did not fulfil the basic conditions required for up-gradation.
"At least 150 students are required in Classes IX and X for a senior secondary upgrade, but the school has just 86 students in both classes," Dharmbir Balrodia, District Education Officer (DEO), Rewari said.
He however added that the school would now be included in the list of schools to be upgraded.
Despite the euphoria over the government announcing that it has accepted their demand, the girls have decided not to take any chances.
"The students will continue with the stir till they receive a copy from the government mentioning that the school has been upgraded," said Chauhan.
For higher education after Class X, girls of the village have to go to Kanwali village, located 3 km from here, he added.