A group of children, who are residents of Hope House, a local NGO, appealed to the Chief Minister to introduce dedicated bus services for children studying in State government schools.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, the children, led by A Bommi, a class X student, pointed out that transportation was a bigger problem than academics for the children of government schools. The students claimed that schoolgirls faced regular harassment by men when travelling to school on over-crowded state-run buses. Sometimes, the students were unable to reach school on time when buses did not ply on time or drivers did not stop at the designated bus stops.
This often resulted in children walking to school with a big load of books or running behind the buses. The children alleged that bus crew were usually unsympathetic towards school children, including those who were differently abled.
The students claimed that these difficulties reflected on their academic performance. They lauded the state government’s welfare efforts for state-schools such as free laptops, stationary materials and uniforms and sought a similar gesture on an exclusive bus service. The students added that such a transport service would help them travel peacefully and reach school on time and raise their performance significantly. Ruby Nakka, director of Hope House, opined that a dedicated public transport system would certainly help improve student enrolment in rural schools and also reduce their vulnerability to abuse and intimidation on crowded public buses, all of which hindered their learning abilities. Going by the success of the state-sponsored 108 ambulance service, an exclusive transport service would address the transport needs of the children of government schools.
Nakka said that existing buses could be assigned as ‘Students Specials’ during school hours on the lines of women specials as an initial measure.