SFI national convention to focus on plight of girls in schools, colleges and hostels

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: The Students Federation of India (SFI) would hold a three-day national convention of its girl students in Vijayawada from January 27. To be held at the Makineni Basavapunnaiah Bhavan, the convention is set to highlight the issues concerning the girl students across the country.

The recent past had seen girl students being subjected to harassment, mostly physical, and crime against them is increasing. The country has witnessed shocking incidents of violence against girls in the national capital and the death of several students in other States. Andhra Pradesh has seen the death of several girl students over the years due to harassment by fellow students and teachers. While some of them have been the victims of sexual abuse outside the campuses, the girl students are put to severe physical and mental stress despite increasing efforts for social and gender equality.

Girl students in rural areas are forced to drop out due to lack of toilets in schools. Even many urban girls and those who could make it to the college and university have to face problems like eve teasing and sexual abuse by fellow students and teachers. The incidents of Rishiteswari in Acharya Nagarjuna University or Sridevi in the Guntur Medical College stand as testimony to the turmoil that the girl students have been facing these days.

Ironically, the residential schools and some welfare hostels for the girls are no safe. There are incidents of even minor girls sexually abused and harassed by teachers and wardens or outsiders. The hostels and residential schools are no safe places and those exclusively run for Tribal girls are more vulnerable to such abuse.

The successive governments have been bringing down the budgetary allocation for the welfare of the girl child, further worsening the situation. The girls in welfare hostels and residential schools have no access to sanitary napkins leading to severe health disorders. The Women and Child Welfare Department officials turn a blind eye to the problems of the girls in various educational institutions. There are incidents of girl students committing suicide even in the corporate educational institutions. Almost all the corporate institutions, run for the girls, are like concentrated camps, with the girls being subjected to physical and mental torture.

The SFI’s national convention is set to focus on these issues during the three days. While the outcome of the three-day convention is obviously set to fall on deaf ears of political leaders and bureaucrats, at least the civil society is expected to understand the issues and respond to the cry of the girl students in the country.

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