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It’s noteworthy that only girls have been singled out for this harassment, that inserts yet another thorn in their path to education.
For two years our education system has been crippled by the virus. In a densely populated country such as ours, caution was necessary.
Commendable efforts were made to dispense online education as widely and effectively as possible, both by schools as well as NGO’s that tried to procure the necessary tools for underprivileged children. But this could never have been enough.
In spite of all the measures adopted, children struggled. Online education is sub-optimal for fidgety little ones who need hands on supervision. Older children had limited access to laboratories and other school facilities hindering their progress. Then there were plenty of students who lacked resources, internet and other facilities to properly avail of online education.
Finally, a few weeks ago, schools opened their doors to all children. Children were returning with joyful optimism. To actually see their friends right next to them, and teachers in front of them, unable to mute them, was cause for celebration.
And then came the unforeseen blow for some! One would think, everyone would rejoice at the return of children to schools. Sadly, not everyone could. Some eager girls were barred entry for dressing the way they always had dressed for school.
It’s astonishing the the government has not intervened. At a time when, getting students to schools safely should be the priority of any administration, so the damage done by the safety constraints imposed by the threat of the virus can be minimized and reversed, how can the government act to make life harder for the students?
It’s noteworthy that only girls have been singled out for this harassment, that inserts yet another thorn in their path to education. Either they are forced to dress a certain way by their family and community and even the supposed safe havens, the schools are being forced to punish them for something they have no control over, or they need to dress a certain way for their own psychological comfort, and schools are being told to bully them. Either-way, it’s the girls who suffer. And imagine having to go through all this stress and tension in the middle of the first exams after almost two years!
The government must realize that the only people they are really hurting are little girls who need to be back in schools, now more than ever. Isn’t this a little too petty, even for politics?
What kind of society do we want to be? What do we want to teach our children? What are our long term goals? It’s time for some introspection.
The girl with the headscarf,
is she bold, or is she shy?
She covers her head we know,
but the question remains, why?
Is it because she is forced
by her religion and family,
or is it because she wants to,
for the comfort of familiarity?
Whatever her reason,
does it really matter,
if covering her head makes
going to school easier?
Children who feel wanted
will learn with open minds,
embrace new knowledge with curiosity,
contribute to the progress of a society,
that nurtured them lovingly
with acceptance, warmth and security.
But they will grow to resent,
a society that shunned them,
before they could even begin
to open their minds and
spread their wings.
Which kind of society
do WE want to be?
(This poem was first published here)
Image source: Harmoniapictura on pixabay
Kanika G, a physicist by training and a mother of 2 girls, started writing to entertain her older daughter with stories, thus opening the flood gates on a suppressed passion. Today she has written over read more...
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