Hyderabad child rights group asks Govt to shut down school that displayed nursery, KG toppers on hoarding

People have called out the hoarding on social media and said that it symbolises everything that is messed up about the education system in India
Priya Bharati High School in Hyderabad put the hoarding recently (Pic: Facebook)
Priya Bharati High School in Hyderabad put the hoarding recently (Pic: Facebook)

The practice of erecting hoardings to celebrate the success of toppers has become quite common nowadays across the country. We have even seen coaching classes put up the photos of their toppers in order to promote their services. However, a higher secondary school in Hyderabad seems to have taken things to a whole new level — they put up elaborate billboards of the nursery, LKG, UKG and first-grade toppers on its premises. Pushing toddlers into the rat race, Priya Bharati High School in Hyderabad put up these hoardings recently and has thus been receiving severe backlash on the internet and from child rights groups.

According to several photos of the hoardings that have gone viral on the internet, the list features photos of kids who managed to top their class. The school’s billboard had pictures of 10 students under the nursery toppers list and 14 students under the lower KG topper list. The UKG toppers list had 11 names and the first class had 9 toppers. After the pictures of the billboard began trending online, netizens began criticising and shaming the education system claiming it to be toxic for children as young as the ones that study in nursery.

Netizens have pointed out that pre-primary is the first step for kids to get accustomed to the environment of an educational institution before they plunge into a world of competition and real life kicks in. Pushing them to bear the burden of securing ranks and grades at such a young age is nothing less than snatching away their childhood from them.

Apart from backlash on social media, a child rights group called Balala Hakkula Sangham in Hyderabad lodged a complaint with the District Education Officer against the school, stating they used the hoarding for cheap publicity. "This act is for nothing but cheap publicity for their institution and it adversely affects a child psychologically. It is also discrimination among children which in turn might lead to a form of hatred for others," an official statement from the group said.

"We strongly condemn this act, the school should be shut down for violating child rights. This could lead to so many things, specifically how it would affect the children mentally. Whoever did not make it to the hoarding might later be pressurised by their parents to do better. We are not conducting any protest as we don't want to create a ruckus, we have directly lodged a complaint with the District Education Officer. We will wait and see what actions are taken after this," Achyuta Rao, the group's president told Edex.

According to a report in The NewsMinute, the school apparently put it up with 'good intent' and at the insistence of parents. An official from the school claimed that apart from the hoarding of top rankers, they had also erected hoardings of children who had achieved success in other arenas as well. "We celebrate the success of all the students equally, we had erected hoardings about sports too, but this one hoarding has been shared selectively to malign us," he alleged. We tried contacting school but have not received any response yet.

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