Consider students' opinions on what is lacking at residential hostels, says educationist. Here's why

The girls claimed that they had been protesting for a change of principal, as well as better security facilities within the hostel where they were residing, for several months
Pic credits: Edex Live
Pic credits: Edex Live

A recent case of sexual assault of several girls in a government-run residential school has yet again brought the spotlight on the running of hostels. The issue comes up as five were arrested in connection with the case of sexually assaulting several girl students of a government-run residential school in Belur taluk of Hassan district. Five staffers, including the principal and security guard, were arrested following allegations from eight girls studying in the school that they were being sexually assaulted. 

The girls claimed that they had been protesting for a change of principal, as well as better security facilities within the hostel where they were residing, for several months. However, they said these requests had fallen on deaf ears. Following a visit by Social Welfare Department officials, a complaint had been filed against the school principal, as well as a security guard and two teachers, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express. 

This has once again brought to attention the issue of a lack of facilities in the residential schools operated by the Social Welfare Department. While officials maintain that basic facilities are provided, this is not the case when ground reports of the schools are considered. “There is definitely a lack of basic facilities, especially in the schools I have visited personally. This is both in terms of physical facilities, as well as providing good nutritious food and drinking water. Also, there is a major lack of security measures at these schools,” said development educationist VP Niranjanaradhya.

Protests across state
Several protests have also been reported across the state at hostels, demanding better facilities and citing safety concerns, especially in hostels at capacity. “The process should be more transparent, especially in taking into consideration student opinions of what is lacking and how things can be improved. This should be a democratic process. Cases like these can be avoided if stringent action is immediately taken when issues like these occur,” he said.

Meanwhile, students have also stated that available facilities in hostels are not properly maintained, as these jobs are often outsourced, especially when it comes to cleaning toilets. The girls who had made the allegations had also stated that the hostel did not have adequate drinking water facilities and poor quality food, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express. 

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