Kenya Reopens Schools After 10-Month Virus Closure

Students of Olympic Primary School wait in a line to have their temperatures measured at the entrance of the school in the early morning of the official re-opening day of public schools on January 4, 2021, in Kibera slum, Kenya, as students return to school following a nine-month closure ordered by the government in March 2020 to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
PHOTO: Gordwin ODHIAMBO / AFP

 

Millions of Kenyan pupils returned to school on Monday for the first time since classes were dismissed 10 months earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mask-wearing students had their temperatures checked before entering school to repeat their lost academic year, in what was both a relief and a concern to their parents.

“As a parent, I am pleased that the children are back in school,” said mother Hildah Musimbi.

“At the moment we have got a lot of fear because we really don’t know if other children in school have the virus or even if the teachers have the virus, or even if the support staff in school have the virus.”

READ ALSO: Immigration Enforces Ban On 100 Travellers For Violating COVID-19 Protocols

Kenya shut schools in March 2020 when the new coronavirus arrived in the country and partially re-opened to select classes in October.

All primary and high school students returned on Monday, while universities and colleges were free to open and would do so on varying dates.

“We are happy to be back in school, that was a long break,” Mercy Nderi, a pupil at Kasarani Primary School in Nairobi said.

Teachers turned back students who were not wearing facemasks while struggling to maintain social distancing in crowded classrooms.

“It is difficult because we don’t have sufficient desks to ensure we keep children one metre (yard) away from each other but we are trying our best,” said Mvurya Mumbai, a headteacher at Voi Primary School.

When schools were partially re-opened in October, there was a spike in COVID-19 cases, with pupils and teachers falling ill and at least one school principal dying.

Kenya has had almost 97,000 cases and over 1,600 deaths since the start of the outbreak, with a surge in its positivity rate of up to 20 percent in October decreasing to below five percent in the past week.

“The turnout is good and as you have seen, apart from crowding, all students are wearing their masks and teachers are ready to teach so let us support them,” Education Minister George Magoha said when he toured Olympic Primary School in Nairobi’s Kibera slum, the largest in the country with 4,700 pupils.

“There is no reason why parents should fail to send children to school,” he said.

“We have put in place adequate safety measures but they need to ensure they give them masks.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta this weekend extended a 10:00 pm to 4:00 am curfew until March 12.

Kenyans have been under some form of nighttime curfew since March 25 last year, when they were ordered to stay indoors from 7:00 pm. In July this was moved back to 9:00 pm and in September to 11:00 pm, before being taken back to 10:00 pm in November as cases soared.

AFP

WAEC To Bar Students, Deregister Schools To Curb Examination Malpractice

Female Candidates Outshine Male As WAEC Withholds 180,205 Results
A file photo of WAEC logo.

 

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has approved stringent sanctions against candidates, supervisors, and schools involved in examination malpractice.

A statement from the acting Head of Public Affairs at the WAEC office in Yaba, Demianus Ojijeogu, noted that the approval was made at the 70th meeting of the Nigeria Examinations Committee (NEC) of the council held from Thursday to Saturday last week in Lagos.

In the course of considering the various reported cases of malpractice and after diligent deliberations, the committee approved appropriate sanctions in all established cases of malpractice, as prescribed by the Rules and Regulations governing the conduct of WAEC examinations.

It approved that the entire results of candidates involved in proven cases, which attracted Cancellation of Entire Results (CER), be cancelled, while subject results of those involved in proven cases, which attracted Cancellation of Subject Results (CSR), be also cancelled.

According to the council, some candidates will suffer other sanctions such as barring them from sitting for the WAEC examinations for a certain number of years, and some schools will be derecognised for a specified number of years or have their recognition completely withdrawn.

It added that supervisors found wanting in the discharge of their examination duties would be formally reported to their employers and blacklisted while some invigilators would be reported to the appropriate authorities for disciplinary action.

“The decisions of the committee will be implemented without delay and the affected candidates and schools duly informed by the Council.

“However, the results of candidates who were exonerated by the committee would be released,” the statement said.

The committee, which is the highest decision-making organ of WAEC on examination-related matters in Nigeria, meets twice a year to consider matters relating to the conduct of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates and private candidates.

Its statutory Chairman is the Chief Government Nominee on Council and Director of Basic and Secondary Education in the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja.

At the meeting, the committee also considered special cases, clemency appeals from WASSCE for school candidates in 2020, and restitution cases for various years.

It received a report on the statistics of entries and results for WASSCE for private candidates (2019-second series), and WASSCE for private candidates (2020-first series).

What Brexit Means For EU Students At UK Universities

An official hangs a Union Jack next to an European Union flag at EU Headquarters in Brussels on October 17, 2019, ahead of a European Union Summit on Brexit. Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

 

The end of the Brexit transition period on December 31 will introduce new rules for European Union students who want to study in Britain during the 2020-21 academic year.

– What is the current situation? –

The situation for an estimated 150,000 EU students has been unchanged during the transition period to December 31, as the UK and EU try to agree terms of their new relationship.

Currently, EU students have “home fee status”, which means they pay the same level of tuition fees as UK counterparts, depending where the university is.

Education policy is set by devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with the UK government responsible for England. As a result, tuition fees vary.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, students with home fee status can be charged up to £9,250 ($12,400, 10,250 euros) per year for an undergraduate degree.

READ ALSO: Mass Evacuation In Frankfurt As WWII Bomb Is Defused

Scottish or EU undergraduates studying in Scotland are not charged.

EU students are eligible to apply for a student loan to cover tuition fees.

Ireland has separate arrangement with the UK under a reciprocal agreement.

– What happens on January 1? –

All EU citizens have to apply for residency status under the Settlement Scheme, which grants the right to live and study in UK when new immigration rules kick in.

Students who start a degree course at some point in the 2020/21 academic year and arrive in the UK by December 31 will still have home fee status.

New students arriving after this date will need a student visa that costs about £350 if they are studying in the UK for more than six months.

They will also have to pay a surcharge of about £500 per year to use the state-run National Health Service (NHS).

– What happens in the next academic year?

Across the UK, EU students starting courses after August 1, 2021 look set to pay higher international tuition fees and not be allowed to get UK student loans.

– How much will they have to pay? –

According to the Times Higher Education (THE) magazine, undergraduate tuition fees for an international student in 2020 were between £10,000 and £26,000 a year.

A longer undergraduate medical degree can cost foreign students nearly £59,000.

Undergraduate degrees in the UK typically require three years of study.

Average student debt was £27,000 this year, according to the THE, but that does not include repayment of maintenance loans to cover living costs.

Together, this can total between £35,000 and £40,000.

– What is not known or agreed yet? –

London and Brussels have yet to strike a deal on their future relationship.

It remains unclear if Britain will continue to participate in EU academic programmes such as Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe beyond the end of this academic year.

The UK government has set out guidelines for EU students to apply for student visas.

But there is uncertainty about whether students who have already gained settled or pre-settled status in the UK will be able to pay home status tuition fees for courses starting in 2021-22.

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced a suspension of face-to-face tuition and travel restrictions, many overseas students are studying remotely outside the UK.

If they do not visit the UK this year, it is not clear if they can still qualify for pre-settled status.

AFP

ASUU Strike: Students Demand Immediate Resolution, Issue Ultimatum To FG

University SUG presidents address a press conference in Ibadan, Oyo State on November 12, 2020.

 

Members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in the South West and Kwara State have demanded an immediate resolution to the lingering strike that has crippled academic activities at various universities.

They made the demand on Friday at a press conference held at the University of Ibadan in the Oyo State capital.

Abiodun Oloyede, the President of the Students’ Union Government (SUG) at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), spoke on behalf of the students.

He said, “We have waited, we have hoped, but this is the eighth month and there seems to be no breakthrough in sight.

“Several engagements between the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities, since the inception of this strike, have always been resulting in a deadlock.”

“It is on that noted that we are making our position and demands to the Federal Government of Nigeria very clear and explicit.

“We the great students of the Federation, hereby request an end to the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities; the struggle of ASUU should never be undermined as we truly know that the revitalisation and improvement in the quality of infrastructure at regulation of payment of salary are dearly needed,” Oloyede added.

FUNAAB SUG President, Abiodun Oloyede, addressing a press conference in Ibadan, Oyo State on November 12, 2020.

 

According to him, the students have issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government or get ready to face a national agitation by the student bodies.

The students noted with concern that the government has not found a way out of the industrial action which started on March 23.

They called for a compromise between the government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to put an end to the suffering of young Nigerians in the university.

The group also stressed the need for the government to recognise education as a major factor for sustainable growth and development, thereby making better funding of universities a priority.

“Please, we urgently call for a compromise to be reached by both parties; the future of students is at stake, some have lost faith in education in this country and it is a great slap on the face of the nation.

“Not every parent or guardian can afford to send their children to private universities,” said Oloyede.

The press conference had in attendance presidents of the student unions of various universities in the South West, as well as Kwara State.

It was convened following the series of meetings between the government and ASUU which ended inconclusively, a development that has left students out of the classroom for several months.

Cameroon School Attack Killed 8 Students, Says UN

Cameroon flag.

 

Attackers armed with guns and machetes killed at least eight children Saturday in a raid on a school in southwestern Cameroon, the United Nations said.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack on the bilingual school in Kumba, but the area has been caught up in violence between Anglophone separatists and government forces for three years.

“At least eight children were killed as a result of gunshots and attack with machetes,” at the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy, a statement by the local UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

“Another twelve were wounded and taken to local hospitals,” it added, which would make it one of the worst such attacks in the region to date.

A source close to police added that the children were killed when a “group of nine terrorist assailants” stormed the school and opened fire on pupils aged between nine and 12 years.

“There are no words for the grief nor condemnation strong enough to express my horror at the brutal attack which targeted primary school children… while they were sitting learning, in their classroom,” said President of the African Union Moussa Faki Mahamat on Twitter.

“I unreservedly condemn the acts of barbarism committed in Kumba. Murdering children… is to attack the very foundations of our nation,” said Cameroon Public Health Minister Malachie Manaouda.

Two English-speaking regions of Cameroon, Southwest and Northwest provinces, have long chaffed against perceived discrimination from the country’s French-speaking majority.

The two regions have become the centre of a conflict involving separatist militants who have targeted the army and demanded local government offices and schools close.

Fighting has claimed more than 3,000 lives and forced over 700,000 people to flee their homes since 2017.

Authorities did not blame any group for Saturday’s attack.

Chamberlin Ntou’ou Ndong, prefect of the Meme department where the Kumba school is located, vowed however that “these people will be caught whatever it takes. I repeat, whatever it takes.”

In early September, the army launched its latest operation against militants in the Northwest region.

Since it began, the movement became more radicalised, and separatists renamed the regions the Republic of Ambazonia, which has never been recognised internationally.

Their strategy included a school boycott, said Arrey Elvis Ntui, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group in Cameroon.

“Around 700,000 young people were excluded from the school system owing to the conflict,” he told AFP.

“The government and anglophone civil society have put a lot of pressure on separatist groups to allow their children to go back to school, and some that had closed in recent years have begun to resume classes again,” Ntui said.

Last year, two students were killed by separatists in Buea, the capital of Southwest Region in what an official described as “reprisal” for opposing the forced school closures.

In 2018, insurgents killed a principal, mutilated a teacher and attacked several high schools.

Separatists have also increasingly resorted kidnappings and extortion, along with attacks on troops and police, and arson assaults on public buildings and schools.

The government has responded with a crackdown, deploying thousands of soldiers.

AFP

PHOTOS: Students Protest Closure Of Tertiary Institutions

Students under the aegis of National Association of Nigerian Students during a protest to demand the reopening of Tertiary Institutions by the Nigerian Government amid the coronavirus lockdown in Abuja on Wednesday 19th August 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/ Channels Television

 

Students under the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Students are demanding the reopening of Tertiary Institutions.

The Federal Government had on March 19 ordered the closure of all higher institutions in the country as precautionary measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

But taking to Abuja, the nation’s capital on Wednesday, the students carried placards, registering their displeasure over the continued closure of schools.

They argued that if the government can reopen major markets, some relaxation centres, religious centres, schools also should be reopened so as not to truncate the future of the Nigerian students.

See Photos Below: 

Students Must Not Exceed 20 Per Class, Says Lagos Govt

 

The Lagos State Government in its bid to ensure compliance of public and private schools to Covid-19 protocols and guidelines for schools reopening paid a random visit to some schools across the State.

Honourable Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo led a monitoring team to assess the process in which the students were received, ensuring that Covid-19 protocols were strictly adhered to in order to reduce the risk of the disease to the barest minimum.

Addressing Pressmen during an inspection tour of some public and private Schools at Education District IV around Yaba, Surulere and Apapa axis, Mrs. Adefisayo expressed satisfaction with the level of preparedness of the schools, adding that the State Government is very concerned about the safety of students and their teachers.

She stressed that their wellbeing is of utmost importance to the State Government.

She said asides her visitation to schools, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Tutor Generals/Permanent Secretaries of the Six Education Districts, Office Education Quality Assurance, and other top officials of the Ministry were also on the field across the State to ensure that maximum compliance and coordination is achieved.

The Commissioner noted that the inspection tour will continue till all Schools are covered and stated that any school accommodating other students apart from SS3 and TEC3 contrary to the state government’s directive at this period will face disciplinary action.

She emphasized that the resumption became necessary for the students to write their WASSCE Examinations and encouraged them to put in their best in the forthcoming exams taking place in two weeks’ time in a bid to come out successful.

She also urged them to shun all vices, work hard, and stay focused on their studies.

The Honourable Commissioner admonished teachers to take care of themselves and also to take up the role of enforcement and compliance to the Covid-19 protocols by students. She hinted that the bulk of these efforts lies in their hands as they are the custodians of the students while at school. She reiterated that students must not exceed 20 per class in compliance to social distancing.

She however called on parents/guardians to monitor the children/wards closely as their roles are germane and complimentary at this period. She concluded that all hands must be on deck to curb the spread and flatten the curve, stressing that the government will leave no stone unturned.

In her words, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs. Abosede Adelaja added that the Lagos State Government has provided free face masks and sanitizers for all students. She noted that aside from fumigating the schools and ensuring a clean and conducive environment for learning, the State Government has also provided facilities such as wash hand basins and portable water.

She, therefore, enthused that all policies made by government in ensuring that the Covid-19 protocols are strictly adhered to while noting that visitors and food vendors coming into the school premises during this period are not allowed.

Earlier, the Lagos State Government directed the SS3 and Technical Studies Three (TEC3) Students to resume schooling on the 3rd of August 2020 in preparation for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination scheduled to commence on the 17th August, 2020.

Police Recover Bodies Of Two Students In Imo

A file photo of a police van.

 

The police in Imo State have recovered the bodies of two students at a Vic-Mic lodge in Nekede area of the state.

The deceased until their death were students of the Federal Polytechnic in Nekede.

Confirming the incident to Channels Television, the spokesman of the State Police Command, Orlando Ikeokwu, identified the dead as Cynthia Obieshi and Samuel Osuji.

Ikeokwu explained that the students were believed to have taken substance suspected to be drugs.

READ ALSO: 21-Year-Old Student Killed In Oyo

He noted that the Divisional Police Headquarters, Nekede/Ihiagwa acting on intelligent report moved to Room 19, Vic-Mic Lodge broke into the room and found two lifeless bodies.

According to the police spokesman, Cynthia was said to have visited her boyfriend Samuel who is the original owner of the room.

He also reiterated the commitment of the Commissioner of Police to unravel the real cause of the death, stressing that preliminary investigations revealed that the deceased might have taken substance suspected to be drugs.

Senegal Engineering Students Fight COVID-19 With Inventions

Lamine Mouhamed Kébé (R), a final year mechanical engineering student and coordinator of the “Dr. Car”, and Pape Mamadou Gueye (L), a bachelor’s student in mechanical engineering at Dakar’s Ecole Superieur de Polytechnique (ESP) handles a small robot in the school’s lab on May 8, 2020. Seyllou / AFP.

 

Senegalese engineering students are throwing themselves at the West African state’s growing coronavirus problem with inventions such as automatic sanitiser dispensers and medical robots.

Youngsters from a top engineering school in the capital Dakar have turned their technical skills toward easing pressure on the wards — and they are already in talks with hospitals over some of their innovations.

One example is a small robot, dubbed ‘Dr. Car’, which will be able to measure patients’ blood pressure and temperature, according to students from Dakar’s Ecole Superieure Polytechnique (ESP).

The university is considered one of West Africa’s best for engineering and technology, and is highly selective, with 28 nationalities represented among its 4,000 students.

Lamine Mouhamed Kebe, one of the students who conceived the robot, said the machine would reduce the exposure of doctors and nurses to infected patients and use of expensive protective gear.

“At a certain point … we realised that medical equipment was limited,” the 23-year-old added. “We can do something”.

Guided by a mounted camera and controlled via an app, doctors will also be able to communicate with patients through the robot, Kebe said, potentially allowing them to treat people isolated in hard-to-reach rural areas.

READ ALSO: New Resolution On Pandemic Truce Presented To UN Security Council

Senegal’s coronavirus outbreak pales in comparison to the situation in virus-stricken Europe and the United States.

But after a slow start, confirmed cases in the nation of some 16 million people are increasing.

And as with other poor countries in the region, there are fears that Senegal is ill equipped to handle a large outbreak.

Authorities have recorded more than 1,700 cases to date, including 19 fatalities. Hospital staff in Dakar are also beginning to contract COVID-19.

Faced with an increased threat, frontline Senegalese doctors are taking the young engineers seriously.

An initial prototype designed by the students was essentially a small mobile trolley, designed to carry equipment or meals to patients.

But Abdoulaye Bousso, the head of an emergency ward in a Dakar hospital, asked to redesign it to include mechanical arms capable of conducting medical tests — an upgrade the students are working on now.

“It’s a whole process,” Bousso said, adding that the robot could cut down on their use of expensive bibs and gowns, which must be thrown away.

– Focus on practicality –

Ndiaga Ndiaye, an ESP professor in charge of marketing the inventions, said that the university has long emphasised practical projects and entrepreneurship, which meant students were poised to act when the virus broke out.

The robot is “far from being a gadget,” he said, and could be produced at a larger scale once ready.

“We are a public institution. There is one concept that binds us all together, and that is service to the community,” he said.

Other students have devised simpler devices that they also hope will battle the disease in Senegal.

Gianna Andjembe, a masters student in electrical engineering, has designed an automatic hand-sanitiser dispenser that he said could reduce the need for staff in schools and hospitals to supervise hand-washing.

“It’s very simple, it’s basic,” said the 26-year-old.

“As scientists, as engineers, we have to meet the challenges and really take our destiny into our own hands,” Andjembe added.

The coronavirus has upended ESP students’ lives.

Lectures are now held over video and students who used to tinker in labs until late at night must now rush home owing to a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

But the crisis has also given the young engineers a sense of purpose.

“What has changed is the responsibility,” robot maker Kebe said before adding that the students also felt “much more patriotism”.

AFP

Russian Medical Students Slam ‘Forced Labour’ In COVID-19 Wards

This photo taken on May 1, 2020 shows staff wearing hazmat suits as a precaution against the COVID-19 coronavirus checking a driver at a customs checkpoint on the border with Russia at Suifenhe, in China’s northeast Heilongjiang province. STR / AFP.

 

Fourth-year medical student Alexandra says she wants to become an infection specialist, but when her school said students must do their required training in a coronavirus ward, she balked.

“This is not volunteering by choice. Coronavirus is dangerous, and they should give people a choice,” said Alexandra, who studies at Moscow’s top Sechenov medical university.

Daunted by the prospects of contracting the virus and infecting family members, or face expulsion, aspiring medics have protested the decision to send students in their fourth, fifth and sixth year — who can be as young as 21 — to complete their medical training in coronavirus clinics.

The ministry of health announced on April 27 that the measure would go into effect starting May 1, and only students with “medical contraindications” can refuse.

Students of all medical fields, including dentistry and pediatrics, are affected, according to the decree.

“Those who refuse to go will not get their qualification and can face expulsion,” said Svetlana, a sixth-year student.

READ ALSO: Putin Lifts Russia’s COVID-19 ‘Non-working’ Period From Tuesday

Confronted with a relentless daily increase of confirmed cases, which on Sunday pushed its total number over 200,000, Russia is taking measures to staff its hospitals as it expands the number of beds by 100,000 across the country.

But many students say they don’t want to be put in such conditions without allocated housing and assurances that full protection will be issued.

– ‘We’re not doctors yet’ –

Svetlana, Alexandra and other students spoke to AFP on conditions of anonymity due to fears of being expelled or other reprisals.

“We’re not doctors yet, our task is to get an education,” said Alexandra. “There are fears that we will be of no use and spread the infection instead.”

She said students are offered training in regular hospitals, or coronavirus hospitals, including “red zones” where patients are treated for COVID-19.

“There is no adequate protection, and it’s difficult to believe that if the doctors don’t have enough, they would find it for us,” she said.

In an anonymous appeal circulated on social networking sites, students at the Pirogov medical university in Moscow have asked rector Sergei Lukyanov to make the coronavirus mobilisation “voluntary.”

The Pirogov university and the department of health in the Moscow government did not respond to a request for comment.

At the Sechenov university, vice-rector Tatyana Litvinova said that working with coronavirus patients would not be obligatory and the school would not punish anyone who declines.

“If a student does not want to do it, they can do their practice in a different establishment, nobody is going to force them,” she told AFP, contradicting the text of the health ministry decree.

She further promised that students in Moscow would be paid a salary of 100,000 rubles ($1,360 – 1,240 euros) and given personal protection.

Ivan Konovalov, spokesman for the Alliance of Doctors, a union associated with opposition politician Alexei Navalny, said that the authorities have turned to students because of medical staff shortages.

“Healthcare reforms of the past years have led to the departure of many doctors” from the profession, he said.

This problem was even flagged by some government institutions like the Audit Chamber, which stated that “optimisation” of the sector — a euphemism for cuts — has left Russian healthcare weakened during the epidemic.

– Shortage of doctors –

But Russia needs more doctors, not less: staff are required at various temporary facilities set up in the past weeks for light coronavirus cases, as the number of people testing positive has grown by over 10,000 daily for over a week.

More than 100 doctors have died treating the infection, according to a list of names kept by people in the profession.

Konovalov said that despite these difficulties, reaching out to students is not the solution.

“Even those in their last year don’t have experience to work in these conditions,” he said.

Students have also launched an online petition, demanding that the ministry decree is revoked. An Instagram campaign against “forced labour” is ongoing.

Not all Russians are sympathetic.

“Why did you choose this profession? To save lives!” one user of the VK network named Marina Goncharova commented in a group dedicated to the subject. “If war breaks out, are you also going to hide behind your mother’s skirts?”

AFP

COVID-19: More than 850 Million Students Shut Out of School – UNESCO

 

More than 850 million young people, or about half the world’s student population, are barred from their school and university grounds because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, UNESCO said Wednesday.

Calling it an “unprecedented challenge,” UNESCO said schools had been closed in 102 countries, with partial closures in 11 more — with more closures to come.

“Over 850 million children and youth — roughly half of the world’s student population — had to stay away from schools and universities,” the UN educational organisation said in a statement.

“This represents more than a doubling in four days in the number of learners prohibited from going to educational institutions,” it added, citing figures from late Tuesday.

READ ALSO: Facebook, Google In Talks With Washington To Track infections 

“The scale and speed of the school and university closures represents an unprecedented challenge for the education sector,” it said.

UNESCO said countries worldwide were rushing to fill the void by offering real-time video classes and other high-tech solutions.

Some countries were offering classes over television or radio.

The organisation said it was holding regular virtual meetings with education ministers around the world to find the best solutions and determine priorities.

“The current situation imposes immense challenges for countries to be able to provide uninterrupted learning for all children and youth in an equitable manner,” it said.

AFP

Indian Students Protest After Being Stripped For Menstruation Checks

 

Scores of women students staged a protest outside an Indian college saying they were forced to strip to check if they were menstruating.

The students were told to undress after a used sanitary napkin was found in a garden outside Sahjanand Girls Institute, where they are banned from the hostel when they are having their periods.

“There are no words to describe the humiliation that we faced,” said one of the students protesting outside the college in Bhuj, in the western state of Gujarat.

Deep-rooted social taboos remain in India around menstruating women. In some rural areas, women are made to sleep separately during periods. They are banned from entering some temples.

College authorities lined up 68 students in the washroom and ordered them to undress one by one, the students told reporters.

The college is run by the conservative Hindu sect Swaminarayan. The sect runs lavish temples around the world, including in London.

Its rules bar students from staying in the hostel during their periods.

Menstruating women students must stay in an isolated basement area and keep away from the kitchen and the place of worship.

They also have to sit at the back of the classroom during lectures.

The college said it had set up an inquiry and indicated action could be taken against the staff behind the checks.

College trustee Pravin Pindoria said: “The girls were informed about the hostel rules before they took admission.

“I have called a meeting of the administrative committee which will take action against the responsible persons.”

AFP