Gujarat school asks girl students to remove hijab during Class X exam

Education department has ordered a probe into the incident

Representative image | PTI Representative image | PTI

The parents of some girl students appearing for Class X examination in a Gujarat school have alleged that the administrator of the exam centre forced their wards to remove hijab before a paper, prompting the education department to take action against the school official.   

According to the parents, the incident occurred at Lions School, a private school in Ankleshwar town in Bharuch district, on Wednesday before the mathematics paper.  Following the allegation, the state education department on Thursday ordered the removal of the exam centre administrator, Ilaben Suratiya, who is also the principal of that school.  

The action against her was taken by District Education Officer Swati Raol, after she met the parents of these girl students, officials said.  The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB), which conducts the Class X exams, made it clear that there are no specific rules about the clothes worn by the examinees, and they can appear for the exam in any "decent" attire. 

Talking to reporters, a parent said, "The school principal and other staff harassed the girl students, including my own daughter, by asking them to remove their hijab ahead of the exam. My daughter cried for three hours after returning home. It happened with nearly a dozen girls yesterday. We want the authorities to take action against those involved in this act."

 Lions School has been selected as one of the exam centres by the GSHSEB. As per the rules, it is compulsory to have CCTV recording of each and every classroom, where students write their exam papers. 

According to the parents, one such CCTV footage accessed by them showed that some women supervisors asked two Muslim girl students to remove their hijabs. The women can be seen collecting the hijab from the two students. 

When confronted by the parents, Suratiya told them that she asked the girls to remove the hijabs because their faces were not clearly visible in the video recording. 

"As per the rules, the faces of all the students must be clear in the video recording. That's why we had asked the girls to remove their scarves before the exam so that we don't have to disturb them during the exam and others also don't get disturbed," Suratiya said. 

After meeting the parents, Raol ordered the removal of Suratiya as the exam centre administrator and ordered a probe into the incident. 

"I have seen the CCTV footage and the parents also gave their application to me in this regard. I have ordered an inquiry into the incident and also started the process to change the exam centre administrator because I found merit in the complaint. There are no specific instructions or guidelines from the board about the attire to be worn during exams," said Raol. 

Exam Director of the GSHSEB, M K Raval, said students can appear for the exam wearing any decent attire. "There are no specific rules about clothes to be worn during exams. Students can wear any decent attire. Any woman supervisor can check the identity of a female student ahead of the exam by matching her face with the photo on the receipt. After that, we have no issues," Raval said.


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