They also raised concerns about overcrowding in MTC buses

G. Leela and her friend M. Janani, students at the Panchayat Union Middle School near Mylai Balaji Nagar in Pallikaranai, allege the toilets in their school have sporadic water supply and no latch.

They were among those who spoke at the forum organised by Samakalvi Iyakkam to voice concerns of students studying in government schools.

N. Thangaraj, secretary, Samakalvi Iyyakam, demanded that infrastructure such as clean toilets, safe drinking water facilities, ventilation, playgrounds, and access in government schools be improved.

Mr. Thangaraj demanded that all schools be run by the government based on the neighbourhood school model. He said that the provision of hygienic toilets that are cleaned on a daily basis as well as safe drinking water must be ensured.

Some of his other demands included an increase in scholarship amount for students, stringent implementation of the ban on corporal punishment, functioning of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights to monitor child rights, safety and violence against children and a definition of a child as a person under the age of 18.

“Children from all over the state are writing postcards with their concerns, and these will be sent both to the Chief Minster and the school education department,” he said on Saturday.

Among the concerns raised by students was overcrowding in MTC buses in the morning.

M. Kalyani, who commutes from her house in Mylai Balaji Nagar in Pallikaranai to her school in Velachery, said that she often went late to school because most of the buses on that route were crowded.

K. Balaji, a class VII student of Government High School in Vyasarpadi, alleged that students don’t drink the water provided at the school, and at least two toilets are locked most of the time.

Balaji, says he dropped out in class V from a government-aided school in Royapettah because he could not afford the fee. After, a break of two years, he joined the school in Vyasarpadi in class VI, he says.

(Names of students have been changed on request.)

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