Friday, April 19, 2013

80 girls on roster, Aurangzeb-era school eyes major revamp in 2013

80 girls on roster, Aurangzeb-era school eyes major revamp in 2013

Shreya Roy Chowdhury, TNN Aug 13, 2012, 02.21AM IST

NEW DELHI: Now that over 80 girls have joined the Anglo-Arabic Senior Secondary School at Ajmeri Gate, school manager Atyab Siddiqui can breathe easy. He had been expecting about 10. "I was getting sleepless nights," says Siddiqui laughing, "But we had to close admissions for the paucity of infrastructure."
The 350-years-old boys' school was converted into a co-ed from this year. Getting families from the Walled City to get over inhibitions and send their girls has initially been a challenge. However, the girls seem to have settled in, teachers are more diligent with the added responsibility, and the school management is taking notes.

Their first gambit having paid off, school authorities are now furiously planning new ones. Two new sections — Commerce with Maths and Science — are being considered for next year. Siddiqui is considering introducing hockey and badminton for girls after Ramzaan. "I am thinking of entering into a contract with the Hockey Federation. Given the dismal performance at the Olympics, we can give a fillip to at least women's hockey," says Siddiqui. The management took their time with introducing such activities as they were afraid that the girls from the Walled City would "go into a shell". But those fears have been assuaged too. "They approached me regarding a badminton court," he says.
All girls going to Anglo-Arabic are from the Walled City. "We have one non-Muslim too, and pray more join us," the manager adds. Most of the girls who have joined grade 11 wanted to study either Commerce or Science — not offered by their former (girls) schools. The adjustments needed in the school building have been made — a common room has been created "sandwiched between the medical room and office of the controller of examinations for security", the toilet by the hostel is now marked out for girls (a guard stands outside it) and a woman "supervisor" employed to make the girls comfortable. The break lasts only 15 minutes and there's always rush in the canteen. A separate counter has been placed to save girls the scramble.
The biggest revelation, however, have been the Walled City mothers who, in many cases, have gone against the wishes of their families and send their daughters to the school. Siddiqui is planning a mela for them. "Women here have nowhere to go for entertainment," he says, "But they can bring their embroidery or cooking. Later we can have workshops on women's rights. The scenario is changing here. This year has been an eye-opener."

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