International Indian School in Jeddah (IISJ) is currently in a wobbly situation as they have been told to vacate its boys’ section. The owner of the land had issued a notice to vacate the place by or on October 9. Seeing the school and its students in a situation like this, various people, including the alumni of the school have taken to social media, asking help from Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj by tweeting #SushmaJiPleaseHelp. Few videos are also doing the rounds on social media, where little kids are urging ‘Sushma ma’am’ for help. This is the only school there that are offering Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) curriculum.
“It is a very difficult phase for all IISJ student and staff. We need quick action and help regarding this…Please Help us,” said an online petition addressed to Ms. Swaraj. The petition has been signed by more than 3,300 petitioners and more than 1,800 tweets marked #SushmajiPleaseHelp were sent directly to the Ministry, reported The Hindu.
The Court Case
International Indian School’s boys’ section was established in a rented space. The owner of the place was constantly raising the rent. “Five years ago, the owner raised the rent to an extreme extent and the school appealed to the court stating that they are a non-profit organization and they cannot pay such high amount as rent. The court ruled in school’s favour. But now again the owner appealed and the court has ordered the school to vacate the place,” said Daud Arif who is handling the social media campaign for the school.
Reportedly, the school was asked by the court to back-pay a rent of more than 32million Riyals (63 crores) as rent in 2016. Despite the school paying the entire amount, the officials have disregarded the request of letting the boys’ school function till March, which is the end of the school term and they were served a notice for eviction. The building has housed the boys since 1994 and is 4km away from the girls’ building which houses over 6000 girls.
Hence, as a last resort, the school has approached the Indian government because the school hopes if there is a request from honourable minister Sushma Swaraj, something good will happen, says Daud Arif.
The students have their first term and half-yearly examinations going on now. The school has made shifts, where the boys will have to go to girls section in Al-Azizizah to write the exams and the class students from 1st to 5th grade has been suspended as the school doesn’t have space and need to get permission from the local authorities to shift boys section to girls section. “Around 10,000 students will be affected by this”, says Daud Arif.
The trending Hashtag
Shashi Tharoor who had visited the school in 2009 and has pledged support for the school in his twitter handle which states that “Serious issue. I’ve just received a representation myself, having visited the school in 2009. Embassy should renegotiate the rent rather than move the school. Wealthy NRIs could help make up the difference. If Govt’s inflexibility leads to eviction it’ll be an embarrassment4 India.”
The IISJ school alumni are also posting on social media. Daud says in two days they have crossed over 4000 tweets, with the #SushmaJiPleaseHelp.
The school IISJ is the only school in Saudi which offers CBSE board of education. The school was founded in the year 1969 and is open only to Indian students. Once the students get enrolled they spend their 13 years there hence all the students and alumni are very attached to the school, says Daud.
The Logical Indian take
The court in Saudi Arabia has to understand that it is not possible for school authorities to vacate mid-semester. The court should allow the school to use this place until the end of the academic year as the school paid the entire rent that they were asked to. The Indian Government should also understand the issue and must try to help school so that the future of the students is safeguarded. The pleas of the kids should not fall in deaf ears and we urge the Indian government to take cognisance of the matter and help them out.
Source: The Logical Indian
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