The Gujarat Education Department dismissed the principal of a private school from her position as an exam administrator on Thursday. Parents had become indignant, claiming that she had forced Muslim girl pupils to take off their headscarves ahead of a Class X exam.

The event happened at Lions School in Ankleshwar town, Bharuch district, right before the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) mathematics exam on Wednesday.

Ilaben Suratiya, the principal of the school and the administrator of the exam centre, was promptly fired by the state education department in response to parent complaints. 

Following their discussion with the worried parents, District Education Officer Swati Raol took appropriate measures.

“I’ve seen the CCTV tape, and the parents applied to work with me on this as well. Raol stated, “I found merit in the complaint, so I ordered an investigation into the incident and also started the process to change the exam centre administrator.”

Parents related how school personnel forced their daughters—one of whom sobbed for hours following the incident—to take off their hijabs prior to the exam.

Suratiya justified the actions, saying that the request was made to make sure that all kids’ faces were captured on camera.

All of the students’ faces must be visible in the video recording in accordance with the guidelines. In order to avoid upsetting the girls or disturbing anybody else during the exam, we requested that the females take off their head scarves before the test, according to Suratiya.

Raol, however, disagreed with the principal’s decision, stating that “the board has not provided any specific instructions or guidelines regarding the attire to be worn during exams.”

Parents examined CCTV footage and discovered that female supervisors at the school asked two Muslim kids to take off their headscarves before picking them up. They justified this request by stating that exam rules required clear face recognition.

“The school principal and other staff harassed the girl students, including my own daughter,” the father told reporters, “by asking them to remove their hijab ahead of the exam.”

“When we got home, my kid cried for three hours.Yesterday, it was with around a dozen girls. We want those responsible for this atrocity to face consequences from the authorities,” the parent stated.

Following a comprehensive evaluation and conversations with guardians, Raol opened an inquiry into the occurrence and swiftly took Suratiya’s place as the exam centre supervisor.

The GSHSEB emphasised that students are free to wear any “decent” clothing during exams and highlighted that there are no specific dress code requirements for examinees.

M K Raval, the GSHSEB Exam Director, stated that students are free to dress whichever they choose when taking the exam.

“There are no set guidelines about what should be worn at an exam. Students may dress whichever they choose. A female supervisor can verify a female student’s identification before a test by comparing her face to the receipt’s photo. We don’t have any problems after that,” stated Raval.