Fearing misconduct, teachers in a Rajasthan varsity have created separate groups for boys and girls on mobile messaging platform WhatsApp where information related to classes is shared.
“This has been done because the university doesn’t want to share the mobile numbers of girls with boys,” said Prof AK Gahlot, vice chancellor of Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (RAJUVAS), Bikaner.
With rise in smartphone use, students in most colleges and universities share information regarding schedules, lectures and even study material is shared among their classmates in WhatsApp groups. In some cases, class representatives create the groups and share the information, whereas in others, teachers have taken up the task. In RAJUVAS, it is the latter case.
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However, separate groups for boys and girls are only for students of third and final year bachelor’s courses, and not for research scholars, who have common groups.
Prerna Nathawat, a research scholar, said girls in the varsity are wary of sharing their numbers.
“There have been no typical cases of stalking, but once in a while girls do face harassment from boys over calls,” she said, expressing fears of how numbers get shared among boys, even to outsiders.
“If you start giving your mobile numbers to people, it gets shared easily and then you face problems. It’s likely that the class boys leak numbers of the girls to outsiders,” she said.
Last week, HT had exposed how recharge shop owners in UP were selling mobile numbers of girls to boys who would stalk and harass them.
Ajay Saharan, a third year student of Bachelors in Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry (BVSAH), supported the idea, saying it was for the privacy of girls.
While he stressed that students wouldn’t do “anything cheap”, he conceded that some can’t be trusted. “To have some fun, they might do something of that sort.”
The varsity’s students’ union president, Lokeshwar Singh Shekhawat, however, said it is more of a precautionary measure.
“I have been studying here for the past five years and there has been no problem of stalking as such in the university. There are classes where there is one group for both boys and girls,” the final year student of BVSAH, said.