Hate taking the bus to school? Try swimming! Indian students cross the Heran River to return home after attending school at Sevada village in Narmada District of Gujarat state, India (AP photos)
Hate taking the bus to school? Try swimming!
Lexile

It's a long, wet journey to school for 61 teenagers in part of western India. If they want to learn, they have no choice but to swim.

The boys and girls carry books, papers and changes of clothing in plastic bags or buoyant jugs as they cross the Heran River, where in some places, it's shoulder deep. Parents or other adults sometimes accompany them on the 50-foot swim.

The girls put on their dry clothes in a small changing room while the boys change on the riverbank.

The students then walk up to 3 miles to their high school in Gujarat state's Narmada District. It's shorter and quicker than the alternative, a road with a bridge takes a circuitous, 16-mile route. There's no public transportation.

The students say the swim is worth it for an education that can help lift them out of poverty in India. At least 700 million people there live on less than $1.25 a day.

The Utavali High School principal said the students from the villages across the river are very determined to get to class. They have swum the river during heavy rain that made the for dangerous currents.

The school is trying to accommodate them by forgiving late arrivals and if the weather is bad, students are sent home early.

"We have asked for a bridge time and time again," Principal Rajendra Purohit said.

Critical thinking challenge: Why are the teens so eager to learn? Is it because they love swimming to school?

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COMMENTS (403)
  • jenna3259
    8/19/2014 - 02:06 p.m.

    I would not swim to school because I could drouwd because I am short and I can't swim well . I would prefer the bus.

  • 10Kaleb-May
    8/19/2014 - 02:25 p.m.

    Its wierd that they have to swim to get to school.and boys hafe to change on the river bank and parents acompny them its wierd why the parents dont take them to a diffrent school

    • anthonys-jar
      11/02/2015 - 10:27 p.m.

      The "bus" is not an option because there are no public transportation vehicles in the area.

  • 16Colin-May
    8/19/2014 - 02:26 p.m.

    I think it would be funto swim to school.But i would not like to swim in the mudy water every day,although it would interesting.How do they carry there books and swim?

  • 13Maria-May
    8/19/2014 - 02:28 p.m.

    That is crazy! I feel so bad for them . They are probably used to it but I wish they at least had a car or a bridge. I only have to get in the car every day but sometimes I choose to ride my bike. I always didnt like to walk to school but swim? No way!

  • 05Victoria-May
    8/19/2014 - 02:29 p.m.

    I wouldn't mind swimming to school it would be fun!At least I think so. My sisters would not though they have no fun in them.Like at all!

  • 06Halin-May
    8/19/2014 - 02:31 p.m.

    that is super cool . try not to get your books .lol hope you made it safe have fun at school. what do you guys don at school . p.s. was the water deep. have a great day at school. hope you guys have fun.

  • mariajose03
    8/19/2014 - 03:33 p.m.

    In Western India, 61 teenagers go to school by swimming. These boys and girls have to carry out with them books, papers, changes of clothing in plastic bags as they cross the river, where in some places its shoulder deep. Also, these teenagers have to walk to 3 miles to their high school after they cross the river. The road is the other alternative but it is a 16-mile route. Unfortunately, there is no public transportation in the road.

    These boys and girls have to sacrifice everyday to go to school because they want to learn. It is inspirational to see that these students have to cross the river everyday no matter the weather in order to attend their school. Most of the time, we as students claim that we dont like go to school because its boring, however, these guys put all their effort studying to escape from poverty.

    The school has been flexible in some aspects as forgiving late arrivals and if the weather is bad, students are sent home early. Nevertheless, there has no emerged any solution to these students. The school should find a way to help them, maybe the school should put a boat in the river or ask for the building of a bridge or something.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    8/19/2014 - 07:07 p.m.

    Swimming to school no matter what happens? That is crazy. But, I would do it because it is exercise and it takes a lot less time to get to school than on the school bus. If there is heavy rain or strong currents, then I would rather take the bus because it is dangerous to cross a river when there is heavy rain or strong currents. But, they are eager to learn and they want to go to school no matter what.
    Critical Thinking Challenge: Why are the teens so eager to learn? Is it because they love swimming to school?
    Answer: The teens are so eager to learn because they want to get out of poverty and they do not want to go 16 miles inside a bus so swimming 3 miles is easier.

  • Jason0421-YYCA
    8/19/2014 - 07:14 p.m.

    I think that it is unfair to force teenagers to go swim in the waters if they wanted to learn. I also think that it is not right for teenagers to swim in the river because some teenagers might die because of the strong currents. I hope that the teenagers don't get any casualties when they swim in the river because then the school might have to close in the future.
    Critical thinking challenge: Why are the teens so eager to learn? Is it because they love swimming to school?
    Answer: They are eager to learn because they don't learn usually.

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