Nov 6, 2005

A Price-less gift for my priceless little girl

The recent policy of the CBSE to provide free education for 'single girl child' , in all affiliated schools across the country has once again proved to the world that India is condemned to have buffoons at the helm of affairs.

The rationale behind the policy being imbibed in the affiliation requirements is evanescent. Practical issues have not been considered, and the whole imbroglio appears to be the brainchild of well-bred high socialite kitty party banter. Educationists need not be theorists always; issues in the implementation of such ludicrous legislation should have struck any sane human.

Rather than waive the tuition fees et al, the number of scholarships could have been increased. If the girl child need be given any privilege, then some these aids could be made female-specific. A complete waiver with no reason except that of gender seems ridiculous. The glaring fallacy in this amendment is that girls with siblings, of the female gender get a 50% waiver; where as ones blessed with no sisters get a 100% discount. Is this a well-disguised population control measure? If so, it seems mighty contrived and round about.

Being a single girl child myself and having done 14 years of schooling under the Central Board, I very well know how many of the ‘single girl children’ in the flourishing private schools are actually in need of such a concession. If I may make an approximate demographic statement, I would say that most of the ‘single girl children’ are from pretty affluent families. If that is not the case, at least they are from families who don’t mind investing in their only daughter’s education.

Any educational aid, world over, since time immemorial has been on a “merit” or “means” basis. If at all, there are some regions in the nation where education for the girl child needs a fillip badly, then policy that is geographically specific ought to be framed. It would also be prudent to implement provisions conducive to female students in aided and government schools which the statistics show have more of needy students, and are more wide spread in the rural areas. No such thought seems to have gone behind this utopian drive.

Popular schools that cater to the bourgeoisie of the society are now worried about the reduction in their income, and are planning to shift to other boards to maintain their cash flow. The chief cause of their anxiety is that they would now lose out on the creamy, ‘can-afford-to-pay-our-daylight-robbery-fees’ students, and the dilution or rather corruption of their “class” students by the “government school” ones. A reasonable apprehension, if quality is to be maintained, don’t you think?
I am the daughter of a CBSE school teacher. A light tea time discussion with my mom, threw light on some of the funny aspects of the new directive. One very logical concern of mine is, if a girl child is single now, how long will she be single? What if the heavens destine her with a little baby brother or sister? Would she curse her luck, and pray for a “baby-for-puppy” exchange offer next festival season? Some of my school time buddies had siblings when they were in middle school, very much into their teens. Would it be so that they shun their parents’ bundle of joy for usurping their free education? One is left absolutely clueless when faced with such doubts.
My mom put forth a very interesting situation she encountered when she was listing down the names of the ‘single girl’ students in her class.
This particular student was the only child for her mother, who happens to have married her father after the demise of his first wife. The first wife had left in her wake, two issues who now become her half-siblings. This pupil bowled my mom a googly, “Ma’m, I am a single girl for my mother, but I am not a single girl for my father, am I eligible for this scholarship or not?” Doesn’t it sound more like one of the Vikram-Vethal riddles?

The Policy-makers sitting snug in their discussion rooms, sipping chaai and nibbling biscuits, what is your answer to her question?


johnny boy said...

Nice one... Made for a very interesting read. The topic is such that when you tell this to someone, he/she feels its a good move, initially. But a deeper look into the practicality of the 'move' will make you think twice! I was against this decision, personally. Number one - Most of the women in India are strongly promoting 'equality between men and women'. Now what do they have to say about this? Is it 'fair', 'just' to a small boy? That his parents has to pay for his education wheraz a girl's parents need not pay? Having a single boy or single girl, has nothing to do with the financial state of a family!! Come on!
This, for me is not equality. In fact we are only severing the already existing 'gap' between the sexes! The people with the wise moves - wud be better off lookin to bridge the gap, rather than widening it...
Number 2 - Instead of discriminating between boy and girl children all over India, it would have been better to provide concessions, or even make the education of the CHILDREN(irrespective of boy or girl), in rural areas - free of cost. There are millions of poor kids in villages who are deprived of an opportunity to be literate, jus cos their parents cant afford it. And if you are a poor boy, in a remote village, I'm sorry da - you are not helped one bit by this 'CBSE' directive! :( Doesnt make too much sense to me... You being a single girl child - i wud like to know ur views on this. You already conveyed most of it thru ur post, but regardin what i said here...
Anyway, feel like goin on, but i'm taking too much of ur space. The topic jus pushed me to write so much! Am really sorry for the loong comment!

johnny boy said...

By the way, you write well! Keep the posts coming... And jus to clarify, I am not against the equality of men n women, or anything like that! :)) In fact, I support it.. Discrimination shud not exist between the sexes!

swas said...

Let us take the case of a very poor family,where only the husband earns and the family is striving hard to meet ends.
Lets assume that the parents have a school-going girl child and are expecting their second child in a month's time. The father wants to educate his children and is working hard to make this happen.
Would the father start thinking that the yet-to-be-born would make his little daughter not elgibile to avail the concession of free education? And if he does?
People should think before they bring out some stupid policy.If this could be extended to all children below the poverty level,irrespective of sex, how beneficial would that be to the poor?
Do all the girls who are fulfill the single-girl-of-the-family criteria really need cost free education,even if they aren't from an affluent family? Mostly, people with only one child can well afford the education of the child..

Yes,there are a bunch of clowns calling themselves our government and they aren't even funny!

Vishnu Prahalad N said...

yes, nice blog. well the intention is good. we have to fund the education of the needy youth. but the definition given for a needy youth is ludicrous. a classic example of a flawed policy to profilgate government money.

The Soliloquist said...

@Johnny: Long Comments are alwaays welcome. As for the directive discouraging boy students, it goes without saying that its absolutely short sighted and absurd. In mordern schools, all students are treated alike, and there seem to be vey less of gender based partiality. If equality of sexes is the issue, then this directive is a blow to the ideal.

@swas: You echo my thoughts on the issue, man..Astoundingly comic policy!!

@vishnu: yes , sad but true, the future of indian students in hands of a bunch of myopic morons..