Thursday, April 13, 2006

CBSE withdraws free education to single girl child

Last year (around October 2005), CBSE floated a move to force all private schools affiliated to it to waive off fees to those girls styding from 6th standard onwards provided they were single child for their families.

The schools were asked to fend for themselves, possibly by increasing the fees of other students - boys or girls - who do not fit into the above category.

There was no debate, no discussion. Just a fiat.

The opposition to the above move was mostly muted, barring a few in Chennai which talked about moving to Tamil Nadu Matriculation syllabus.

CBSE (and its boss human resource development ministry) just moved on, without a care in the world, and amended the bylaws in November 2005, making the fee waiver a requirement from the educational year 2006-07.

A Delhi based minority institution Carmel Convent School approached Delhi High Court to quash the circular issued by CBSE stating that it impinged on Article 30 of the Constitution allowing minorities infettered administrative control over their educational institution. The Delhi High Court stayed the circular. No mainstream non-minority private school approached courts, however.

CBSE then seems to have modified its position in the Delhi High Court and suggested that rather than enforcing the fee waiver, they would suggest a scholarship scheme, whereby any school that charges more than Rs. 1,000 per month as fees would offer scholarships to the single girl child, provided she secures more than 60% marks. The court accepted this and dismissed the petition from Carmel Convent School but allowed the school to appeal again if the school thought this policy was also of problem to it.

Then, quietly, prompted by the human resource development ministry, CBSE seems to have withdrawn the circular. The reason stated is a legal opinion obatined by the ministry "in the wake of fierce opposition from private school managements". I missed this news item but heard about it only now. I am blogging it here for completion.

A victory nevertheless for private enterprises from needless meddling by inept governments and their extensions!

If the government really wants to promote low cost, quality education to girl children (or boys!), they can do so by empowering more private enterprises to start schools all over and then regulate the schools to ensure that they provide acceptable quality education.

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