The document starts by lamenting about the "indifferent attitudes and practices against girl child including their health and well being". But the salient features of this new regulation introduced by the CBSE are these:
- 100 percent waiver of tuition and other fees (except for meals and transport) in current affiliated schools from standard 6 onwards for every girl student "who is also the single child of a parent"
- "Appreciation" if these schools would consider a 50 percent fee waiver for "every girl student who is one of two daughters who are also the only two children in a family"
- In addition to 1. and 2. above, any other fees (i.e. for transport and meals) to be waived at the discretion of the school management.
Jokes apart, this encompasses every single (eligible) girl student regardless of economic conditions. But, if this was to be limited to underprivileged gals alone, then the CBSE board is the wrong place to apply it, since most CBSE schools (a overwhelming majority, I should think) are outside the reach of the average underprivileged kid in India.
I'd have agreed to such a system only under these conditions:
- If it was applied, on the basis of economics, i.e. for all those gal kids whose parents fall under a certain income bar.
- If it was applied by the government for non-CBSE government schools, where a large percentage of the middle class and a overwhelming majority the lower middle class send their kids to study.
- If this scheme's intended results (whatever they may be) were validated by the application of this scheme at the Central government run Kendriya Vidyalayas for a year or two.
But I know the first is next to impossible in India, where tax evasion is rampant and there is no better way to judge someone's economic capacity. Moreover, the rules are to be implemented on the basis of a simple affidavit sworn by the parents who are to "intimate" the school on any changes in the "single status of the girl child/children in the family" (single status???). Will this self regulation help?And the last mentioned won't serve much purpose since the 871 Kendriya Vidyalayas are already subsidized and AFAIK, the are the only government run CBSE schools in the country.
And as Mrs.YGP (for all you readers from outside Chennai, she heads a group of well known schools affiliated to the CBSE in Chennai) says, this will cause just the opposite effect than it is intended, i.e. it will increase discrimination. She raises a valid point that even if there is just one eligible girl student per class in her school(s), her organization can afford to waive the fees for the estimated total of 140 girl students.
Or maybe a school like Padma Seshadri can, but forcing private schools to do something like this which goes against their business model is not the hallmark of a free market economy that our country claims to be. The government is essentially trying to be a welfare state without the money infusion from its side.
But who the CBSE trying to help? The middle and upper middle classes? Are these the target demographic for all the anti-female foeticide propaganda? Is this community group that accounts for majority of female school drop-outs? The answers for the last two questions are definitely "No" which is why the second point that I raised above, i.e about the non-CBSE schools, particularly the ones run by the government itself, is extremely pertinent.
I am sure everybody would love to get something for free, but was this something that was asked for? Is the CBSE trying desperately to prove that there *IS* something called a free lunch, after all?