The Karnataka government has decided to make education free for all girls from class 1 to graduation level in all public schools and aided private schools and colleges, barring only professional institutions, from the next academic year.
The allotted funds, however, is anything but grand. Higher education minister Basavaraj Rayareddi has said, “We expect around 18 lakh students whose parents’ income is less than Rs 10 lakhs to opt for this scheme and are planning to earmark Rs 110 crore,” reported The Times of India. But even by that arithmetic, each student would get slightly more than Rs 611 a year.
Similar schemes have also been launched in Punjab and Telangana.
In Telangana, free education for girls has been announced from kindergarten to post graduation, while in Punjab it has been extended to doctoral level.
Rayareddi said that this not an attempt to copy schemes taken up by other states, adding that this model is one big leap towards women empowerment. This scheme does not restrict itself to any particular class or income group, it can be availed by all income groups.
The government would reimburse all fees except examination fee of girl students from class 1 to graduation level, irrespective of their income. The scheme will apply to all government and government aided schools and colleges. The students must pay the fees first at the time of admission and later get it reimbursed by the government. The entire fee will be waived, even if the students opt for popular colleges in Bengaluru.
Beneficiary of the scheme
The government stressed that the motive of the initiative was to impart free education to underprivileged girls who generally drop out of school after Class 10, especially in rural areas.
“It is mainly aimed at rural areas where girls come from families earning less than Rs 10 lakh that the government needs to extend incentives. But the government will not discriminate between cities and rural areas or between the poor and the rich. It is ready to reimburse fees to all girl students,” said Rayareddi.
Education for girls who come from poor families is already free till Class 8 under the Right To Education Act.
The Logical Indian community welcomes the Karnataka government’s decision. We hope that the implementation of a such a scheme will surely bring about a change in the literacy rate as well will contribute effectively towards women empowerment in the state.