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Free education for single girl child

New Delhi, Sept. 22: Girls who are the only child of their parents will get free education in all CBSE schools from Class VI to Class XII, starting this financial year.

“Similarly, if the two children in a family are girls, both will be entitled to a 50 per cent concession in fees,” the human resource development ministry said in an official release today. If there are two children in a family and one is a girl, she will still get the 50 per cent concession. But not if there are more than two children.

The fee waiver will cover tuition fee but exclude money charged for transport and food.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) will also hand out scholarships to encourage girls to study further. It will launch a post-graduate scholarship scheme that will entitle girls who are the only child of their parents to receive Rs 2,000 a month to pursue any course in any recognised university.

The ministry said it will initiate a discussion with other examination boards to also adopt these policies.

But Shyama Chona, principal of Delhi Public School, sounded unhappy.

“Education is a state subject. We are governed by the Delhi Education Act. It has to be amended to incorporate provisions like this,” she said, adding: “The main money for public schools comes from fees.”

She suggested the scheme could backfire. “It may lead to schools not enrolling girls and admitting boys. Boys’ schools may take all the advantage.”

Ministry officials said the Centre will allot money to the CBSE for the scheme, which the board will transfer to the schools. But the amount given will be equivalent to what is spent on a student in a government school. This is less than what private schools spend on students.

Apart from the fee waiver, the CBSE will also offer monthly scholarships of Rs 500 to Rs 550 to students based on their performance in the Class XII exams. These will be open to all girls irrespective of the number of siblings they have.

The scholarships for undergraduates will be given for non-medical and non-engineering courses in recognised colleges. At the end of three years, 1,650 students will receive these scholarships.

The CBSE, which conducts entrance examinations for medical and engineering students, will also offer 500 fellowships every year for these courses ' 350 for engineering students and 150 for medical students. These too will be given on merit.

The UGC will give scholarships of Rs 2,000 a month to first and second rank holders among girls in the BA, B.Sc and B.Com courses.

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