The Tamil Nadu government on Monday launched the Rs 1,000 per month assistance scheme for girl students pursuing collegiate education and the Schools of Excellence and Model Schools Scheme, based on Delhi schools.
Launching the school scheme here in the presence of his Tamil Nadu counterpart M K Stalin, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said States should learn from one another on good practices transcending party politics and called for Centre-States cooperation to give a fillip to school education in the government sector.
While Mr Kejriwal lauded Mr Stalin for emulating the Delhi school model within 6 months, and for launching other initiatives in the education sector, the latter praised the Delhi Chief Minister as a “fighter.”
Further, the TN Chief Minister said Mr Kejriwal quit the Indian Revenue Service and entered public life to serve the people.
“With his hard work, he has become the Chief Minister of Delhi. Recently, he made his party win in Punjab also. He is always very active. He is closely watched by everyone in the country.”
Mr Stalin launched the Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammayar memorial ‘Puthumai Penn’ (modern woman) Scheme, under which a monthly financial assistance of Rs 1,000 would be provided to girl students pursuing higher education, who studied in government schools from classes 6-12. In the first phase, the beneficiaries are about 67,000 college students.
Mr Stalin said access to education to all sections of people, regions and gender is the cornerstone of Dravidian ideology, which originated over a century ago. The CM said the government does not consider providing Rs 1,000 assistance to beneficiaries as “free,” or as a concession.
The government viewed the assistance initiative as its duty, an aspect of social justice and the Dravidian model DMK regime has that duty and that is the reason behind the scheme.
Mr Stalin advised student-beneficiaries to utilise the assistance for education-related pursuits. Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammayar was described by Mr Stalin as the lioness of the Dravidian movement who championed the cause of women’s rights.
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister distributed bank debit cards to beneficiaries, marking the launch of the financial assistance scheme. The cash assistance was transferred to the bank accounts of beneficiaries.
Mr Stalin said: “There are hindrances and hesitancy among girls in pursuing collegiate education. We have devised the Puthumai Penn Scheme to break this barrier.”
The scheme has several beneficial factors like the prevention of early marriages. It would lead to women’s empowerment and financial independence through education and gender equality.
The Schools of Excellence and Model Schools too have similar objectives and it would have features like smart classrooms. During the next 4 years, at an estimated cost of about Rs 150 crore, every school would have a smart classroom. The school infrastructure is set to be upgraded at a cost of Rs 7,500 crore under the Perasiriyar Anbazhaganar School Development Scheme.
In his address, Mr Kejriwal said that if State and Central governments came together, within 5 years, all government schools in the country could provide best education to students. The Delhi CM inaugurated the Schools of Excellence and Model Schools scheme in an event held at the State-run Bharathi Women’s College here.
The Delhi CM said that though everyone wanted the country to become developed, he wondered if it was possible if 66 per cent of children get “rotten education” in State-run schools.
As many as 26 Schools of Excellence and 15 Model Schools are covered under the TN government scheme, apparently in the initial phase. ‘Thagaisal Palligal’ and ‘Mathiri Palligal’ are the official Tamil names for the SoE and Model Schools.
Mr Kejriwal said it is very important that State governments learn good work being done from one another. He said the ‘Puthumai Penn’ scheme would prove to be path-breaking and revolutionary in the times to come not just for women of Tamil Nadu but for the whole country.
This scheme incentivised education for girl students and also prevented early marriages, he said. About 66 per cent of students go to government schools across the country, he noted.
Barring a few regions that witness initiatives to provide good education in state sector like in Delhi, Tamil Nadu and other States, the condition of most other government schools across the country is “really pathetic,” he said. Unless and until good education is made available on ar with private institutions, the dream of becoming a developed country would always remain distant, he said.
It is the right of every child to get free of cost and quality education and it should be the duty of every government to make it available.
Mr Kejriwal said he was disheartened to learn some State government schools are closed down while in others, fee was being hiked. In such a scenario, he asked if the poor man could afford to educate his children. Also, it meant that almost two-thirds of children in the country would remain illiterate and consequently, the nation cannot progress. It may be recalled that, reportedly, several government-run primary schools were shut and a section of them merged, in Gujarat.
Later, Mr Kejriwal, along with Mr Stalin, had interaction here with students of Government Model School. Mr Kejriwal also visited the government-run Anna Centenary Library.
In the visitor’s book, he wrote: “It’s a pleasure to visit this library. Such a huge collection of books and manuscripts so well managed and kept. It’s not just Tamil Nadu’s pride but India’s pride. Keep it up.”
In April, along with Mr Kejriwal, Mr Stalin had visited government schools in Delhi and praised the infrastructure in such institutions. He had then said his government would set up similar educational facilities in Tamil Nadu and invited Kejriwal for inauguration following completion of work.
In the Budget 2022-23, the State government had said the Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar Memorial Marriage Assistance Scheme is being transformed as the Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar Higher Education Assurance Scheme. Under the scheme, all girl students who studied from classes 6 to 12 in government schools would be paid Rs 1,000 per month directly into their bank account till the uninterrupted completion of their undergraduate degree, diploma and ITI courses.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)