Amritsar, January 9
Members of the district unit of the Democratic Teachers’ Front, Punjab, lodged a protest against the Centre’s suspension of scholarships for students belonging to minorities studying in schools from Class I to VIII.
They sent a letter to the Central Government and the Chief Minister through the District Commissioner to restore the stipend.
According to a recent notice, the government’s pre-matric scholarship to students of minority communities will no longer apply to students from Class I to VIII, and only be continued for students of Class IX and Class X starting from 2022-23. The scholarship is run by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs.
Giving detailed information in this regard, District DTF unit head Ashwani Awasthi said from 2022-23, Class I to VIII students belonging to minority categories will not be entitled for stipend as earlier. “The decision will deprive students of schooling. Apart from this, there is no mention of giving scholarship to students under the new education policy-2020, which is an agenda to take education out of the reach of common people and its privatisation. This has created a risk of further backwardness of the already backward classes in the education sector,” said Awasthi.
The DTF has sent a demand letter to the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Minority Affairs and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment of the Central Government, asking for special stipend for students of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes, Class I to XII general category students from economically weaker students, to ease the process of applying for stipend, to restore the old self-declaration challan in place of income and caste certificates so that students belonging to these categories can get education easily.
Leaders of the DTF said along with this, a demand letter would also be sent to the Punjab Government, through which, they have raised demands of giving free bicycles to students and uniforms to students from pre-primary to Class XII.