In a grand move ahead of the state elections next year, to promote education for the girl child, the Karnataka government has decided to make education free for all girls across the state.
From Class 1 up until graduation, girls studying in all public and aided private schools and colleges, excluding professional institutions, will be able to avail free education without paying a penny from the next academic year.
The scheme will help underprivileged and lower middle-class sections heave a sigh of relief as the government expects them to avail of the scheme. “We expect around 18 lakh students whose parents’ income would be less than Rs 10 lakh to opt for this scheme and are planning to earmark ₹110 crore,” higher education minister Basavaraj Rayareddi told the Times of India.
If 18 lakh students avail of the scheme, each of them would get ₹611 a year.
Karnataka is not the only state in India to start this grand scheme. Telangana and Punjab have also launched similar schemes. Telangana has announced free education for girls from kindergarten to post-graduation, and Punjab has extended the scheme until PhD.
Denying duplication of the above schemes from other states the higher education minister said, “We are not copying their schemes. It’s a model one and a major leap towards women’s empowerment. The scheme is for all girls, unlike their schemes which are restricted to certain classes and income groups.”
According to the scheme, the government would reimburse all fees, except examination fees of girl students of Class 1 to graduation level. The students will have to pay the fees first at the time of admission and get it reimbursed from the government later. An important highlight of the scheme is that the entire tuition fee will be waived even if students opt for esteemed women’s colleges.
For those unaware, education is already free for girls from poor families till Class VIII under the Right To Education (RTE) Act. The scheme extends to all girls across the state but stresses on imparting free education to underprivileged girls who generally drop out of school after Class 10.
“It is mainly in rural areas where girls come from families earning less than ₹10 lakh that the government needs to extend incentives. But the government will not discriminate between cities and rural areas and poor and rich. It is ready to reimburse fees to all girl students,” Basavaraj Rayareddi said.