Punjab budget presented by finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa on Tuesday brought cheers for girl students of government schools as free school bags and stationery items will be given to every girl student from Class 1 to 12 but boys have been left out of the scheme, leaving them dejected.
The innocence of children does not understand inequalities in society or the political requirements of welfare schemes. The scheme will definitely promote sending girls to school but boys are feeling that it is only another kind of discrimination. Even teachers feel that it will create an imbalance in the society.
Sanjeevan Dhadhwal, a retired government teacher, said keeping boys out of such schemes would cultivate a sense of jealousy among them.
“It is good that girls are being given deserved importance but there should be something for boys as well as otherwise it would create an imbalance in the society. They should be given equal importance,” he said.
“Most boys studying in government schools cannot afford even common necessities used by students. The scheme of providing school bags and writing material to girls is a good initiative on the part of the education department. It will certainly encourage girl students and enrolment may also improve but it could have been implemented up to Class 8 for all students without creating an unnecessary divide,” said a government school principal, requesting anonymity.
“Why is that only girls are being given school bags and stationery items?” asked a school-going boy, adding, “It seems as if now it is our turn to be discriminated against. While girls will be getting new bags and writing material, boys of the same class will carry old bags. What is our fault? What wrong have we done?”
Jashan Angrula, a Class 10 student of a government senior secondary school said, “Where has equality gone now? If the government is giving something to girls to encourage them, it should also provide the same to us. This amounts to discrimination.”
Jaskaran Singh, another government school student said, “It is good that our classmates will be getting school bags and writing material. They also get cycles, but what about the boys studying in the same class? Even I belong to a poor family and cannot afford many things. This is not acceptable.”
Every girl student of Class 11 and 12 is also entitled to get a bicycle under Mai Bhago scheme but there is no such scheme for the boys.
District education officer Harinder Pal Singh said, “Boys get uniform free of cost from the government. Such schemes like Mai Bhago scheme and giving girl students new school bags are meant for encouraging and empowering girls in the society.”