Education is now the top priority for every individual, yet there is still a high number of school drop-outs year after year. With school fees currently being so high particularly in the private institutions, the government aided schools are not preferred by masses due to many reports of mismanagement. The recent decision of the Defence Ministry fixing a cap of Rupees ten thousand on educational expenses paid to the children of defence forces martyrs was strongly opposed by the welfare committee of the department.
According to the Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, the children of the nation’s martyrs are entitled to free education, which is a very good thing that the government has done. What has happened is possibly because of some misunderstanding, they have now capped it at Rs 10,000 because somebody must have calculated as to how much a person spends per month on child education.
Reacting sharply on the capping issue, a letter dated September 13, 2017 by the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare capped fee for tuitions and hostel expenses at Rs 10,000 per month was sent to the Defence Ministry. A similar demand for a rollback on the decision was also raised by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, and Union Minister of State for External Affairs General V.K. Singh, who is himself an Army ex-chief.
General Rawat had informed on December 6, 2017 that Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, has informed Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of the issue, and she has said that the issue will be addressed on priority while assuring to resolve the issue of a cap of Rs 10,000 on educational expenses paid to the children of defence forces martyrs. Defence Ministry sources said that the Minister had held a meeting on the issue and a decision is likely soon.
General Rawat through a Press Communiqués informed that his department has written to the government. He is hopeful that the Defence Minister is completely seized of the problem. She is aware of it, and after they explained the reason to her.
According to informed sources, Admiral Lanba, the most senior among the three service chiefs, wrote to the Minister to urge Sitharaman to resolve the problem.
The Defence Ministry is quick to take cognizance regarding the high cost of education, more so it will be a huge relief for the children of defence forces martyrs, otherwise it will be an insult to such martyrs who have given their lives for the nation, while their dependents will have to move from pillar to post for justice. It will be worse so if they have to drop out of studies due to high fee structure of almost all courses.
Although such moves for free education for this section of the students is most welcome, the government also need to introspect how the other sections, particularly the children and wards of Below Poverty Line and Middle Class sector are going to cope. Educational institutions have become white elephants and it is worse for professional courses which cost the whole life income of the parents. Many have to even take educational loans to complete the studies, and keep paying this back throughout remaining services years of the student. How does one expect the nation to tap Human Resources under such circumstances?
The high cost of education has further affected unemployment, as most jobs now demand experience and higher qualifications, which most of the population in India cannot afford. The standardization of educational fees is the need of the hour even as the roll back of the capping of educational fee for the children of defence forces martyrs is being discussed.