EDUCATION TRIBUNE Tuesday, September 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India
  ‘Sarv Shiksha’ drive a boon for girl students
Geetanjali Gayatri
C
ONCERNED at the high dropout rate in schools, a declining sex ratio and a marked difference in literacy levels of boys and girls of the city, the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan has come as a boon for girl students with the scheme offering free textbooks to them till the primary level and free computer education upto Class VIII. 

Govts fail to keep word with college teachers
Avanindra Chopra
T
EACHERS and other employees of non-government aided colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh are, once again, protesting against the denial of their long-standing demands. They are asking for pension, gratuity and other benefits. And once again, the academic atmosphere is bound to be disturbed, then their demands conceded with customary fanfare and then, as always, completely forgotten.

 








 

Sarv Shiksha’ drive a boon for girl students
Geetanjali Gayatri

CONCERNED at the high dropout rate in schools, a declining sex ratio and a marked difference in literacy levels of boys and girls of the city, the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan has come as a boon for girl students with the scheme offering free textbooks to them till the primary level and free computer education upto Class VIII. 

While the girl students in government schools were exempted from payment of tuition fee till Class XII, the benefit of free textbooks has come as an added advantage, making studies practically free for them. Sanctioned under “Innovative projects” of the SSA, the incentive is aimed at educating the girlchild and reducing the gap in literacy levels between boys and girls.

“We had been alarmed at the decreasing number of girl students in classrooms. when SSA came our way, We prepared a special project on the education scenario in the city with special reference to the girl child and presented it to the Government of India. Taking note of our concerns, we were given a sum of Rs 50 lakh under the project to uplift the girl child,” says Mr DS Mangat, DPI (Schools), Chandigarh.

Of the total amount sanctioned for the project under SSA, Rs 35 lakh have been given for distribution of free textbooks till Class V to all girl students and another Rs 15 lakh have come for imparting computer education to them. Computers are taught from Class V to Class VIII in government schools.

Though this project is to be implemented from this month onwards, with most students already having bought the books for this session, the Chandigarh Education Department is likely to reimburse the amount spent by the students.

With the sex ratio coming down from 790 in 1991 to 773 in 2001, the city has a dropout rate of 17.92 per cent in the case of girls against 7.94 per cent of boys at the upper primary level. Though the literacy level has gone up from 70.43 per cent in 1971 to 81.76 per cent, the literacy rate is higher among boys at 85.65 against 76.65 per cent among girls.

The low literacy level among girls in the city is attributed to the unwillingness of parents, especially those staying in slums, to send girls to school. They prefer to send them to work in houses nearby and add to the family's meagre income instead of spending on fee and books.

Interestingly, the census survey revealed that 18,614 girls were going to school against 21, 198 boys till the primary level while the total number of girls attending school from Class VI to VIII was 11,425 against 12, 515 boys.
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Govts fail to keep word with college teachers
Avanindra Chopra

TEACHERS and other employees of non-government aided colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh are, once again, protesting against the denial of their long-standing demands. They are asking for pension, gratuity and other benefits. And once again, the academic atmosphere is bound to be disturbed, then their demands conceded with customary fanfare and then, as always, completely forgotten.

In 1992 the Punjab government made a promise that these employees would be granted pension and other benefits on a par with their counterparts in government colleges. Many agitations later, some drafts of pension schemes (usually with modifications contrary to the interests of the employees), were approved by subsequent governments. But none implemented. The party in power today highlighted this ‘just and genuine’ demand in its manifesto during their election campaign. And there the matter rests — moribund.

Meanwhile, employees of such colleges are a demoralised lot. Many have since retired with meagre retiral benefits. This is so because the amounts due to them as gratuity are seldom paid. The amount of Contributory Provident Fund they received is not even half of their lawful entitlement since the statutory provisions concerning the deduction of subscription to their C.P.F are disregarded by college managements and funding governments.

For instance, in case of such colleges in Chandigarh and Punjab, affiliated to Panjab University, and funded by the Chandigarh Administration and the Government of Punjab, respectively, the deduction of the subscription to the employees’ C.P.F. is calculated at the rate of 10% of their basic pay alone. This contravenes the relevant provisions of the P.U. calendar, which clearly state that the rate of subscription shall be 10% of salary and salary for C.P.F. deductions means — pay plus all allowances excluding HRA”.

The exclusion of other allowances, like D.A., while calculating subscription to C.P.F. several truncates the only means of sustenance such employees have after retirement.

It needs to be noted that Panjab University, which gets grants from both Punjab and the Chandigarh Administration, follows these rules for its own employees. It contributes a matching 10% subscription on the basic and DA to its own employees, but allows colleges to get away with this step-motherly treatment to their employees. In the process, it ignores its statutory duty to oversee that its service rules and Provident Fund provisions are scrupulously followed by affiliated colleges.

Even the Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, clearly defines that the salary wages for C.P.F. deductions shall include — “basic wages, dearness allowances, (including cash value of any food concession) and retaining allowances if any”.

Thus, the general, overriding, mandatory provision in the Act, the bedrock of all P.F. legislation in India, and the rules framed by Panjab University, are not being followed in the colleges affiliated with Panjab University.

It must be mentioned that the rate of deduction from salary for C.P.F. has been enhanced by the Centre from 10% to 12% with effect from May1, 1997. No such enhancement on even the basic pay has been granted to the employees of the colleges.

Thus, for the past so many years, while teachers and other employees have been awaiting implementation of a viable pension policy, they have lost out on their legitimate claims as regards C.P.F. Umpteem representations to the authorities concerned have failed to yield any results.

Another distressing trend is discernible. It seems that in a bid to escape paying permissible dues like annual increments, D.A., H.R.A. or C.P.F., the powers that be are devising novel methods. New recruitments, if any, are mostly on ad hoc, contractual and temporary basis. These appointees are not entitled to any of the statutory allowances.
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