Dalit students deprived of scholarships

Surkhet, December 21:

Despite a government commitment to providing scholarship to all school-going Dalit students, nearly 9,000 Dalits in Surkhet are yet to get the same.

Of the 29,976 Dalit students enrolled in several schools in the district this academic year, only 21,324 got a scholarship.

According to Dalit Service Association Surkhet, 20,771 scholarships were provided by the government, 336 by the district development committee and 553 by NGOs.

Central member of the association Sanju Singh BK said the government had failed to live up to its promise of providing scholarships to all Dalit students. Those without a scholarship have dropped out of schools, he added.

District Education Office Surkhet said the students were deprived of the privilege as the government had made budgetary allocation on the basis of last year’s data. Resource person Chauhan Singh Rana said all the Dalit students could not get the facility, as the number of Dalit students enrolled in schools had risen significantly. Number of scholarships available for Dalit students this year in Surkhet was 24,156, of which 11,206 were meant for girls, he added. Rana said there complaints of misuse of the scholarships were on the rise.

According to the DEO, the number of scholarships was 2009 for secondary level, 873 for poor students, 80 for most impoverished students and 282 for physically-challenged students.

Speaking at a workshop titled “effectiveness of the Dalit scholarships” yesterday, Chief District Officer Rurdra Prasad Poudel said the society was still marred by traditional thinking and backwardness. Local development officer Yagya Prasad Bhattarai said the scholarships should be utilised for alleviating poverty and establishing social harmony.