Fund cut irks Dalit students

KHOTANG: Dalit students in a school in the district on Thursday refused to accept the money provided by the government to purchase textbooks.

Students of Shree Secondary School at Basbote of Laphyang did not accept the money provided by the school, saying that the amount was less than what they received last year. Though the school organised a programme yesterday to distribute the amount, the students and guardians refused it.

"The District Education Office has provided funds to distribute the amount to the Dalit students. However, the students refused it," Jasaraj Kiranti, headmaster at the school said. He also said the DEO had provided Rs 87 to each student. "The students refused the amount saying that the amount was insufficient even to purchase notebooks," he added.

Earlier, the DEO used to provide Rs 500 a year for Dalit students to purchase textbooks.

"The amount has been reduced to Rs 87 this year in the name of providing free education to Dalit students," a guardian said.

According to the DEO, they had to cut the assistance to the Dalit students because the government released funds only for 100 students.

"The government released assistance only for 100 students even though the number is high. We were left with no option but to distribute the amount equally to all Dalit students," Dhan Bahadur Shrestha, assistant technician at the DEO said.

Eleven Dalit students are studying in Grade IX and X in the school.

"A student needs at least Rs 500 to purchase textbooks for Grade IX and X," Bhagwati Shrestha, proprietor of Shrestha Books and Stationery in Diktel said.