VIJAYAWADA: Educationalists, parents and students have welcomed the Andhra Pradesh government's decision to avoid mention of the caste and religion of students in the school attendance register henceforth. School Education Commissioner V China Veerabhadrudu issued a circular in this regard recently.
"It is brought to the notice of the Director of School Education, AP, that in some schools the details of students’ caste and religion are being mentioned and girl students’ names are being written in red ink in attendance registers," read the circular.
"In this context, all the officers are hereby requested to issue instructions to the field level functionaries that, not to mention the caste and religion of the students in the attendance register and maintain the attendance register in a uniform manner in the matter," it added.
Speaking to The New Indian Express regarding his decision, the Commissioner said, "I experienced and observed this from my school days. But at that time, I was helpless. Off late, during our inspection of schools, several parents and grandparents informed us that their children are facing discrimination due to mentioning of their caste in the attendance register. As I am in a position to do something in this regard now, I decided to issue a circular. It is the time to end such discrimination and social inequalities, which are still in vogue at some places."
Welcoming the decision, Prof Narava Prakasa Rao, State convener of Right to Education Forum, said, “One has to start somewhere. And the people in power are the best ones to take that first step. This decision may not end the caste discrimination in the society immediately. But it will teach the coming generations that one’s ability and intelligence are everything. It will also teach that an individual should be judged on the basis of his/her intelligence and not their caste and religion are the criteria. It helps promote the concept of ‘what’s in a name’. It will also rein in the teachers who encourage caste/religion discrimination. It is good that finally someone has taken the long-pending request seriously to end discrimination on the basis of caste and religion.”
Parents and students echoed similar views. “More than at home, children spend more time in school. What they see and learn there influence them more than what they see and learn at home. Most of the times teachers are more influential than parents. I hope its effective implementation will help end social discrimination to a great extend,” said K Mrudula, a parent.