On the International Women’s Day on Monday, many mothers from poor financial background had a profound reason to celebrate as they felt more secure about the future of their children, for whom school education had been like a mirage.
They are a happier lot these days as the ‘Jagananna Amma Vodi’ scheme introduced by the State government in the 2020-21 academic year came as a boon for the children who dropped out of schools due to poverty, got a chance to enrol themselves in government schools again.
As part of the scheme, a brainchild of Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the government is providing financial assistance of ₹15,000 to the mothers or a recognised guardian from the below poverty line (BPL) households, to help them educate her children from Class I to Intermediate in all recognised government, private aided and private unaided schools, junior colleges, including residential colleges, in the State.
“My mother is a domestic help and father works as a rickshaw puller. It is very difficult for them to afford our education. The scheme has come as a boon for us. I am going to school now. Thanks to Jagan Mama,” says Swarna, a fifth class girl from Palakol in West Godavari district.
45.03 lakh enrolled
According to Education Department officials, enrolment in the schools has seen a rise after the scheme was launched. As many as 45.03 lakh students have enrolled themselves in government and aided schools across the State this academic year. Many students have shifted from private institutions to government schools, the officials said. As many as 84 lakh students have been benefited so far and the government has deposited ₹13,121 crore into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.
The government has also announced that the students can opt for laptops in lieu of the benefits ₹15,000 from the next academic year. The students of ninth and tenth classes and Intermediate can exercise the option, the Chief Minister announced recently.
“The Jagananna Amma Vodi is one of the best schemes introduced by the State government. We thank the Chief Minister for helping women educate their children and empower them. Many parents from poor financial backgorund are now sending their children to school,” says K. Kanaka Durga, a resident of Y.S.R. Colony in Vijayawada.
K. Sindhu Priyadarshini, a dropout, thanks the government for introducing the scheme. “I discontinued my studies when I was in Class III as my mother fell sick. Now, I have joined the National Child Labour Project School (NCLP) the seventh class. I was able to continue my studies because of the scheme, apart from ‘Jagananna Goru Mudda (mid-day meal) and others,” says Priyadarshini, adding that she wants to be a doctor. Donabanda Anuradha and N. Meenakshi, teachers of an NCLP school in Krishna district, say the strength in government schools has doubled after the ‘Amma Vodi’ and many other welfare schemes for students were launched.
“Many parents are admitting their children to government schools and the credit goes to ‘Jagananna Amma Vodi’, ‘Jagananna Vidya Kanuka’, ‘Jagananna Vasati Deevena’, and the measures such as introducing English as the medium of instruction’. Parents are lining up at government schools for admissions now,” says Prabhakar Sastri, headmaster a government school in West Godavari district.
Andhra Pradesh School Education Regulatory and Monitoring Commission (APSERMC) members C.A.V. Prasad and V. Narayana Reddy say that a comprehensive study on the impact of ‘Amma Vodi’ scheme was under way. “We have visited many schools and the response to the scheme is good. The scheme has brought in a change in education system in State,” says Prof. Narayana Reddy, adding that many university students have undertaken research on the scheme.
“Such schemes have strengthened the education system,” says V. Srivalli, an intermediate student from Narsapuram.