Fifty-six state schools with caste labels have been renamed by the Punjab government, weeks after Schools Education Minister Harjot Singh Bains issued an order to re-baptize them based on caste and brotherhood.
The Department of School Education changed the names of 56 public schools, including primary and secondary schools. The schools have now been renamed after the village in which they are located, or the name as they are known, local martyrs or heroes.
The department has requested reports from all district education officers and the primary education department regarding schools bearing names based on the castes operating in their jurisdictions.
The Punjab unit of the Aam Aadmi Party on Friday welcomed the government’s move.
“New Era of Education System has started in Punjab. Fifty six government schools with caste names replaced by AAP Government in Punjab.
“The schools have now been renamed, either by the name of the village they are in, or by local heroes, martyrs or other known figures,” said a tweet by the ruling party’s state unit.
Among the schools that have changed their names include 12 in Patiala district, seven in Mansa, six in Nawanshahr and four each in Sangrur and Gurdaspur and three each in Fatehgarh Sahib, Bathinda, Barnala and Muktsar.
On December 1, Punjab Schools Education Minister Harjot Singh Bains has issued an order to rename all state government schools named after caste and brotherhood. However, an order to this effect was issued on 26 December.
In a statement here, Bains said, “Several cases have come to attention regarding the names of many public schools in the state being associated with caste, which makes them feel uncivilized in the current era and at the same time promotes caste segregation in society.” He said all students are given equal education on the basis of equality in Punjab public schools where the name of public school cannot be associated with class or caste.
The education minister also said Punjab is the land of great teachers, saints and prophets who have taught mankind to stay away from caste and all kinds of discrimination.
In today’s era, these names have a huge influence on the minds of students and sometimes many parents refrain from enrolling their children in public schools because of these names, he said.