Robbing poor students' dignity

Updated: 2013-10-29 09:26

(China Daily)

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Shenyang University recently asked financially weak students to address a public audience and explain why they needed tuition grants. The move is not only an infringement on the privacy of the students, but also a blow to their dignity, says an article in Xinmin Evening News. Excerpts:

Financial aid is given to needy students to promote equality in the field of education and act as encouragement.

But by making the students speak about their poverty in public, the Shenyang University authorities ended up embarrassing as well as discouraging them. Some of the students became a laughing stock for the indifferent people in the audience. A few of the poor students seemed to have lost their self-esteem and could not even face their classmates after the event.

Supporters of the event said that given the limited aid quota, there was nothing wrong in making the students "compete" with each other to win public support for the financial grant.

But why should poor students suffer humiliation to get financial aid for their education? Distributing education grants and scholarships among students after exposing their poverty and privacy is the worst possible way of helping them.

Education grants and tuition waivers are not favors; they are encouragement for poor but bright students. Psychologists say poor people suffer, among other things, from emotional problems, such as inferiority complexes. So while extending financial aid to students, universities should be careful enough to respect their dignity.

(China Daily 10/29/2013 page9)