Opinion / Opinion Line

Laptop no reason to deny student living allowance

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-09-23 08:39

A 22-YEAR-OLD STUDENT, surnamed Liu, in Siyuan College, Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi province, has been denied poverty allowance by the school because he has a laptop. Liu has registered as a poor student in his hometown in the northern part of Shaanxi and, according to regulations, is entitled to receive 6,000 yuan ($900) as living allowance. Beijing News commented on Thursday:

The provincial departments of education and finance have said students who own laptops cannot be poor and thus are not eligible to receive living allowance. From the institutional point of view, this is understandable.

But this logic made sense when laptops were very expensive, and only a few could afford to buy them. Given the importance of computers today, especially for college students, and their falling prices, how can one assume that only well-off students can buy laptops? And since college students have to rely on computers, even those who are poor have no choice but to buy one.

So having a computer does not make a student ineligible for living allowance.

In his The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smiths says: "... poverty is not just scary lack of necessities of life, even more frightening is the resulting exclusion from social life." To truly alleviate poverty, we should keep this in mind, so that the poor can get real help.

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