Despite there being no dearth of students with the required score, seats at the Punjab government’s senior secondary schools for the meritorious are vacant. Reason: Students have either not applied or not attended counselling even after filing applications.
These schools are for Punjab government school students who scored 80% and above in Class 10 — there were 4,702 such students. But only 2,437 applications were received for the 3,000 seats — 500 each for the six schools located at district headquarters. Even now, only 2,322 seats have been filled, leaving 678 vacant.
SAS Nagar (Mohali) has the highest number of vacant seats at 211 seats, followed by Ludhiana with 189, Amritsar 97, Jalandhar 95, Bathinda 47, and Patiala 39. The admission list was put up on Thursday.
It is pertinent to mention here that the venue for counselling was changed twice — first from Government Middle School, Phase 7, to Government Model Senior Secondary School, Phase 3B1, Mohali, and then to the residential school campuses in the six respective cities. This is being seen as one reason for some students not turning up.
Talking to HT, education minister Daljit Singh Cheema, only said, “For convenience of the students, venue was changed at the last moment and shifted to the six schools.”
WHAT ABOUT THE UNIFORM, BOOKS?
Also, when asked about students being directed to buy uniform and textbooks on their own, the minister said, “We will provide school uniform and textbooks free of cost to the students.”
It was in Ludhiana that during the counselling on July 24, parents and students were informed that they would have to buy books and uniform on their own. Even a colour sample of the uniform was displayed.
DELAY IN START
A school principal on the condition of anonymity said, “First, the authorities told us the school will start from July 1; then they extended that to August 1; and now it is August 4. Instructions keep on changing. Now they are announcing they will provide uniform and textbooks, even though a week ago we informed the parents and students to buy uniform and textbooks. What about students who have already bought books and uniform?”