Every year, focussed free education will help 6,000 bright students from poor families in Punjab compete in the post-Class-12 race for professional college seats with those who can afford the luxury of private coaching.
The state government has set aside Rs. 120 crore for making six boarding schools to serve children from all 22 districts. The pilot project will bring 500 students each from a cluster of districts into Class 11 at these institutions.
From the next academic session, based on merit (score of 80% or more in Class 10 at a government school), the admissions will begin. The making of clusters to be attached with specific schools is on.
A school each will come up at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar; Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana; Government Arts and Sports College, Jalandhar; Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology, Bathinda; and Sector 70 in Mohali. The site for the Patiala school is yet to be identified.
The first batch will graduate to Class-12, to which there will be no direct admission in the inaugural session. "We will not charge students any fee even for hostel accommodation, food and other on-campus facilities. Brilliant students deserve special coaching to be able to enter engineering, medical, science, defence and other professional streams," chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said here on Friday.
Each student will get level playing field by being equal in training with counterparts in convent and private schools, Badal has said, maintaining that the government will run the schools without private participation. It'll be regular classes during daytime and special coaching by experts in the evenings. The objective is to give the state better human resource.
"Because of economic reasons, many bright students don't get proper coaching and career counselling after Class 10. The parents, in most of these cases, are uneducated and so unable to guide wards," said Badal.
This initiative will help beneficiaries find employment and explore their potential. If it works, the government will build the schools in the remaining 16 districts as well.