In a clear hint at having forgotten its election manifesto promise of providing laptops to government school students, the Punjab education minister took a u-turn saying the manifestos were made for five years and better facilities were under consideration instead.
Talking to Hindustan Times at the sidelines of a state-level Teacher's Day function held at DAV Institute of Engineering and Technology, here, minister Daljit Singh Cheema said the manifesto is for five years and they were committed to providing laptops too, but they were working upon providing some better facilities to students.
"We are taking the initiative to make schools wi-fi applicable and will bring computers to every school. We are trying to introduce skilled vocational courses to make education better," he added.
In the 2012 assembly elections, the SAD had promised to provide free laptops with data cards for Class-12 students in government schools, which was then changed to tablets and later the promise went for a toss.
None of the students have got laptops till date; however, free bicycles for girl students in Classes 9 and 10 under the Mai Bhago scheme were released.To raise the standard of education, the education department is all set to hold a state-level campaigning for government school admissions to get more admissions to schools.
He said, "In this state-level campaign, the chief minister, education minister, MLAs and local officers from various departments will participate to motivate children and their parents so that they send children to school. The officials will work with the help of panchayats and sarpanches of the villages."
He said the department officials would visit from door to door in villages to meet parents and children to motivate them, especially girls, to join school.
He said the state education department had also signed an MoU with the National Skill Development Corporation seeking to create new employment opportunities for the youth by providing them vocational training.
He said that from September 8, the classes for vocational courses would start in 100 select schools of the state for Classes 9 to 12 wherein the vocations include health care, IT, retail, automobile, security and beauty and wellness.