With an aim to up lift the standard of education among students belonging to the minority communities, Punjab education department is going to provide free coaching classes for competitive exams from March 15 till May this year.
A notification issued by the education department to all district education officers (DEOs) states that MT Educare Limited, a Mumbai-based company, will provide free coaching to the eligible minority community students in five districts.
There are a few riders in becoming eligible for the scheme. Potential minority community students can avail benefits under the scheme only if the family’s income does not exceed Rs 3 lakh per annum from all sources.
A student can apply only once under the scheme, irrespective of the number of chances a candidate may be entitled to in a particular competitive examination. Also, a student who remains absent for 15 days will become ineligible.
Six centres have been set up for free coaching in the state, including two centres at Patiala, one each at Rupnagar, SAS Nagar, Ludhiana and Sangrur.
“Under the Union government- funded scheme, over 1,000 candidates will be given free crash courses to enable them to appear in competitive exams like Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main and JEE Advanced. Minority communities of Sikhs, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains will be covered under the scheme,” Gagandeep Singh, state coordinator of MT Educare said.
He said the students belonging to minority communities could apply for free coaching and would be selected on merit. But travelling expenses would be borne by the candidates, he added.
The initiative being undertaken by the state government is first of its kind after education minister Daljit Singh Cheema visited two government schools last year and announced that the government would provide free coaching to bright students for competitive exams on the basis of their economic conditions.
Education of ficials said four-month coaching classes for CA-CPT for minority community students to appear for banking and MBA entrance exams will be started in April.
As per the notification, director general school education (DGSE) Punjab has asked the concerned heads or principals of schools to supervise the work and maintain record of students. Moreover, the school head will send the status report of students to DGSE after the exams.
DGSE Pradeep Agrawal said, “The government-sponsored scheme is aimed at providing quality education and encouraging meritorious students in the state. Students from minority communities should avail this opportunity and reach prestigious institutions.”