While the mercury is dropping day by day, students of government schools are still waiting for funds to be transferred into their bank accounts for buying winter uniform.
Despite the district education department demanding Rs 4.98 lakh for 1,24,668 students studying in Classes 1 to 8 at government schools, the state government released only around 25% of the amount on December 7.
Amid confusion over the share of the total fund to be given to students under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), the district education department has not yet transferred the money into the bank accounts of beneficiaries. As a result, students are being forced to wear old winter uniform or their parents are shelling out money to buy uniform for them from their own pockets.
District education officer (DEO, primary) Bahadur Singh said: “The funds have not been transferred as we have received only 25% (Rs 100 per student) of the total amount. There is no official information on whether the government will send more funds or Rs 100 have to be transferred into the bank accounts of beneficiaries.”
Sources said the district education department had written a letter to the Punjab director general school education (DGSE) on December 8, asking for the ratio of the fund to be transferred into the bank accounts, but it had received no reply as yet.
“Even rs 400 are not sufficient to ensure a quality uniform for students. The amount has not changed for the past seven years. Instead of increase the funds, the state government has reduced these and has sent only `100 per student. It is regretful,”said a senior education official, requesting anonymity.
A teacher of the Government Senior Secondary School, Civil Lines, said this was not the first time that the government had delayed release of funds for uniforms. Most of the schools have been receiving funds, supposed to be released by September-end, in December and January.
Under the scheme, Rs 400 is being given to government school students every academic year for winter uniform. Besides a pair of shoes and woollen sweater, it includes a shirt, a pair of trousers and a cap for boys and a set of salwar, kameez and dupatta for girls.