Can finally attend classes, say elated students after receiving phones under Punjab govt scheme
10 students received phones from Punjab food, civil supplies and consumer affairs minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu on Wednesday under the Punjab Smart Connect Scheme; over 16, 600 more to receive phones soonUpdated: Aug 12, 2020 21:11 IST
Seventeen-year-old Simrandeep Kaur, a non-medical student of the government school in Bharat Nagar, has always been a bright student. In Class-11, she scored 90% and bagged the second position in her school. Always regular with her classes, she was hoping to pass with flying colours this year too. But the pandemic outbreak and the subsequent lockdown seemed to spoil her plans.
As schools shut down and switched to virtual classes, Simrandeep suddenly found herself unable to keep up.
Having two younger sisters—one in Class 3 and the other in Class 8— and just one phone at home, Simrandeep had to skip some classes to ensure that her siblings could attend theirs. “I don’t have a personal phone. I would use my mother’s phone whenever it was free. As I sometimes had to skip classes when it clashed with my sisters’ classes, I used to take my classmates’ help in completing my notes.”
The connectivity issues and additional burden of buying an internet pack every fortnight was another hassle.
So when she received a smart phone from Punjab food, civil supplies and consumer affairs minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu on Wednesday, as part of the Punjab Smart Connect Scheme, her joy knew no bounds. “I can finally attend my classes without disruption,” said the teen, who dreams of becoming a computer engineer.
Like Simrandeep, 16,676 other Class-12 students are set to benefit from the scheme, aimed at bridging the digital gap. As many as 10 students, including Simrandeep, received their phones at the Bachat Bhawan today.
Arvind Kumar, another Class-12 student, who received the phone today, said he had not been able to attend any classes since April as he did not own a phone. “I used to take notes from my friends and gave the online assessment exam using my neighbour’s mobile. I’m happy I finally have my own phone,” he said.
The elated students were seen clicking selfies with each other after the event. Deputy commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma and district education officer, secondary, Swaranjit Kaur were also present on the occassion.
SOCIAL DISTANCING GOES FOR A TOSS
Meanwhile, social distancing went for a toss during the event, with many, even officials, seen flouting the safety norms while handing over the phones.