Nearly 18 lakh laptops have been distributed to students in UP(HT file photo)
Nearly 18 lakh laptops have been distributed to students in UP(HT file photo)

Akhilesh to meet free laptop beneficiaries to assess impact of initiative

The chief minister will meet them to get first-hand information on how laptops have changed their lives.
By Rajeev Mullick | Hindustan Times, Lucknow
PUBLISHED ON SEP 30, 2016 08:39 PM IST

Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav will soon interact with a group of 30-40 beneficiaries of the Samajwadi free laptop scheme to get first-hand information on how the initiative has impacted their lives. The scheme is aimed at bridging the digital divide in rural UP.

According to sources, since March 2013, nearly 18 lakh laptops have been distributed to students. The distribution started a year after Akhilesh came to power. Since then, he has taken the scheme to various parts of UP.

“The chief minister wants to see the impact of the initiative on the knowledge, economic empowerment and employability of the beneficiary youths. The meeting is likely to take place at the CM’s official residence on October 9,” said an official.

There was also conjecture that the CM could have plans to showcase the impact of the scheme to the public while campaigning for the 2017 assembly polls. “It will help him connect with young voters,” said a party worker.

The government is also all set to procure a new set of laptops. The new laptops will have more advanced features as the technology has evolved quite a lot during the past three years. “These HP laptops will be much faster and more user-friendly (than the old ones),” shared an official.

Study carried out by Giri institute senior fellow

CS Verma, a senior fellow of the Giri Institute of Development Studies, Lucknow, has carried out a study, interacting with the beneficiaries of the laptop distribution scheme of the state government.

“A detailed survey was undertaken between September 2015 and December 2015 in 16 colleges of 13 districts (including Jhansi, Kanpur city, Sambhal, Amroha, Balrampur, Barabanki, Gonda, Rampur, Agra, Lucknow and Kannauj) to collect a sample of 3,200 beneficiaries,” he said.

The results revealed that the gadgets had played a positive role in improving the overall academic performance of the students. They were more engaged in the learning process, attended classes regularly and had improved communication with their teachers.

The general perception of the students (86%) was that they have benefitted by receiving the laptop – especially with regards to research purposes. They also responded positively about having improved their computer skills.

Nearly (54%) agreed that they had gained in terms of general awareness and understanding of various social, economic and political issues.

It was also shown that more students (20%) from economically poor families were earning from home in comparison to students from financially stronger families. The scheme also showed a positive caste impact. More SC/ST students were revealed to be earning from home than their OBC and general category counterparts.

Girls welcome the scheme

Girls posing with their laptops. (HT file photo)
Girls posing with their laptops. (HT file photo)

As per the study, about 94% girls felt their status in their families had improved with improved knowledge levels. They often used the gadget to teach their siblings as well as to share useful information with their parents. Laptop use had also contributed to better scores in tests, said a good number of female respondents.

While a few students said that the use of internet on laptops was making students waste their time on entertainment and about 37% youngsters felt that social sites were not helping their cause, an overwhelming majority (89%) said that the scheme should be continued.

Read more: UP cabinet clears CM’s ‘free smartphone’ scheme

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