Meritorious School project flounders in Punjab as eight of nine principals quit in a year
The running of these schools has also not been without controversy. In November 2017, the principal of a Meritorious School, Ghabdan, in Sangrur district was booked for sexual harassment of two Dalit girl students. He was removed later.punjab Updated: Apr 01, 2018 13:54 IST
An ambitious project and brainchild of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, the concept of Senior Secondary Residential Schools for Meritorious Students has floundered. The concept, on the lines of renowned ‘Super 30’ programme in Bihar, aimed at nurturing bright matriculates from government schools, and prepare them for admission to top professional courses after Class 12, free of cost.
In 2017, however, the Punjab education department had to re-conduct the entrance exam, as only 2,700 aspirants scored the qualifying marks for 4,100 seats.
Now, project director of these schools, Maj Gen KAS Bhullar (retd), has resigned from his post. In addition, of nine such schools in the state, principals of eight institutions have resigned over the past year or so. Incidentally, all of them happen to be retired army officers.
The running of these schools has also not been without controversy. In November 2017, the principal of a Meritorious School, Ghabdan, in Sangrur district was booked for sexual harassment of two Dalit girl students. He was removed later.
“I have resigned. The state government may form new policy to run these schools, but I have left office. I am not aware about the functioning of these schools now. I think, new principals will be appointed from academic background,” said Maj Gen Bhullar (retd).
Now, teachers given additional charge
Since the resignations, each of which may have its own reason, the state government has appointed teachers as principals of these schools, giving them additional charge.
“Some principals have resigned; they were not willing to continue office. We are giving additional charge to teachers within the schools or from the education department. As the government finalises the new policy towards these schools, the process of new appointments will be started,” said Parshant Kumar Goyal, director general school education.