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Punjab: Students with 55% marks can apply for meritorious schools

Punjab school education member says this will increase competition, even as former SAD education minister says purpose is defeated.

punjab Updated: Apr 19, 2018 19:02 IST
Deepa Sharma Sood
Deepa Sharma Sood
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
meritorious schools,Punjab schools,SAD
Launched by the previous SAD government, the purpose of the meritorious schools is to impart quality education to the students.(HT File)

A pet project of the previous Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) government in Punjab, the meritorious schools launched to cater to students who excel in academics has seen a drastic drop in eligibility criteria this year.

To get admission in Class 11, the state government has changed the eligibility criteria for registration in meritorious schools from 80% to 55% for general category and 50% for SC/ST category in Class 10 Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) examinations.

The purpose of the schools — to impart quality education to meritorious students who score 80% and above in Class 10 boards — is diluted with this move.

Sources confirmed the move and said that to fill up all the seats in the meritorious schools, the state authorities have changed the eligibility criteria.

Prashant Kumar Goyal, director general, school education (Punjab), said, “We have standardised the eligibility criteria and this step will increase the competition among students. This will also fill all the seats in the meritorious schools as in the past few years, many seats were vacant.”

“We want to give every student a chance to sit for the entrance exam for meritorious schools,” said Goyal.

Lambasting the Congress government for not paying attention to these meritorious schools, former education minister, Daljit Singh Cheema, said, “Meritorious schools were started for brilliant students who score 80% in Class 10 boards. But when the eligibility criteria is changed to 55%, the purpose is defeated.”

“First the state government reduced the salaries of the meritorious school principals after which nine principals resigned. Around 40% posts of teachers in these schools were vacant and no efforts have been made by the government to fill these posts. It seems that the state government is planning to close these schools.”

To register online, the students have to pay Rs 200 fee and in case the candidate fails to score requisite marks in matric examination, then the fee will be refunded.

Another change has been made by the authorities in the Common Entrance Test (CET), scheduled to be held on May 13. In the written test, English part will consist of 30 marks, which is 20 marks less than the earlier 50 marks.

For the remaining two subjects — science and mathematics — the test will be worth 35 marks each, unlike 50 earlier.

The test will be held across the 22 districts in Punjab.

Online registration postponed

The online registration of the schools was set to begin on Wednesday at 9am, according to the letter updated on the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) website, but when the link for registration was opened, it stated that the registration will start after 3pm.

After the registration process did not start till 3.10pm, the authorities again updated on the SSA website that the registration process will start by 11.30pm.

First Published: Apr 19, 2018 19:02 IST