Mohali (Punjab) [India], December 18 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh launched the second phase of the 'Punjab Smart Connect Scheme' through virtual mode on Friday. It is an initiative to facilitate seamless e-learning in government schools amid Covid-19 pandemic.
The event was marked by the distribution of smartphones to 80,000 class 12 students of government schools in the state. The smartphones were distributed at 845 schools by various ministers, MLAs and other dignitaries across the state. Also, 877 tablets were provided to students of 22 senior secondary schools.
Addressing the students, chief minister said, "When the Punjab Congress promised smartphones in its manifesto, nobody knew these phones would become so vital for students due to the COVID pandemic. I want Punjab's youngsters to be abreast with the latest technological advancements. Smartphones and tablets will equip the students to meet the challenges of education during the trying times of pandemic."
As per the reports, the Punjab government is spending Rs 87.84 crore on the project. A target of 1,75,443 students including 88059 boys and 87284 girls has been set as beneficiaries. During the first phase, 50000 students were already facilitated with the scheme. The remaining 45,443 students are expected to be provided with smartphones by the end of December. The government had earlier endowed 2625 tablets to 372 primary schools at an expenditure of Rs 2.99 crore.
"The Chief Minister reiterated his government's firm commitment to provide the best infrastructure in schools to enable students to compete with their peers in private and convent schools. In this context, he said 7842 schools and had been converted into smart schools with the latest infrastructure, coupled with computers, tablets etc, and 1400 more government schools would also be converted into smart schools by the end of the next year. Further, he said the School Education Department had converted 16589 classrooms as smart classrooms across the state, and the remaining would also be covered under this scheme in the next six months," an official press release read.
The chief minister congratulated the teachers for preparing the e-content and emphasised the need for keeping pace with the fast-paced changes in education globally. "With Punjabis settled around the world, it is important for students to learn English and other languages to become job-ready across the globe," added Singh.
At this event, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Sunil Jakhar, Punjab Youth Congress President Birinder Dhillon, Congress legislature Navtej Singh Cheema and other dignitaries were present. (ANI)