Chandigarh, Aug 5 (IANS) The Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday paved the way for distribution of 1,73,823 smartphones by November to students of government schools, who are preparing to take their Class XII board exams with the help of online education amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Distribution of the first batch of 50,000 smartphones, which have already been received by the state government, will begin shortly.
The phones will be equipped with various smart features such as touch screen, camera and pre-loaded government applications like the ‘e-Sewa App’ with e-content related to Class XI and Class XII, as approved by the Department of School Education.
The second batch will be procured soon, and the entire distribution process will be completed by November, said an official spokesperson after a meeting of the state Cabinet, which has approved the modalities for the distribution.
The Cabinet noted that four months of the academic year 2020-21 had already elapsed without regular on campus classes, and while private schools are conducting online classes, the students of government schools are facing a competitive disadvantage, especially those studying in Class XII.
Though he had initially announced that the first batch of smartphones, received just a few days ago, would be given to the girl students, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that both boys and girls of Class XII government schools, who do not have smartphones to access online classes, will be provided the same.
This, he said, was necessary to ensure that these students do not suffer in the times of the pandemic due to lack of access to education.