Claiming that proper infrastructure in the government schools will boost the student enrolment, Punjab Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla on Friday said that Rs 46.30 crore has been released as composite grant to 18,522 government schools of the State.
The Central Government has released a total of Rs 46.30 crores for Punjab’s 12,284 primary and 6,238 middle, high and senior secondary schools under its integrated scheme — Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan — to provide basic facilities and equipments in these schools.
The scheme, aimed at providing holistic and quality education at pre-primary, primary, upper primary, secondary and higher secondary levels, was implemented in Punjab in 2018. Under the same, the Centre has now released Rs 25,000 for each school in all 22 districts of the state.
For 12,284 primary schools, the composite school grant of Rs 30.71 crore has been given for the 2019-20 session; while for 6,238 middle, high and senior secondary schools across the state, grant of Rs 15.59 crore has been given by the Centre under the scheme.
Informing the same, the state Director General School Education has issued a letter addressed to all the District Education Officers on Thursday, asking them for appropriately spending the grants as per the Central Government’s instructions.
The letter directed the officers concerned to spend the funds for replacing the non-functional school equipments, besides for incurring other recurring costs like consumables, play material, games, sports equipments, laboratories, electricity charges, internet, water, teaching aids, among other things.
The grants can also be utilised for annual maintenance and repair of existing school building, toilets and other facilities to upkeep the infrastructure in good condition.
DGSE has maintained that the grants can also be utilised for the promotion of Swachh Bharat Campaign and undertake activities under the Swachhta Action Plan. It was also made it clear that there must be transparency in utilization and provision for social audit.
Singla said that it has been observed that lack of washrooms in schools hampers the enrolment of girl students in the schools. “Now, with adequate infrastructure and well maintained buildings in place coupled with enhanced focus on improving quality of education, an upsurge in enrolment is hoped for,” he said.
It also maintained that the grants should only be spent by the Village Education Committees (VEC), School Management Committees (SMC), and the School Development and Management Committees (SDMC).
The letter also made it clear that after utilisation of these funds, the concerned officer should send the utilization certificates to the headquarters.
Maximum Rs 4.12 crore grant has been given to 1165 primary and 483 middle, high and senior secondary schools in Hoshiarpur district. It was followed by Rs 3.57 crore in Gurdaspur and Rs 3.34 crore in Jalandhar.
The BJP-led Central Government, in 2018, integrated all centrally sponsored schemes of Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE) into a single scheme ‘Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan’.
The scheme envisages free and equitable secondary education with effective learning outcomes, irrespective of gender disparities, vocational training for weaker sections including persons with disabilities by 2030.
Besides, the scheme also provides transport facility to the students from Class I-VIII and for Children with Special Needs (CWSN). Apart from that, the girls would be provided self-defence training for three months.
In addition, vocational education would be introduced as an integral part of general education at secondary and senior level. Under the programme, there is a provision for arranging hands-on training for students in industrial set-up and on-job training may be provided during vacations for at least 80 hours.