Gets a Perfect 10 from Centre; Model to be replicated at a national level
It is every parents’ dream is to get the best education for their child, and that’s why when a child is admitted to a school, parents look for the most reputed school in the vicinity. While parents from elite families can afford private schools, those from poor families have no option but not to send their children schools and in the process even the bright ones never got an opportunity to get quality education. But Punjab has a success story to share.
When concept of meritorious schools was introduced in the state a few years ago, no one was aware how much success it would be. Under the scheme these schools provide for free education to those students who are poor but brilliant and cannot afford quality education. These students are provided with free hostel facilities, food and are given special coaching to competitive exams. The scheme is for government school students who have scored 80 per cent or more in Class X.
The concept being so unique has also won laurels from the centre which is planning to replicate the same in other parts of the country. The Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani had lauded the initiative of the government recently and had said she would be considering it to implement it at the national level.
For the meritorious students of Sangrur, Gurdaspur and Ferozepur, those hailing from humble backgrounds three new residential schools would be coming up. Education Minister Daljeet Singh Cheema had recently disclosed it is a privilege for all the citizens of Punjab to represent first state in the country which has successfully implemented this model of meritorious schools.
Educationists feel, since the introduction of meritorious schools in the state, there has been keenness of parents from poor backgrounds to send their children to schools. Earlier children from poor families, were deprived of education, but now the parents know if their children do well, the government is there to support them in taking them ahead.
Encouraging figures of 2925 students applying for 3000 seats last year as compared to 700 seats left vacant in 2014 only shows the growing popularity of the scheme.
While three new residential schools are coming up, the existing 7 are already benefiting over 4850 students of Punjab who are enrolled in these meritorious schools involving an investment of over Rs 258 crore. Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal had recently while speaking at a seminar on Career Guidance and Counselling in Government Schools explained how these meritorious schools will help in preparing the students for professional courses.
It was in 2014-15 that six such schools had been started in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, S.A.S Nagar, Patiala and Bathinda. There are 600 students in Plus Two in all three streams while there is another one for girls opting Arts Stream in Talwara which had taken off last year from 2015-16 session. This all-girls school having 150 seats is yet another unique concept which has also won accolades from people as this gives an option to parents who are keen to get their daughters admitted in a girls school.