Education is a bridge from misery to hope. A gift that can be opened again and again. Education is a vital part of any nation as it is said that only the educated ones are actually free. No nation can grow if the people are not educated. But it is remorseful that such an important facility is not being enjoyed by all of the people. Some people are devoid of this boon due to many unavoidable reasons including the cost and the required resources.
In an effort to impart quality education to the marginalized, the Punjab government regularly provides free text books to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe students in the state. The text books are provided to Scheduled Caste students studying in 1st to 10th class in Government as well as private recognized schools. This scheme is being implemented by the Department of Welfare and text books are printed by Punjab School Education Board. There is no income limit under this scheme. This scheme was started in the year 1976-77 for Middle Classes and scope of the scheme was enlarged to cover High and Primary Classes from the year 1981-82 and 1986-87, respectively. This scheme has been covered under Dedicated Social Security Fund from the year 2005-06. The strength of scheduled caste students studying in 1st to 10th class (class-wise) in the District is obtained from District Education Officer (Primary and Secondary) by DGSE, thereafter demand is sent to the Secretary, Punjab School Education Board, Mohali for supply of books. The District Welfare Officers are required to conduct 25% verification to ensure fair and timely distribution of books and 100% checking by the concerned Tehsil Welfare Officer.
Indeed, the result of this scheme has been remarkable. The literacy rate in Punjab has been growing steadily. The Punjab government has been able to achieve this feat because of various initiatives launched by it. These initiatives cater to every strata and section, thereby, impacting the society as a whole.The state is also adopting multi-pronged strategy to ensure education for girls and for children below poverty line to achieve 100% literacy rate. Along with these steps, the state is also focusing on helping the youth channelize energies into meaningful pursuits. The state government has come out with an action plan to increase the number of schools for girls and BPL (below poverty line) students besides augmenting scholarship schemes for SC/ST and meritorious students.
Also aiming towards gender equality and women empowerment,KanyaJagritiJyoti Scheme is one of the initiatives of the state, which tremendously encourages people to send their daughters to school. Thus enhancing literacy and reducing the dropout rate among the girl students.This scheme is aimed at benefiting the BPL families that have adopted the two-child norm. As per the scheme, beneficiaries are paid annual scholarship of Rs. 1200 and Rs. 2400 in the age group of 6-12 years and 12-18 years respectively. To provide quality education, one needs to build an impeccable infrastructure too. Keeping this in mind, the state has provided complete attention to offer financial support, teacher recruitment, trainings, publication of text books, etc. to the educational institutions. Thus, the time soon shall come when the state will achieve complete literacy.