Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], April 20 (ANI): In a slew of decisions to further improve the functioning of schools in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday gave in-principle approval for legislation of Teachers Transfer Act in the Vidhan Sabha, while announcing Rs 500 per month increase in the salaries of Mid-Day Meal workers.
He also announced the distribution of another 2.14 lakh smartphones to class 12 government school students this year.
The enactment of legislation will give legal sanctity to the Teachers Transfer Policy,
introduced by his government in 2019 to make the entire process transparent, efficient, and corruption-free, said the Chief Minister, pointing out that since the policy was brought in, not a single complaint of corruption had been received with respect to the transfer of school teachers.
Under the policy, which has now also been extended to non-teaching staff, of 1.12 lakh teachers, so far 21,600 teachers had availed the benefit.
On the issue of salary hike for MDM workers, the Chief Minister said it was a long pending demand of the workers, who had got a hike last in 2017. The move will benefit 42,000 MDM workers in 19,000 schools.
The Chief Minister further announced that the process of distribution of 2.14 lakh more smartphones will commence within three months, with budget allocation already made for 2020-21.
The proposal will be cleared at the next meeting of the state cabinet, and orders for the phones will be placed immediately thereafter to enable distribution to commence within the time frame, said the Chief Minister.
The proposal for procurement of smartphones for these students had already been sent to the Department of Industries, he added.
Pointing out that 1.75 lakh students studying in class 12th had already been provided Smart Phones during 2020-21, the Chief Minister said in addition, 3,502 Tablets had already been provided to the students of Government schools, while Rs 5.25 crore had been kept aside for e-Libraries.
Asserting his commitment to the implementation of all the 20 manifesto promises with respect to school education before the end of his term, the Chief Minister directed the School Education Department to formulate a scheme and draft a formal proposal, for the introduction of NCC training as a subject in all schools in a phased manner, beginning with the border schools. This, he said, was important to inculcate discipline among students, especially in current times.
School Education Secretary Krishan Kumar informed the meeting that 250 schools would be upgraded in 2020-21, with a draft policy for the same already sent to the Finance Department for approval.
In a detailed presentation, he disclosed that 17,778 teachers were recruited during the previous government from 2012-2017, while out of the 32,425 posts, 12,761 recruitments have already been made and 13,768 are under process, while 5,896 new posts would be advertised soon.
Apart from this, a separate cadre has been created for six border districts and a large number of contractual teachers had been regularized.
Enrollment in the government schools had registered an increase of 15.07 per cent with 27.20 lakh students enrolled during 2020-21, he said, also noting the increase in pass percentage of class 10 and 12 students of government schools, who were now faring better than in private schools.
The Secretary of Education pointed out that Punjab was the first state to universalise pre-primary education with an enrollment of 3.29 lakh students. Similarly, English as a medium of instruction has been introduced in 14,957 Government Primary, Middle, High, and Senior Secondary Schools covering 3.71 lakh students.
In his presentation, Krishna Kumar further revealed that of 19,298 government schools, 12,976 schools have already been converted into smart schools. Further, out of a total of 68,263 smart classrooms, 41,336 classrooms have already been converted into smart classrooms while 13,459 were in the process of conversion and the balance 13,468 would be converted shortly.
Under the Green Boards and Furniture Drive, all the primary schools have been provided with furniture besides covering 21.8 per cent of the Pre-primary sections and the requirement for middle, higher, senior secondary schools would be completed during 2021-22.
The Education Secretary also listed out other initiatives, including amendments to rules for direct and transparent recruitment of School Headmasters, Principals and Block Primary Education Officer, the Sports Policy for schools, introduction of skill development under vocational education, among others. (ANI)