Assam Govt Achieves Partial Fulfilment of 2019 Budget Promises in Education Sector
• Education dept has fixed the cap of Rs 1,000 for degree students textbook scheme
• The process has begun, but the students are yet to receive the benefits
• Distribution of free uniforms for class IX & X is yet to begin
• List of beneficiaries under Minority Girls Scholarship Scheme sent to govt
• Rs 200 crores was earmarked for the scheme
• Value education training yet to be given to teachers
• Infrastructure development work taking place in phased manner
With the beginning of the New Year 2020, G Plus takes a look at the status of implementation of a few prominent schemes related to the education sector in Assam, which were announced by the state government during the last year’s budget.
Free textbooks for students pursuing graduation
Assam finance minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, had announced that degree students of Arts, Science and Commerce stream will be provided with free textbooks.
“We will provide free textbooks to students up to degree level (Arts, Science and Commerce) from the present level of Class XII,” he had said in his budget speech.
The education department has fixed the cap for degree students at Rs 1,000 for reimbursement after purchasing textbooks under the scheme.
“Students will have to first purchase the books belonging to their curriculum and would have to submit their bills to the college. This would then be certified by the college principals after which the government would directly transfer the amount in the account of students,” Homeswar Kalita, principal of Gauhati Commerce College told G Plus.
He added that the process for implementation of the scheme has begun but the benefit transfer to the students will take some time.
On the other hand, officials in the state education department informed G Pus that currently the free distribution of uniforms is being done for students up to class VIII. However, the distribution of free uniforms for class IX and X students is yet to begin.
“The matter regarding the distribution of uniforms for class IX and X was in court but now it has been resolved. We are currently waiting for the official guidelines to begin the distribution of uniforms,” said the district elementary education officer of Kamrup (M), Bulli Gogoi Bhuyan.
Minority Girls scholarship scheme
Another major scheme under the state budget was the Minority Girls Scholarship Scheme for which a budget of Rs 200 crores was earmarked. The scheme aims to strengthen education of girls belonging to the minority communities to encourage and incentivise them to continue their higher education and stay on in the formal education system.
“All school principals have prepared a list of students who are to receive the benefits under the scheme. They send the list to the inspector of schools and the district education officers who then vet the list to ensure that the aid is given to eligible students,” mentioned Bulli Gogoi Bhuyan.
She added that the district education officers have forwarded the list of beneficiaries to the state education department a few days ago and the students are yet to receive the scholarship from the government.
As per the state government guidelines, the incentive will be provided to only unmarried girls presently pursuing studies in class 10, 11, 12 belonging to religious communities of Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Jain and Zoroastrian. Under the scheme, an annual scholarship of Rs 2,000 will be provided to class X students while Rs 4,000 will be given to students of classes XI and XII.
Value education training and infrastructural development
Emphasising on the need for value education for students, while presenting the budget for 2019-20, finance minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma had said, “I announce that we will organise special courses on value education for our teachers and students. We will start the process with the TET qualified teachers who in turn impart value based education to all the students.”
Commenting on this, the district elementary education officer said that although a few trainings have been conducted for value education for teachers by different NGOs in a few places, however, none have been conducted by the government till now.
On the other hand, the finance minister had set aside a sum of Rs 219 crores in 2019-10 budget to bridge the infrastructural gaps in government schools for providing basic facilities such as additional classrooms, partition walls, and provision of electricity in classrooms.
Authorities in the education department informed that works related to infrastructural development is taking place in a phased manner in different schools.