Chandigarh, Feb 26: The Punjab Education Development Board under the chairmanship of Chief Minster Prakash Singh Badal decided in principle to provide quality education to the economically poor and intelligent students free of cost in the 'Adarsh Schools' to be affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in the state.
Presiding over the first meeting of the Board held late last evening at Kapurthala House, New Delhi after the amendment to the Punjab Education Development Act, 1998, Mr Badal said, ''now the decks have finally been cleared for the major expansion of modernised school education infrastructure in the state''. He directed the school education department to immediately invite expression of interest in this regard.
It was also decided in the meeting that initially these schools would be set up in the rural areas in close proximity of the block headquarters to attract highly qualified and talented teachers.
Mr Badal also said the teaching of Punjabi subject would be made compulsory up to class-X for the students of Adarsh Schools.
It was also informed in the meeting that the Central Government had already sanctioned a sum of Rs 75 crore as Additional Central Assistance for the setting up the Adarsh schools. Mr Badal directed the state Finance department to immediately release this amount to the Board for speedy implementation of the project.
The Chief Minister also conceded the demand of the members of the Board for direct transfer of the cess of Rs 37 crore levied and collected by the state Excise and Taxation Department in a separate head of Education Development Fund.
In the meeting, the members from the corporate sector and companies impressed upon Mr Badal to allow them to run short-term vocational courses in the premises of Adarsh schools in the evening to impart skilled training to the students and other interested unemployed youth to improve their chances of gainful employment.
The Punjab Education Development Board also decided to allow the group/company/individual having a net worth of Rs 50 crore to be eligible for setting up Adarsh school. Likewise, the Board also allowed the education groups having five years of experience in the educational institutions for the same. These groups should have been running at least 10 educational institutions (colleges and schools) with proper affiliation with not less that 1,000 students for the last two years.
The Chief Minister mentioned in the meeting that the concept of Adarsh schools had been widely appreciated by the Planning Commission of India and the Centre had also replicated the same by establishing Adarsh school in each block of the country.
He said the novel scheme had evoked encouraging response from the top captains of business and industry in the country to set up 100 Adarsh Schools in various parts of the state.
The Chief Minister assured the industrialists of support and cooperation with a congenial atmosphere to work with utmost dedication and commitment to make this dream project a grand success.
The Board also decided to constitute an executive committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary to take decision from time to time with the approval of the Chief Minister. The other members of the board would be Secretary School Education, Vice Chancellor Punjabi University Patiala, Special Secretary School Education and a member from the corporate/business group.