statesman news service
Kolkata, 11 November
State Education Minister Bratya Basu today said from next year, students from Class VIII will be given career counselling sessions to help them identify their areas of interest.
He was speaking during an award ceremony at the Town Hall on Monday. The programme was organised by the state School Education Department and Unicef on the occasion of National Education Day.
Mr Basu said: "The move is an effort to bring vocational training into the mainstream. It will enable a child to acquire the knowledge necessary for the profession he wishes to adopt later." 
The minister also gave away awards to students who had participated in a statewide sit-and-draw competition on the topic water, sanitation and hygiene.
A state Unicef official, Mr M Asadur Rahman, said: "More than 60 schools in 20 districts are being trained on sanitation and they are working towards a child-friendly school and education system." 
Schools qualifying for Sishumitra Vidyalaya Puraskar and Jamini Roy Puruskar for outstanding contributions towards achieving child-friendly norms and standards were honoured during the ceremony. Three schools were felicitated and given cash awards of Rs 50,000 and a trophy each. The award money could be used for repair and improvement of the existing toilet blocks, construction of guard wall in the girls’ toilet, school libraries, purchase of soap for hand washing, purchase of consumables like toilet brush, cleaner, first aid box, etc. 
The state education minister also said 2,000 schools have been equipped with computers. "It is important to make students aware of the latest technology to help them perform better," he said.
The Central government has declared 11 November ~ the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad ~ as National Education Day.