For e-learning in government schools amid Covid-19 pandemic, the Punjab Cabinet on Monday approved modalities for distribution of mobile phones to nearly 2.15 lakh students of Class 12 for the academic session 2021-22 under ‘Punjab Smart Connect Scheme’.

This decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh here at Punjab Bhawan this evening.

Notably, the state government has allotted a budget of Rs 100 Crore to the school education department for the scheme for the financial year 2021-22. As many as 1,75,443 regular students (boys and girls) studying in class 12 of government schools have already been given mobile phones last year.

According to a spokesperson of the CM’s office, realising the benefit of imparting online education remotely to the students through the distributed smart phones, particularly in the adverse pandemic situation last year, it has now been decided to extend the scheme to the students to be admitted in class 12 of the academic year 2021- 22.

The procurement will be carried out through Punjab Infotech, under the industries and commerce department.

The mobile phones to be distributed under the scheme shall have various smart features such as touch screen, camera and pre-loaded government applications such as e-Sewa App with e-content related to Class 12 as approved by the school education department.

The Punjab government had announced this scheme with the objective to provide digital access to youth and information regarding education, career and skill development and employment opportunities besides basic citizen-centric services through government applications, etc.