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Punjab State has ranked on top on most educational parameters. According to a study “States Emergence: A comparative analysis of growth and development 2015” of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM).
According to the study Punjab clocked annual compounded growth rate of 6.5 per cent between 2007-08 and 2013-14 and ranked on top in terms of growth in the number of schools followed by Kerala (5.4%) and Jammu and Kashmir (5.3%) while the all-India growth rate remained at 2.5 %.
Speaking about the initiatives of Punjab, Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy CM, said, “Educated people build an economically independent society which leads to the economic growth of the nation. When we took reigns in 2007, education for all was our priority. We have opened new Schools in Punjab to ensure education for every child. We also started schemes like “Mai BhagoVidya Scheme to facilitate the education of the girl child.”
He further added, “Punjab has also taken the lead in opening of residential schools for meritorious students at Amritsar, Patiala, Bathinda, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Mohali where all expenses are borne by the State Government.”
The astounding growth rate in case of Punjab continues in 2015-16. The study report says that, Punjab has emerged as the leader with a compounded annual growth rate of 8% in terms of growth in student enrolment between 2007-08 and 2013-14 followed by Haryana (5%) and Gujarat (3%). Ironically, the student enrolment grew at just over 1% as compounded annual growth rate across India during this period. Punjab has also registered highest growth rate of about 20 per cent compounded annual growth rate during 2007-08 and 2013-14 as the number of teachers in the state have increased from about 79,750 to over 2.36 lakh in this period.
Punjab has begun the process of recruitment of in school education department and higher education and language department where it will fill 30,107 and 2198 job vacancies within one year. This will further boost the growth rate in number of teachers in the state. For the benefit of scheduled caste students, Punjab provides free stenography training to graduates. The state also provides free text books to students belonging to scheduled castes from class 1 to 10 in both government and private recognised schools. To encourage parents from minority communities to send their school going children to school, the state provides post-matric and pre-matric scholarships.
Punjab’s performance in terms of students per teacher has also improved remarkably as from a level of 32 students per teacher in 2007-08 it has improved to 17 students per teacher in 2013-14. While on all India basis, there were 26 students per teacher as of 2013-14.
Punjab is also ranked fairly high as 52% of schools in the state had computer facility in 2013-14 as against about 31 per cent in 2007-08. In India, about 23 per cent of schools had computer facility. In terms of expenditure incurred by the state on education as per cent of their gross state domestic product Punjab spends 4.3% of gross state domestic product on education while Gujarat spends 3.3% on education. Nationally 1.3 per cent of the gross domestic product is being incurred on education sector related expenditures.
Punjab has a keen focus on making education available to children from different strata of the society. 27 Model/Adarsh schools have been set up in the educationally backward blocks of the state. In addition, 25 Adarsh schools have been set up throughout the state under PPP mode. Under HargobindKhurana scholarship scheme, 5522 students have been covered. 5 residential hostels have been opened for the 27 elementary school boys of difficult circumstances in Amritsar, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Ludhiana and Tarn Taran with the capacity of 100 boys each. Punjab has also attained first position in North India in Mid-day meal scheme and second nationally.
By enhancing the education infrastructure in the state, Shiromani Akali Dal is securing the future of children of Punjab.