CM Jai Ram Thakur.
CM Jai Ram Thakur.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Wednesday launched a laptop distribution programme to provide free laptops worth Rs 83 crores to about 20,000 meritorious students of the State under Srinivasa Ramanujan Student Digital Scheme at the Paddal Ground in Mandi and said that Himachal Pradesh is better than Kerala in literacy rate.

While addressing the students, teachers and parents, Thakur said, “I am happy that a great effort has been made in the direction that all the students, who have done a tremendous job in education through today’s event, we can spend time with them. We have been trying to have an interaction with the students and I am happy about the fact that we are distributing about 20,000 laptops to students who have performed well in their studies. I congratulate all of them and wish them all the best for their future’. He further said that his government has tried its level best to make the state of Himachal Pradesh a better one in terms of providing education despite a tough geographical terrain and for that, he congratulates all people who are directly or indirectly working with the education department.

Thakur said that the government tried to connect with more students virtually and interact with them since it was not possible to have an event at one place with all of them.

“If we talk about Himachal Pradesh, there was a time when there were talks about who is ahead in literacy rate. There was usually a competition between Himachal and Kerala. Today, I can say that, as per the literacy rate, we are not behind Kerala. Himachal Pradesh is better than Kerala and ahead. It is a matter of happiness for us,” he told.

“There was another situation that we used to face. Parents wanted the boy child to study, but not everyone wanted to let a girl child study. Earlier, people didn’t use to take education for a girl child seriously, but it’s good to see that times have changed and girls are now excelling more than the boys in studies,” the Chief Minister added.

“Due to the pandemic, distribution of laptops to the students got delayed but students were concerned and called me asking when they would receive the laptops. Some even messaged us raising the same query. But now the State Government has provided these laptops to the students. Technology has brought a sea change in the education system as well. Thus, modern equipment like laptops, computers, mobile phones, etc. have become necessary tools for studies,” he further said.

“Now we would want to focus on the quality of education, along with strengthening the infrastructure. There was just one State University in Shimla, but we’ve seen an increase in the number of colleges, and also in the strength of students. In this scenario, another University was necessary. Hence, the State Government has opened a new State University in Mandi to facilitate the students of nearby districts to get higher education nearer their homes. I have full faith that in the next two months, the university would start functioning with full strength and that University will be Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University, Mandi. I congratulate everyone. The University and college teachers would be provided UGC scales soon,” Thakur announced.

The Chief Minister interacted with meritorious students of different districts. He also released a booklet brought out by the Directorate of Education on the occasion. He also released the Signature song of ‘Aazadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’. A documentary ‘Shiksha Ke Naye Aayam,’ highlighting the achievements and milestones the state has achieved in the field of education, was also screened on the occasion. (ANI)