Its half way into the semester and students studying in government colleges have not got any tablets so far.
Bengaluru; Even after the Department of Collegiate Education (DCE) said that free tablets have been distributed under the free Tablet Personal Computer (PC) scheme, students studying in government colleges say they have not received any.
Shoubhika, a first-year student pursuing BA in Economics from Maharani Cluster University, Bangalore, said, “Neither I nor any of my batch mates are aware of the free tablet PC scheme or have received any tablets from the university or the government.”
Dr. Harish, Principal of Maharani Cluster University said, “Currently, there are around 800 students who must have gotten free tablets from our university but instead none received it. The DCE also told us that instead of distributing the tablets to every student; it will choose students who should be getting the free tablets.”
With the semester end closing in, if DCE starts acting on it, distribution will be completed by March-April 2022 which also lacks certainty, he added.
Whereas Dr. Nandita Prasad, Informatics officer, DCE said, “The department has already completed the distribution of free tablets and students studying in government colleges under the list have been provided with a tablet.” A round 1.5 lakh students have been benefited under the free tablet PC scheme, he added.
In September 2021, DCE said that due to budget constraints they are replacing the free laptop scheme with the free tablet PC scheme for which a total of Rs. 210 crore were allotted by the state. It also stated that during that period, a lot of colleges were yet to complete admissions for the year 2021-22 after which they would distribute the tablets to students. But we are in November end now and the students still haven’t received any tablets.
“The university as per DCE guidelines received applications from students for availing free laptops under the scheme. But later on, this scheme got replaced by the free tablet PC scheme. So far we haven’t heard or got any resources for distribution from the DCE,” said Dr. Shobha, Department of Sanskrit at Maharani Cluster University.
Poornima, a second year B.Sc. Chemistry student from Bangalore University said, “I knew about the free laptop scheme and did apply for it in my first year but the pandemic happened and I never heard about my application status. But after the free tablet PC scheme was announced, I thought I would get a tablet but I still haven’t received it.”
Christina, a counseling psychologist and educator said, “It is important for the government to bridge the digital gap that the pandemic has widened in the society. Also, this eases the burden on parents who aren’t able to afford gadgets.”