The Punjab government has said that it will distribute smartphones for free to students starting August 12 which is also International Youth Day. The government has already announced that students of call 12 of government schools will be getting a smartphone. The first phase of the distribution of smartphones has a total of 1.75 lakh devices and the government has apparently received the first consignment of 50000 smartphones. Which smartphones are these and what models are still unknown.
To avoid creating large gatherings and to keep people safe during the ongoing pandemic, it is reported that, “Not more than 15 students studying in that town/district will be invited at each location for handing over the smartphones”. The distribution of the smartphones will take place across 26 locations in Chandighar and Punjab. The 26 locations are expected to cover all district headquarters along with some major towns as well.
#PunjabGovernment will launch scheme for distribution of smartphones to youth on Aug 12. CM said that in difficult times of #COVID19, some of youth were facing pressing problems in accessing online education content.......(1) pic.twitter.com/MNQSk4mVUr— Government of Punjab (@PunjabGovtIndia) August 11, 2020
With schools and colleagues shifting to a learn from home model, students need to have access to a smartphone at least to be able to watch online classes. There is a large part of the population that does not have access to a smartphone hence making the process of attending online classes difficult. In these times of social distancing, it isn’t feasible for a student to go to his/her friend’s house to share a smartphone to attend the online classes.
A lot of telecom service providers were extending validity and providing alternate methods of recharging consumers devices when the nation was in lockdown. However, even though the lockdown has eased in parts of the country, schools and colleagues still remain closed and are moving towards online classes. This initiative by the government of Punjab will help more students that don't have access to a smartphone attend online classes.