| Chief minister Tarun Gogoi distributes laptops to toppers of HSLC and High Madrasa examinations at Sarusajai sports complex in Guwahati on Wednesday, as education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (left) looks on. Picture by UB Photos |
Guwahati, Sept. 12: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today announced a special programme to check illiteracy as well as dropout rates in char, tea and tribal areas as part of the government’s bid to ensure inclusive growth.
The announcement was made at the eighth edition of the Anundoram Borooah Award scheme, organised by Assam Electronics Development Corporation Limited (Amtron) at Sarusajai Stadium, where laptops were distributed to students who secured first division in the HSLC and High Madrasa examinations. 26,788 students secured first division this year.
Stressing that the award has instilled the spirit of competitiveness in students, Gogoi said it was now time to specially focus on educationally backward areas and check dropout rates.
“It will not help if only few get the benefits of laptops, electricity and drinking water. We have to cater to all sections. It is a challenge but we have to take adequate steps to nurture the youth. We want Assam to become number one state in the country,” Gogoi said in his speech, articulating the ruling Congress’s “inclusive growth” line, at the packed pandal set up for the function.
A press conference held at the same venue also saw Gogoi, into his third consecutive term as chief minister, start off with the same announcement.
“We will launch a special chief minister’s mission to improve literacy rate in char, tea and tribal areas. The rise in population of Muslims is because of high rate of illiteracy. We will identify areas backward in education and high dropout rates and concentrate on improving things,” Gogoi said in the company of education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Gogoi, however, did not spell out the intervention process his government has in mind on the twin issues.
According to sources, there are 81 educationally backward blocks out of the state’s total 219 development blocks, while the dropout rate is around 15 per cent in upper primary and 11 per cent at the lower primary level. The literacy rate stands at around 73 per cent.
The gathering for the function comprised thousands of the best and brightest students, mostly from Kamrup and Kamrup (metro) districts.
Himanta Biswa Sarma invoked great personalities like Aryabhatta, Jyotiprasad Agarwalla and Anundoram Borooah, the first Assamese to join ICS, to inspire students to even greater heights.
“Everybody doubted whether we could continue this scheme since its launch in 2005 but we have completed eight years and it is getting better and bigger every year,” Sarma said.
As promised earlier, second division holders will also get laptops before March, he added.
Parliamentary secretary Rekibuddin Ahmed and senior bureaucrats Rajiv Bora, M.K. Yadava and Sweety Changsan, were among the others present.
The scheme, which is being used to promote IT education in the state, will cover 1,39,308 first division holders after the distribution is over for 2012.
First division holders numbered 1,09,917 in 2005 to 1,06,983 in 2006, 1,11,956 in 2007, 1,40,618 in 2008, 1,44,491 in 2009, 1,71,276 in 2010, 1,92,639 in 2011 and 1,94,067 in 2012.