Badal wants bright rural students to get more opportunities
Students from rural and poor backgrounds in Punjab who have scored over 80 percent in their Class 10 exams could now have better access to quality education and career guidance with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal directing officials to set up schools for this purpose.

Chairing a meeting of vice chancellors of the universities, principals of schools such as the prestigious Government Model Senior Secondary School of Chandigarh, and other educational experts of the state, Badal called for a "revolutionary upgradation" of school education in the state to facilitate poor but brilliant rural students get access to quality education.

"We just can't afford to let our poor meritorious students to suffer due to lack of infrastructure and proper counselling. The poor meritorious students deserve special attention for shaping their destiny," Badal said at the meeting.

He asked universities to evolve a mechanism through which bright rural students could be groomed in classes 11 and 12 by imparting them quality education.

"Universities must initiate the programme under 'University Colleges of Professional Studies for Rural Students' under which they must develop a centre or school in major cities under their jurisdiction where the students could be delivered quality education free of cost along with boarding and lodging facilities," he said.

Badal directed school education officials to see the success of some government schools, especially the Government Model Senior Secondary School in Chandigarh, and replicate it in upcoming schools in Punjab.

Punjab School Education Board officials said that nearly 3,200 such brilliant students from rural areas with over 80 percent marks in Class 10 have been identified.

Badal said these students should be given the opportunities like their counterparts from leading private and convent schools get.

He asked the education department to prepare an action plan to set up such schools in major cities like Mohali, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar and Bathinda, which would become functional from the next academic session.