With a view to improving the girl education scenario in the state and decreasing the dropout rate of girl students in schools, the Punjab government has added Class 9 and 10 to the Mai Bhago Vidya Scheme which was launched in 2011.
Earlier, only girl students of Class 11 and 12 studying at government schools were given bicycles by the government under this scheme.
The scheme was launched by the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Dal (SAD-BJP) government to encourage girl students studying at government schools to continue their studies even if their schools were at a distance from their homes.
The director general of school education (DGSE), Punjab, recently issued a letter to all district education officers (DEOs secondary) to prepare a list of total number of girl students (Class 9-12) at government schools for the distribution of bicycles to them.
In 2011-2012, the government had distributed 1.11 lakh bicycles spending Rs 30 crore to girl students of Class 11 and 12 at government schools.
In 2013-2014, the state government claimed to have distributed more than 1.52 lakh cycles spending `41.90 crore to 82,244 girl students of Class 11 and 70,086 girl students of Class 12.
The government, however, skipped 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 under the scheme.
When contacted, education minister Daljeet Singh Cheema said they have asked all DEOs to prepare a list of girl students in their respective districts.
“We are committed to distribute bicycles to encourage girl students to continue their studies. Bicycles will be distributed among them soon,” he said.