Bitter Tablet: Laptops distributed by Rajasthan govt of little use to students in rural areas

LaptopLeela was given an Acer laptop for topping her class but she can hardly understand the English stories recited on her new gadget. (IE Photo: Anil Sharma)

Gehlot govt may have distributed laptops, cheques for tablets under the Rajiv Gandhi Vidhyarthi Digital Yojana, but they are of little use to students in rural areas. Many feel hiring more teachers instead would have helped.

The new Mathematics teacher at Matasula Secondary School, located in an interior tribal village in Udaipur, is having nightmares. He has to teach simple addition, subtraction and multiplication to even Class IX and X students. Among the "brightest" students in these classes are Hitesh Kumar Ranji and Leela Kumari.

Hitesh, a Class X student, has learnt division and Leela, a Class IX student, is learning "tenses".

Hitesh and Leela have been rewarded with an Acer laptop each for topping in Class VIII in 2011-12 and 2012-13 respectively. The others in the top 10 in Class VIII have got cheques of Rs 6,000 each to buy PC tablets. Their parents have submitted "receipts" from a stationary shop from where they purportedly bought them. The students, however, don't seem to have any clue about the PC tablets.

Ahead of the Assembly polls, this is the Congress regime's much-publicised contribution to GenNext in, what Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot says, making them "technically more proficient" under the Rajiv Gandhi Vidhyarthi Digital Yojana (RGVDY).

About 3.5 lakh students across the state have got these cheques ostensibly to buy tablets. Toppers in Classes VIII, X and XII were given laptops by the debt-ridden Rajasthan government, taking the total expenditure under the RGVDY to an estimated Rs 422 crore.

The laptop opens with the picture of the late prime minister on the screen. Hitesh and Leela know it is Rajiv Gandhi but don't know who he was. While Hitesh is more eager to know whether "the government can give him a job after studies", Leela's problem is more immediate. "I am trying to understand past continuous tense," she says. But that still won't be enough for her to understand the "English stories" that are recited on her new gadget.

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