THE PUNJAB government had set aside over Rs 1 crore in just 20 days for educational tours of students of government schools in this financial year under the recently launched ‘Mukh Mantri Vigyan Yatra’ scheme. However, nearly 28,000 students, mostly of Class VI and VII, visited Pushpa Gujral Science City in Kapurthala when exams were just round the corner. Government school teachers and students feel that it was not the ideal time for such educational trips. They said such “hasty tours” do not serve the real purpose of the scheme, which is to inculcate scientific temperament among the school students. Sources in the education department said most of the funds under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) meant for innovative activities were being utilised for the Mukh Manti Vigyan Yatra scheme. SSA funds are released by the Centre.
The office of the director (General School Education) is in charge of the tours. “The exams of many classes, including Class X, have been going on and government had put pressure on students and teachers to visit science city,” said a school principal.
DGSE, Punjab, was unavailable for comment. An official at the DGSE office said the scheme would be discontinued from March 9 till the end of the exams of the students.