The Higher Education Department (HED) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has asked the vice-chancellors of all public sector universities to verify possession of laptops given to students under the provincial government’s scheme so as to prevent their sale in the market.
Official sources said that the step was taken after the HED received complaints that the laptops had been sold out by students in the market. They said that the students selling laptops given to them under the government scheme could be punished. However, they said, the nature of punishment had not been determined as yet.
The previous Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government of the Awami National Party and Pakistan People’s Party had launched the ‘Naway Sahar Scheme’ for distribution of laptops among the brilliant students. For this purpose, their government had allocated Rs1 billion in the provincial budget for 2012-13.
The sources said that with this fund the government procured 23,147 laptops and their distribution had almost been completed.
According to the eligibility criteria, laptops were distributed among the students of four-year Bachelor of Studies (BS) programme and those of professional medical and engineering colleges. Besides, laptops have also been given to the top 10 position-holders of government institutions in the intermediate examinations conducted by all boards of intermediate and secondary education of the province. Two per cent quota was reserved for the disabled students of BS programme and engineering and medical colleges.
The officials said that all the universities had complete record of the students availing of the laptop scheme, including their names, roll numbers, phone numbers and email and residential addresses.
They said that every laptop had a specific service tag number, while the respective universities and the HED knew which laptop was given to whom (students).
They said that the laptops given under the government scheme were for use of the students and not for sale. In this regard, the universities’ officials have been asked to go the classrooms and check the laptops with the students, said the sources.
We have taken an undertaking from the students that they will not sell the laptops,” said an HED official. He said that if any such laptop was found in the market, the student to whom it was given could be traced within a minute with the help of the service tag number.
The official said that soon after the start of distribution of laptops the HED had written to all the commissioners in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to randomly check the electronic markets in their jurisdictions and confiscate the laptops given to students under the Naway Sahar Scheme.
Sources in the University of Peshawar told Dawn that the university administration had received directives from the HED concerning prevention of sale of laptops. The sources said that the university had also asked all the major dealers of laptops in Peshawar to avoid buying such laptops from the students otherwise these would be confiscated from them.