Tamil Nadu government is implementing Free Laptop Distribution Scheme for the students of govt. / govt. aided schools and colleges in the state. TN Free Laptop Scheme 2019 will facilitate students in acquiring better skills. To give a major push to technology driven learning, govt. plans to extend free laptop computer scheme, currently meant for higher secondary and college students, to class 9th and 10th students of govt. / govt. aided schools.
Previously on 3 June 2011, TN govt. has issued orders by the Special Programme Implementation Department for the procurement of laptop computers to ELCOT. In first 6 phases from 2011-12 to 2016-17, total number of 37,35,894 laptop computers were procured & supplied. In 7th phase from 2017-18, govt. had to provide free laptops to 5.3 lakh students with an outlay of Rs. 758 crore, out of which only 42,000 laptops were distributed.
The first formal intimation for the current academic year 2018-19 proposal was made by education minister K A Sengottaiyan in Erode on 6 January 2019.
Tamil Nadu Free Laptop Distribution Scheme 2019
In the recent proposal for financial year 2018-2019, govt. has allocated Rs. 758 crore (similar to previous year) for Free Laptop Distribution Scheme. Moreover from this year, education dept. has prepared proposal to include students of class IX and X class in the free laptop scheme and forward it to the central government for financial approval. Previously, this TN free laptop computer scheme was for class XI, XII and college students whose details can be checked at http://126.96.36.199/e2s/.
The state govt. has so far distributed around 38 lakh free computers under TN free laptop distribution scheme. The state govt. is working out on the total financial cost of the scheme for FY 2019. The issues in laptop scheme goes well beyond financial burden. one of the issue is that if a student gets laptop in class 9 or 10th, then is there a need to give them another laptop in class 11th and class 12th which would reduce financial burden.
TN Free Laptop Computer Scheme – Background
In the current academic year, Lenovo which is a computer manufacturing company has won the tender to distribute 15.66 lakh laptops each at the cost of 10,000 plus tax. As per the school education dept. policy note, govt. has allotted Rs. 758 crore for TN Free Laptop Distribution Scheme 2019. School education authorities are saying this scheme as more than financial burden but there are other issues in this scheme.
This free laptop computer scheme has problems in granting tender, sale of laptops in grey market and poor configuration. In the previous year, same amount was allocated for laptops but only 42,000 students out of 5.3 lakh beneficiaries got these laptops due to the death of former CM Jayalalithaa. This means that the new announcement will provide laptops to an additional 9.6 lakh students of class 9th and 10th.
Moreover, the laptop computers which would be given to the students has only basic software. Even though, there is an option to install additional features, but the short capacity and speed of laptop does not support it. The laptops could only be used to read or write and nothing else could be done. These laptops are useful for those who are in desperate need of one.
There is a major shortage of computer teachers in high schools and if it continues so, then point of distributing laptops will serve no purpose. For more details, visit the official ELCOT website at http://188.8.131.52/e2s/. Even if the laptops would be provided to students, then who will teach them to use these computers. The high school students studies computer science only as a theory lesson in Science subject.