GUWAHATI, Oct 29 - Reiterating that the Government has fulfilled its commitment given in the Budget speech for making higher education free for economically-underprivileged students, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today said that this was just the beginning of a new era in the education sector of the State.
The Chief Minister distributed cheques to colleges for giving free admission in Higher Secondary and Degree 1st year to students with annual income of below Rs 1 lakh at a function held at Rabindra Bhawan.
Stating that education gives knowledge and knowledge is power, Sonowal said that creating a generation of students with strong ideals was the prime objective of the government and for that purpose teachers must play a proactive role.
�Economic barriers have always pushed many poor but meritorious students away from the higher education system and the government has acted strongly to remove this barrier. This step of the government will make higher education accessible to the underprivileged students and would go a long way in revolutionizing the higher education scenario in the State,� he said.
As there was a huge gap in the number of students registering for matriculation and higher secondary examinations due to economic reasons, Sonowal said, the government is mulling abolishing all fees for registration for both the examinations.
Education Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the government was committed to the people of the State to deliver on its promises and it would act tough against those government officials found neglecting their duties.
Informing that a total of 1,38,085 students could take free admission in 301 colleges during the current year because of exemption of admission fees under this programme, Dr Sarma said that a total amount of Rs 43,97,13,324 has been released to the colleges as refund for giving free admission.
Saying that those students who come from families with annual income of above Rs 1 lakh should not try to take advantage of the free admission programme meant for genuine underprivileged students, Dr Sarma said from next year, the government would take strict measures against such students. He added that from next year, even Degree 2nd year admission would be made free and from 2017, students of 9th and 10th standards would get free textbooks along with the current system of providing free text books up to only the 8th standard.