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Andhra Pradesh drops plan to distribute laptops to students to cut costs

According to officials, as the class 8 students will have to carry the same Tab to the further classes, a laptop will not be required.

Accordingly, 8,21,655 students of classes 9 to 12 opted for laptops instead of the cash dole.
Accordingly, 8,21,655 students of classes 9 to 12 opted for laptops instead of the cash dole.

The Andhra Pradesh government has dropped the plan to distribute laptops to students stating they are ‘costly’ and ‘many digital learning applications do not work on them’. Initially, the laptops were announced to be distributed to students of classes 9 to 12 in Andhra Pradesh schools.

Now, the government is contemplating distributing only tabs (tablet computers) to students of class 8.

Each Tab, loaded with digital learning content, will cost the government Rs 12,000. “We are planning to distribute the Tabs by September this year,” a senior education official said.

According to officials, as the class 8 students will have to carry the same Tab to the further classes, a laptop will not be required.

Last year, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy announced that students of classes 9 to 12 could opt for laptop computers in lieu of the Rs 15,000 dole (now reduced by Rs 2,000) under Ammavodi scheme, which is meant to encourage mothers to send their children to schools. He said the laptops would be delivered in the 2022 academic year.

Accordingly, 8,21,655 students of classes 9 to 12 opted for laptops instead of the cash dole. Over 1.10 lakh of these students were otherwise covered under Vasati Deevena, another freebie scheme. Last week, Education Minister Botsa Satyanarayana said they were negotiating the price with the suppliers and it would be finalised and the laptops delivered to students along with Ammavodi.

Government sources said the task of procuring laptops was entrusted to the AP Technology Services. The APTS sought to purchase each laptop for Rs 18,000, depending on the configuration.However, the  suppliers were said to have quoted a price of Rs 26,000 per laptop, making it unaffordable for the government.

The extra financial burden on the state would be Rs 657 crore if laptops were purchased at the rate quoted by the suppliers, an official said.

With inputs from PTI.

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