Delay in distribution of laptops under the Prime Minister Laptop Scheme (PMLS) Phase II is creating panic among students as Higher Education Commission (HEC) failed to deliver the laptops to students of several universities on time.
HEC had failed to distribute laptops announced in fiscal year 2015-16, even after passing of budget for FY2016-17, in which the federal government announced another 100,000 laptops for shining students.
It is pertinent to mention that following the footsteps of Punjab government, the federal government in 2013 had announced to provide 100,000 laptops across Pakistan. In 2014-15, HEC distributed around 100,000 laptops among students of various universities across the country. However in budget 2015-16, the PML-N government failed to meet the target of distributing 100,000 laptops, increasing the agony of the students who still await the promised laptops.
Students of several universities including University of the Punjab, Government College University (GCU), University of Engineering and Technology (UET), University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) have been deprived of what they were promised by the incumbent government.
The non-distribution of laptops has created unrest and chaos among students who remain deprived even after performing well in their exams. The students have demanded that all concerned authorities including HEC, Education Ministry and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take notice of the delay and provide students what they were promised.
Talking to Media, Mahrukh, a student of Punjab University, said that non-distribution of laptops even after one year is a case of complete negligence on part of HEC, as it was unable to manage the laptops properly. She was of the view that the previous laptop distribution also contained several flaws as her name was added in the waiting list even after getting the required CGPA. If federal government, HEC and other concerned departments could not provide laptops to the students, then why do they promise it? She asked.
Shoaib, a student of UET, said that he needed a laptop during his studies but he couldn’t buy it as he belonged to an underprivileged family. “When I got top position in 2015, I was expecting that I would get the laptop under the Prime Minister Laptop Scheme, but now my studies were about to complete and I am still deprived of a laptop, which the government had promised.”
Kamran of GCU said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should take notice on the delay by HEC and help students get their right. He was of the view that the matter of delay should be investigated and the report should be made public, as students have the right to know who was main culprit behind this delay.
Higher Education Commission spokesperson Ayesha, upon contact, told this scribe that the commission has received laptops and started distribution in some of the varsities. “Laptops will be distributed among all universities across the country soon,” she further added.
There were administrative issues that caused delay in the distribution, she claimed. “This is not a simple game that you will go to market and buy laptops, as HEC has to follow a complete procedure that includes the bidding, selection of companies and then receiving of laptops,” she added.
Ayesha further said that HEC has distributed around 50,000 laptops so far in several varsities across the country while the remaining part would be distributed by July. She also informed that there were several varsities who had failed to complete the distribution under phase I, therefore HEC has delayed the distribution for phase II.