Laptops for Pakistani students, but what about textbooks

April 10th, 2012 - 1:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, April 10 (IANS) Let them eat cake, French queen Marie Antoinette is presumed to have said when told that people did not have bread. Several centuries later, the anomaly being played out in Pakistan with a daily pointing out that the Punjab government was distributing laptops to students while hundreds of thousands went without textbooks.

An editorial in the Dawn Tuesday said that as the Punjab government distributes some 125,000 laptops among qualified students, and another 300,000 are said to be in the pipelines, “students in the province face a shortage of textbooks, the provision of which has reportedly hit many snags”.

It said that though the government is at pains to explain that the laptops’ distribution is a transparent affair, “no such explanation is offered regarding the commissioning, printing and distribution of the more basic provision of textbooks”.

The daily said that hundreds of thousands of students now “fear having to go through the academic year without the prescribed books”.

While questioning the priorities of the Punjab government, the daily queried: “What should come first, it must be asked, the provision of textbooks or the laptops?”

“…the drive to further IT education should not come at the cost of neglecting the provision of basic education of which textbooks are an indispensable tool,” it added.

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