The third round of laptop distribution under Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was held on Thursday, this time for ninth and tenth graders. The intention of providing these laptops to the students was explained as the need to revolutionize and empower students within the province. The first and second rounds of laptop distribution under the same provincial government was described as a “soaring success” and a “much needed step toward progress” which is undeniable to an extent but it fails to mention how handing out gadgets is not exactly going to pull our educational system out of the impasse it finds itself in.

For starters, our problem is not entirely a dearth of computers and laptops but borders more on a structural deficiency to keep students within schools instead of pulling out due to an assortment of rather unsettling reasons including increasingly vicious political violence and poverty. Secondly – and this should not surprise anyone with a knack for reading between the lines – the initiative to hand out laptops to students seems philanthropic on the surface but one cannot deny the unmistakable reality that it is, after all, a political move to pool in young voters otherwise cynical about the provincial government’s performance.

Calling a spade a spade should not ruffle anyone’s feathers: While the provincial government has rendered several commendable steps in improving education in Punjab, it still lacks embarrassingly behind in addressing the systematic flaws in our pedagogy. More often than not, students have sold the very same laptops they were given by the government for solid cash. Some even went far enough to dishonestly claim they deserved one and, sure enough, they received a laptop on their way out. Someone needs to leave a friendly memo for the Chief Minister simply saying: “This won’t really help.”