In what can be called as an innovative idea to empower schools with the latest technology, the Punjab government has recently decided to turn its 2,800 government-run primary and secondary schools into smart schools in 2018-19. With this initiative, the teaching-learning process can become easy and effective.
With the funding from the Centre, the state government will equip the smart schools – 1,000 primary and 1,800 secondary ones – with laptops, multimedia projectors, and high-speed internet at a cost of INR 64 crore.
Designed under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan scheme of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), this smart schools programme, which is among other projects worth INR 900 crore, got approved by the Project Approval Board of the MHRD on Thursday.
As part of the project, INR 50,000 has been sanctioned to convert two classrooms in each of the 1,000 primary schools into smart classrooms, while 1,800 senior secondary schools will receive INR 3 lakh each to make teaching more interactive there.
“We are starting with 2,800 schools and then will cover all our schools. The use of exploratory learning will help students to learn with ease, besides improving their creativity, analytical ability, and problem-solving ability,” Punjab School Education Secretary Krishan Kumar was quoted as saying by a news agency.
“NCERT studies have also shown a significant improvement in retention level among students compared to traditional teaching methods,” he added.
With the help of a non-governmental organization, the department is developing special multimedia content based on the curriculum in state schools.
“About 30-40% of our multimedia content is ready. Tenders will be floated for hardware installation soon. We hope to roll out the programme in the next four-six months,” another education department official said.
After the department converted 30 schools into smart schools on a pilot basis, some MLAs have also announced plans to provide smart classrooms in government schools in their assembly constituencies with their own MLALAD funds.
A new programme, which has been planned to replace Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and the Scheme of Restructuring and Reorganisation of Teacher Education (STE) from this year, has tighter rules and regulations for teacher salary, new infrastructure, research and teacher training institutes in the state.