Yukti Pahwa in conversation with Smt Chandana Khan, the Principal Secretary to Government is the Official head of the Department. She is responsible for careful observance of the Business Rules and Secretariat Instructions in the Transaction of Business in the Department.
Kindly share with us the nature of initiatives you look after as the Principal Secretary of Education?
I have taken over as Principal Secretary of Primary Education very recently. Since primary education is a very critical link to secondary education and also at the same time a very fertile ground on which every sectoral initiative can sprout, I am trying to see with continuous effort that Government initiatives convergence can be achieved.
What is your opinion about the budget allocations for the elementary and secondary education? According to you, what are the opportunities and challenges it presents in front of the government?
For both Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan (Rajiv Vidya Mission) in the State and Saakshara Bharat (Adult Education) Programme launched by Government of India last year, there is adequate Central fund given for primary education. While these are opportunities, the challenge is to ensure quality of education through proper planning and reach the goal of enrollment retention and quality education at the primary, upper primary level and also to facilitate non-literates to be literates.
RTE act has come into being, starting April 1, 2010. What are the steps being taken by government for its smooth implementation and overcoming the challenges in its way?
Right to Education Act is a very important Act. Successful implementation of the same can bridge to barrier between India and other developed Nations. Rajiv Vidya Mission is the implementing instrument for this program. Some of the barriers exist in Andhra Pradesh to reach the different segments in the tribal areas, focus groups like SC, ST, Minorities and most importantly girl children, as there is an existing gap in gender terms.
What is your opinion about eliminating the board examination system and introducing a grade oriented system for evaluation of students at the secondary and senior secondary level?
I am supporting the initiatives that concern introducing grade oriented system for evaluation of the students at the Secondary and senior secondary level.
What do you view about the PPP for bringing about improvements in the sector of school education? Has your department indulged in any such partnerships?
It can be appreciated that though education is a core area where Government cannot abdicate responsibility, at the same time Public, Private partnership in the sector of School Education can strengthen Government initiatives . Agencies like UNICEF are already helping in this Endeavour. There are number of NGOs which are also working in the field of Education and are capable of handling several issues of community mobilization for the cause and also in convincing the parents.
What is the role that you see Information and Communication Technology playing for improving school education system?
Information and communication Technology can play wonders in improving School Education system, as frequent and continuous monitoring is required in the field of School infrastructure, presence of teachers and monitoring the quality of Education being rendered. Already Rajiv Vidya Mission has prepared G.Maps (Geo-Physical Map) for every District showing location of Schools and other related amenities, so that at a glance the infrastructure position in every District can be seen for further intervention.
Can you tell us about any of your initiatives for integration of ICT in school education? Any future initiatives that you would like to share with our readers?
The G.Map project as mentioned, is a good example of introduction of I.C.T in Primary Education. We want to proceed further to cover other aspects.
Please share your thoughts about platforms such as digitalLEARNING magazine and events such as eINDIA 2010, that work for promotion of ICT integration in the education sector.
eINDIA2010 is a very welcome event that works for promotion of I.C.T. integration in Education sector. It is a very broad platform which will offer opportunities for further learning and exposure to the functionaries in the field of Education.