J S Saharia, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of School Education, Government of Maharashtra, talks to Rachita Jha about development of education in the state
Sarva Siksha Abhiyan is being fully implemented in the state. We are focused on ensuring that the financial outlays are made in efficient and transparent manner. The issue of stakeholders is also important. We also recognise the fact that there is need for more e-Governance in the education system. Steps are being taken to implement the e-Governance initiatives. There is lot of technical and repetitive work that can be easily done through online systems and other technological tools. Lakhs of schools can be monitored through online systems, which are now being created. It is important that we have a robust and efficient software. We have plans to use latest mobile communication systems to seamlessly transfer data wherever it is needed.
Please shed light on the e-Governance projects being implemented in Maharashtra.
e-Governance brings transparency to the working of the entire system. The citizens of the state are able to access services from the government in an easier manner. e-Governance also enables the government to have a holistic look on how its projects are working at the ground level. Are the benefits actually reaching the targeted sections of the population? There is a new kind of clarity in the system that is beneficial for both the citizens and the government.
How effective are the e-Governance systems?
The e-Governance systems that have been launched are already bearing fruit, and in times to come their scope will be much wider. Speaking specifically of the education sector, the most important stakeholders in education are, of course, the students. We are using e-Governance systems to bring more benefits to the students. Online tools are being used to monitor the teaching system and bring more efficiency to the management of our institutions.
What kind of mobile based projects are you planning for education sector?
Students are already very close to mobile technology. It is possible to transfer information to them about the course and the content through mobile devices that they hold. Basically this is an emerging technology. We still need lot of new information to create solutions that are durable and useful. But we are determined to bring mobile based solutions into our education system and there are going to be lot of new developments in times to come.
Have the new developments in ICT inspired some changes in curriculum?
Of course, technology always has the power to change not just the methodology of education but also the content. Computer labs are being started in various schools. There is renewed focus on ensuring that our students get quality education in latest technological trends. Our first and foremost priority is the students. We are doing everything we can to ensure that they have access to best teaching methods. We have in place a system of monitoring the quality of the computer labs and ensuring that the quality of teaching is as per the guidelines set by the state government. There is a system for receiving regular feedback from schools located across the entire state.