A vision makes the difference…
There has been a complete change in the ambit of education, especially when it is discussed in the context of Indian states. Access to progress in education is but a few more clicks away right here in this part of India-Uttaranchal. Namrata Kumar, State Project Director of India’s flagship education for all project- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in a conversation with Sanjeev Kumar Shrivastav of Digital Learning, on the state’s educational roadmap that takes it to its own zeniths
? What are the major interventions made under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme in Uttaranchal so far?
We are implementing computer added learning programme in partnership with Azim Premji Foundation and it has worked out very well. We are doing it with upper primary school level where CD based content is being provided to students. Now the most positive effect of this programme that has happened that we are not going to just use the content or CD based content in teaching process in the class room and the additional part like how to operate the computer, what are the issues related to hardware and even ensuring electricity supply and electricity backup, all these important issues are also not bothering anymore. Apart from that if you are asking use of technology in education programme, then we have made very novel initiative in this in a way using video conferencing to disseminate our instructions which is not just happening at the district level but also at block and village level. We conduct monthly meetings via video conferencing for VRC’s and CRC’s and also do meetings at the village level.
? How much support do you get from Panchyati Raj institutions in your state while implementing your programmes?
One cannot rule out the role of Panchyati raj Institutons here, SSA has this as a base line factor. We have village education committee (VEC). At present these VECs which we created under SSA with the Panchyati Raj institutions will be the sub committees of the education committee. Every Panchyat has education committee and these VECs will be the sub-committees of these committees.
? Do the state of Uttaranchal need any state specific vision or the guideline given by the centre is adequate enough?
The government of India provides the guidelines for all the states but unless the state having its own vision I do not think that they can be outstanding. If you really want to do something outstanding then you really need to have your vision. I take proud in saying that every body from op to bottom is well informed about elementary education and providing all kind of support from whichever source is possible. What I mean is that our education minister, chief
secretary, education secretary and every body is into it. The state wants to be performing above the guidelines stated in SSA and Government of India gives it.
? What are the major challenges you face in the state while implementing the programmes?
Uttaranchal is a small state. One may think that in a small state it is easy to manage and implement the programmes. But it is not so, because it is one of the hill states where we do face problems in reaching to the remotest areas. Another area, which is not difficult but challenging. In Uttaranchal, industralisation is happening very rapidly so we are getting huge number of children form other states. Their migration pattern varies from months to months, year to year. We are trying to overcome that by having a database of every child. We are conducting night service and worksite service to capture other child coming from other states and to capture interdistance migration and to take the benefit of SSA to every child. Hilly area also brings out a limitation of expanding the technology at the speed we want.
? What are the strategies you adopt to make ICTs as part of the education process in Uttaranchal?
ICT will play an important role like I said we are into video conferencing to disseminate instructions and training inputs. So in that manner if we have the proper convergence of all information technologies like satellites, computers and even mobile set and if we integrate these technologies together then we will be able to bring out solutions at very fast speed.
? How much support do you get from civil society organizations and private sector organizations in the SSA programme?
Uttaranchal is going at a pace very proactive for progress. Everybody is into it, not only government but NGO’s and private sector organizations are also involved in this process very much. For integrating ICT, we are having a tie up with Microsoft and Intel not just for elementary education but for secondary education also. Most of the elementary education has been covered by the Microsoft tools for the hardware, in fact, most of them are hardware. The teachers have sought that training with Microsoft. This training part is being expanded to elementary education teachers training also. We have the computer network till the block level and this year we are planning to expand it to cluster also and we will provide training which will be done by multiple agencies that include private sector organizations.
? Please elaborate the steps taken in improving teacher’s training
We already have a teacher’s training programme. Now we are talking about specific training needs, for migrating, irls and SC/ST students. We are giving a fully conscious approach to revive the teacher’s training programme. Also we have school grading and school performancemapping system where we have the endurance system by devising smaller modules for remedial teachings. This
happens thrice in a year. ? Any comments you would like to give on our publication? It is good and not only updates us about happenings in ICT and education sector but also we know, what is happening in other states/ countries. Sometimes distance is also ime bound and this magazine is very helpful in bridging the gap.