By Rajeev Sharma, Deputy State Project Director, Punjab Edusat Society
In a move to provide quality education, the state of Punjab, one of the large demographics of the country, was quick to adopt the virtual classroom technology on EDUSAT for its schools. Edusat was launched by ISRO in September 2004 exclusively for the education sector. With approximately, 20,000 government schools in the state, it is not only difficult to find the appropriate number of teachers for each school, but also to ensure that quality education is imparted to the students.
The Department of School Education through the Punjab Edusat Society established Edusat Network across all the senior secondary schools of the state. The Chief Minister of Punjab inaugurated the network in January 2008.
The concept has given access to computer labs and world-class content to students who otherwise would have never dreamt of something similar. The problem of shortage of teachers has somewhat been overcome with the establishment of Edusat.
With the Edusat hub in the premises of the Punjab School Education Board, a total of 1,016 Edusat classroom ends have been established with 516 SITs and 500 ROTs during the first phase, and 2,807 ROTs under the expansion phase have been installed out of total of 2,950. Portable gensets have also been provided at all locations to maintain continuous power supply. There are 2,077 Edusat libraries that have been fully established out of 3,184 in all the government senior secondary and high schools with 24 computers, independent earphones, and viewing screens, where students and subject teachers can view the content lectures for classes 6th to 12th as per their re-quirements and at a convenient time, and 1,107 more are being established.
While the ROTs have only been provided to the senior secondary schools with humanity group, SITs have been allotted to senior secondary schools with science and commerce group, DIETs, in-service training centers, engineering colleges, polytechnic colleges, medical colleges, degree colleges, and ITIs.
Now, students are exposed to ideas which some student in urban institution gets access to, after paying a lump sum amount.
The society has developed 1,610 multimedia episodes for 8th to 12th standard students in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Commerce and English, with assistance from subject specialists and service providers. The Punjab Edusat Society has also developed 364 multimedia episodes for students in classes 6th to 8th on computer-aided learning for the subjects of Science, English, Mathematics and Social Studies.
These lectures are like revision classes for the students. They learn subjects in the class and can ask questions through the SIT module and get their queries addressed. Special lectures on career counseling, health awareness, and personality development have also been incorporated for the students to make the teaching learning process interesting.
The content is updated on a periodical basis. Registering complaints has become easier.
Teaching-learning process has become a lot easier with the establishment of Edusat
Nodal officers for all user departments have been positioned for better co-ordination with the departmental institutions and the hub.
Not only are daily lectures and additional lectures in their regular subjects imparted through Edusat, but in view of those students who dream big and want to go for higher studies, special classes from preparation for entrance tests in medical and engineering are also given. Around 1,719 students from the rural areas were selected in engineering and medical colleges.
Teaching-learning process has become a lot easier with the establishment of Edusat. Some students are not able to follow and understand various scientific processes. Previously, students in the rural areas did not have the liberty to see how things work. But, with diagrammatic representations and colorful content, the retention of what is taught has been enhanced in the students.