In sync with the flagship campaign of the country – ‘Digital India’, the Andhra Pradesh State Government has taken up the challenge to make government schools smarter at par with private technology schools. RP Sisodia, Secretary to Government of Andhra Pradesh (School Education), in conversation with Sudheer Goutham of Elets News Network (ENN) shares the Government’s various initiatives that are set to give fillip in quality of education in the rural areas
Can you throw some light on the latest endeavours of the state government in school education?
We are set to introduce the audio-visual, interactive teaching in government schools through multimedia computer- aided smart classes. The smart classroom is a proven mechanism which helps in quality enrichment through technological intervention. This technology driven method would not only make teaching more effective but also make it interesting for the students.
How will the infrastructure and installation for the capacity building system be brought in place?
A Geographic Information System (GIS) has been in the making already, with a central data base centre to be maintained by AP Online administration. AP Online, which maintains the government portals, is a joint venture of the government under PPP mode. Both software and hardware solutions will be provided by AP Online.
What is the status of the initiative and how is it going to be implemented to all the public schools of the State?
Currently, all the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidhyalayas in the State have complete online solutions in place. Starting from real time monitoring of attendance of students and teachers, this system will also help in tracking learning level achievements of the students. Soon, this system will be rolled out in all the government schools. To begin with, smart-class and online education system has been taken up as a pilot project. In the next six months, this will cover 9,000 schools reaching over two lakh students in the rural areas including those in Educationally Backward Blocks (EBB) of the State.
What are the skill development programmes associated with the introduction of this technology intervention system?
Teachers are being provided training to carry their teaching through virtual classes. Among the trained, the best teachers will be chosen to deliver classes online. Such training programmes will help build an e-environment as the teachers being trained will be acting as master trainers, thus helping in producing a larger number of e-learned teaching professionals in the State. AP Government is keen to multiply the number of smart classrooms in the schools.
Can you explain how the issues of school dropouts and decreasing performance level with increasing class standard be addressed?
Besides having a biometric-based attendance system, the online system will provide a broader system to monitor physical presence of students and teachers in state-run schools with the help of ‘live web streaming’ of video or photographs of classrooms.
This way by sitting at one place, we can see that the teacher, who has marked his/her attendance with biometric device anywhere in the State, is present in his assigned classroom at a particular time. This feature will allow us to cross check the attendance reports generated by a biometric device. Keeping an eye on the teachers will help to improve the quality of teaching as well as a classroom environment. Live monitoring will encourage teachers and students to maintain self-discipline and also act as a parameter for attendance.