Elets Exclusive | Hemraj Bairwa, IAS, Special Secretary of Higher Education, Himachal Pradesh calls to usage of technology in education

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Hemraj Bairwa

In the wake of the Coronavirus epidemic, the government of India has declared lockdown till May 3, 2020. To ensure the safety of the general public, the govt has asked to close down public places including malls, offices, market places and etc. All the state and district borders are sealed until further notice.

The govt has closed all the educational institutions across the country. The COVID crisis has caused an unprecedented halt to the education sector. Most of the exams are postponed or cancelled due to the epidemic. Technology is used widely by the govt and private sectors to ensure education for the students. The ed-tech firms have seen a huge surge in the epidemic.

During a webinar with Elets Technomedia and digitalLEARNING Magazine Hemraj Bairwa IAS, Special Secretary (Higher Education), Department of Education, Government of Himachal Pradesh said “ The challenge was to reach out to children who are residing in interior areas of the state. As the lockdown announced, our class 10th exams were finished. We are trying to use technology to utilize this time to teach students. With internet services not so good in the state, we are proving content to board students through DD Shimla from 10 am to 1 pm.”

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He also said “Over 90 pc schools are using the internet to provide education in urban areas and over 60 pc students are actively learning on internet platforms across the state. They have named the initiative as Samay 10 se 12 wala, Har Ghar Bane Pathshala”.

“In Himachal Pradesh, there are 15,000 schools and 131 colleges. The Department of Education has uploaded the e-syllabus on the SSA portal Swayam Siddham, website. The department has given 10 to 12 home-based schools for this campaign. This class will be held daily and children will be given different homework daily”, he added.

He also said All India Radio will provide content to students very soon as they are waiting for the nod.

When asked over creating quality content, he said “We have created resource group for creating content. Three-four teachers are in a group to create content and worksheet also. The group sends its content to the education department so that quality can be checked. It’s a huge challenge for curating content but we have found the solution through digital content. ”

“For junior students, we have developed a microsite which provides the content to them through the internet as we have got only three hours slot from DD. We are improvising every day so that students can understand content with ease”, he added.

Over the usage of technology, he said COVID has changed the higher education and people found new ways. The usage of the digital platform has surged. Virtual education is developing and schools are creating e-classrooms to tackle such crisis in the future. But virtual classrooms will never replace the physical ones. ”

Over placements, he said the education department has started Bachelor in Vocational program in retail management and hospitality sectors.

Over stranded people in other states, he said “the CM has asked to bring back the students from Kota. Himachal Pradesh will put all the efforts to bring back stranded ones outside of the state.

Over power cuts in the state, he said “Himachal being a hilly state, has natural calamities to tackle with. There is power connectivity in every house and the tariff is very low. The cuts are very minimal.”

Lastly, he said the state govt has announced to promote students from class 1 to 9 and 11th.

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