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    Published On : Tue, Jun 18th, 2019

    Poor net connectivity hampering Fadnavis Govt ambitious Project to digitize schools

    “We will ensure that rural government schools are not dependent on the electricity grid,” Power Minister Chandrashekar Bawankule said.

    Mumbai/Nagpur: Poor Internet connectivity and irregular power supply are hampering an ambitious programme to digitize the 1.06 lakh government schools across Maharashtra.

    While more than 70,000 schools in urban and semi-urban areas have been digitized so far, it is proving to be a challenge to extend the programme to schools in rural and tribal areas, according to sources at the Maharashtra State Council of Education Research and Training (MSCERT) told to news media.

    “Many of these schools are single teacher schools or have two teachers on the rolls handling several classes in remote locations,” says an MSCERT official.

    “All the teachers in government schools have been trained in e-learning content and they will be able to work in a digital classroom as soon as the equipment is installed,” says the MSCERT official.

    Many of these schools operate during daylight and make do without regular power connectivity required to operate equipment like digital blackboards and computer equipment.

    Internet connectivity is also patchy because of which district officials are reluctant to equip these schools with tools for digital education like LCD screens, projectors and computer workstations.

    According to officials in the education department, the Maharashtra government has set an ambitious target to digitize all the schools run by the administration by 2020.

    Incidentally, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at an event recently said that the Maharashtra government has been able to motivate community organizations and corporate houses to sponsor the tools needed for digital classrooms. “Not just every school but every classroom is being digitized,” Fadnavis has been quoted as saying.

    Local initiative is however helping the authorities overcome infrastructural bottlenecks. District education officials from Nagpur have persuaded the state government to install solar panels in 300 zilla parishad schools in the district. Solar panels of 1 to 1.5 KV will be installed on the rooftops of the schools to power computers and other equipment.

    “We will ensure that rural government schools are not dependent on the electricity grid,” Power Minister Chandrashekar Bawankule said.

    State government officials say they are negotiating with private telecom companies to provide Internet connectivity in schools run by the administration.

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