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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Virtual classes at 400 BMC schools

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 22, 2013
First Published: 01:23 IST(22/1/2013) | Last Updated: 01:25 IST(22/1/2013)

From the next academic year, Class 10 students of 400 civic-run schools in the city will learn their lessons through satellite technology, seated in front of a plasma screen in their classrooms.

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Two years after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) launched its Virtual Classroom Project across 24 civic-run schools, it plans to extend it to 400 schools. The Rs. 27.20 crore project was cleared in the civic body’s standing committee meeting on Monday.

Moreover, in a bid to attract some more students and improve its Class 10 pass percentage, the civic body also plans to call upon teachers of reputable schools to lecture civic schools’ students on their exam preparations and syllabus.“Through the virtual classrooms, we will be able to provide quality education to lakhs of civic-run school students. It will help revamp the entire civic education system,” said BJP corporator Vinod Shelar. “By roping in teachers from well-known schools that have created board exam toppers over the years, we will be able to inspire our students.”

As part of the Virtual Classroom Project, a teacher will address students in all schools from a central studio located in Andheri and have interactive sessions with them. The project was launched to combat the shortage of good teachers at civic schools.

However, education experts said since the project was being expanded on such a large scale, it was pertinent to verify the performance of schools already using the system. “Before expanding, it is important to evaluate the academic performance and dropout rates at schools using the system,” said Nitai Mehta, managing trustee, Praja Foundation, which recently published a whitepaper on the status of BMC-run schools in the city.  Earlier this month, the BMC announced its plans to introduce semi-English medium education for primary civic school students from the next academic year.

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