700 schools set to go ‘smart’ with virtual classrooms

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Jaipur
  • Updated: Dec 05, 2015 15:39 IST
Students watch an educational video in a classroom at a government school. (HT file photo)

700 secondary and senior secondary schools across 35 districts and 11 District Institute Education of Teachers (DIET) centers of Rajasthan will be enabled with smart virtual classrooms under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the state education department and ERNET India.

Under an initiative from the central government to set up one smart virtual classroom in every school, the state education department has been asked to provide a list of schools deemed fit to hold virtual classrooms. Furthermore, according to a circular from the Rajasthan Secondary Education Council, 11 DIET centers and 407 schools across all the states have been asked to provide for a classroom to hold the setup of the virtual classroom.

The proposal intends to help the students develop an interest towards technology-based education and also aims to train teachers in the use of computer technology and gadget-based teaching such as projector and video conferencing.

However, there is no specific date given for the virtual classrooms to begin in the state schools.

“We received a proposal from the central government to send a list of schools that have the facility to hold virtual classrooms. Till now, we have chosen around 400 schools from every district of the state and have also asked the principal of those schools to enable a classroom for inspection by the ERNET officials. We aim to add 300 more schools soon but we have not been given any specific date for the virtual classrooms to begin”, said Jassa Ram Chaudhary, additional commissioner, Rajsthan Secondary Education Council.

According to the proposal, every virtual classroom in schools will be enabled with a computer, web camera, speakers, electronic interactive whiteboard and a projector. The DIET centres will be enabled with devices used for video conferencing, high definition display screens, computer, projector and interactive white boards. The DIET centres include Jaipur, Udaipur, Alwar, Jaisalmer, Kota, Ajmer, Dungarpur, Bhilwara, Bharatpur and Barmer.

When asked why only 700 schools will get virtual classrooms, Chaudhary explained that lack of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) landline connections in rural areas have resulted in a much shorter list of selected schools.

“The basic requirement asked from the central government regarding this project was the availability of BSNL landline connection in each school. There are only 700 school in rural areas with such a connection. Therefore, the list is short. We have asked BSNL to form a plan and ensure connectivity in all 13,000 schools across the state”, said Chaudhary.

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