The Rajasthan government has requested the Centre to help train more than 52,000 teachers as part of a plan to increase the use of computers and internet in schools across the state.
Schools will be connected to the internet and the teachers will be trained to encourage the use of technology to make education computer-based, school education minister Vasudev Devnani has said.
The state education department has sent its recommendations to the Centre regarding the training of the teachers, he said.
“Computers are necessary for today’s education and we are going to introduce at least one computer teacher in every school in the state,” he said.
“Under the Rajasthan Knowledge Corporation, more than 52,000 teachers have registered themselves for computer training and 90% data of schools in the state have been fed online to create a database of schooling in the state.”
According to a recent report published by the District Information for School Education, only 28.60% schools in Rajasthan have access to computers.
In primary schools, the figure dipped to 5.29%. Only 55.28% schools in the state have the basic requirement for electricity connection necessary to run computers.
Even in secondary education, only 31.37% schools in the state have access to computers.
Academics said that computer education in schools should be based on the requirement of students and focus should be on improving the quality of primary education.
“We usually find that there is one computer for every 200 students in rural schools. In such a scenario, merely providing a computer and a teacher in a school won’t solve the problem,” said Vishwambhar, who goes by one name.
“The government needs to set an age for students from when they can be introduced to computers. We need to provide quality basic education in primary schools first,” he said.
Devnani agreed, saying that the government’s priority was to bring down drop out ratio in schools.
“We are aiming to introduce computer education in secondary and senior secondary schools, after that we will focus on middle schools,” he said.
“For now and our priority is to bring students to schools.”
Academics believe that the ambitious plan is susceptible to misuse and corruption if it is implemented without proper understanding prerequisites of school education in the state.
Rajendra Yadav, director of SPC education centre, an NGO that provides computer education to the poor, said that decentralization of policy holds the key for encouraging the use of computers in primary education.
“The intention of the government is noble as computer education has become necessary but… there is a need for proper planning and understanding of the need of the students in the rural areas…,” he said.
Academics said the government should look for innovative methods for education even if there is lack of basic facilities.
“Solar electricity can be used,” said Vishwambhar.