From the next academic year, students in civic school will get free tablets, 200 more virtual classrooms and computer labs, to engage them in learning and stop dropouts.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) estimated budget for education, tabled on Wednesday, focused on technology.
The overall budget estimate has decreased to Rs 2,501.35 crore from Rs 2,660.44 crore last year. Nearly Rs 70 crore has been allocated to improving technology in civic schools.
Also, Rs 34.37 crore in the budget has been set aside to provide free tablets to 27,000 students of Class 8. The idea is to reduce the number of dropouts in the secondary section, and bring the students on a par with private schools.
“We want civic school students to have access to the latest technology,” said Vinod Shelar, chairman of the education committee. “It is important to move ahead with time.”
A budgetary provision of Rs 17 crore has been made to set up 200 new computer laboratories. Printers, scanners and permanent maintenance contract will also be provided, along with a dedicated trainer in every school.
Further, Rs 17 crore has been allocated to set up 202 more virtual teaching classrooms, and Rs 60 lakh has been kept for installing broadband internet connectivity.
While academicians welcomed the technological initiatives, they said the training programmes will have to be undertaken to orient students to the technology. “Learning levels and dropout rate will not improve only by introducing technology, children should be taught to use it properly and not just to play games,” said Anil Bornare, teacher, Swami Muktananda High School, Chembur.
The budget made no mention of child tracking software that the civic body was working on. “The plan for the software is still on. We will decide on it after holding meetings with the committee members,” said Shambhavi Jogi, education officer, BMC primary education department.
Around Rs 10 lakh has been allocated for a separate website for the education department.