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HRD ministry?s e-initiative

The window of learning will expand with the Ministry planning a one-stop education portal, writes Chetan Chauhan.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2006 05:59 IST

The classroom is soon going to shrink. And the window of learning will expand with the Human Resource Development Ministry planning a one-stop education portal.

The website called Sakshat will initially have Class XI and Class XII NCERT textbooks with multimedia representation of graphics, pictures and historical characters.

To make learning easier, each chapter will have tutorials, links to reference material, lectures from top education institutions such as MIT, rapid-fire questions and answers, and a programme to test a student's learning ability.

So if a student wants to improve his algebra, he will find questions on the website with answers and explanations for each step. And if the student is still confused, he or she can opt for a teacher. "A student will e-mail his or her query to a teacher at the call centre who will reply instantly," a ministry official told HT.

Unlike schools, where tests are periodic, the website will provide instant tests and results comparable with the previous attempts. "The server will keep a record of previous data of a particular student and it will be available in form of a graph," the official said.

Information on a student's performance in the classroom will also be available on the portal as all schools will register with Sakshat and update students' record.

While teachers welcome the concept, some like Lata Vaidayanathan, principal of Modern School, Bharakhamba Road, point out that only 5 per cent homes in India have computer access. A solution to this, according to a senior ministry official, is being worked out. "We are in consultation with the IT Ministry to develop a $10 laptop for schoolchildren," the official said.

Students are both excited and anxious. "I will visit the portal if it will help me in improving my examination score," said Himani Kamboj of KV, Pitampura. Anbhav Kumar of Saint Xaviers had a different take: "Now, parents will get another tool to put pressure on children to perform."

The ministry is targeting to cover 50 crore people. "In five years it will be a portal for all education needs," the official said. Vaidayanathan, however, adds a word of caution: the website should not be projected as replacement of a classroom. The technology can only supplement the process of learning.

First Published: Oct 10, 2006 05:59 IST