Maharashtra government ties up with Google to start virtual classes for over 22 million students

The tools allow interactive sessions, which will allow teachers to explain lessons, and students can also ask their doubts while sitting at home. Homework can be uploaded, and teachers can check them online, said state officials.
By Faisal Malik | Hindustan Times, Mumbai, Mumbai
UPDATED ON AUG 07, 2020 09:12 AM IST
(REUTERS)

Maharashtra government on Thursday tied up with Google to provide online education to students in the state. Students and teachers will get access to Google Classroom and G Suite for Education that will provide solutions to support remote learning.

The tools allow interactive sessions, which will allow teachers to explain lessons, and students can also ask their doubts while sitting at home. Homework can be uploaded, and teachers can check them online, said state officials.

The project was launched by chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday, and will cover over 1.09 lakh government, private, aided, and unaided schools, and benefit over 22.03 million students.

The move is significant, considering the shutdown of schools due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The new academic year of schools in the state should have started on June 15.

Last month, the state government allowed students from Class 1 to 8 to attend online classes so that they can start their academic year while at home. However, initiating online classes posed a problem, officials said.

“Maharashtra is the first state in the country that is launching such a project. Coronavirus has forced us to adopt the changes that were supposed to come in the future,” Thackeray said while launching the project online.

“Google Classroom and G Suite, which will be available free of cost, are the tools that allow the education institutes to conduct interactive sessions. Around 250 participants can attend it at a time. Teachers can make their audio or video presentations; students can clear their doubts, and upload homework and assignments. Even parents can submit their complaints or suggestions through the system,” said Dinkar Patil, director, Maharashtra State Council of Educational Research and Training (MSCERT).

“We are beginning with the training of the teachers. As many as 40,000 teachers will be the master trainers for the remaining 2 lakh teachers. Once, training is completed, students will be asked to register their mobile numbers, and will get notifications with details of each session,” Patil added.

School education minister Varsha Gaikwad said, “We have got responses from 1.34 lakh teachers within 48 hours after floating an invitation link for Google Classroom training. The process of teacher training is going to be started on August 7. We are turning the crisis into an opportunity.”

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