2,800 govt schools in Punjab to go smart as Rs 900-cr projects get nod
More interactive: 1,000 primary and 1,800 secondary schools to get laptops, multimedia projectors and high-speed internet via joint funding from state and Centre.Updated: Jun 09, 2018 10:25 IST
Punjab has decided to turn 2,800 government-run primary and secondary schools in the state into smart schools in 2018-19 to make the teaching-learning process easy and more effective.
The smart schools – 1,000 primary and 1,800 secondary ones – will be equipped with laptops, multimedia projectors and high-speed internet at a cost of Rs 64 crore with joint funding from the Centre and the state governments.
The smart schools programme is among projects worth Rs 900 crore approved by the Project Approval Board of the Union human resource development (HRD) ministry on Thursday under the new, integrated scheme for education, Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan. While Rs 50,000 have been approved for converting two classrooms in each of the 1,000 primary schools into smart classrooms, 1,800 senior secondary schools will get Rs 3 lakh each to make teaching more interactive and improve creative thinking in learning process through the integration of technology in education.
“We are starting with 2,800 schools and then cover all our schools. The use of exploratory learning will help students to learn with ease, besides improving their creativity, analytical ability and problem-solving ability. NCERT studies have also shown a significant improvement in retention level among students compared to traditional teaching methods,” Punjab’s school education secretary Krishan Kumar told HT. A non-governmental organisation is helping the department develop special multimedia content based on curriculum in state schools.
“About 30-40% of our multimedia content is ready. Tenders will be floated for hardware installation soon. We hope to roll out the programme in the next four-six months,” said another education department official, requesting anonymity. While the department had converted 30 schools into smart schools some time ago on a pilot basis, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Harvinder Singh Phoolka and some other MLAs have also announced plans to provide smart classrooms in government schools in their assembly constituencies with their own funds.
Roof solar plants also find favour
Besides smart classrooms, another proposal for installation of rooftop solar power plants of 5KV capacity in 880 senior secondary schools at Rs 30 crore has found favour with the Central ministry. Also, five new District Institutes for Education and Trainings (DIETs) in Fazilka, Barnala, Mohali, Pathankot and Tarn Taran districts, taking their number to 22, are also planned.
Though the overall allocation of funds to the state is down under the integrated programme, Punjab officials are hopeful of getting their entire share this time, unlike the previous years when the actual fund releases were lower than the sanctioned budget due to the state government’s inability to give its matching share of funds.
New scheme replaces SSA
The new programme, which replaces Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and the Scheme of Restructuring and Reorganisation of Teacher Education (STE) from this year, has tighter norms for teacher salary, new infrastructure, research and teacher training institutes in the state. The centre has based fund allocation on performance-linked criteria such as National Achievement Survey (NAS) scores in Classes 3, 5 and 8; separate cadres for headmasters; teacher transfer policy for a minimum tenure in rural areas; percentage of schools covered under Shala Siddhi (school evaluation programme); elementary government schools with adverse pupil-teacher ratio (PTR); gender parity index and gross enrolment ratio.