Tamil Nadu gov't schools to undergo digital makeover 

The department also plans to create central command centres to facilitate the distribution of educational content in these schools
A digital makeover is on the horizons | (Pic: EdexLive)
A digital makeover is on the horizons | (Pic: EdexLive)

Come June, when primary and middle government schools reopen for the new academic year, classrooms will have undergone a digital makeover, making them fun and engaging with audiovisual learning materials.

The school education department will spend Rs 700 crore in the next few months to set up smart classrooms in 25,000 primary schools and 7,904 middle schools, stated a report in The New Indian Express.

All primary schools, including those under other departments, will be turned into smart classrooms with interactive display panels, cameras and essential facilities while hi-tech labs will each have 10 computers, said officials.

The Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation has initiated the tender process for the project, which includes operation and maintenance for five years.

"While we have hi-tech labs in high and higher secondary schools already, we have encountered challenges in maintaining the facilities. To tackle this, we have included operation and maintenance as part of the tender for the first five years," said a senior official from the school education department.

The government had allocated Rs 275 crore for smart classrooms and hi-tech labs in the budget to introduce them in a phased manner, but it is now being implemented at one go to ensure uniform learning, said sources, as per a report in The New Indian Express.

"All the primary and middle school teachers, about 75,000 of them, will also get tablets. This will help teachers exchange materials among themselves and also access the content provided by the department in their homes to prepare for classes ahead. The initiative is aimed at taking the content in applications like Manarkeni, introduced by the department, and those created by the department for rural students to bridge the digital divide. We expect the initiative to bring a positive change in the learning outcomes in students in the next two years as it will help teachers engage with students better," said S Kannappan, elementary education director.

The department also plans to create central command centres to facilitate the distribution of educational content in these schools. A help desk will also be set up at the department's call centre to address all queries related to maintenance.

Teachers in primary and middle schools will also be trained on how to use the facilities. Considering the lack of staff in middle schools to take care of hi-tech labs in middle schools, an administrator cum instructor will also be appointed for maintenance.

Samagra Shiksha had already asked primary and middle schools to set up broadband connection with a maximum monthly expenditure of Rs 1,500 and minimum speed of 30 Mbps to aid digital transformation. The department has also asked the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) to install grill gates to the hi-tech lab facilities to prevent thefts, Kannappan added.

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