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Smart City Mission: Initiatives pending, edu dept holds back announcing new projects

The proposals that are yet to take off include introducing multimedia digital content for the NCERT textbooks of Classes I-X along with projector screens in classrooms

Written by Ifrah Mufti | Chandigarh |
September 20, 2015 4:17:31 am

EVEN AS THE city aims at being in the top 20 ranks of the Centre’s Smart City mission and has to submit a complete proposal by December 15, the UT education department is lagging behind than other departments as no fresh proposals have been prepared yet from their side.

While some departments are coming forward with new proposals that could be made part of the smart city project, the UT education department has been struggling to complete its pending projects and proposals to make government schools ‘smart’.

The proposals that are yet to take off include introducing multimedia digital content for the NCERT textbooks of Classes I-X along with projector screens in classrooms , provision of interactive teaching learning tools and converting some schools into smart schools.

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Of 110 government schools in the city, only two are smart schools, equipped with information and communication technology, interactive teaching and learning tools, Wi-Fi campuses, projectors and screens and sound systems in every classroom. These are Government High Schools in Sectors 50 and 53. Last year, the education department had planned to make two more schools, the Government Model Senior Secondary Schools in Sectors 16 and 28, smart.

In 2013, the then MP Pawan Kumar Bansal had agreed to provide funds for the upgrade of four schools from his MP’s Local Area Development Fund, but the project is still on paper.

An official with the education department said, “Within 100 days, the department will complete these pending projects and a majority of the schools will be equipped with the smart digital boards and teachers will be trained to work on those boards.”

However, one of the government school counsellors said, “Smart boards will undoubtedly arouse the interest of the children towards studies because they are not aware of the digital content of the books. These days, the audio-visual content of the textbooks has become must for the growth of a child. But the department needs to see other aspects as well to make the ‘government schools’ smart.”

The counsellor added, “Schools can never be called ‘smart’ with inadequate teachers, poor infrastructure, only 30 counsellors for 110 schools, poor teaching methodology, the student-pupil ratio which varies from 60:1 to 70:1 in some schools and then then the sports facilities for students where children are encouraged to become an all-rounder.”

SDM (East) and the Nodal Officer of the smart city mission, Danish Ashraf said, “Some of the departments have discussed their proposals for the smart city mission and have prepared a white paper also. But now, we are focusing on citizen consultations only. Necessary directives have been already issued to the department to prepare their proposal for smart city.”

He also added that the education department, for the time being, has not sent any new proposals. Director, Public Instructions (Schools), Rubinderjit Singh Brar and the District Education Officer (DEO) Vinay Sood did not answer despite repeated attempts to contact them.

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