Layers of dust and dirt line the floor of the room. Cobwebs are everywhere while old beds are stacked on one side. Arranged on tables along the walls, are seven computer monitors. This is a computer lab in a North Delhi Municipal Corporation primary school in Nangloi.
Since 2010, the municipal corporation has hired no computer teachers. As a result, the machines have been lying in the locked room for the past five years, gathering dust. In most of north and south MCD-run primary schools, this is the state of the computer labs. While the east MCD has stopped the project, it has begun a new but similar project in 195 schools.
Procured in 2005 as part of a project to set up computer labs in 1,381 schools, under the erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi, teaching was outsourced to two private companies. While the project began well, contracts with the private companies were not renewed after 2010. “We have removed computer education from the timetable as there are no teachers and no one uses the room,” said a teacher at an NDMC girls school.
Officials of NDMC and SDMC confirmed that they have no ongoing computer education programmes and many computers have become unusable.
“We’re looking at options to restart the computer education programme, but there is a shortage of funds as the Delhi government is not giving us enough money,” said Yashpal Arya, Chairman of the SDMC education standing committee.
NDMC education standing committee Chairman, Usha Mehta, said, “We have asked teachers to operate projectors and do basic things. What other than basics in computer education are needed for students in primary classes?” But she agreed that this was not being taught properly and most of the computers have become unusable due to lack of maintenance.
The east corporation has moved computers worth crores of rupees in their schools to “storerooms”, as they shelved the old scheme in March. According to the new programme, computer labs will be set up in schools at a cost of Rs 20 crore and teachers will be outsourced.
“We have moved the old computers to store rooms and locked it,” said Satya Sharma, EDMC education standing committee chairman. On whether the government is planning to auction the old computers, she said they have no such plans as of now. She added that the company which supplied it may do something about it.