Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education’s E-Balbharti department plans to have its own e-learning platform that will provide study material at affordable rates.
“At present, private e-learning platforms charge users between Rs 7,000 and Rs 25,000. We will make the content available for as less as Rs 25 per user,” said Yogesh Limaye, IT head, E-Balbharti department. A version of the platform will be ready by August 31, an official said. It will have e-learning material for Marathi and English subjects for Class 10 students. This material will be available for free.
After suggestions and feedback, the final version will likely be rolled out in December, said Limaye. Subsequently, the platform will be made available to students of all classes in phases. Apart from content, there will be online exams and exercises.
The department is simultaneously working on a project to enable 725 schools across the state with virtual classrooms. It’s a Rs 50-crore project and the classrooms will be ready by next year. “We are hoping to complete the tendering and approval process before the code of conduct for Assembly election kicks in, after which we will begin delivery, installation and testing of the infrastructure. We will have live transmission through three studios,” Limaye said. “We also want to begin a 24×7 TV channel on education on the lines of Gujarat.”
Free downloading of textbooks is available on the existing E-Balbharti portal since 2014, though it was officially launched in 2016. The portal this year started its own programme on YouTube channel for Class 10 students and, for the first time, uploaded three rounds of mock question and answer papers. The mock papers saw over 1.23 lakh downloads, said Limaye. Soon, due to popular demand, language textbooks of old syllabus will also be available on the portal and the process is underway, he said.
Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar said, “The virtual classrooms have a communication for educational purpose where teachers, writers, experts or authors can come to our studio and explain topics as part of the curriculum to the students. This eliminates several constraints of time and travel. It will be to-and-fro communication where students will be able to ask questions to experts. Eventually, we will like to train teachers on the same platform. This can even be a good bet for governmental functions.”