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Learning with smart infrastructure

Bridging a gap
Last Updated : 02 March 2023, 10:28 IST
Last Updated : 02 March 2023, 10:28 IST

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Children learn through smart devices.
Children learn through smart devices.
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The importance of digital technology was brought to the forefront by the pandemic. People living in urban areas, and children in particular, were reliant on technology to attend online classes during the lockdown. However, many rural children struggled due to the lack of access to digital devices and poor internet networks.

In order to bridge the digital gap between rural and urban people, Bal Utsav, an NGO, started ‘iShaala’ across the state during the pandemic. As many as seven government schools functioning in Shivamogga were among the schools covered under the programme.

The ‘smart infrastructure’, developed with the help of smart devices and content led to continued learning in Bal Utsav-supported rural schools, either on their respective school campuses or remotely at home or in the form of community learning. Due to this convenience in learning, some children in the district moved to government schools from private educational institutes.

“These devices have been highly useful for our academics. Though teachers teach lessons in the classrooms, we are able to read them again on our smartphones and computers to understand them better,” said Kavana, a Class 10 student. This would help them interact more in the classrooms and improve their comprehension of the topics, she added.

Impact

The initiative has not only reduced the number of dropouts, but the schools have also since seen a rise in enrolment. Following the adoption of advanced technology and tools in classrooms, the seven schools in Shivamogga have witnessed a 12% rise in admission.

The headmaster of the government school in Nidige, Laxmanappa M B, explained that most students come from daily-wage worker families. “Their parents struggle to buy even notebooks for the students. But the initiative has played a key role in introducing modern learning to the children,” he said. This saw a growth in the strength of the school. The school also recorded an average score of above 90% in SSLC examinations held last year.

The schools were provided with smart TVs, tablets and mobile phones to ensure that students would not miss online classes.

Kavana’s mother, Roopa Devaraj, noted that the most important aspect is the training provided to use the technology available. “My daughter was able to get access to modern education tools. Adding to this, the teachers guide students on how to use them effectively,” she said.

Each school has two smart TV classrooms and seven tablets.

The schools have also been equipped with a water filter, as well as a sanitary pad vending machine and an incinerator.

Bal Utsav Director Ramesh Balasundaram said, “Education is not a privilege, it is a fundamental right of every child. We believe in creating a quality learning environment that empowers children with the necessary skills to shape their own futures.”

The organisation aims to reshape the landscape of education through a holistic approach towards revitalising the whole school. “We have successfully demonstrated that government schools can be model schools that students, parents and communities aspire to send their children to, and where all stakeholders can take pride in being a part of it,” Balasundaram added.

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Published 02 March 2023, 07:09 IST

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