Make way Operation Blackboard, here comes the PC!

CIOL Bureau
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HYDERABAD: Stepping into the din of a classroom full of bubbling school children sweet nostalgia instantly transports me to the magical days of my own school days. The miniature flip-top desks and hard-as-nails wooden chairs reminded of a time when life really was all good -- when we were more concerned with cartoons than car payments and a gold star was a badge of honor.

At first glance, this classroom in a government run higher secondary school in Hyderabad is much like any other classroom in any of the Indian government run schools. But soon IT is going to make its mark in every school in Andhra Pradesh in the form of a PC. Though, this may sound futuristic as hardly any government schools are equipped with computers as of now, but soon this is going to be a reality, say government officials.

It's envisaged to be a training ground for the leaders of the digital age. "You use technology to get children excited about learning and to lower the costs of providing a quality education," said C Subba Rao, Chairman, AP State Council for Higher Education (APSCHE).

"It will also to prepare them for the world they'll be living in."

Computers and Internet access are not only making their way into the public consciousness but also into the classroom -- and not a moment too soon.

In the state of Andhra Pradesh, the cyber-savvy Chief Minister, N Chandrababu Naidu has brought school education under the ‘e’-umbrella. School education here would soon go the hi-tech way with the state government planning to come out with an "e government roadmap" to reduce bureaucratic interface in the academic sector.

For the first time in the country, the School Education Department would have its own fully dedicated education portal offering online services to students and teachers. Once operational, students and teachers need not personally approach officials for redressal of their grievances as they can do so by logging on to the portal.

That means no longer running from pillar to post to get immediate information. People can simply click the mouse for an online interaction with the department on any issue pertaining to school education including mark sheets of students and even transfers or promotions of teachers.

According to sources, the School Education Department is busy giving finishing touches to the portal. Information like examination schedule and results, academic program and attendance particulars of students can also be had from the website, which would be up and running within a period of three months.

Naidu has reportedly instructed officials to provide at least two computers in all government schools and link them with the office of the district education officer concerned. They would also be hooked up with the Commissionerate of School Education in Hyderabad.

Networking of schools under the "e government roadmap’ program would not only be beneficial to students and teachers as it would reduce bureaucratic hurdles, but also help the government to monitor individual teacher’s attendance through biometrics. There would also be a full-fledged school performance management information system in the portal and it would take care of the human resources related to schools.

The department has already been directed to prepare a data warehouse by April-end with information on all schools, teachers and students. The department has distributed optical mark reader sheets to headmasters who would fill-up the forms and return to the DEOs concerned on or before March 23 for scrutiny.

The data would have to reach the office of the commissioner of school education by March 31. The to be launched portal would also contain the seniority list of teachers down to every district and mandal, besides information on non-teaching staff and Class-IV employees.

Wow, but we didn’t have so much going for the teachers or us, students, then!