THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The public education system in Kerala is making headway with schools becoming hi-tech loaded with state-of-the-art digital features and gadgets ensuring topnotch learning experience for children attending government and aided schools in the state. The recent opening of a hi-tech building at the Government Cotton Hill Girls’ Higher Secondary School - the largest girls schools in Asia - in the capital city would provide the opportunity for nearly 5000 students studying there access to quality schooling.
“The new hi-tech block was constructed at a cost of Rs 19 crores by the government using the plan fund. Hundreds of children in our school would get benefited from the new infrastructure which has around 52 hi-tech classrooms. Every child studying in this school would have access to these amenities. There are six computer labs, conference hall, art gallery and studio room etc,” said Headmaster J Rajasree of Cotton Hill GHSS.
She said that the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation would be giving furniture worth Rs 60 lakh for the computer lab at the new hi-tech block at the school. “The classes are internet-enabled and the student and the teachers can access the ‘Samagra’ online learning portal. MLA V S Sivakumar would be giving 25 laptops for the lab,” said J Rajasree.
However, the plan of the school authorities to get a LED wall projector at the conference room of the new building using MP fund has faced a major setback because of restrictions in the fund utilisation. “A K Antony MP had promised to sponsor the projector and screen. Unfortunately, it would take more time because the project is yet to get the nod from the government,” said J Rajasree.
“Cotton Hill would be the first public sector school in the state to have an art gallery and an archive room in the state. Old collections of pictures, certificates and other important documents of the school would be displayed there,” said Rajasree. The new building comes with three porticos, badminton and volleyball courts and toilets etc.
As part of the Hi-Tech school programme of the state government, which aims at upgrading all classrooms to international standards, KITE ( Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education) - the SPV formed by the government for promoting IT education in state schools - has transformed around 45000 classrooms in 4752 schools hi-tech.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched the Hi-tech school programme in 2018 and has pumped in Rs 493.90 crores through KIIFB (Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board) to rejuvenate the public education system. The project covers hundreds of schools including government and aided high schools, higher secondary schools and vocational higher secondary schools.
Ceiling mounted multimedia projector, laptop, whiteboard /projection screen etc are among the key features of a hi-tech classroom. Vice-Chairman and Executive Director of KITE K Anvar Sadath said that around 45,000 hi-tech classrooms have been set up as part of the program and now the focus is on developing remote-based learning hubs. “Now online learning is being given more thrust because of the pandemic situation. Now all these hi-tech infrastructures are being used for imparting online lessons for children,” said Anvar Sadath.
Each hi-tech classroom is equipped with high-speed broadband internet and the IT labs feature laptops, sound system and multifunction printers. As part of the programme, each of the 4752 schools is provided with a 42 inch LED TV, full HD webcam and a DSLR camera.
“Every equipment has a five year warranty period and we have set up a KITE call centre for providing technical assistance to these schools. If they encounter any kind of technical glitch, they can inform the call centre,” Anvar Sadath added.
The hi-tech school programme covers around 4775 schools including 2685 high schools, 1701 higher secondary schools and 389 vocational higher secondary schools in the state.
The Samagra resource portal developed by KITE functions as a repository of educational contents for students from class 1 to 12. The hi-tech classrooms have access to the portal, which has over 25,000 digital resources in four mediums - Malayalam, English, Tamil and Kannada. This portal is widely used by teachers and students ever since the launch of online classes.