Changes are to be sustainable : Dr Alok Shukla, Secretary, School Education, Chhattisgarh

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 Can you discuss the vision and the major thrust of current education policy in the state of Chhattishgarh?

Chhattisgarh has shown healthy improvement in its literacy rate over the last decade and has achieved a literacy rate of 65.18%. The female literacy rate has shown remarkable improvement and has almost doubled in the same period, the male literacy is higher than the national average. Chhattisgarh is committed to its agenda of imparting education to all and has allocated a significant share of its plan outlay for this sector. Plan outlay for the social sector at 15% for Chhattisgarh compares favourably to 7% for all India figures. Chhattisgarh has already introduced teaching of English from Class 1.

 What is the current strategy adopted to make ICT an integral part of the educational system in the state?

We have many schemes for using IT in education. Under SSA we have started a scheme called “Eklavya Computer aided self learning”. In this scheme fully animated multi-media software has been created based on textbooks of classes 6 to 8. This has been loaded on touch screen computers, and has been kept in the school corridors for easy access by children. Under Indira Soochna Shakti Scheme, free computer education is being given to more than one lakh girl students at secondary level with the help of NIIT. Interactive radio broadcast is being used for teaching-learning of English language at primary level. We have already started using the facility provided by EDUSAT in 50 schools in Koria district. We intend to extend it further to other districts.

 How best the scope of using ICTs in state education can be harnessed?

We feel that in modern times ICT has become a necessary tool for education. Knowledge of ICT itself should be imparted in all schools. Computer literacy has become as important as any other form of education. ICT should also be used for teaching of other subjects. ICT can be used for training and teaching through distance mode.

 While implementing the innovative education programmes do you think Chhattishgarh ever needs a state specific vision other than the guidelines provided by the center?

Every state must have its own vision depending on the local situation. In Chhattisgarh we are committed to use ICT more and more at every level for improving both quality and outreach of education.

 Any remarkable change or development in the elementary and college/university level of education?

Sustainable change is always a slow process. We are gradually moving towards a knowledge society. Apart from the schemes described above we have introduced e-Classroom in Government Engineering College Raipur, and Telemedicine in Government Medical College Raipur.

 How improved is a teacher-training facility in Chhattisgarh with which imparting ICT enabled education becomes easier?

Teacher training facilities are still in their infancy in Chhattisgarh. We have an ICT cell in SCERT that is responsible for ICT related activities.

 Would you like to give a view on education activities being carried out through the delivery capabilities of partnership programmes?

We are in favor of Public-Private and Public-Civil Society partnerships. We are willing to explore possibilities in both these fields.

 What are the major hurdles faced in this direction so far and the challenges ahead for the state?

Poor last mile connectivity and shortage of funds are the main constraints. The challenge is to find innovative and alternative methods of overcoming the constraints.  

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