Chhattisgarh is focused to devising newer ways to improve the quality of teaching in schools by employing ICT tools. Subrat Sahoo, Secretary, Department of School Education, Government of Chhattisgarh, in conversation with Souvik Goswami of Elets News Network (ENN), talks about the initiatives undertaken by the State Government in this direction
What are the major initiatives undertaken by your department to enhance the quality of education in schools of Chhattisgarh?
We are amending the schedule of academic calendar which normally starts from 16th June until 30th April. From next session onwards, the calendar will start from 1st April until 31st March, in tandem with CBSE and other boards. We are also going to start online teachers’ management system, so that we can track them and their salary would also be credited through a payment gateway to avoid any delays. It will be an online management system applied to all the schools in Chhattisgarh. The project is in its initial stage now and is likely to be rolled out by the end of this financial year.
How do you keep track of other districts or blocks’ workflow?
We have migrated to an electronic mode, in which messages including letters, circulars and orders are delivered instantaneously, and we can also track the movements of the documents. For instance, the number of times it is seen, the number of copies that have been printed and so on. It also provides us leads about the defaulting districts or blocks.
What initiative is your department taking towards teachers’ training?
We have rolled out a programme on compulsory training for all teachers and have trained around 40,000 teachers so far. However, 5,000 more teachers are still to be trained. We will complete their training by the end of this financial year and none of the teachers will remain untrained on completion of this programme.
The Government of India is focusing on quality education. What is the contribution of Chhattisgarh Government in this regard?
We are in the process of becoming Vocational Training Providers (VTPs) and are already a part of the training schedule. There are some issues on which we are working. Overall, it has been a positive experience for us.
How important is the role of ICT in education?
For all our programmes, we are using ICT only. For example, our training module; for this, we are using online platform to reduce the paper burden and carbon footprints. Training material is available to all those who attend it. They can also offload their training preferences and the system will decide in which slot and time a person can attend the training class.
We are also doing a free web-page enabling of question banks. This will be operational in a couple of months. In this programme, any child anywhere within or outside Chhattisgarh can access the web-page and select a sample paper of his own choice depending on class, subject and level of difficulty. This step will reduce dependence on guide books.
How important digital learning would become in the coming years?
Digital learning is here to stay and it won’t vanish. It’s a paradigm shift and we have to keep pace with time. However, since there is limitation of resources, it can be done only in a phased manner.
What is your vision for the School Education Department in the State?
My vision is to improve the quality of education which is not very satisfactory at present. We need to improve the level and capabilities of teachers and also the general environment in the State, where children can be promised a better future.