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Updated: November 27, 2013 09:13 IST

Power cuts torment private schools in Coimbatore

R. Sairam
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There is no power for at least five hours during school time

The recent spike in power cuts has hit private schools in the city hard, especially the small primary and nursery schools that lack the financial resources for generators and power backup systems.

Chief among their concerns has been curtailment of smart classrooms usage, which many had established at significant cost to cater to a generation of technology-savvy children.

Each smart classroom, which comprises interactive boards, projectors, computers/ tablets and other audio-visual equipment besides proprietary software, costs at least Rs. 1.5 lakh.

With all this equipment, it can be powered only by expensive generators rather than the comparatively-economical uninterrupted power supply (UPS) systems during power cuts, says the head of a private school located on the city’s periphery.

Of the seven to eight hours of school time, power supply remains disrupted for at least five hours. As a result, the schools have cut down on the number of classes in smart classrooms, resulting in the idling of an infrastructure created at a considerable cost, says the Principal of another school.

Further, Tuesday (November 26) was the deadline for schools to upload their data on to Education Management Information System (EMIS) for the smart cards project of the Department of School Education.

With computer usage restricted, many schools had to resort to browsing centres to upload the data, says the Headmaster of a nursery school in the city.

Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation and Higher Secondary Schools Welfare Association General secretary G. Krishnaraj said that schools must be either exempt from power cuts or assured of power supply during working hours. Further, many small primary and nursery schools were facing heavy financial burden over the use of generators.

Tamil Nadu Private Schools Association president R. Visalakshi said that the Private Schools Fee Determination Committee headed by Justice S.R. Singaravelu had refused to factor in the cost of purchasing generators, which was around Rs. 3 lakh, while deciding the fee levels.

It also imposed a cap on the quantum of diesel purchases that would be accepted for the fee determination purposes. Restricting the smart classroom hours was also having a negative impact on students who find it difficult to use books during class hours after being used to the audio-visual presentations.

The special classes held for the class X and Plus-Two students have also taken a hit due to the power cuts, she added.

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