Other States

195 schools log in to Balbharti’s virtual classroom in Maharashtra

Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad with students at the launch of the scheme in Pune on Friday.

Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad with students at the launch of the scheme in Pune on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Scheme to be implemented in 530 more schools in stages, says minister

To boost access and quality of education in Maharashtra’s rural hinterland, Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad on Friday inaugurated the ambitious Virtual Classroom and Studio scheme, which will be implemented in 725 schools across the State.

The scheme is to be implemented under the E-Balbharti project of the Maharashtra State Board of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research (Balbharti). The objective is to enhance the quality of education by using cutting-edge technology that connects students from schools in the State’s backwater areas with a number of subject experts to answer queries and facilitate learning more effectively.

“Our government is committed to equality in education as well as the provision of quality education, which is the fundamental right of every student. We have also come up with audio books in multiple languages with chapters in the syllabus read out by voice artistes to help visually challenged students as part of this project,” Ms. Gaikwad said.

She said 195 schools had ‘logged in’ in the first phase of the scheme, while the remaining 530 schools would be connected in stages.

“Experts from diverse fields — besides regular subjects in the curriculum — including sports, industry and politics will be on hand to impart lessons to children. Our aim is that the benefits being availed by students in schools in developed urban pockets like Pune must be availed by children in rural areas like Latur,” Ms. Gaikwad said.

The minister,who responded to queries from children across a number of schools in rural Maharashtra, said the virtual classroom, with better guidance from experts, will ultimately help in reducing students’ stress prior to examinations.

The project is being implemented by the Valuable Group using its V-SAT based interactive technology. Three Studios have been set-up in the old building that hitherto housed the State Institute of Educational Technology, popularly known as Balchitravani, to establish contact with the schools.

In May 2017, Balchitravani, which was set up by the Maharashtra government to bolster children’s education in the State and remained a fixture in Pune’s educational fabric for more than three decades, shut shop after the erstwhile Bharatiya Janata Party-led government claimed it lacked funds to support it.

The defunct institute has since been absorbed by the Balbharati as part of its e-learning arm.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 7:47:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/195-schools-log-in-to-balbhartis-virtual-classroom/article30825448.ece

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