JAIPUR: In a unique endeavour, administration in Alwar district has constructed a digital classroom at a government school in the shape of an aeroplane, and has called it, ‘Education Airline’.
The classroom is constructed at Indragarh village, 16km away from Alwar city in the Government Senior Secondary School, which a few years back, did not even have a proper boundary wall. The classroom can accommodate about 50 students at a time, giving the students a feel of sitting in an plane, which is why it is called ‘Indra Vimaan’. Junior engineer of Alwar Sarwa Sikhsha Abhiyaan, Rajesh Lavaniya is the man behind the project, who took help of Sehgal foundation for its construction. “Last year, we constructed a train-themed classroom at a government school in Alwar city named as ‘Education Express’. After its success, we decided to execute this plan.
The inside view of the classroom
Though there was shortage of funds, Sehgal foundation gave us enormous support. It took us six months to complete the project with a budget of Rs 45 lakh,” said Lavaniya. Students of all classes are given a chance to study here and learn about the digital world. The news of this unique classroom is spreading across many nearby villages.
According to the school’s principal Pushpa Meena, around 20 students have taken admission in the school in the middle of the year and she is expecting that this will help in increasing the number of students. The classroom has become a centre of attraction not just for students, but even for villagers. According to a villager, Shyam Meena, newly weds of the village come for clicking pictures here in their wedding attire. Kanchan, a student said, “I have never seen an aeroplane, but looking at this classroom, I feel really happy. Two years back, condition of the school was really bad, but now I feel re ally motivated to come to school.”
With regime change, Metro phase-II may see light of day
JAIPUR: The Jaipur Metro phase-II project, which remained on paper for five years during the BJP government, is expected to see the light of day, after the Congress party came to power in the state.
As the much-awaited Metro project has been delayed since a long time, the residents of the city are struggling for last mile connectivity, which was proposed after the network is laid.
An official source at Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation (JMRC) informed, in the detailed project report (DPR) prepared during the previous Congress tenure, it was proposed to construct a corridor of 23km (Sitapura to Ambabari) length. However, after witnessing the increase in vehicular congestion on the route, an international firm appointed during the BJP regime, had proposed an increase in the length of the corridor. The official said, “The revised DPR of Metro was prepared just before the elections. The decision to construct the Metro phase-II was not taken in the previous government, as election approached. We are hopeful it could be implemented this time as the project was conceived during the last Congress tenure.” The JMRC prepared its first DPR in 2011, during Congress government’s tenure. The then government intended to link phase-II with Sanganer airport and other government buildings on the route.
Following this, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) submitted its revised DPR in 2014 and proposed an underground Metro station at airport near terminal-2. In 2017, an international firm was hired to prepare a new DPR. However, the project has not seen the light of day even after seven years. “These capital-intensive projects require planning. Any government could only take up the project after seeing the feasibility. But, as Jaipur is growing at a rapid pace, Metro has become a necessity to decongest the city roads,” said the official.
Sources said, in past five years, efforts to construct the project on Public Private Partnership (PPP) model also failed after no firm showed interest in investing. As state government agencies funded the Metro Phase-I project in previous tenure, officials hope same finance model can be replicated in Phase-II . It is also believed, the JMRC would continue to face losses, if the entire Metro network is not laid in the city. According to experts, the extension of Metro corridor is essential for increasing the ridership. Over past three years, the JMRC has extended the corridor by an approximate three km.
“Metros are operational in 12 cities across the country. The Jaipur Metro route remains the shortest as phase-II work has not been taken up. Though, at present, Lucknow Metro is the shortest at eight km, they have started extension work on the 15-km corridor. After comple tion, it will be a 23-km Metro,” reads a survey provided by JMRC.
Integrating E-learning Skills Into Real Classrooms Post-covid
We would all like to know what the post-COVID world will look like for teachers, students, and parents. Even though no one can claim to have the answer to this question today, one thing is certain; the new world will be very different from the one we know so well.
Most schools are likely to switch to blended classrooms. According to Wikipedia, “Blended learning is an approach to education that combines online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with traditional place-based classroom methods. The necessity of teaching and learning with asynchronous (Canvas, Blackboard, D2L) and synchronous (Zoom, Meet, Google Teams) platforms will yield significant benefits when these methods are layered into face-to-face instruction.”
The blended classroom has its own benefits and additionally, with the current situation when the teachers and the students are more equipped to use online platforms. Some of the advantages are listed below:
With the classrooms not running on full strength and divided into multiple batches, these tech integrated classrooms will make teaching and learning more cost-effective. Integrating virtual reality in the classroom would save a lot of travelling and logistical cost for the schools.
* Consistency in delivery and content
With multiple batches and classrooms, the quality of the delivery might get drastically affected. With the option of having pre-recorded content, the classes can become more consistent.
* Availability of content anywhere, anytime
The learners are always connected to content and can access it at their will. Students will also be able to download the content and learn at their own pace.
* More engagement in the classroom
When multimedia is combined with in-class experience, the engagement of the students is increased. Students can learn in different formats and experience in-hand, with various online tools.
* Analyze your students’ progress better
>With all these tools available, teachers can analyze the progress of their students at their fingertips. A lot of time gets spent in correcting homework and assignments, but with the option of making the tests virtual, the reports can be automated using various platforms.
* Making classroom more inclusive
One of the biggest benefits of a blended classroom is self-paced learning. Learners with different abilities will be able to learn at their own pace. The content can also be levelled according to the capabilities of the students, which will help teachers out by giving more attention to the students who need it.
To make a smooth transition to blended classrooms, it is important to use the right tools and planning. Here are some tips that might help in making the transition smoother for the teachers and the students:
* Choose Suitable LMS for Your Needs
One of the most crucial parts of making blended learning more effective is to choose the right learning management system (LMS). Companies like Microsoft, Cisco, SAP, and many others provide LMS platforms with multiple features. Understanding your needs and then mapping it to the available LMS platforms online, hence, becomes crucial.
* Be clear about the objectives
With the current situation, the students are used to virtual classrooms, but when they enter their school, they would expect to have their regular classroom back. Hence, it is necessary for the school to communicate clearly the need for introducing blended classrooms and the benefits of it.
* Be flexible with your strategies
The needs of each student are different, and it is important for the school and the management to create an experience for the students that can be flexible and can be adjusted to their needs and interests.
* Assessment is the key
Blended classrooms will be able to provide a range of assessments for the learners. It is important to choose the most effective way so that it captures the learning of the students.
* Build a community
In the current situation, it is important to create a sense of community among the students. It would also help the students to adjust to the new normal and learn to work around it.
There are many divergent views about virtual classrooms and their ability to replace traditional methods of learning. While some experts believe that they are fully equipped to do so, others believe that they need to evolve more to suit the needs of all stakeholders. However, one thing is clear – digital classrooms offer many advantages, which when integrated into a traditional setup, can enhance both the learning and teaching process. We must take the current situation as an opportunity to evolve our teaching methods and make technology and flexibility an integral part of the classroom experience.
PC Paathshala is an industry initiative by Intel in India with The Times Of India and multiple PC ecosystem players, to enable students, teachers and parents to adapt to online learning. The platform provides easy to understand articles, videos, workshops, webinars, FAQs and much more targeted towards enabling the key stakeholders to transition from classroom learning to e-learning. Key partners to the initiative include brands like Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Khan Academy, Kopykitab, Udemy, Amazon, Croma, Flipkart, Panache, Recherche, Reliance Digital, Shopclues and Snapdeal. Visit www.pcpaathshala.com to know more.
Clarity on farm loan waiver still a long way off in Rajasthan
JAIPUR: It may take more than a couple of weeks before government rolls out the loan waiver scheme, bringing clarity as to who would be eligible for the relief and what would be the terms and conditions.
But sources in the government said that cooperative banks would be writing off loans Rs 9,500 crore out of the Rs 18,000 crore relief announced by chief minister Ashok Gehlot. “We have collected data from all the cooperative banks in the state and the loans that would be waived comes to Rs 9,500 crore, while the rest (Rs 8,500 crore) will be taken care of by the scheduled banks,” an official at the cooperative department said.
He said that 70% of the loans are below Rs 50,000 and another 15% is between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh. “There are very few loans that are above Rs 2 lakh. So, most of the farmers would be able to avail the benefit,” said the official.
The government notification on Wednesday said that all short-term crop loans of cooperative banks up to Rs 2 lakh would be waived. But farmers are unclear as to if the defaulted loans or the outstanding would be considered.
But the same notification also said that only defaulted loans taken from scheduled banks would be eligible for the waiver. Reacting strongly, the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) national president of youth wing Nem Singh Fauzdar expressed disappointment over the new government not waiving loans fully and only trying to waive the defaulted loans.
>He said that the government had promised to waive all loans, not the defaulted ones only. “It has now become clear that the government had promised loan waiver only for political gains. During the election rallies, they had promised to waive all loans, including outstanding but after forming the government they have changed the track. They are engaging in various tricks to limit the scope only to defaulted loans,” said Fauzdar at a press briefing in Bharatpur.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi may have proved that he delivered on his poll promises but reactions to the loan waiver were not very approving.
All Rajasthan Agriculture Trade and Industries Association was scathing in its criticism. President of the body Banechand Jain said that since farm loan waiver is intended at winning votes, the funds for the waiver should be financed by funds of political parties.
“On what logic the government should spend tax payers’ money for a political cause. Farm loans are announced to buy votes. So the money should come from their party funds,” added Jain.
Some farmers said they don’t need farm loan waivers. “What we need is job for our children which is sustainable,” said Tarachand Bagadiya, a farmer from Sikar district who had benefitted from the loan waiver scheme announced early this year.