Sunday, March 16, 2014

Power cuts force schools to log out of computers

Updated: September 3, 2013 09:50 IST

Power cuts force schools to log out of computers

R. Sairam
The Hindu Students in the 'Smart Classroom' at the Corporation High School, Maniakarampalayam, Coimbatore. Photo: M. Periasamy

Educational institutions unable to follow directive to step up computer use

Even as the Department of School Education instructed all government schools in the State to step up their use of computers during the academic year, the increase in power cuts over the past week has made it extremely difficult for the institutions in the Coimbatore district to follow this directive.
Under the Activity Based Learning and Advanced Learning Methodology followed in Tamil Nadu, government schools were directed to make extensive use of computers in teaching. Teachers were expected to make slide show presentations on their subjects to make learning more attractive for the students. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) had provided training in using computers to all government school teachers. Even primary school teachers have been instructed to use computers.
However, a government school teacher in Annur block said that in the past two weeks, power supply was available for just around a couple of hours during the school time of 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. With no power supply back-up systems, the school was finding it difficult to use computers.
Further, the teacher said that power supply disruption was also causing water shortage in many schools as motors cannot be used. Further, with the mercury having risen up in the past few days, students were put to discomfort.
Another teacher at Madukkarai block said that the students were bringing out an environmental magazine using computers. However, this project work had come to a halt in the past few days due to power cuts. The schools were also issued educational CDs for students. These CDs were also not being used.
The teacher added that a government middle school was allotted maintenance grants of Rs.22,000 and other schools Rs.12,000 for the entire academic year. With this amount barely sufficient to meet the expenditure, the schools could not afford to purchase power back-up systems.
A School Education official said that even administrative work had taken a hit, because all communication to schools was now being done only through e-mails.
When contacted, Chief Educational Officer A. Gnanagowri told The Hindu here on Monday that government schools had been empowered to shift the computer classes as and when power supply was available. Financial constraints prevented the Department from providing generators or other power backup systems to all the government schools.
Coimbatore district alone has 705 primary schools and 229 middle schools run by the government, Panchayat Unions and Municipalities. All these schools had been issued at least five desktop computers and a laptop each. Another education official said that all schools had been given laptops, which they could charge whenever power was available.

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