Thursday 18 January 2018

Electronic Boards in Uttarakhand Government Schools in next 5 years... Worrying!

Written by Anil Singh

It's a common wisdom that when money or any other resource is insufficient then it must be spent on those things which benefit the maximum. In addition to maximum reach, the money/resource must be spent only on those needs which can easily be called necessary.

For a school, the spendings which qualify as necessary requirements are -- Comfortable classrooms, proper teaching aids, desks & chairs for students, clean adequate and easy to reach drinking water, adequate number of clean toilets for girls & boys, adequate number of well trained motivated teachers and; good healthy mid-day meal (as per specification, if the school the provides one) for the students. 

Notably, at present, proper teaching aid for most Uttarakhand Government schools and Government aided schools doesn't include an ELECTRONIC BOARD.

When most schools in Uttarakhand don't have a blackboard or board OR; adequate number of boards, talking about electronic boards is just worrying (in Hindi "Pareshan karne wala vichar"). Instead of spending money to equip a section of or all Uttarakhand schools with an electronic Board in the next five years, the Government must spend the money on providing the schools with the necessary requirements and infrastructure. To this day, children in Uttarakhand Schools are made to sit outdoors or on floor mats in temporary or dilapidated shack-like shelters which are hardly comfortable (too cold or too hot) for a meaningful education:

Students studying outdoors in some school in Uttarakhand Hills
(Image Courtesy: Navneet Raj)

The reason behind today's article are two contradictory statements made by the present Uttarakhand Government. Speaking to media two days ago, when asked about the inadequate resources in Uttarakhand Schools, the Minister tried to reason the inadequate facilities in Government schools with the Uttarakhand Government's insufficient funds. He made it clear that the Government doesn't have adequate funds to provide for the necessary resources. According to the Uttarakhand Government, it plans to arrange such necessary resources through methods such as Corporate Social Responsibility, funds collected by the Community and donations by individuals. In simple, the Minister told the journalists that Uttarakhand Government cannot fulfil the necessary needs of its schools. As if that was not enough, the Minister told about the Government's ambitious plan to equip all State Government aided and run schools with electronic Boards in the next five years.

As you can also see, there's clear mismatch here. If the Government has funds for electronic boards, then why not spend that money on providing necessary resources to the schools. Whatever way one sees it, the statements don't make any sense. 

To conclude, the educational Aids such as Electronic boards are still a luxury spending for most schools in Uttarakhand. The schools have more pressing requirements and they must first be provided for. For instance, why go directly to Electronic boards, when most schools don't have adequate number of white boards. 

Overall, the promises such as "Electronic Boards in all Uttarakhand Government schools in the next 5 years" will do our schools NO Good. It's better to provide for the necessary resources & infrastructure in the schools first.


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