SRIKAKULAM: Computer education in govt schools remains a short-lived joy for the poor students. Government has provided computers in govt schools to give students a level-playing field with their counterparts of corporate schools. However, the computer education has of late become a mirage for the students of govt schools due to the abrupt termination of computer teachers.
The state govt had launched Information and communication technology scheme five years ago and implemented it in 5,000 schools in 2008 and extended it to 1,300 more schools in 2009. The job was entrusted to private agencies and the computer labs were set up not only in govt schools but also in zilla parishad and municipal schools. Under the scheme, 203 computer labs were set up in govt schools in Srikakulam district to impart computer education to students. With each school provided with 10 computers, the district got a total of 2,260 computers. Schools were also allotted two computer teachers, recruited on contract basis. All the students, both girls and boys, were imparted computer education like in private schools till last year. However, the computer teachers were removed with the excuse that the scheme had lapsed. Govt terminated the services of computer teachers in phases. Initially teachers of 156 schools were terminated in April 2014 and the remaining teachers of 47 schools by July 2015. There is no computer education for the students now and the computer labs also remain locked.
Moreover, there are hours allotted in the timetable for computer education, the other subject teachers are utilising that time for taking classes since there are no specified computer teachers. Higher officials issued instructions that teachers who have computer knowledge should alone take computer classes but govt is mulling over the idea of entrusting the responsibility to impart computer education on other subject teachers who are reluctant to take up the responsibility thereby leaving the students in the lurch.
In this scenario, the students seemed to have forgotten what they had learnt earlier and are scared that they might be deprived of computer educations this academic year as well. Harita, a Class X student in the Municipal High School of Srikakulam, expressed anguish that computer education was not available in govt schools though the private schools impart it right from Class I. “As we are not from well-to-do families we cannot afford private school education, therefore we are deprived of all the opportunities,” she said.
APTF state vice-president S.Rajasekhar said, “Demanding other subject teachers to impart computer education would be a wrong decision as it requires special skills.” The aim would be achieved only if trained computer teachers do the job, added Rajasekhar.
DEO Devananda Reddy, responding to the situation, said that measures would be taken to impart computer education in the govt schools. “I have passed orders to head masters of respective schools to take up the responsibility of reopening computer labs. The govt would shortlist computer teachers on the basis of strong subject knowledge and later get them trained by Microsoft. These teachers would then take computer classes for the students,” the DEO clarified.