Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A visit to a govt. school in Odisha near my village……

Today I went to a govt. school to discuss about my Idea of Innovate4DigitalIndia. Click Here
First let me describe what are the good things I found in the school:---
1) School uniform: Students specially the higher class students were wearing decent school uniforms and was clean.
2) Food provided to the students: As today was Wednesday, students were given boiled egg and peas -potato curry with rice. I had my lunch there. The food was eatable and nearly nice. Only the peas curry was little watery.
3) Building was a bit good. Not that horrible. It was colored and many thoughts of scientists were written.
4) Teachers were also very co-operative and ready to listen to my ideas heartfully. I had also a discussion with the teachers for about 3 an hour. The discussion was about students and teachers and their problems.

Now let me describe what I didn't like in the school, although its many but I will describe some of the fundamental necessities of the school and their solutions.

1) First, and most important is quality of teaching and motivated teachers to teach.
Teachers are not motivated enough to do their work efficiently. Also they follow the old and ineffective methodology of teaching. They also don't behave with students properly. They just shout at the students (especially children of smaller age group) to make them study or listen. Love and affection between teachers and students were completely missing. For this I would blame to our culture and also attitude of the teachers. Teachers think that, if they will be soft, than students will not listen to them and obey them.
2) Toilets: This is perhaps one the fundamental problem and our PM has raised the issue many times and also trying to address it. The construction of the toilet was half and no work has been done since one year. When I discussed the issue, teachers said the toilet was incomplete because of corruption.

For quality of teaching and motivation to teacher, I think following solution will be most effective.
But for that govt. have to spent something. I have tried to make it least possible expenditure.

1) Electricity problem: We need inverter for it. Even though the school is situated near the national highway, power supply is not continuous.
2) Computer: At phase one, we can provide computers to each teacher. Computer I mean Raspberry Pi 2 which costs 2999 in and a monitor with will cost 3800, but if govt supplies it or Indian company like Micromax start manufacturing it, the cost will reduce to 3000. It also requires accessories like memory card (Rs. 300), keyboard (Rs. 200), mouse (Rs. 100). So total expenditure for a computer will be about Rs. 7400. Also an external hard disk per school can be provided to them, so that they can transfer the data.
3) A broadband connection: If only teacher uses it, it will cost Rs 499 (railtel broadband)

Here is how the computer will solve the problem.
First we need to motivate our teacher to teach and learn. A teacher will transfer its knowledge to students only if, he is educated enough and motivated enough. I would say that motivation is required daily.
So for it, we need a daily 40 min lecture (MOOCs) from our best professors. It should be available live online. Also the lecture can be downloaded. Teachers should also appear the tests daily. Test can by of 20 min length to know whether teachers have understood the concepts of lectures or not.
Lectures can be about subject knowledge and about teaching techniques and psychology. Psychology and teaching technique courses should be given more importance and should be based upon proved research. I think if this is done, our education system will change drastically.
I also found the language problem of teachers. There are primary teachers, who don't understand even English properly. So for them, state level lectures should be also given in their native or Hindi languages. In case of north India, Hindi is not a problem, but in south it could be a problem.

Also teachers should discuss or ask questions directly about the subject, which my Idea is based on.

And then, when the condition or knowledge of teachers improves (i.e. teachers are used to computers and motivated enough), we can start the phase 2, where students will be provided Raspberry Pi 2 and start flipped education in our schools.

Here are some of the other big issues which need to be addressed.
1) Students don't come to school regularly. They skip classes. This is a very big problem. So I would advise that a child's friend or a student who is staying near him/her can be asked to bring the child who is not coming to school. There friends can motivate him/her, if he/she is not coming to school regularly.
2) Student don't bring books and notebooks to school. For that, I would say that keep their (who is not bringing) books and notebooks in school itself and give them when he/she comes to school.