Individual computers, net connections for Chandigarh schools

Chandigarh, Nov 15 ( Students with individual computers on their study tables and Internet connections in classrooms – Chandigarh’s government-run schools are headed for a technological revolution if the ambitious plans under the Vision-2010′ of the administration get implemented.

Chandigarh’s new Director-Public Instruction (DPI-schools) Sunil Bhatia said Monday that 2010 is the year when the multi-million project to provide technology at the fingertips of students in the city would be implemented under the national e-governance project.

“Come 2010 and all schools and colleges in Chandigarh would be totally automated. Students will not only have computers on their study tables but would also be able to access the internet in their classrooms,” Bhatia said.

Education department officials said the move will shore up education standards in the union territory – which has emerged as the biggest educational hub in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh in the past few decades.

There are 103 government schools in Chandigarh, catering to over 100,000 students.

Unlike the general perception in the country of government schools not doing too well and lacking in facilities, some of the leading government schools here are much sought after, especially for classes 9 to 12.

To cope with the rush of students, the administration has taken up construction of 29 new schools. While buildings of four schools have already been completed, six are nearing completion, and 12 are under construction.

The plans include connectivity of all educational institutions through a wide area network (WAN).

“This will serve as an icing on the cake of the infrastructure baked by the administration. More than 80 percent of the 103 government schools in Chandigarh are equipped with science laboratories and 75 percent have well-stocked libraries. Besides, 20 senior secondary schools can boast of own computer labs. All this enables government schools to lock horns with their leading public and convent counterparts,” Bhatia pointed out.

All government schools have electricity, drinking water and sanitation facilities; 35 schools have ramps and 96 have their own playgrounds.

While 85 percent of the classrooms were in good condition, 14 percent required minor repairs and only one percent major repairs, education department officials said.

About 95 percent of government schools have the facility of separate toilets for girl students; 98 percent have conducted medical check-up of their students and about 27 percent schools have book bank facilities.

“Not resting on these, the Chandigarh Administration has conceived a number of infrastructure-related plans and schemes to equip the students in government schools to compete with their counterparts in convent and private schools,” Bhatia said.