The Gujarat model of education, with a strong emphasis on national pride, is clearly finding its way to Delhi. And the Smriti Irani-led Union Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has picked up various aspects of the schooling system and schemes from Gujarat with plans to implement them nationwide.
On their way to the national stage are schemes like Shala Utsav, Shala Darpan and Vanchche Bharat. The HRD ministry has reportedly written to all the states to celebrate ‘Shala Utsav’.
As per the communication sent, all the states have been asked to identify their oldest school and celebrate its Foundation Day to highlight ‘heritage value’ and its role in educating the local community. The states have also been asked to reward teachers and mentors besides well-known alumni.
‘Shala Darpan’, which will allow greater participation of parents and community at school level, is expected to start in 2015. Under the plan, parents of students studying in government and government-aided schools will get updates on their ward’s progress in class through a mobile application.
Gujarat government’s book reading movement called ‘Vanchche Gujarat’ is also set to be scaled up to a national level to inculcate reading habits among all. Various academic bodies have been asked to work on the soon to be launched book reading mission.
Shala Utsav and Shala Darpan are inspired from similar schemes piloted in Gujarat under the chief ministership of Narendra Modi. Shala Darpan will be initiated as pilot project to bring greater transparency in government school system.
Irani, a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat, in her first visit to the state after joining the Union Cabinet attended ‘Shala Praveshotsav’. The programme is an enrolment drive for government primary schools initiated by Narendra Modi more than a decade ago. It is a programmed that is celebrated in the state annually. The minister had then said that the Gujarat education model will find place in Delhi.
Meanwhile, the ministry’s bid to bring in internet connectivity to educational institutes is also picking up steam. The ministry will launch UNITE (University Network Initiative to enhance education) on Education Day on November 11 this year. UNITE envisages that 4.20 lakh classrooms – 20 classrooms in 21,000 colleges – would be WiFi-enabled within a year reaching out to 1.5 crore students. The caveat, however, is that student will only get access to academically relevant websites.
600 universities have already been connected with 1Gbps bandwidth. Each of these 600 universities will have a full campus WiFi LAN. Over 140 centrally-funded intuitions will be WiFi-enabled as part of the programme.
As first reported by India Today, SWAYAM — a web-based study portal — will offer online courses free of cost to learners and will be launched later on September 25 on the birth anniversary of Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. In the first phase, IIT (Bombay), IIT (Chennai), Delhi University, IIT (Guwahati), Manipur University, Punjab University and Banaras Hindu University will begin offering courses in engineering, social science, agriculture, energy, management and basic sciences.