A transformation of 22 Kolkata government schools to Smart schools organized by The We Foundation and UTI Infrastructure Technology and Services Limited in association with Samagra Shiksha Mission,Kolkata
On 22nd June, 2023, Samagra Shiksha Mission, Kolkata, in partnership with The We Foundation and UTI Infrastructure Technology and Services Limited (UTIITSL), organized an event at Shiksha Bhavan, Kolkata, for transforming 22 government primary schools into ‘smart schools’ in West Bengal. The objective of the programme was to provide digital assets such as laptops, desktops, projectors, white boards and other digital equipment to all 22 schools in Kolkata, West Bengal, and create an inclusive society for Government school-going children to ensure “no one is left behind” digitally and every child has access to the digital world in a positive way.
Professor Arun Kr. Chattopadhyay, Deputy Chairman, West Bengal State Advisory Council, Government of West Bengal graced the occasion by being the Chief Guest of this event. Other dignitaries included, Smt Naina Kotian, VP and Nodal Officer CSR Officer of UTIITSL, corporate office, Mumbai, Sri Tapas Kumar Santra (Deputy VP and Eastern Regional Manager of UTIITSL, Kolkata, Sri Kartik Manna, Chairman of Samagra Shiksha Mission, Kolkata, government of West Bengal, and Smt Nabanita Banerjee, Director of The We Foundation, Kolkata. The project “smart schools” is one of the flagship programmes of The We Foundation. “Providing Government schools with digital assets was the need of the hour during post-Covid days as it would encourage the students to be more engrossed in their studies and would keep the rate of school-dropouts in check.” said Neha Kotian, the VP and Nodal Officer CSR department of UTIITSL, corporate office
“Having access to digital infrastructure at an early age is the cornerstone of getting into a digital world. Teachers know the best when it comes to education and curriculum development. Our objective was to complement their existing curriculum by incorporating audio-visual tools which would help retain and attract pupils.” said Nabanita Banerjee, the director of The We Foundation.
This event was first-of-its kind in West Bengal where the Government of West Bengal, in partnership with UTIITSL and TWF, has introduced digital resource centres in Government primary schools where over 5000 children and 250 teachers will be benefitted. The Government school teachers can complement their teaching methods and blend the mode of learning for joyful and advanced learning of students in schools. This will lead to improved access to digital assets in Government schools and also critical for a school to set itself up in the digital space of the internet. Children learn the positive aspects of e-learning at an early age and use the digital space judiciously. This initiative is a way towards creating a digital inclusive society in West Bengal and India.
Although digital education attained its zenith during the COVID-19 pandemic, The WE Foundation has identified that this concept of Digital Education is yet to permeate the system of primary school education across regions in India.
Having identified this problem, we at The WE Foundation, have come up with a flagship digital education project (eSarvaShiksha) which is a model e-pedagogy cum training and learning program for the school students in collaboration with our digital partner IT Giant Cognizant.
Students’ online education through eSarvaShiksha
Through this programme we aim to inject the essence of digital education into the municipal primary schools across Kolkata which are under the purview the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. This pilot program targets 7 schools, with about 50 students from Pre-primary to 5th standard, in order to provide them with a holistic pedagogical development in accordance with the STEAM system of education. We are now scaling the project both vertically and horizontally.
This financial year, with support from India Carbon Limited, we are targeting 15 schools and min 250 students to ensure that more and more children comes under the purview of digital education. For children, who are unable to afford a smart device, we are providing them workbook and other offline reading books to ensure their learning continues. We have collaborated with Cognizant, Government of West Bengal, and University of North Bengal to involve 100 schools in West Bengal under the digital learning programme. The Schools will be undertaken in phases.
Teachers’ Training through eSarvaShiksha
With the mission to run the eSarvaShiksha project sustainably, we have collaborated with Cognizant to train the teachers and professors on the pedagogy of the digital training cum educational platform. The Cognizant team is providing training to teachers on: Mobile digital mastery, Computer digital mastery and communicative English.
The training is taking place in phases: Phase 1 and phase 2 already completed during 2020-21 and until 15 September 2021. A total of 150 teachers have received training on digital tools and resources. The WE Foundation believes that digital education is evolving as the most accepted and student-friendly education in the country today. For successful commencement of the eSarvashiksha programme, we at The WE Foundation, are also focusing on the training and development of the professors and making them well versed with the digital tools and resources by giving them hands-on training jointly by the big players in the IT industry and The We Foundation digital team.