Shimla: With the Himachal government struggling to impart computer education in schools, a study has pointed out glaring deficiencies in the curriculum and infrastructure at the senior secondary level, with many children shying from taking to the subject.
Anu, a class IX student at a government senior secondary school took to learning computers as an optional subject. Her father Ghanshyam, who works in the hospitality sector, coughed up Rs 130 a month for a year so that his daughter becomes computer literate. After a year, Anu has learn’t to create a folder and play Hindi songs on the computer.
Saptarshi Mukherjee, Kaavya B and Jayaram K, from the SP Jain institute of Management Mumbai doing a case study for My Himachal about computer literacy and IT penetration in Himachal found that 2 computers to a school and 3 to a college were simply insufficient to meet the needs for the subject.
“Though a girl’s education is free in the state but since computer education at the senior secondary level has been outsourced, Anu needs to pay for it,” says Satparshi. “A fee of Re 130 for just about an hour on the machine in a month is a very high fee structure that may spread awareness about a computer but certainly imparts no education.”
Presenting their findings before Prem Kumar Dhumal, the chief minister responded that resources remained a constraint for the moment but would be overcome.
“We will need to look at cost efficiencies and better utilisation that can be provided by mobile computer labs for imparting computer education,” said Dhumal.
Computers is introduced in class IX as an optional subject that too where a minimum number of students opt for it and given the poor infrastructure, by Class XII they are expected to pass an exam in Oracle, says Kaavya.
With only 588 schools out of 1216 schools providing computer education, Himachal is at least 6 to 7 years behind some other states in the subject, said Kavvya.
The state lacks a talent pool of IT engineers, says Jayaram, which does not warrant for IT companies to open offices. In the face of fierce competition, for the about 50,000 students who pass class XII each year there are only about 200 computer science seats available in the states engineering colleges.
The 5 proposed IT parks have not got off the ground. Given the constraints under which IT education is being imparted at the senior secondary school level, we found that many students in mid-course drop the subject itself, said Jayaram.