Eight of the eleven Smart Classrooms, established last year by the Belagavi Smart City Limited (BSCL) in government schools, have been closed for the past six months due to the Department of School Education inability to cover the electricity costs. These classrooms were created as part of the Smart City project. The City Block Education Officer (BEO), Ravi Bhajantri, has reported the issue to higher authorities and reports the TOI.
Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Darshan HV told the TOI in the report that, according to the current system, there is no provision in the education department to cover the cost of electricity for classrooms.
Consequently, teachers and local School Development and Management Committee members of Kanabargi, Sardar High School, and Chintamanrao High School in Shahapur have taken it upon themselves to pay the electricity bills.
However, the rest of the schools have locked their Smart classrooms as the Hubli Electricity Supply Company (Hescom) has cut power supply. The BSCL had handed over the Smart classrooms to the Department of School Education and Literacy about a year ago, investing crores of rupees in the process. This was the first phase of the BSCL’s initiative, with the next phase yet to be started. The purpose of the project was to provide computer knowledge and digital education to students in government schools. However, school education officials have stated that they are unable to bear the electricity costs of these classrooms.
The Smart Classrooms have been established in the schools of Khanjar Galli, Bharat Nagar, Old Belagavi, Kanabargi, Mahantesh Nagar, Vantamuri Colony, Vadagaon, Vishweshwaraiah Nagar, Kakatives, and Shahapur. Each Smart Classroom is equipped with 20 computers, a 75-inch smart board panel, an e-library, 20 chairs, and a UPS, providing students with the necessary tools to excel in their studies.
The implementation of digital classrooms in the absence of adequate government funding can present challenges for educational institutions. Without sufficient financial support, schools will be unable to address the overhead costs associated with setting up such a workspace and paying electricity charges. Furthermore, they may find themselves struggling to provide upkeep on needed software and hardware upgrades, as well as ensure that programs are running efficiently.
It is essential for the Double Engine government to provide necessary funding so that educational institutions are able to afford these expenses and create a smooth transition from traditional classrooms to digital ones.