In 2013 as the Gujarat Government unveiled its latest budget, the Finance Minister Mr Patel revealed plans that had Gujarat's youth at the heart of things. He said:
"We intend to launch a massive campaign to prepare skilled manpower in line with the requirements of the international trends and thus fulfil the expectations of this neo-middle class youth."
The Information Communication Technology Scheme that has been set up in schools goes hand in hand with such a rationale. Not too far from the urban centres is Sayala village in Surendranagar Block. Community Correspondent Neeru Rathod reports from the Government Secondary school on the poor implementation of the scheme which envisions that each child is equipped with computer skills by the time they graduate from school.
The computers are there, the students are excited, the teacher is there too... whether or not all three are in the same room at the same time depends on what version of the story you get and whom you choose to believe. And so Neeru had her task cut out as she set out to make this video.
All the students agree that the computer classes are few and far between.
"No, we don't have classes. When the computer exam comes, we know nothing so the teacher makes us cheat" says Vishwaraj, a very eloquent 9th grader.
The other side of the story as given by Mr Parmar, the computer teacher, as he vouches for the 100% success of the scheme, is this:
"I shouldn't say this, but when I have time I'll make them sit the whole day to teach them computers. When I don't have time, there is a two-three day gap between classes... You see this is a government school, and often the students' attendance is irregular. So if you ask them, they will definitely say there are no classes."
Neeru for her part, treats the above claim with a large dose of skepticism. The point however is this, if students themselves feel like they have not benefitted from the education they get in their school then steps need to be taken to remedy the situation.
You can help do this, and it is important that you do because if we are waxing eloquent about the wonderful benefits of technology these days, don't you think every single child should have access to it, not just the 'neo-middle class youth' Mr Patel addresses in his budget?
Please call Mr GD Kanani, the District Education Officer, on 09909970219 an dask him to make sure that the computer classes in the district's schools are properly implemented.
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