Tuesday, October 11

Educomp founder hints VSAT to Boost Rural Education and Smart Classes

Learning isn’t effective if there’s lack of fun in the process. Even a lame joke cracked by the teacher can effectively raise students’ morale and make the class interesting. Yet, more than a teacher’s lecture, it’s seen that interactive-digital-media provides better education. On that note, Educomp Solutions founder, Shantanu Prakash, asserts that ‘smart classrooms’ will revolutionize teaching in the coming decade, especially rural education that’s lagging in a lot of aspects.

Remote and poor villages do not enough teachers skilled enough to educate every child of the village. This is where smart classrooms come in. Having trouble explain how a Nephron works? Let an interactive flash video explain. Since every student is involved with the educational media actively, it solves the problem of shortage of teachers while simultaneously filling up the quality gap.

The Internet is an important component of smart education. Students in remote towns and villages cite connectivity as a major roadblock. Let alone the Internet, some students have to walk miles and even cross rivers to attend a single class. Same goes for the teachers who have to travel miles and miles to attend schools in the hinterlands.

The problem can be solved through VSAT, which shall deliver smart classes and digital education as well. Shantanu Prakash, who is credited by many to be the godfather of digital education in India, explains, “Through methods like VSAT technology teaching, we attempt to bring the expertise of renowned teachers in metros to small towns and rural areas.”

The VSAT system basically comprises of a satellite, a central communication hub, and several client systems. Schools receive the benefit of networking and online interactive media through the hub that’s connected to the satellite. With VSAT, the villages will not be dependent on other companies as they will be able to manage their own communication system.

The impact is clearly visible as students have shown radical transformation after the introduction of computer-aided education. Rahul Shinde, a sixteen-year-old from a village near Nagpur was able to create a phone security app, thanks to interactive online lessons.

Manjeet Kaur, a Government teacher from Dholan, Punjab, reveals, “Previously, it was difficult controlling the students and to discipline them. Now, they are eager to study and keep asking teachers that when will they be taken to smart classrooms. We have designated one-hour a day to these classes.”

The only drawback is that VSAT is costly. The cost and speed of implementation are the main issues ailing the spread of smart classes. While companies like Educomp Solutions have collaborated with more than 10,000 schools across 14 states, the government can ease the process by reducing infrastructure costs, especially for VSAT systems.