Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said students should be motivated towards the use of technology, but at the same time they should not forget to engage with sports and social life.
The PM, who is on a three-day visit to his home state of Gujarat, cautioned children against focusing just on online activities and pointed out that under the New Education Policy, sports is a part of education and not just another extracurricular activity.
PM Modi started his Gujarat trip by visiting “Vidya Samiksha Kendra,” or the Command and Control Center for Schools, in state capital Gandhinagar, which collects over 500 crore data sets annually from schools and analyzes them to enhance overall learning outcomes for students.
The center has been deemed a global best practice by the World Bank, which has also invited other countries to visit and learn about the facility.
“You all have experienced the benefits of technology. We are fortunate to be living in an era where technology is easy and accessible. Once you take a little interest in it, all the world’s doors will open up to you,” PM Modi said, interacting with teachers and students of some government schools from the center via video conferencing.
“Children should be motivated towards this (technology)…but then, it should not be so that everything is online and nothing is offline. How will (a child) know online whether the ‘jaggery’ is sweet unless he tastes it? For that he will have to consume it in reality. Sports, social life are other such things that should not be forgotten,” he said.
During the interaction, PM Modi asked about the experience and interest of teachers and students towards technology.
He asked students about their experience of using DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing) – a national portal for school education. The PM also wanted to know from teachers whether the new system of collecting data has created an additional burden on them.
PM Modi suggests an interactive system targeted at students to raise awareness regarding their calorie requirement under the Centre’s Poshan Abhiyaan, which is India’s flagship scheme to improve the nutritional outcomes of adolescents, children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
The PM sought to know whether teachers can prepare children for such a system developed to help them know about their daily calorie requirements and whether they have received sufficient calories on the basis of food consumed by them.
The Prime Minister said he felt such a system will help sensitize students about their calorie requirements at individual level.
PM Modi suggests a competition among schools, teachers and students at taluka-level to assess their overall performance.
He asked a schoolteacher whether his school has anything related to physical training. The PM then said under the New Education Policy, sports is a part of education and not just another extra curricular activity.
The command and control center that PM Modi visited helps track daily online attendance of teachers and students, undertakes centralized summative and periodic assessments of learning outcome of students, among other activities.
Before his interactive session, PM Modi was taken on a tour of various facilities available at the centre.
PM Modi’s visit to the center comes days after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) sought to corner the BJP government in Gujarat over the condition of state-run schools.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia recently visited a government school in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar city and highlighted its poor infrastructure and lack of a permanent teacher.
The comments by Mr Sisodia, who handles the education portfolio in the Delhi government, were seen as an attempt by the AAP to make education a key issue in the Assembly elections in Gujarat due by the year-end.