Officials unsure how NEP plan will be enforced
By Simran Sharma
A student raised his hand, gathering courage amid blank faces, when the teacher asked if anyone knew anything about coding, C++, Java or HTML. “CPU” is the answer the class 8 student of a Government Urdu Higher Secondary School gave.
Harsha Kashyap, a class 7 student, told The Observer: “We don’t have computer as a subject, and we do not have any computer teachers in our school. I have heard the word coding sometimes, but don’t know the meaning of it.” She does not know much about the basics of computers, The Observer noticed.
On the other hand, Ayesha, a class 8 student, said she had learnt a little bit of coding before joining the school. “I was in an aided school where I learnt a little bit of it. The rest I learnt from some of the coachings (institutes) I went to.” The government school she studies in does not have a subject on coding.
With the National Education Policy 2020 making coding a part of the curriculum from class 6, most government school students are not prepared to learn the subject. Many of them lack basic knowledge of computers.
The Observer asked authorities about the planning and implementation of the new policy. An official from the Department of State Educational Research and Training, said: “We are still in the process of preparing the curriculum. It is a cradle baby, and we are still in the planning phase. We have initiated the process, but as of now, I cannot say how we are going to provide all these things.”
An official from the education department said they have been given a budget of Rs 2 crore for NEP. The program is still in its infancy. They are planning for effective implementation.
The Softcopy, an IIJNM publication, mentioned that most of the government schools in Karnataka lack basic infrastructure. It also reported that as per the Unified District Information System for Education plus, 92.25 percent of government schools in the state do not have Internet facilities and 66 percent of them do not have functional computers.
Most schools are understaffed . Rashmi M, a science teacher in a Government Higher Primary School, said: “We don’t have computer subject in our curriculum as of now. There are a total of 10 teachers, and we don’t have specialized computer teachers as well. We were given some basic training in computers so that we can improve the learning experience. We are currently focusing on building basic infrastructure .”
Radha, headmistress of GHPS, Bidadi Colony, said: “We don’t have computer teachers in our schools. If any NGO or the government provides us with some specialized teachers, then it is OK, but otherwise what can we do?”
Mariyama, headmistress at GHPS, Vajarahalli, said: “We only have even subjects in our curriculum. Computers are not one of them. We have only three teachers and a total of 45 students.”
Private schools think similarly as their government counterparts.
Jyoti Khandelwal, a computer teacher in a private school, said: “In most private schools, computer departments are understaffed. Another big issue is that children who were in class 5 do not have much practical knowledge about the subject because their schools were closed due to Covid. Now, after almost a year, they are in the sixth standard. It will be difficult for them to understand coding when they are not aware about the computer basics they have missed out on.”
Karnataka is the first state to implement NEP. Its implementation in schools will begin from the next academic year. The policy brings forth coding as a new addition to the secondary school curriculum with the aim of making children proficient in technology, and to help them in developing a scientific temper. As per the 2020 NSO report, only 4 percent of rural households have access to computers as compared to 23 per cent of their urban counterparts, TOI reported.