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Sandeep Gund has set up over 45,000 e-learning schools at an affordable price, impresses Javadekar, mayor and standing committee chairman

After Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) tabled its Rs 24-crore proposal for e-learning initiatives in its schools recently, which generated much noise, the civic body eventually managed to find a solution in its own backyard. It is looking to a former primary school teacher, who has set up more than 45,000 e-learning schools across the state for guidance; and if his know-how is put to good use, the corporation will save around Rs 20 crore.

Sandeep Gund , a n Information Technology teacher working at the District Institute of Education Training (DIET) in Loni Kalbhor, has revised the corporation’s plan of Rs 24 crore and cut it short to a mere Rs 4 crore, with an upgraded version of e-learning skills.

As part of the central government’s Digital Mission, the civic body had proposed to upgrade all its schools with digital e-learning techniques. The plan was to get broadband connectivity, a digital classroom concept and provide training. However, the standing committee opposed the proposal for the high cost involved, leading to its postponement thrice in the committee meeting.

Last week, the standing committee found a way out in the form of Sandeep Gund, when word got around about him giving valuable tips on running e-learning schools to Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, in Pune. Mayor Mukta Tilak, standing committee chairman Murli Mohal and leader of the house Shrinath Bhimale were also present at the meeting. They were impressed Gund’s work, particularly how he made a success of the first e-learning concept in a Zilla Parishad school in Thane, where he worked in 2009.

Said the Shirur-based educator, “My first posting was as a primary teacher in the remote village of Pashtepada, situated in the tribal block of Shahapur in Thane district. Over the last eight years I have made more than 45,000 Zilla Parishad schools across the state digital.” He is now posted at DIET where his job is to offer training to teachers.

He added, “During my meeting with Javadekar and the others I offered my proposal on e-learning in schools at the cost of Rs 4 crore. Through my experience and work I can confidently state that each school could go digital for a cost of Rs 50,000. There are two techniques in e-learning — non-interactive and interactive. I have introduced the interactive technique. There will be scope for improvisation in teaching techniques, where a teacher can upgrade information beyond the corporation’s existing proposal. Our system doesn’t require maintenance.”

When the system was first implemented, he found students were attracted to television, which propelled him to use LCD to teach them. “It was a big transition from a chalk-board. Now, I use a magnetic stick. There is no need to carry books in school bags either. In tribal areas where electricity is a problem in schools, I have introduced solar energy panels for continuous supply and the system is not interrupted.”

There are 287 corporation schools in the city. According to Gund’s proposal, interactive monitoring e-classes would require an LED, master tablet, screen cast device, interactive software, interactive sensor, projector, computer, accessories and voice board. For the creation of a virtual classroom, computer, an all-in-one camera, LED and relevant software are required.

“We are waiting for Gund to make a presentation to all committee members. We are optimistic that it would help us save money on this initiative, without a compromise on the quality of education in corporation schools,” said Mohal. Subhangi Chavan, an administrator of the PMC school board who was privy to the proposal, said, “A digital classroom will not just benefit the corporation school children, as private school kids can also access the learning technique. Therefore, internet connectivity, virtual class rooms, software, hardware and maintenance are included in the proposal. The overall cost will hold good for three years.”

I use a magnetic stick. There is no need to carry books in school bags either. In tribal areas with electricity issues, I have introduced solar energy panels for continuous supply

— Sandeep Gund, IT teacher



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