The Human Resource Development Ministry’s assessment of learning levels among India’s 10th standard students in 2015 placed Tamil Nadu’s students close to the bottom in every subject. In Chennai, government-run schools have shown poor performance and dismal results. Hence, to pro-actively enhance the learning experiences of children in schools, especially public schools the Chennai Smart City Ltd (CSCL) will be revamping 10-15 corporation schools in the low-income settlements of the city under the CITIIS program. It is to be noted that majority of the children belonging to the low-income households attend public schools, as the private counterpart is expensive.
The project will arrest the falling learning levels in public schools in the short run and increase learning levels across corporation schools in the long run. It will provide experiential learning zones such as science innovation labs, experience labs, and other such practical training zones in the selected project schools so as to boost the interest factor in learning for kids. The project will promote self and digital learning among students, by equipping them with modern learning infrastructure such as tablets, and Wi-Fi enabled classrooms etc. That said, it will also create analytic-based student monitoring tool, and track and gauge student performance real time. To add more, the project will create a robust stakeholder (teachers, students, community) capacity building framework keeping in mind all their interests.
The project will focus on revamping of physical and digital infrastructure along with adequate capacity building for teachers, parents, and students. Chennai Smart City Ltd (CSCL) has implemented a SMART Classroom project under the Smart Cities Mission in 28 schools around the city in association with Samsung on a CSR initiative. Selection for the project will be done based on their location and preference will be given to those in low income settlements to provide an enhancement in their learning experience in schools. Additional methods such as tapping the CSR funds, asking corporates to adopt maintenance of schools, allocation of additional funds from the GCC budget, other PPP modes of maintenance are planned.
Schools will be selected based on some criteria such as whether the school has carried out water harvesting measures, whether the school has taken sufficient efforts to increase the greenery in the school etc. Experience labs will be built in schools to teach children about climate change. The schools selected for this project will take green and climate friendly efforts such as installation of solar panels, planting a minimum number of trees in their playgrounds etc. This project also proposes to initiate urban horticulture projects in the terraces of selected schools. Usable crops like vegetables and fruits are to be cultivated with the active involvement of teachers and students in the school.
The project is intrinsically inclusive and benefits are aimed to reach the poor. Co-ed schools from low income settlements will be chosen for the project to ensure that benefits reach equally. Gender balance will be maintained in School Management Committee compositions, staff, teachers etc. Innovative models and concepts such as ‘School Champions,’ ‘Girl Champions’ will be explored in schools where girls of extra ordinary talents and achievements in particular areas will be selected and their talents nurtured under expert guidance. Also, sports, as habit is to be implemented in this scheme in all selected schools, wherein special emphasis will be given to girls.