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How Pashtepada's smart school inspired 50,000 schools in Maharastra

Digital classrooms are now far more common and advanced than they used to be a few years ago

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Maharashtra | education | Schools

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

(Photo: Twitter/@swarup58)
(Photo: Twitter/@swarup58)

The pandemic forced every sector to focus on going digital. wasn’t spared either. Digital classrooms are now far more common and advanced than they used to be a few years ago.

However, the story of a tribal village of Pashtepada, 120 kms north of Thane district in is much inspiring. The zila parishad schhol in Pashtepada has set an example for the not only in but also in other states by going digital even before the top cities were planning to do so.

Sandeep Gund, a primary school teacher in Pashtepada, was a few steps ahead of the government and developed his Pashtepada model of even before then central government started pushing for digitisation. His idea was to engage students in more interactive manner and imparted quality .

Anil Swarup, a former civil servant, mentioned Sandeep Gund while addressing an event at Indore. He said, "When I saw this passion, I took a photograph with the teacher and tweeted it. Suddenly, he became a local hero and a pilgrimage for other ."

Swarup said, "The Pashtepada model has been replicated in 50,000 in within two years."

The primary school was made digital even before electricity reached the village. Sandeep Gund used foldable solar panels to charge his second-hand laptop, which he used to create curiosity among students, which led to more funding from the villagers. Starting with two tablets, soon NGOs reached out to Gund and more funding flowed in.

Swarup told the gathering at Indore that when he met Gund, he was informed that with Gund’s idea of using digital means for education, students don’t want to leave the . “Earlier we had to pull children to attend school, now we have to ask them to leave,” said Swarup at the event.

Gund and his group of four more colleagues have conducted more than hundreds of workshops in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Orissa till now. Moreover, they also have trained over 40,000 teachers across various schools in Maharashtra regarding setting up digital classrooms in their schools.

This model uses corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds, support from NGOs and local people, which highlights the importance of community participation and public private partnership.

Swarup said, “What is even more amazing is every penny of Rs 354 crores was raised through crowdfunding and not from the government”.


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First Published: Wed, August 17 2022. 15:11 IST