Govt run chain of Navodaya schools plans 10 inch tablet to beat digital divide for its 2.8 lakh students

COVID 19 and the school closure that has followed, is set to bring in a big technology reboot in the central government run chain of Navodaya schools.

Plans are afoot to bring in tablets and devices for over 2.8 lakh students enrolled in these residential schools.

Top officials in the Education ministry confirmed that the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti has proposed introducing a 10 inch tablet/notebook for all its students in over 660 districts.

The Navodaya chain of schools aim to provide quality education to talented children from rural areas, free of cost. They admit students from class 6 onwards up to class 12.

The ‘tablet’ plan is under advanced stages of financial approvals and a pilot roll out is expected for senior classes within this financial year, officials said.

“We first intend to provide the devices for classes 11 and 12 keeping in mind their academic requirements especially amid the pandemic when on campus classes are not being conducted. However, we ultimately plan to provide such a device for all students from class 6 onwards as it is felt that it will help supplement their learning-teaching needs in the future as well”, an official told ET.

Once the first lot of tablets for senior classes come through, the NVS will assess its effectiveness and may also ask for configuration changes for the next round of procurement for the entire student strength across

“We have already initiated the process and will go through the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) mechanism for procuring the tablets. We have preferred tablets over laptops keeping in mind both- student requirements and our finances”, the official added.

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While the NVS was already considering a device for its students, the COVID 19 outbreak has underlined the need even further, more so as they are strictly residential schools.

Internal surveys in the NVS indicate that near 80 per cent of its students have now got access to some sort of device/facility to access online learning material. For the remaining students, printed learning material is being compiled and reached to them. Since many students reside in rural areas with poor internet activity, live classes also become difficult. For such students, a device, would especially come in good use, it was felt.

With the pandemic having impacted education in a major way, the Education ministry is also considering an ambitious plan to provide ‘devices’ to over 4 crore students in higher education over the next five years.

The Rs 60,900 crore scheme was discussed recently by the Education ministry with the 15th Finance Commission.

ET earlier reported of plans to start off with distributing laptops/tablets of about Rs 15,000 each to 1.5 crore students in 2021-22 itself–at a cost of Rs 22,500 crore, of which Rs 13,500 crore is expected to be borne by the Centre and the remaining Rs 9000 crore would be the States share.

The school education department has also sought Rs 55,840 crores from the Finance Commission for providing ICT facilities in 3.10 lakh government schools.



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