Lack of separate funds limits the availability of computers to selected schools in Karnataka.
The government schools in Karnataka lack digital infrastructure like computer labs and smart classes and a separate computer teacher to teach the subject. There are only a few systems in the schools and the basic skills are taught to the students by other subject teachers, said some government high schools teachers.
A report by the Unified District Information System for Education plus (UDISE) stated that 40 percent of the government schools had computer facilities and an article stated that, according to the UDISE report, out of 28,634 government schools, only 13 percent had Information and Communication Technology (ICT) labs out of which only 7 percent were functional.
Akbar Badsha, the Head Master of Maulana Azad School, Rajoor village of Koppal district said that there are only two computers in the school for a strength of 210 students. He said that due to fewer number of computers, not all students can practically learn the course.
Most of the students in the schools are from the economically weaker section and marginalized communities like the Schedule C aste and Schedule Tribe (SC and ST) and cannot afford to learn from some private coaching classes, he said. “If more computers and smart classes are provided by the government it will be very useful for the students ”
An English teacher, Prabhu Shivanugouda from the Government high school, Rajoor said that the strength of the school is 300 and there are just two computers, each class has a computer period every day, but every student does not get the opportunity to learn it practically.
“We have sent requests to the Block Education Office many a times to provide 10 to 12 computers for the schools but we have received no response,” he added. He also said that there are no separate teachers assigned to teach computer and he and another teacher teach computer to the students on alternative days.
Nazuma Begum, the Superintendent of Block Education Officer (BEO) from Yelburga, said that there is no separate funding provided by the state or the central government for digital infrastructure except for a few selected schools that get computers and smart classes from the existing funds.
She also said that before the pandemic computer teachers were appointed on a contract basis and their contracts had expired. But no new teachers have been appointed since then, she added.“We did not receive any order by the government to recruit permanent computer subject teachers, so the existing teachers are helping students with the basics,” she added.
Dr Pushpa C N, Associate professor from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Visveswaraya College of Engineering said that teaching computer skills to students in today’s day and age is a must as everything is digitized now. Government should have proper IT labs and computers in schools so that the students can learn m odern technology, she said.
She added that separate faculty for computer on a permanent basis should be recruited just as other subject faculties and computers should be taught to children from the primary classes just as it is done in private schools.
“Education should be equal for all no matter what the student’s background is, and if the government school students don’t know the basics, how will they work in a time when everything is digital and functions by Artificial Intelligence (AI),” she said.
She further said that there are many Computer Science graduates in the country who can be recruited as faculty for teaching how to use computer and they should be given an opportunity.