Chennai

Govt. to tie up with corporates to give schools a makeover

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Tamil Nadu government have set up a joint task force on ‘School Education System.’

Over the next five years, the task force, along with companies that are members of the CII, will identify government schools which require attention and transform them.

The task force will be headed by the principal secretary of the School Education Department and will be co-chaired by chairman, CII Tamil Nadu State Council. The first meeting of the task force took place on January 31.

“A lot needs to be done regarding our education system — it is still colonial,” said P. Ravichandran, chairman, CII Tamil Nadu State Council, and president, Danfoss Industries Pvt. Ltd.

“The idea to set up the task force came during a conclave [regarding education] in Coimbatore. When we proposed the idea, School Education Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan and other officials agreed to it,” he said.

Currently, there is no institutional framework in the government that allows industry to engage and support school education.

Citing an example, Mr. Ravichandran, said, “I may want to put my Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fund but now I can’t approach the government schools directly. The task force is working on a framework where industry can participate and support schools.”

Pradeep Yadav, principal secretary, School Education Department, said, “We are working on the guidelines along with the CII which will be released within a month as this is the first priority of the task force. The association with the CII will help improve the quality of education and schools.”

Once, the guidelines are in place, the State government will shortlist 7,000 schools across Tamil Nadu and hand over the list to the CII. The process of shortlisting schools has already begun.

“We will hand over the list to our offices across the State and ask companies to pick schools that they want to work with in their districts,” Mr. Ravichandran said.

In the CII here, there are over 1,300 member companies — some of them are large corporates and some are firms with a turnover of ₹100 crore that want to engage with schools in their towns.

Teacher development

“A few major areas have been identified. We want to do teacher development and help teachers through industry. We have also asked the government to allow employees [from the industry] to share their expertise. The companies are willing to develop smart infrastructure,” Mr. Ravichandran said.

The corporates are interested in making a transformational syllabus for schools, where classrooms with a fixed desk could be transformed into one of experiential learning for the children.

“We are open to suggestions and see how we can accommodate these,” Mr. Pradeep said.

This venture will be rolled out in a phased manner and will entail a budget of over ₹1,000 crore.

“There is no specific budget — it will be funded by companies that come under the CII umbrella. Money is not an issue — we are looking at this as a game changing programme,” said Mr. Ravichandran.

Article source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/govt-to-tie-up-with-corporates-to-give-schools-a-makeover/article22652509.ece?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication

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