PULWAMA: As a significant move towards promoting e-learning and introducing students in far-flung areas to interactive digital knowledge platform, J&K Finance Minister , Dr Haseeb Drabu on Wednesday launched hi-tech computer labs in government schools of Qasbayar and Sangarwani in district Pulwama, an official spokesman said.
These computer centres have been established by multinational insurance company PNB-MetLife under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme.
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Muneer-ul-Islam, CEO PNB-MetLife, Ashish Srivastava, Regional Head, PNB-MetLife, Zeeshan Andleeb, Regional Director (North), Child Rights and You (CRY), Soha Moitra and other officers of the district administration and representatives of PNB-MetLife were present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Drabu said that Jammu and Kashmir needs to spend much more on the education sector than what is being spent now. “I am encouraged to see PNB-MetLife coming forward to equip our children in such remote areas with state-of-the-art e-learning facilities,” he said, adding the initiative would go a long way in providing much needed e-learning facilities to the children from the marginalized sections of the society.
The Minister said the funds for ensuring assured internet facility to the newly established computer labs would be provided by him from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
Dr Drabu said the supplementary computer teachers are being trained who will be responsible for teaching basics of computers to the students. “Interactive learning programmes are also being introduced in these schools,” he said. “This will enable students to understand their subjects better with the help of educational videos and presentations.” He said in addition to the students enrolled in the school, children from nearby schools in the area will also be able to benefit from the e-learning facility.
The Minister announced that he would immediately take up with the Education Minister the matter regarding upgradation of Sangarwani and Abhama High Schools to Higher Secondary School level so that the children from these remote areas get facilities of higher learning at their doorstep.
Speaking on the occasion, CEO PNB-MetLife, Ashish Srivastava said the company launched its CSR programme in J&K in 2014. “With the unflinching support from State Government, PNB-MetLife, along with CRY, have been able to successfully impact 26000 children and reach the stage of introducing children to computer education,” he said and added that in today’s age, it’s a must to know basics of operating a computer to be employable.
He said the initiative is geared towards eradicating “digital divide” from the project areas of PNB-MetLife.
Soha Moitra, Regional Director, CRY said learning computers will be a new and exciting experience for the children in this remote area. He said computer knowledge and know-how will help children keep in step with the rapidly changing world and broaden their horizon. “Our partnership with PNB MetLife is aimed at providing a holistic learning experience to the children of J&K and this initiative of bridging the digital gap is a positive step in that direction,” he said.
Giving an overview of the CSR activities of PNB-MetLife, Zeeshan Andleeb said last year PNB MetLife announced the successful grooming of over 700 children in government schools through a unique concept called Children Activity Centres (CAC). “During this period, a landmark achievement was also recorded wherein the state government recognized CAC and is also considering adopting it as a model for Non Residential Bridge Course (NRBC) of the Sarva Shikhsha Abhiyaan,” he said and added that the program is aimed at improving the conditions of children in Jammu & Kashmir.
Zeeshan said the PNB-MetLife partnership with CRY is currently benefitting over 16000 children across 30 Panchayats of J&K.