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Maharashtra: Over 27,000 rural children to get access to world-class education

November 16, 2015

On the occasion of Children’s Day, November 14, the education ministry of Maharashtra and ConnectEd Technologies, an emerging education-technology start-up, announced a rural education project which will make world-class education accessible to over 27,000 school-going children in the Palghar district of Maharashtra.
The project, which is supported by the education ministry of Maharashtra and funded by Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd. (DHFL) and JSW Steel, will observe ConnectEd Technologies deploying more than 100 of its ‘Smart Classroom’ systems across 24 government and government-aided schools. These systems pair high-definition projectors with captivating multimedia educational content, which is tailor-made to improve understanding and academic performance amongst rural children. Despite being advanced, ConnectEd’s ‘Smart Classroom’ systems are robust, easy-to-use, and accompanied by an internal battery, as well as an external solar-battery, making the solution well-suited for implementation in rural areas.

Speaking on the occasion, Vinod Tawde, education minister of Maharashtra, said, “Honourable prime minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the Digital India programme with the vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. Education is one of the key focus areas of this programme, and I am proud to announce this innovative rural education project which will benefit thousands of children in the Palghar district of Maharashtra. The fact that this project is being spearheaded by a dynamic young team with the support of socially-responsible corporates is extremely heartening, and we hope to see more such collaborations in the future.”

Lehar Tawde, co-founder, ConnectEd Technologies, added, “A lot has been done to increase student enrolment in rural areas and these efforts have been successful. However, this has increased the burden on teachers and infrastructure. We at ConnectEd believe that private players like us can play a big role in aiding the government to ease this burden on the schooling system. We are thankful to the education ministry of Maharashtra, DHFL and JSW Steel for seeing merit in our product and supporting its implementation in Palghar. We soon plan to take this solution to other areas of the state and the country as well, enabling underprivileged youth all across to contribute to the India growth story.”

The 24 schools that stand to benefit from this project are some of the most densely populated schools in the Palghar Taluka of the district. Most of them have skewed student-to-teacher ratios, particularly in the higher standards, which makes it difficult for teachers to impart quality education to the children using conventional means. Under this project, several classrooms in each school will be fitted with ConnectEd’s ‘Smart Classroom’ system, thereby allowing teachers to incorporate multimedia educational content in their lecture delivery, leading to naturally induced standardisation and improvement in the quality of education delivered, and improved academic performance.

This project has stood out for the education ministry of Maharashtra as it is one of the first rural-focused education projects using technology at this scale, in the state. Unlike conventional technology solutions installed in these schools in the past, these solutions are designed specifically for the rural market. The educational content is in coherence with the state board curriculum, yet entirely focused towards rural students, and the hardware is better suited to rural conditions.

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