Electric storm short circuits e-learning facility

The Pelkhil School-based project, currently on hold, involves videoconferencing classes to six pilot schools

I-school: I-school project at Pelkhil School in Thimphu has stopped due to heavy rain and lightning last week.

This has affected the six pilot schools, including Pelkhil, to transfer knowledge and skills through e-learning that was initiated March last year.

The pilot schools are compelled to conduct classes without the help of e-learning facility.

Pelkhil School as the master school taught mathematics, English, physics and chemistry through videoconference to five other schools at the same time.

Umesh Kumar, Pelkhil’s principal, said the screen was under maintenance.

‘We can’t see the students from the participating schools without the screen,’ said Umesh Kumar. ‘A class requires a two-way communication. There are always such technical hiccups when it comes to prevailing network.’

The pilot schools under I-school project are Pelkhil School (Thimphu), Khasadrapchu middle secondary school (Thimphu), Khuruthang MSS (Punakha), Bajothang higher secondary school (Wangdue), Phuentsholing MSS and Tendu HSS  (Samtse).

Sangay Dukpa, principal of Tendu HSS, said since the school was the furthest of all, it frequently faced such technical problems.

‘Sometimes there are network problems. At other times, there is electricity problem. Classes have been going on well, however,’ said Sangay Dukpa. “But students are worried.’

Shankar Lal Dahal, principal of Bajothang HSS, said timetable of all the pilot schools depend on Pelkhil School’s.

Karma Yeshey, director general of the school education department, said the pilot project has been extended for another year.

‘Since it was just over a year since the project began, it’s difficult for us to assess the project,’ said Karma Yeshey. ‘The project is a government’s initiative to improve education quality.’

If successful, the project will be expanded to other schools in the eastern and central parts of the country, Karma Yeshey said.

A report on the I-school project released by the education ministry states that the initiative is based on the use of connectivity to implement low-cost and user-friendly ICT for schools through mobile broadband and cloud computing.

The project was launched with an objective to provide access to quality education to students in different locations, to foster teaching learning innovation and creativity using ICT, and to optimise learning experience using the Internet facilities.

The schools are connected through a fibre optic connection installed through the support of Bhutan Telecom and Ericsson.

By Thinley Zangmo

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