Palghar on its way to become Maharashtra’s first ‘Smart Schooling District’

DHFL strengthens commitment to the ‘EkShiksha’ campaign initiated by ConnectEd Technologies & supported by Education Ministry of Maharashtra

India CSR News Network

MUMBAI: On the occasion of Children’s Day, the Education Ministry of Maharashtra and ConnectEd Technologies, an emerging edtech start-up, announced strengthening of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd.’s (DHFL) commitment to transform rural schools in Palghar under the ‘EkShiksha’ campaign initiated by ConnectEd Technologies and Maharashtra Government.

indi-csr-award-ad-300x400The commitment made by DHFL will enable ConnectEd Technologies to double its tally of ‘Smart Classrooms’ in Palghar to 120; benefiting over 25,000 children across Govt., Aided and Tribal Welfare schools.

Under this initiative, each classroom is installed with ConnectEd’s solar-powered ‘Smart Classroom System’; allowing teachers to integrate tailor-made educational content into conventional teaching practices, thereby improving the learning environment and academic performance. Unlike conventional technology solutions installed in rural schools in the past, these solutions are designed specifically for rural usage. The course content is in coherence with the State Board curriculum, yet optimized for rural students, and the hardware is better suited to rural conditions.

Speaking on the occasion, Vinod Tawde, Education Minister of Maharashtra, said, “We announced the ‘EkShiksha’ campaign only 5 months ago, and on the occasion of Children’s Day I’m happy to see industry support the digitisation of rural schools across Palghar. These efforts are in sync with Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ mission, and will go a long way to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. I hope more corporates, NGOs and school trusts support ‘EkShiksha’ and the young team at ConnectEd Technologies’ spearheading it.”

Haren Paul Rao, Founding Partner – Head of Corporate Relations, ConnectEd Technologies, added, “We are extremely glad to see key stakeholders focus on enhancing education delivery whilst improving student enrolment. Our ‘EkShiksha’ campaign with the Government of Maharashtra aims at providing children in rural schools with equal access to world-class education, as currently enjoyed by their urban and semi-urban counterparts; with rural-focused technology playing the medium of delivery. We are extremely thankful to DHFL for having faith in us and strengthening their commitment to our efforts.”

Speaking on the occasion, Kapil Wadhawan, CMD, DHFL, said, “DHFL has been stead-fast in its commitment to enable common people to lead a better life, by giving access to affordable housing finance. Education is key to better living, which is why we have adopted it as a major objective under CSR. We are pleased to extend our support towards ‘EkShiksha’ programme in Palghar in the second year, with the objective of supporting the mission of transforming Palghar into Maharashtra’s first Smart Schooling District.”

The efforts of ConnectEd Technologies have stood out for the Education Ministry of Maharashtra as it is one of the first rural-focused education initiatives using technology at this scale, in the state. The 120 classrooms that will benefit from this commitment 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. 

Founded last year, ConnectEd Technologies aims at enabling Indian youth – particularly those in rural areas – by making quality educational and vocational training content accessible to them using technology. Within this short span of time, our efforts have garnered extensive support by the State Government of Maharashtra and leading corporates alike, resulting in our maiden project in the Palghar region of Maharashtra impacting thousands of school students.

Due to poor internet penetration across rural and semi-rural areas, we currently use the offline route to disseminate tailor-made educational content to rural audiences and measure their performance. However, efforts by the Government, telecom operators and ISPs, coupled with the entry of low-cost, internet-ready mobiles are expected to boost internet usage, and we seek to soon launch a series of web-based products to provide easy access to our content and an adaptive learning environment.

“Our plan is to walk alongside the masses as they step online; becoming an integrated solutions’ provider that not only serves world-class educational and vocational training content to enhance the potential of Indian youth, but enables industry to make smart human resource choices, by providing them access to individuals whose measured competencies match their requirements.”,  ConnectEd Technologies said.