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Thursday, May 04, 2006

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MS project boon to Lakshadweep school

Vipin V. Nair

Power-point based teaching sees class average going up sharply

Recently in Kavaratti

, Math is no longer a scary subject for the 12th standard students of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Minicoy Island. Their teacher says the class average has improved dramatically now.

"The class average stood at 74 per cent in 2004 from 53 per cent a year back," says Ms Lali, the match teacher of the school.

Mr Bill Gates can claim a part of the credit for that performance. Ms Lali developed Power Point-based teaching material that she says helped students to crack abstract theorems, and made math a more interesting subject.

The Navodaya's math teacher was one among the 76,000 teachers Microsoft has trained under its `Project Shiksha' initiative, launched by Microsoft's founder Mr Bill Gates, when he visited India in 2002.

Teachers like Ms Lali are trained in basic computer skills, so that they can use them in the process of imparting education and also in developing curriculum.

The Navodaya Vidyalaya in Minicoy Island of Lakshadweep is one of the remotest schools where Microsoft has rolled out the project. Today all the teachers in the school extensively use computers in teaching their students, says Mr Benny Joseph, Principal.

"With the installation of computers, nowadays we are extensively using Internet search engines since there are no good libraries around," Mr Joseph said.

According to Mr Vineet Kshirsagar, Industry Manager - Education, Microsoft India, the Project Shishka was launched with a vision to impart computer training to 80,000 teachers in five years, so that it can impact around four million students in the country.

However, the project has already covered around 76,000 teachers in its third year itself.

"Our new target is to train 200,000 teachers by end of 2008," Mr Kshirsagar said. Microsoft has committed an investment of $20 million in India over five years for Project Shiksha.

So far the software giant has signed memorandums of understandings (MoUs) with 10 State Governments to roll out the programme. The company has also set up seven IT academies, which are full-fledged technology centres featuring latest products.

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