i Pad2 as basic learning tool for posh Mumbai school

MUMBAI: Come next academic session students of a posh Mumbai school will buy iPads in their school stationary as the school given directions to embrace the gadget as a basic learning tool.

“Parents now have the choice of either purchasing the iPad2 from the school on an outright basis or avail of a finance scheme on offer. You also need to indicate if the iPad2 will be purchased by you on your own. You are requested to mark your choice… to take further steps to initiate the process and negotiate the bulk order purchase,” the circular of Podar international school states. While the circular said that that school management’s decision, to use Apple iPad 2 in classrooms was welcomed by the parent community many parents expressed their displeasure personally or via newspaper interviews.

“We accept the need to learn the latest technology, the school went from blackboards to interactive boards to laptops but this is too much. The school charges 1, 25,000 as annual fee and if it continues to add such specific gadgets to the list as basics then it will be very difficult to keep up with the cost,”  a 35-year old professional with two kids in the Podar school said. The school published another circular clarifying that the use of iPad 2 was not mandatory. “Although not mandatory, it is no less alarming to know that the school finds such gadgets essential for 13 year olds. Needless to say that not having that gadget will become an issue for each child,” he added.

“The decision was approved by the PTA and we never made it compulsory…the resentment, largely on the part of media more than parents, is also unjustified,” Dr Vandana Lulla Principal/Director of Podar International High School said. “The iPads were meant for students from VI to XII to have a better understanding of the technology and the applications complement their syllabus and out teaching methods,” she added.

Meanwhile the attempt to upgrade the students skills has not gone down well with everyone, “Education and learning has more to do with teaching and knowledge instead of a specific gadget. Also this action will create discrimination amongst students, “said Jayant Jain, president of Fairness in Education. “The school has not made it mandatory but there is little option left with parents who fear that their ward might be harassed in school. Schools are not allowed to sell anything in their premises; students should not be treated as potential buyers.  “

The second edition of the iPad, which costs Rs 40,000, is being introduced for the 840 students of Std VI to XII.  Acknowledging that a few are not in favor, Lulla said, “There are only 5-10 per cent of parents who do not want the iPad2. It is not mandatory and children of parents who do not buy it can learn from interactive boards.” The school’s circular, however, mentions no alternative.

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