Parul Sharma l Palladium - Jan 23 2024
Going Beyond Technology: How Nashik, India is Converting to ‘Smart Schools’

Nashik, Maharashtra, the Indian holy city famed for its ancient temples, is transforming education with the Nashik Smart School Project. The Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC), with Palladium India as the Advisory Consultant Agency, is converting its 100 traditional schools into ‘smart schools’ to improve the quality of education.

Smart schools, which feature technologies like interactive whiteboards, online learning platforms, and personalised educational tools, help foster more engagement in classrooms and prepare students with essential skills for the digital age. But for NMC, success requires more than introducing new technology; the project is also implementing a curriculum change to go hand in hand with the infrastructure change so that students can adapt to the new tools and rely less on traditional textbooks.

"This visionary initiative goes beyond conventional education boundaries,” shares Sumant More, CEO of Nashik Municipal Smart City Development Corporation Ltd. “The Nashik Smart School Project is not just transforming classrooms; it is cultivating a holistic learning environment that embraces innovation, inclusivity, and environmental consciousness, setting a remarkable standard for educational reform in India.”

“India's vast education system caters to over 250 million students across more than 1.5 million schools, making it one of the world's largest," says Kailas Patil, Director, Palladium India. While initiatives like digital education and skill development programs aim to bridge the quality gap and prepare students for the future, consistent quality is still a challenge due to lack of new age technology.

So far, 82 schools have been converted into smart schools, which includes upgrading the infrastructure, training teachers, creating a technology-based curriculum, and ensure ongoing evaluations. 656 classrooms are now home to Digital Smart Boards, Digital Educational Content, and High-Speed Internet Connectivity, along with 74 Computer Labs, each equipped with 21 computers and high-speed internet.

“Beyond the technological upgrades, the project's essence lies in creating vibrant learning hubs where every child can thrive, irrespective of their socioeconomic background," adds Patil. The curriculum has been strategically curated, moving beyond traditional rote memorisation to embrace interactive and multimedia content.

Mentoring the Mentors Beyond Education

Equipping teachers to leverage new technology and pedagogy in smart classrooms is key to success. NMC organises regular workshops, seminars, and online training modules by experts to provide theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience for teachers using the new tools and techniques.

So far, over 800 teachers have been trained on the new digital equipment, including interactive whiteboards, projectors, tablets, and digital content.
“The Nashik Smart School Project is not confined to the four walls of a classroom,” says Amit Patjoshi, CEO, Palladium India. Twelve NMC schools introduced “Miyawaki Afforestation,” a unique initiative fostering green spaces and instilling a sense of responsibility towards the environment. In addition, over 50 schools have Children’s Parliaments, empowering students to participate in decision-making, thereby nurturing leadership skills and fostering a sense of ownership.

“This forward-thinking approach serves as inspiration for other municipalities to embrace similar initiatives,” Patjoshi adds. “It has the power to nurture a generation of leaders who will be well-prepared to navigate the complexities of our interconnected world.”

For more information, contact or read 'Odisha, India Looks to Connect Local Villages with Green Transportation'.