India Formulating a National Policy on ICT in School Education | digitalLEARNING Magazine
July 2008

India Formulating a National Policy on ICT in School Education

Views: 251

How do teachers, administrators and policy makers feel about their experiences with technology? Is there a balance between teaching about technology as a subject, and as a tool for learning? Has the technology integration proved financially, technically and administratively sustainable over time?

In continuation to our discussions on formulating a National Policy on ICT in School Education in India, and our attempt to make the discussions more wide, open and collaborative, we are producing the discussions that the UN Solution Exchange (www.solutionexchange-un.net.inen) Community members have reflected on the key thematic pillars like ICT Infrastructure, e-Content, Capacity Building, Innovation and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, Quality in School Education, and Public Private Partnerships in a series. In this issue, we are presenting a part of the discussions happened on the issue of e-Content. The June issue of Digital Learning has produced the e-Discussions of the UN Solution Exchange Education and Development community on the Capacity Building and Innovation and Research.

As we know, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (www.education.nic.in), Government of India, has already initiated the process to formulate the ‘National Policy on ICT in School Education’. The Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (www.gesci.org), a UN ICT Task Force founded organisation, along with Centre for Science, Development, and Media Studies
(www.csdms.in) provides strategic assistance to MHRD in the preparation of this policy.

eCONTENT DEVELOPMENT and DELIVERY

QueriesRespondents
Experiences and examples, case studies and recommendations on mechanisms for delivery of digital content (computer-aided multi-media, Edusat, Radio, TV, etc) to reach schools.

Challenges in procurement of quality digital content (computer-aided, TV, Radio, etc) for schools, especially pertaining to local languages.

Suggestions for strategic and practical use of digital content in the school education system. Are there any experiences that can be evaluated?

  • Anindya Kumar Banerjee, Panchayats and RD Department, Government of West Bengal, Kolkata
  • Madhu Ranjan, United Sates Agency for International Development (USAID), New Delhi
  • Ananya.S.Guha, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
  • Veena Sethi, UDAAN Foundation, New Delhi
  • Gurumurthy Kasinathan, IT for Change, Bangalore
  • Syamaprasad Datta, P.N. Das College, Palta, West Bengal
  • Sanjeev Kumar Rai, UNICEF, Bhopal
  • Jitendra Shah, Indictrans, Mumbai
  • Ranjit Nambiar, National Instruments India, Bangalore
  • A Prabaharan, Public Action, New Delhi
  • Jitendra Prasad, C-DAC, Hyderabad
  • Nagarjuna G, Free Software Foundation of India/HBCSE, TIFR, Mumbai
  • M V Ananthakrishnan, Developmental Infomatics Lab, KReSIT, IIT Bombay, Mumbai
  • Anshuman Das, Development Research Communication & Services Centre, Kolkata
  • Rujuta Deshmukh, Independent Consultant, New Delhi

Four queries were posted on the issue of development and delivery of eContent in school education. Fourteen responses were received from both the ICT for Development and Education communities of the UN Solution Exchange.

Anindya Kumar Banerjee, Panchayats and RD Department, Government of West Bengal, Kolkata
‘Allow academia to provide quality content’

Technology Tools for Teaching and Training (T4) is a USAID-supported initiative implemented by the Education Development Centre (EDC). T4 has numerous examples of delivery of digital content through Radio using Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) and TV (Edusat) to reach hundreds of primary schools in Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar in partnership with the state SSAs. The IRI programmes are broadcast in the local language for all primary classes in Karnataka for all subjects. In Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, MP and Bihar, broadcasts are made for classes I and II for English language. These broadcasts are need-based, as identified by states themselves. The content is also delivered through video (Edusat) in those primary schools in Karnataka that have the necessary infrastructure. Besides, a series of Group Teaching Learning (GTL) multimedia CDs have been developed, covering a range of topics in Science and Social Studies. Under this, over 500 programmes have been produced and broadcast/delivered so far. All these programmes are evaluated by external agencies before they are aired and are also assessed for changes, both in the teaching practice and learning levels of students, each year.

The greatest challenge is to make it pervasive and integrate its features into the ethos of a school

The critical features of this initiative are:

  • The teacher remains central to the teaching-learning process.
    The programmes are so designed that they encourage ‘interactivity’ and ‘inclusion’ in the classroom.
  • The programmes are designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated in consultation with the SSA, thus allowing for its mainstreaming.
  • The rich and insightful inputs of grassroots NGOs in the formative evaluation these programmes strengthen it immensely.
  • There is intensive training of teachers and other education functionaries of the government.

From our experience, the most critical challenge in this entire process is to maintain the rigour in providing support to teachers and closely monitoring their work, and this in turn requires an adequately equipped and motivated academic support staff.

Ananya S Guha, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
‘Policy makers to take advice of school authorities’

ICT is an all-encompassing term which includes radio, television and computers. The greatest challenge is to make it pervasive and integrate its features into the ethos of a
school. They can act upon one another or be used separately but in an integrated fashion. For example, podcasting or computer broadcasting can serve the purpose of a radio,
with the ability for synchronous interaction. There could also be phone-in programmes by FM Channels. As a
college teacher in Shillong in the 80s, I found many school radio broadcasts ofgood quality. But how many students would tune into these at 1.30 PM, a time when classes
were held?

The policy makers must consciously take the advice of the school authorities in decision making such as fixing the timing.

Veena Sethi, UDAAN Foundation, New Delhi
‘ICT learning in a remote area’

I would like to share my experience in introducing ICT learning in a remote area. We are a very small NGO operating in Mukteshwar (Nainital district). Since there are no such facilities in the area, as an experiment in 2005, I started a computer education centre in my house. I designed a very simple course and trained local youth in computer basics. Today, they are not only teaching others but one of them is also in charge of the centre. Unfortunately, we have not had much success in persuading the local government schools (primary as well as secondary) to outsource computer teaching to us. Reasons are the usual: the schools do not
have electricity / provision to pay for it, even the one or
two schools that do have systems do not have teachers.
So we have entered into partnership with a local
Shishu Mandir school where we are imparting computer education to three senior classes (approximately 70
students).

In addition, our students also run the Tata Consultancy
Services designed Adult Literacy programme in different villages, from time to time. Some of our s

How do teachers, administrators and policy makers feel about their experiences with technology? Is there a balance between teaching about technology as a subject, and as a tool for learning? Has the technology integration proved financially, technically and administratively sustainable over time?

In continuation to our discussions on formulating a National Policy on ICT in School Education in India, and our attempt to make the discussions more wide, open and collaborative, we are producing the discussions that the UN Solution Exchange (www.solutionexchange-un.net.inen) Community members have reflected on the key thematic pillars like ICT Infrastructure, e-Content, Capacity Building, Innovation and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, Quality in School Education, and Public Private Partnerships in a series. In this issue, we are presenting a part of the discussions happened on the issue of e-Content. The June issue of Digital Learning has produced the e-Discussions of the UN Solution Exchange Education and Development community on the Capacity Building and Innovation and Research.

As we know, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (www.education.nic.in), Government of India, has already initiated the process to formulate the ‘National Policy on ICT in School Education’. The Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (www.gesci.org), a UN ICT Task Force founded organisation, along with Centre for Science, Development, and Media Studies
(www.csdms.in) provides strategic assistance to MHRD in the preparation of this policy.

eCONTENT DEVELOPMENT and DELIVERY

QueriesRespondents
Experiences and examples, case studies and recommendations on mechanisms for delivery of digital content (computer-aided multi-media, Edusat, Radio, TV, etc) to reach schools.

Challenges in procurement of quality digital content (computer-aided, TV, Radio, etc) for schools, especially pertaining to local languages.

Suggestions for strategic and practical use of digital content in the school education system. Are there any experiences that can be evaluated?

  • Anindya Kumar Banerjee, Panchayats and RD Department, Government of West Bengal, Kolkata
  • Madhu Ranjan, United Sates Agency for International Development (USAID), New Delhi
  • Ananya.S.Guha, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
  • Veena Sethi, UDAAN Foundation, New Delhi
  • Gurumurthy Kasinathan, IT for Change, Bangalore
  • Syamaprasad Datta, P.N. Das College, Palta, West Bengal
  • Sanjeev Kumar Rai, UNICEF, Bhopal
  • Jitendra Shah, Indictrans, Mumbai
  • Ranjit Nambiar, National Instruments India, Bangalore
  • A Prabaharan, Public Action, New Delhi
  • Jitendra Prasad, C-DAC, Hyderabad
  • Nagarjuna G, Free Software Foundation of India/HBCSE, TIFR, Mumbai
  • M V Ananthakrishnan, Developmental Infomatics Lab, KReSIT, IIT Bombay, Mumbai
  • Anshuman Das, Development Research Communication & Services Centre, Kolkata
  • Rujuta Deshmukh, Independent Consultant, New Delhi

Four queries were posted on the issue of development and delivery of eContent in school education. Fourteen responses were received from both the ICT for Development and Education communities of the UN Solution Exchange.

Anindya Kumar Banerjee, Panchayats and RD Department, Government of West Bengal, Kolkata
‘Allow academia to provide quality content’

Although there is ample content in the ICSE & ISC and CBSE, NCERT syllabus, there is not much in the state-run boards. It is therefore the responsibility of respective local players or bodies of educational players to create content.

I personally feel that the best way to develop quality content is allowing the academia in IITs, IIMs and Indian Institutes of Information Technology, etc to provide us with content that the education boards will accept without much fuss.

‘Broadcasting by K-YAN’

Most of the schools can be given digital content to be unicasted, but the fact is how to ‘broadcast’ it as we all know a computer is viewed by 2 to 4 students. But if a projection system like K-YAN of IL&FS (http://www.k-yan.com/) is used, then the impact is obviously greater. In West Bengal, K-YAN was distributed by the state government in 42 schools in Bankura, 23 in Burdwan, and 51 in North 24 Parganas. Similarly, 55 girls schools in Tripura were provided K-YAN two years back which did wonders.

Tripura:http://www.ilfsets.com/Projects.asp? menuid=4&smenuid=15&childid=0&pageid=415

Footprints:http://www.ilfsets.com/Projects.asp?
menuid=4&smenuid=12&childid=0&pageid=412

West Bengal:http://www.ilfsets.com/Projects.asp?
menuid=4&smenuid=11&childid=0&pageid=411

Baramati Bus: http://www.ilfsets.com/Projects.asp?
menuid=4&smenuid=7&childid=0&pageid=47

K-YAN: http://www.ilfsets.com/Products.asp?
menuid=2&smenuid=6&childid=1&pageid=261

I definitely suggest K-YAN as a cost-effective option, unless a PC is used along with a projector.  For content, I feel, we are totally dependent on vendors who are working in the area of content creation. We have made a CD with the help of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Kolkata- EKLAVYA, which is on basic computer education including Office and Hardware in English, Hindi and Bengali. We also have found out some content in Bengali for class 10 and 12 for Biology, Geography etc and of course the IL&FS ETS are there with content for K-12.

Content should be in accordance with the education board standards, this is in check here in West Bengal.

Madhu Ranjan, United Sates Agency for International Development (USAID), New Delhi
‘Delivery of digital content through radio and TV’

Technology Tools for Teaching and Training (T4) is a USAID-supported initiative implemented by the Education Development Centre (EDC). T4 has numerous examples of delivery of digital content through Radio using Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) and TV (Edusat) to reach hundreds of primary schools in Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar in partnership with the state SSAs. The IRI programmes are broadcast in the local language for all primary classes in Karnataka for all subjects. In Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, MP and Bihar, broadcasts are made for classes I and II for English language. These broadcasts are need-based, as identified by states themselves. The content is also delivered through video (Edusat) in those primary schools in Karnataka that have the necessary infrastructure. Besides, a series of Group Teaching Learning (GTL) multimedia CDs have been developed, covering a range of topics in Science and Social Studies. Under this, over 500 programmes have been produced and broadcast/delivered so far. All these programmes are evaluated by external agencies before they are aired and are also assessed for changes, both in the teaching practice and learning levels of students, each year.

The greatest challenge is to make it pervasive and integrate its features into the ethos of a school

The critical features of this initiative are:

  • The teacher remains central to the teaching-learning process.
    The programmes are so designed that they encourage ‘interactivity’ and ‘inclusion’ in the classroom.
  • The programmes are designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated in consultation with the SSA, thus allowing for its mainstreaming.
  • The rich and insightful inputs of grassroots NGOs in the formative evaluation these programmes strengthen it immensely.
  • There is intensive training of teachers and other education functionaries of the government.

From our experience, the most critical challenge in this entire process is to maintain the rigour in providing support to teachers and closely monitoring their work, and this in turn requires an adequately equipped and motivated academic support staff.

Ananya S Guha, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
‘Policy makers to take advice of school authorities’

ICT is an all-encompassing term which includes radio, television and computers. The greatest challenge is to make it pervasive and integrate its features into the ethos of a
school. They can act upon one another or be used separately but in an integrated fashion. For example, podcasting or computer broadcasting can serve the purpose of a radio,
with the ability for synchronous interaction. There could also be phone-in programmes by FM Channels. As a
college teacher in Shillong in the 80s, I found many school radio broadcasts ofgood quality. But how many students would tune into these at 1.30 PM, a time when classes
were held?

The policy makers must consciously take the advice of the school authorities in decision making such as fixing the timing.

Veena Sethi, UDAAN Foundation, New Delhi
‘ICT learning in a remote area’

I would like to share my experience in introducing ICT learning in a remote area. We are a very small NGO operating in Mukteshwar (Nainital district). Since there are no such facilities in the area, as an experiment in 2005, I started a computer education centre in my house. I designed a very simple course and trained local youth in computer basics. Today, they are not only teaching others but one of them is also in charge of the centre. Unfortunately, we have not had much success in persuading the local government schools (primary as well as secondary) to outsource computer teaching to us. Reasons are the usual: the schools do not
have electricity / provision to pay for it, even the one or
two schools that do have systems do not have teachers.
So we have entered into partnership with a local
Shishu Mandir school where we are imparting computer education to three senior classes (approximately 70
students).

In addition, our students also run the Tata Consultancy
Services designed Adult Literacy programme in different villages, from time to time. Some of our senior students also come to Delhi for training in hardware and new programmes. Our latest venture is producing multimedia educational CDs in Hindi for students from class 1-5.

Gurumurthy Kasinathan, IT for Change, Bangalore,
‘Need for open source software and open standards’

A topic such as content is quite domain independent. The education domain has significant meaning attached to ‘teaching learning material’, including philosophies of its creation, constructivism (a learner learns by making meaning of an experience, which requires active participation and even creation; a mere consumption of information or content is unlikely to cause learning), scaffolding (requiring active facilitation of the teacher in co-constructing these experiences for creating ‘knowledge resources’), critical pedagogy (reflecting critically on the content and processes of
learning in terms of the underlying premises and values – there is really no such thing as ‘value neutral content’), etc. The principle of constructivism suggest that treating “learning as a process of consuming ready made content” is quite problematic.

Similarly using proprietary software which does not enable the learner to investigate into the tool itself is a huge problem. It is the very process of engaging with software tools to construct both new tools and new information and processes of learning that can be a epitome of learning using ICTS (Seymour Papert has developed this thinking from ‘constructivism’ to ‘constructionism’). For this, open source software and open standards need to be a critical theme of an ICT in education policy.

Education content is not the same as say agriculture information. And in the education domain the
process of designing ‘content’ already has a name – curriculum, and we have dedicated frameworks for developing it. ICT as a part of and/or enabling such curriculum does
not change the name of what is basically being done within
the domain.

The very process of engaging with software tools to construct both new tools and new information and processes of learning is the epitome of learning using ICTS. For this, open source software and open standards need to be a critical theme of an ICT in education policy

In fact, in the workshop on the ‘e-Content’ theme held as
a part of the current consultations in March 2008, the workshop decided to drop the term content for the more meaningful and dynamic ‘digital learning resources’ which would not only cover information resources, but also software and hardware tools that the learner could use to construct knowledge.

A Prabaharan, Public Action, New Delhi
‘Speed, innovation, follow-up and targetting the needs should be the hallmark’

The use of ICT in education is a vital process in today’s world. It is very fast moving with changes coming in every minute. To produce better results with e-Content we need to keep our eyes and ears on ground constantly. What is important today is not relevant tomorrow. In this amazing changing world of cyber innovations the challenges to deliver e-Content are many.

Current world order is all about fascination. One has to work to cater to the tastes of e-Content recipients

Since 1998, I have been involved with a multinational higher education project. This is known as M.A Global Studies programme (www.gsp.uni-freiburg.de) offered by Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg , Germany with University of Natal, South Africa and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. It was one of the first programmes to offer P.G degree with startup through Internet. The foundation for this degree was laid through Net chat.

From my experiences of the past 10 years in this programme, I can suggest the following:

  1. Current world order is all about fascination. One has to work to cater to the tastes of e-Content recipients
  2. The delivery should be followed up with phone call
    or letter. The popular expectation of e-Communication is not working to the level of estimation by scholars
  3. Allow the students, especially in government schools and rural schools, to play with the computer internet. Hole in the wall project of NIIT (www.hole-in-the-Wall).com/ clearly demonstrates that even illiterate students can become experts in cyber surfing through carefree playing on the Net
  4. To put it in our words, speed, innovation, followup and targetting the needy should be the hallmark of your efforts.

Jitendra Prasad, C-DAC, Hyderabad
‘Computer manual in regional languages for kiosk/CSC operators’

We at India Development Gateway: (www.indg.in) are developing a Computer Manual in Hindi & English (later in Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali and other Indian languages) for kiosk operators/CSC operators.

The CD- EKLAVYA, mentioned by Anindyaji seems like a great programme and we would like to explore the possibility of collaboration for content development for rural children in regional languages  Please visit our portal: www.indg.in to understand the objective of the project.

Nagarjuna G, Free Software Foundation of India/HBCSE, TIFR, Mumbai
‘Adoption of free software in schools’

Regarding the policy  that India should adopt for ICT in School Education, please refer to a paper by Nagarjuna G; Mumbai; 27 April 2008
Available at: http://www.solutionexchange-un.net.in/ictd/e-discuss/ediscuss02/res15040802.html
The paper develops reasons for adoption of free software exclusively for school science education. It provides a list of policy guidelines and recommendations for the use of free software in Schools.

M V Ananthakrishnan, Developmental Infomatics Lab, KReSIT, IIT Bombay, Mumbai
‘Logical integration of technology with classroom teaching needed’

We have created a multi-modal repository www.eshikshak.dil.iitb.ac.in which includes: references to off-the-shelf CDs, with sections of the Maharashtra State Board books (Classes V-VII); links to freely available resources on the net and websites of related courseware…in science and social studies.

There are many challenges in procurement of quality digital content (computer-aided, TV, Radio etc) for schools, namely, textbook page turners; no localisation of content; animation/simulation of trivial concepts; local terminologies/words which are confusing; no linkages to programmes on Radio/TV; no integration of technology with classroom teaching.

There are many challenges in procurement of quality digital content  for schools: textbook page turners; simulation of trivial concepts, confusing local terminologies, no Radio/TV programme links, no integration of technology with classroom teaching

There is a need for close co-ordination between teachers, students, administrators and parents in making this possible. Teachers need to be assured that their involvement is essential to the integration of technology with teaching. Their jobs will not only be secure but more enriching and challenging! Logical integration of technology with classroom teaching (as detailed in (1) above) is needed.

The IIT Bombay experiences are available for sharing.

Anshuman Das, Development Research Communication & Services Centre, Kolkata
‘Public Private Partnership can deliver new age learning to people’

Educomp (http://www.educomp.com) has some wonderful ideas, lesson plans, materials and other useful resources on ICT in education. Educomp today works with over 7000 schools across India, US and Singapore and has a track record of implementing large scale Public-Private-Partnership projects. The Company works very closely with various state and central government agencies, Ministries of IT and HRD, and governments of other countries. The company also works closely with schools to implement innovative models to create and deliver content to enhance student learning. Educomp’s long undiluted focus on the K12, curriculum design and teacher education space in developing applications and products has revolutionised leverage of information technology and Internet to deliver new age learning to people.

Rujuta Deshmukh, Independent Consultant, New Delhi
‘ICT curriculum to play role on prevention of child sex abuse’

I suggest that school education should have prevention of child sex abuse as part of the curriculum. ICT based content and delivery methods would work very effectively on this issue. Qualitative awareness programmes for children based on the issue can be developed, and can be run effectively in schools.The awareness programme could be in a story or drama form, which will convey the issue and make children aware of their rights.

The background to this suggestion is emerging findings
about rampant sex-abuse of children in India. According to Dr Lois J Engelbrecht, a researcher working on the problems of child sexual abuse, nearly half of child population in India suffers from child sexual abuse, which has very negative impact on their substantial development. Lack of knowledge about the issue among children and parents make them prone to abuse and deprive them of complete potential growth which is very much essential for sustainable development of the nation.enior students also come to Delhi for training in hardware and new programmes. Our latest venture is producing multimedia educational CDs in Hindi for students from class 1-5.

Gurumurthy Kasinathan, IT for Change, Bangalore,
‘Need for open source software and open standards’

A topic such as content is quite domain independent. The education domain has significant meaning attached to ‘teaching learning material’, including philosophies of its creation, constructivism (a learner learns by making meaning of an experience, which requires active participation and even creation; a mere consumption of information or content is unlikely to cause learning), scaffolding (requiring active facilitation of the teacher in co-constructing these experiences for creating ‘knowledge resources’), critical pedagogy (reflecting critically on the content and processes of
learning in terms of the underlying premises and values

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Most Popular

To Top