The world is experiencing a third revolution in the dissemination of knowledge through advancement of Information and Communication Technology. One of UNESCO’S overriding aims is to ensure that all countries have access to the best educational facilities necessary to prepare young people to play full roles in modern society and to contribute to knowledge nation.
The process of integrating ICTs into educational systems and activities can be arbitrary. A comprehensive set of analytical, diagnostics and planning tools can face a certain discipline on the process. It will enlighten, enrich, and systematise the entire process of policy making and planning. Therefore, Policymakers were in need of a set of tools that could guide them gradually. The UNESCO “ICT in Education policy makers toolkit was developed in response to the need identified by Policymakers in the Asia Pacific region.
UNESCO, Bangkok in collaboration with Intel India Pvt Ltd had planned to introduce this toolkit, which brought together key experts and stakeholders with diverse experiences and perspectives from different states of India. The workshop was held from 6 August to 9 August’07 at New Delhi. Eminent people from Ministry of Human Resource and Development, officials from Ministry of Education from different States of India were nominated to participate in the workshop.
The four-day workshop has got off to a vibrant start with the Inaugural Ceremony. S.C. Kuntia, Joint Secretary, School Education, MHRD inaugurated the workshop formally. In his inaugural address, the Joint Secretary stated that, “ICT is not an end but the beginning. The toolkit varies from country to country and UNESCO must keep the picture of India in the mind.”
Ramamurthy Sivakumar, Managing Director, Intel India Pvt Ltd addressed the gathering by sharing his thoughts about the Education system of India since Stone Age and spoke about Intel’s role in developing it. “Intel is in the process of integrating technology. Toolkit workshop is the first step towards it, which is valuable to all of you,” he said.
Benjamin Vergel de Dios, APEID –ICT in Education Unit gave a detailed presentation on ICT and toolkit. He drew the attention of everyone present in the hall by explaining about necessities of ICT and the toolkit map.
Dr.Tinsiri Siribodhi, APEID – ICT in Education Unit, introduced the workshop with a few interesting activities by breaking the groups into 3 sub-groups. At the end of the exercises, it was clear that India focused more on access whereas other countries focused more on content.
All the participants were exposed to the online toolkit. Each one of them was given a login id and password. Benjamin explained that the Toolkit contains a reference handbook that summarises worldwide knowledge, research, and experiences on the effective use of ICTs for education.
The second day began with the continuation of Tool box-1, followed by toolbox-2. Information gathered in tool box 1is a major input for the process of identifying potential areas for ICT interventions in Education. This tool focuses on i) National vision ii) Goals and Plans iii) Gender and Educational Profiles. Toolbox 2 guides the planners through a methodological process of identifying educational priority areas and for the formulation of ICT Policy interventions.
All the participants were taken through toolboxes 3 & 4 on third day of the workshop. Toolbox 3 contains three tools in it- i) Infrastructure ii) Hardware iii) Personnel Training. Benjamin conferred that these planning tools are built around geographic areas and institutions within them where the ICT programme will be implemented.
The tool box 4 is a crucial component which has ICT enhanced educational materials like audio adio educational programmes, videoTV educational programmes, computer and web related materials, which are all an integral part of curriculum.
Representative from Intel made a brief presentation on CMPC as a tool that would take India’s classroom to a level of 1:1 computing. A presentation on Skoool was given in which examples of lesson plans across various subjects were shared. The session was a clear enhancement to the sessions on online content that Tinsiri shared with the group earlier in the day.
The participants proceeded with the Tool box 5 and 6 on the fourth day. Tool box 5 assists policy makers in financial and managerial implications of the plans. Toolbox 6 offers a framework of designing mechanism to evaluate the degree of implementation and about subsequent actions to be taken in light of the results of evaluation.
The workshop ended with a great finale of group presentations by facilitators of each of the 3 groups. Each team presented their learning experiences in nutshell.
Benjamin and Dr. Tinsiri summed up the session by discussing the role ahead for each of the groups and the state representatives in order to use the toolkit for effective policymaking and implementation. The four-day workshop was completed successfully with the Valedictory ceremony, which began with a note from Minja Yang who addressed the gathering and mentioned that this workshop was just a beginning of this activity.
Champak Chatterjee, Secretary School Education and Literacy, MHRD quoted in his Valedictory address, “ICT must do something about enhancing teaching and learning process of subjects like Language, Maths, & Science. Maths is a huge problem area, especially fractions. ICT must do something to simplify this. Intel must keep this in mind.”
Frank Jones, President, Intel India Pvt Ltd while giving the vote of thanks, quoted, “ICT must do something about enhancing teaching and learning process of subjects like Language, Maths, and Science. Intel must keep this in mind.