How is India unique in its issues and concerns for integrating ICTs in education as compared to other countries? How will it work for the Indian education system?
Owing to its prowess in IT services, India has a unique advantage of IT awareness as compared to many comparable countries. However, the current penetration of IT in education is at best 10% with Internet penetration of merely 4% (as compared to 25% in China and over 90% in US, Canada, France etc.). What is most important is despite several committee reports and recommendations there is no authentic national vision and end to end roll out plan on IT in education.
What are the innovative e-Learning solutions, best practices or policies specific to the organisation that can make impact or some scalable solutions for the education community?
We strongly believe that e-Learning is not merely about the infrastructure or technology or the medium used. It is a cultural change. It is about using technology to the best comfort, convenience and cost effective advantage of learning. The three most critical components of e-Learning solution are: quality of digital learning material (in terms of its relevance, design, uniqueness, interactivity and joyfulness), the ownership of the teacher (her awareness, knowledge and ownership) and the integration of e-Learning in the overall teaching learning process. Azim Premji Foundation probably is the largest developer of academic digital learning material that is mapped on the curriculum of most states. It is tested for its context by the states that are using it and is available in 18 different languages (including 4 tribal languages).
Azim Premji Foundation is focused on contributing to improving the quality of education in India in a systemic way and Technology based efforts to improve quality of education is part of that efforts. There are several other initiatives that are addressing key issues such as teachers, education administrators, examination system, addressing the under-served, etc.
What have been your forte so far?
Our forte has been developing a large repository of relevant, local language, academic digital learning material that is interactive, child navigated, joyful and easy to replicate. We provide this material free of cost to Government schools and to any school that does not have
admission barrier and is run on a not-for-profit basis.
What are the parameters you would judge and cover in the Indian education community/system while delivering e-Learning services?
Some parameters are:
a) Sustain what is happening currently
b) Supplement what is being done and also
c) Challenge or in a way destabilise what is being done (such as rote, boring, threatening learning)
Technology must serve the following purposes:
a) A change of culture