Lead Education Specialist,
The World Bank
Integrating Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) into education has long been initiatives undertaken by World Bank,
What has been the success so farand what is awaiting in future?
It is generally believed that ICT scan empower teachers and learners, promote change and foster the development of ‘21st century skills, but data to support these beliefs are still limited. Proponents argue that ICTs can and will transform teaching and learning processes from being highly teacherdominated to student-centered, and that this transformation will result in increased learning gains for students. ICTs are seen to be less effective (or ineffective) when the goals for their use are not clear. While such a statement would appear to be self-evident, the specific goals for ICT use in education are often, in practice, only very broadly or rather loosely defined. The positive impact of ICTs is more likely when linked to changes in teachers’ pedagogy, which in turn requires focused, iterative teacher professional development to realise changes in classroom practices. The uses of ICTs for simulations and modeling in cience and math have been shown to be effective, as have word processing and communication software (e-mail) in the development of student language and communication skills. It may be hat more useful analyses of the impact of ICT that emerge when the methods used to measure chievement and outcomes are more closely related to the learning activities and processes promoted by the use of ICTs. Most users feel that using ICTs make them more effective and elf-directed learners. In addition, there appears to be general consensus that both teachers and students feel ICT use greatly contributes to student motivation for learning. Placing computers in classrooms enables integration with core curricular subjects and greater use of ICTs for ‘higher order’ skills than placing computers in separate computer aboratories. This can be facilitated by use of portable laptops and ‘computer labs on wheels’ hich can move from classroom to classroom as needed. For me, getting the technology INTO he classroom is critical to get beyond simple ICT literacy skills and should be the objective for he future.
India in the next millennium?
My vision of education in India by 2150 is one where ALL children complete Class 12 nd develop the intellectual curiosity, skills, habits and knowledge needed to ucceed n the global economy. Students who want to continue on to higher education can, while those who want to enter the labour market will be able to because they will have the knowledge and skills to be productive. This vision also includes more active participation of parents in the functioning of public schools such that political pressure and public debate are focused on how to improve public schools and student learning outcomes, rather than on what are the rules for admission into private nursery schools, which seems to be the case today.
What has been the strategy of World Bank in drafting formulations and framing policies? Which are the states that are currently under your projects?
In India the World Bank supports the Government of India’s efforts to improve elementary, secondary, technical and vocational education. WE work mainly at the national level in support of centrally sponsored schemes such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and the recently launched Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA). We also support 400 Industrial Training Institutes across almost all 35 States and UTs, and another 150- odd technical/engineering colleges spread around the country. So in that sense ALL States are benefitting from the World Bank’s support. We do, however, provide some additional targeted support to a few States, such as Bihar and Karnataka, through capacity-building grants, and do some cutting-edge operational research in other States such as Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. This work is primarily designed to generate lessons which can be applied at the national level.
In education, what is the share of percentage focused only on South Asian region including India and the response so far?
India is the World Bank’s single largest recipient of support for education,which is entirely appropriate given India’s size, education sector needs and the government’s commitment to mobilising domestic resources to invest in education. Our financing is offered on concessional terms, meaning at 0% interest, with 35 years to repay and 10 years of grace during which no repayment is required. In terms of existing portfolio of projects, we have provided USD 1.1 billion for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and are currently preparing additional financing of USD 750 million to support SSA through 2012. Our Vocational Training Improvement Project includes financing of USD 280 million and our recently negotiated Second Technical/Engineering Education Quality Improvement Project will provide another
USD 300 million. We are also preparing our support for Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (secondary education) for USD 600 million. Taken together, this represents about one-third of the Bank’s total active education portfolio of USD 8.8 billion in 2009
Your comments on the Government’s initiatives in the area of education and implementing ICT in education in India.
If I had to summarise my impressions, I would say there remains too much focus on putting computers in laboratories for teachers and students to develop ICT iteracy skills, and not enough focus on getting ICTs into the classroom so that they can enhance productivity and support teacher and student learning across all subjects. While a lot of teacher training has been offered, often through innovative public-private partnership models, not enough genuine teacher professional development has been provided to help teachers skillfully integrate ICTs into their classrooms. I believe this may change with the revised centrally sponsored scheme ICT@Schools and the adoption of the new Policy for ICT and Education.
Your thoughts on Public Private Partnership in education sector in India and the recent developments related to?
I am quite enthusiastic about the POTENTIAL of public private partnerships (PPP) to improve educational opportunities and learning outcomes for students who traditionally have attended only government schools. This potential lies in the ability of public authorities to craft PPP contracts to align private sector incentives with public policy objectives. For example, the Grant-in-Aid scheme through which government finances the costs of aided private schools is a form of PPP. Unfortunately, this does not include any incentives for private aided schools to improve educational outcomes. Personally, I am much more in favour of PPPs where the public financing follows the student not the teacher. Hopefully, we will see the implementation of the RTE Act pave the way in this direction.