The ICT in Education Policy Toolkit was launched at the National Forum on ‘ICT in Education Policies for Sustained Education Transformation’, on December 6, 2010. Jointly organised by UNESCO, New Delhi and Intel, the toolkit enables state-level policy makers, planners and implementers to design and implement state specific ICT in Education policies, in alignment with the national draft shared by Ministry of HRD in 2009 and will help support effective integration of ICT in the school education system. The Forum brought together experts from UNESCO Bangkok, the regional hub on ICT in Education; from the Ministry of Education, Singapore; UNESCO, New Delhi; UNESCO, Maldives and Sri Lanka; Planning Commission and other Education Apex bodies in India. A Parsuramen, Director, UNESCO, New Delhi welcomed all the delegates and participants. He shared the focus and details of projects undertaken by UNESCO Delhi and UNESCO, Bangkok, for promoting ICT in Education. He thanked Intel for their long standing support and help in developing and launching the Policy toolkit.
This was followed by a keynote address from Dr. Fengchun Miao, ICT and Education Programme Specialist, UNESCO, Bangkok, who spoke about the ‘Experiences in Education, in the Asia Pacific Region’. He highlighted UNESCO’s mandate for bringing quality education for all, and stressed that ICTs can help fulfill this requirement. Subhash C Khuntia, Joint Secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of HRD was the Chief Guest for the event. He congratulated UNESCO and Intel for having developed a policy toolkit which would help policymakers and implementers. He spoke about the need for national as well as state-specific ICT in Education Policies. He commended Intel and UNESCO for extending support to the states to develop effective localized and customized policies. While launching the Toolkit formally, Khuntia emphasized on the need of ICT in Education Policies which will open up several alternate options for addressing access, equity and quality issues.
Ashutosh Chadha, Director, Strategic Education Initiatives, Intel, gave the concluding remarks for the session where he thanked all dignitaries, UNESCO, and participants from states. ICT, as he said would ‘help schools inculcate the critical 21st century skills set needed in the students.’ On behalf of Intel, he reiterated the company’s commitment to help governments translate their vision for ICT in education into reality. The Launch of the ICT in Education Policy Toolkit was followed by a technical session by Prof Marmar Mukhopadhyay, ex-Director, NUEPA (National University of Educational Planning and Administration) and author of the Toolkit. Prof Marmar spoke at length about the relevance of the toolkit, its content, its theoretical base, its adaptation to the Indian scenario and its implementation in the states.
Dr Cheah Horn Mun, Director of Education Technology Division, Ministry of Education, also addressed the audience. He spoke about Singapore’s journey for ICT in Education transformation. He spoke about the policy in his home country at great length and explained the evolution and development of policy and its implementation. Benjamin Vergel De Dios, Program Officer, UNESCO Bangkok shared the need and process of an ICT in education policy. He shared the process of policy development in Thailand and stressed upon the need for developing a master plan along with the policy. Dr Miao and Dr Huma Masood, from UNESCO, New Delhi led an interactive session, where the participants worked in groups to identify the needs, challenges and possible solutions in ICT in education. The day proved to be an important landmark in integrating ICT with educational policies across Indian states.