ICT4SouthAsiaED: Stakeholder Workshop - 10th Aug, 09

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WikiProject: A Survey of ICT in Education for India and South Asia

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Specialties.png Overview

PricewaterhouseCoopers(PwC) and InfoDev, World Bank conducted a half day stakeholder workshop on the use of ‘ICT applications in Education’ on 10thAugust 2009. This workshop was a prelude to initiating work on the survey commissioned by InfoDev and undertaken by PwC.

The key objectives of the workshop were:

  • To create a platform for continued stakeholder participation for the proposed Survey.
  • To discuss best practices, experiences, key constraints any other relevant issues in the use of ICT in Education
  • To highlight key thematic areas to be covered for the Survey
  • To finalize selection of States to be studied in detail

PwC took this opportunity to introduce the Survey, the scope of work and the proposed methodology to the stakeholders and mentioned that the proposed Survey would proceed through three distinct phases of Design, Execute, and Report.

It was also highlighted that given the geographical spread and the permitted timeframe for the Survey, it would have the following main limitations:

  1. The Survey would focus more on Primary and Secondary Education, but would also cover initiatives in tertiary education, vocational, non formal & mass education, distance education; where these are significant for the region or the country
  2. The Survey will primarily be based on secondary research and face to face or telephonic interviews and workshops with relevant stakeholders. It will thus not be an exercise in primary data collection

The floor was then opened for discussions on key thematic topics in order to learn from the valuable experience of all the participants.

Link to Workshop Presentation

(Click here)

Nuvola apps mozilla.png Key Discussion Points

ICT in Education Policy

  • The focus at the policy level should be on creating a framework that enables learners to acquire 21st Century learning skills. Appropriate curriculum development and quality content are key aspects of such a framework; ICT thus may be one of the tools used to enhance the teaching learning process. Focus should therefore not be on merely using ICT for transacting the same teacher focused instruction system.
  • Incorporating societal responsibility into any policy framework for ICT in Education is an important aspect.
  • There should be a policy framework to handle innovation in the education system. At present there is no mechanism in our educational policy to handle innovation.
  • A policy for Monitoring & Evaluation should also be part of the framework to evaluate impact of ICT on learning levels of students- an outcome based evaluation not one merely looking at input parameters.
  • One of the main constraints in implementing ICT in education is institutional fragmentation. Curriculum decisions, infrastructure decisions, content decisions, policy making and policy implementation are all taken up by different bodies at different levels. Some harmonization/coordination is required

Quality Improvement through ICT in Education

  • To ensure that learning has taken place, broader objectives of the curriculum should be outlined and teachers and parents should be able to evaluate whether these objectives have been met.
  • Thus there should be an effective Monitoring and Evaluation methodology that measures improvement in performance of students against commonly accepted standards.
  • While hardware selection and procurement is often done easily, based on available guidelines, no clear guidelines are available for procuring quality content. Identifying quality content is a common constraint for schools looking to use ICT enabled teaching learning practices. There should be a repository of content for subjects that are geographically unaffected (for example math) and this should be constantly updated.
  • A mechanism for incentivizing quality content development needs to be looked into. The iTunes store model where content creators can be rewarded according to the usage of the content may be explored.
  • ICT can be used as a tool to document the performance of students, teachers, schools. If the performance trend of schools is put online then schools will have a greater incentive to perform better. Currently most school websites are extremely outdated with little or no relevant information.
  • The Navodaya Schools have been able to create an environment of ICT enabled teaching learning using TV, Video, Computers, Internet- involving students and teachers. This is based on a vision and roadmap of improving teaching learning using ICT applications at the highest level and supported by adequate funding and implementation strategies. Therefore a number of elements go into creating a successful ICT enabled teaching learning environment and these need to be developed for all schools and systems.

Capacity Building for ICT in Education

  • Human Resource Development:
    • Teachers are typically scared of technology; this is the case for not only teachers in the rural areas but for those in urban areas as well. Unless teachers realize that training will help them rather than pose a threat to their jobs they will continue to remain hesitant. The first step therefore is to get the teachers on board.
    • Also once teachers are made responsible and rewarded for improving the performance of the students, they will automatically look for innovative techniques. A web based monitoring system to identify successful teachers based on the success of the students, may be explored.
    • Another reason for the hesitancy of teachers towards training in ICT is that after the training is over they don’t have easy access to these facilities in schools.
    • ICT led teacher training should focus on how teachers can teach their own subjects more efficiently and interactively rather than focusing on training teachers in ICT as a subject.
    • School administrators also need to be trained along with the teachers and sensitized to the potential of using ICTs in Education

  • Infrastructure Development:
    • The penetration of hardware (computers) is fairly high in most schools as it is easy to install, however the level of usage is debatable; this is because there is no auditing or monitoring system to see whether students are actually using these computers.
    • We need to define the objectives of buying the hardware (e.g. for movies, for animation, for Microsoft Office) and then carry out an audit at the end of the year to see whether the objectives have been met.
    • Connectivity is increasingly being made available- it is the quality of the connectivity, whether its broadband or dial up- that often determines how quickly it is adopted. Also some security features need to be built in to have a measure of supervision while accessing content freely.
    • Procuring hardware can be decentralized but content development needs to be standardized

Financing ICT in Education

  • In terms of government funding, subsidized internet and software is increasingly becoming available for schools. Therefore the question is not the availability of finance, but what to finance. The government may need to focus more on identifying and making available quality content that will be suitable for each grade/standard.
  • There is a significant difference in financing infrastructure in urban areas as compared to rural areas. Organizations like Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) are involved in taking broadband to the rural areas.
  • Cost recovery models may be explored to ensure sustainability of ICT initiatives. Schools can finance their computer labs by making the facility open to the general public during non-school hours or holidays for a fee.

Innovations in the use of Different Media Tools

  • There are many examples of innovative tools for addressing particular educational requirements.
  • Thus at the policy level there has to be a framework for adopting innovations in the school system
  • Mobile technology- after Radio, TV, Computers might be the next biggest trend.
  • The market in many ways will bring in the trends which will continue to change- so at the policy and administrative level, all that is required is a framework for adapting to innovations.

Other Observations

  • If this survey is a stock taking exercise then the repository should also document some unsuccessful practices. This will provide a better framework for policy makers and other initiators. The repository should also provide an analysis for why these initiatives failed-because of an un-supporting policy framework or lack of funds et cetera.
  • Given the vast geographical scope of the Survey, namely coverage of 8 countries, primary research- though desirable, may not be feasible. The Survey would thus rely on discussions with relevant stakeholders including practitioners in the field, and extensive secondary research.
  • Use of ICT should take the entire development process into account therefore Non-formal education should receive special attention particularly in terms of literacy skill development and community involvement

Nuvola apps mozilla.png Conclusion

Since the workshop was a prelude to initiating work on the survey, it is not a one time exercise and participants are requested to provide their inputs continuously though the Survey process.

Feedback and contributions required for:

  • Thematic Essays: whether they are relevant given the objectives of the Survey.
  • Stakeholders to provide suggestions on which 5 states should be covered for case studies based on their experience.
  • Inputs on key initiatives that need to be highlighted, case studies that will provide useful learnings and any other relevant issues that need to be captured.

Nuvola apps kuser.svg List of Participants

Name Designation Organisation
Dr. A. S Seetharamu Domain Expert PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt. Ltd.
Dr. Motilal Sharma Domain Expert PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt. Ltd.
Nalin Jena Sr. Education Specialist World Bank
Pradeep Valsankar Consultant World Bank
Tenzin Dolma Norbhu Regional Coordinator and Senior ICT Policy Specialist World Bank
A.N Ramachandra Deputy Commissioner (Training) Navodaya Vidyalay Samiti
M.S Khanna Joint Commissioner (Personnel) Navodaya Vidyalay Samiti
Ashish Garg Asia Regional Coordinator GeSCI
Sanjay Tiwari Regional Director North Education Development Center
Anshul Sonak South Asia Education Manager Intel
H. N. S. Rao Academic Head - ICT EDUCOMP
Ajay Goel Vice President NIIT Ltd.
Brij Kothari Professor IIM Ahmedabad
Archana G Gulati Deputy Director General Universal Service Obligation Fund Administration
H. N. S. Rao Academic Head - ICT EDUCOMP
Manjushree Reddy Assistant Editor Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies
Rajeshree Dutta Kumar Sr. Research Associate Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies
Ravi Gupta Executive Director Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies
H. N. S. Rao Academic Head - ICT EDUCOMP
Sandeep Saha Vice President – Marketing and Alliances Educational Initiatives (ei-India)
I.P.S Bakshi Director National Literacy Mission
K.N. Bawle Director State Resource Centre – Pune

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