Aiming at the dissemination of NEP, 2020 perspectives amongst the teacher fraternity and other stakeholders, Shikshak Parv is being organised by Education Ministry from 8th September-25th September, 2020. In this initiative, renowned scholars, experts from various agencies including NCERT, Universities and practicing Teachers (Award Winning) will speak from online forum while presenting info-graphics in simple manner about the recommendations of the policy. This will also provide an opportunity to seek suggestions and the opinions of teachers on various recommendations of the policy for their smooth implementation.
In line with the initiative, the Ministry of Education organised first Webinar on Use of Technology here today. Secretary, Department of School Education and literacy, Smt Anita Karwal, Senior officials of the Ministry and IT teachers/faculty, SCERT, DIET, CIET, from all States/UTs School Education Department participated in the event.
While addressing the participants Smt Karwal said that the NEP envisages every aspect on how technology is being and will be implemented on various platforms. The Secretary while giving a backdrop to the topic emphasizes the important role of Educational Technology and invited the stakeholders to internalize the policy directions and join together to converge the services and work to bridge the digital divide. She said that DIKSHA is highly skilled platform which has one lakh pieces of content in 31 languages and 3 foreign languages on different categories subject/class/board wise with high scans. She appealed all the States to use these platforms to ensure academic welfare of the students. She also asked states to be on board for hosting high quality contents in regional languages. Secretary also emphasized on need of empowerment of teachers by giving adequate training of ICT tools to build contents for online platforms.
The other panelists include Prof. Amarendra Behera, Joint Director, CIET, NCERT; Dr. Jayashree Shinde, Director, eLearning SNDT Women’s University Mumbai and Sh R. Dhilip, a National ICT Awardee and National to Teachers winner for the year 2020 from Tamil Nadu. The issues deliberated in the session are given as under.
India with 1.5 million schools, 8.5 million teachers and nearly 260 million school students, is a robust system of education working towards imparting equitable quality education for its learners. In our country, the goal of access to educational facilities and retention of students in schools have been achieved substantially. Achievement of a comparable quality of education in schools and expected learning outcomes by every child is still a distant dream. Apart from print resources and face-to-face interactions, technological developments have been integrated in a larger sense to bridge the learning gaps and digital divide through design, development and delivery of eContents and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) of teachers and teacher educators through multiple modes. The Digital India campaign has proved to be a stepping stone in this journey. The vision of Digital India campaign is to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. Under this, all policies, schemes and programme have been accelerated as a result of which a number of ICT initiatives have been taken by NCERT, CBSE, NIOS and several other organisations and institutions at the national and state level. Some of the prominent initiatives includes – DIKSHA, NROER, ePathshala, DTH TV transmission through a bouquet of 34 educational TV channels under SWAYAM PRABHA and EDUSAT network, running of Massive Open and Online Courses (MOOCs) through SWAYAM, dissemination of educational radio contents through podcasts, i-radio, broadcasts on Gyan Vani and Community Radio etc.
Previous policy recommendations on use of technology emphasised that technology to be employed for spreading useful information, giving training to teachers, improving quality of education, sharpening awareness of art and culture, and inculcating abiding values etc. both in the formal and non-formal sectors. It also focused on generation of relevant and culturally compatible educational programmes and all available resources in the country will be the main component of ET. Production of high quality educational TV/Radio programmes for children was also promoted.
The COVID-19 pandemic situation poised India to a number of challenges and difficult situations further to impart a comparable quality education for a diverse group of learners. As a result of which, achievement of 21st Century skills and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seems to be elusive. In this critical juncture, the Ministry of Education, Government of India has released the National Education Policy (NEP) -2020 which envision an education system rooted in Indian ethos and enable its citizens to transform India into a vibrant equitable and knowledge society.
The NEP-2020, has led special emphasis on the role of technology, especially the disruptive technologies to impart quality education for students, teachers, youths and address the triple challenge of skill, scale and speed. It may be logically reasoned that the implementation of the vision of NEP-2020 on “Technology use and Integration” in the education system can help transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. Thus the relationship between technology and education at all levels is bi-directional. Given the explosive pace of technological development allied with the sheer creativity of tech-savvy teachers and entrepreneurs including student entrepreneurs, it is certain that technology will impact education in multiple ways, only some of which can be foreseen at the present time. New technologies involving artificial intelligence, machine learning, block chains, smart boards, handheld computing devices, adaptive computer testing for student development, and other forms of educational software and hardware will not just change what students learn in the classroom but how they learn, and thus these areas and beyond will require extensive research both on the technological as well as educational fronts. Appropriate agencies such as the NETF, CIET, NIOS, IGNOU, IITs, NITs, etc. will be identified to conduct a series of pilot studies, in parallel, to evaluate the benefits of integrating education with online education while mitigating the downsides and also study related areas.
Extensive use of technology in teaching and learning, removing language barriers, increasing access to DIVYANG students and streamlining educational planning and management are also being emphasized in NEP 2020. Several ICT initiatives like DIKSHA, NROER, SWAYAM, SWAYAM Prabha etc needs to be leveraged to improve access to educational resources by everyone in the country. However the benefits of technology cannot be leveraged unless the digital divide is eliminated through concerted efforts like training teachers and developing them to be effective online educators, developing open and public digital infrastructure in the education sector, leveraging existing platforms to accommodate advanced technologies like immersive technologies, virtual labs etc. Focus on learner centered pedagogy and blended approach to address the social, affective and psychomotor dimensions of learning is also emphasized to improve the quality of teachers. A dedicated autonomous body to research, exchange ideas and guide other organizations with respect effective use of technology is found to be the need of the hour. Thus a lot of exploration and deliberation on how to realize all the proposed thoughts with experts will open up the eyes to look the way forward
In a country like India, which is characterized by multifarious diversity and constraints in terms of availability of resources (ICT infrastructure, electricity, budget, skilled human resource), switching over to digital modes of education is a humongous task, as well as full of challenges. A decentralized planning and implementation with flesh and blood approach is the need of the hour for which various States/ UTs level organization such as SCERTs, School Boards, DIETs, BIETs, CTEs, IASEs and National level organizations such as NCERT, CBSE, NIOS, KVS, NVS) need to join hands for a change that will sustain post COVID-19 also. Such collaboration will help to continuously enhance the quality of education and skill development of the large student population and we can leverage the demographic dividend in coming years. In order to achieve the content-ICT-pedagogy integration and use of disruptive technology in real sense integration and convergence of policies, schemes, programme and services needs to happen with merger of parallel structures following a multimodal approach and innovative strategies.