Central Institute of Educational Technology (CIET), is a premiere national institute of educational technology under NCERT. Its major aim is to promote utilization of educational technologies viz. radio, TV, films, satellite communications and cyber media. The institute undertakes activities to widen educational opportunities, promote equity and improve quality of educational processes at school level.In this Face to Face Vagish K Jha interviews Prof. Amarendra Behera, Jt Director, CIET who highlights the emerging perspectives on ed-tech in the school education.
(This is the abridged version of the interview. )
Vagish K Jha: Congratulations for assuming the full-fledged responsibility of Jt. Director, Central Institute of Educational Technology (CIET), NCERT. Could you please share the vision of educational technology that we are going to see under your guidance?
Amarendra P Behera: Conceptually educational technology is development, implementation and evaluation of materials, systems, technique and method used for enhancing learning among all stakeholders. When we talk about the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) we mean all digital and digitizable resources and the communication technologies for dissemination of these resources to all stakeholders and enhancing their capacity, capability and quality of education. A lot of initiative related to that is taking place in the form of creating digital infrastructure in and delivery of all educational services whether it is educational digital content, digital books, assessment of students, performance, having a cumulative report card of performanceof learners etc.
We cannot improve quality of education if we only address government systems. It has to be holistically addressed. Government – private partnership in a collaborative mode needs to be developed. There are many areas where it is difficult for the government to develop skills. Hence, there is a need to have lot of collaboration with corporates, NGO sector and government sector.
Vagish K Jha: Can you tell us more about the government – private partnership in Edu-tech field?
Amarendra P Behera: Edu-tech initiatives needs to be seen within the vision of digital India campaign which includes the digital literacy of citizens including school students, teachers, teacher educators and parents. Many a times NCERT is also questioned that textbooks are not reaching on time to many remote places like Leh, Ladakh and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. In such a situation, for example, NCERT has developed e-pathshala mobile app and digitized all the NCERT textbooks to provide digital books to students, teachers, parents and teacher educators. Using this, we can send the text book to them through mobile app and they can start studying those material in the fraction of a second.
Now a days we have one tablet per child or one laptop per child system also. So, we can think to put them all their books in digital format. They can even do all their exercises, assessments and questions in digital format and also put these together in the form of a server like a K-Yan or Geneo that IL&FS Education has developed. In fact, democratization of digital resources is also required.
Vagish K Jha: We give things like ICT and educational technology to schools but then how these are being utilized in teaching and training becomes very important.
“There are some platforms where a portable box can be used as school server with all the contents given in the form of K-Yan or IL&FS’s Geneo kind of learning platforms. All the resources and teaching tools are embedded into it and there will be local area network with that”
Amarendra P Behera: The government has recently launched the SWAYAM platform- Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (swayam.gov.in). It is a learning management system. There are more than 400 online courses.
The online courses for students and teachers and teacher educators are also coming there. These are the platforms which are going to help in continuous professional development of teachers. Onsite training can also happen through blended mode using a mix of face to face and distance mode without disturbing their work place.
Similarly NCERT has recently developed a course portal which is popularly known as IPDT (In-service Professional Development of Teachers and Teacher Educators – itpd.ncert.gov.in). NCERT and its constituents organise nearly 400 teacher training programs every year.
NCERT has also started a 24/7 DTH TV channel under Swayam Prabha umbrella. The e-contents developed by NCERT is also simultaneously used through telecast of these programs on 24/7 basis. Teacher training is also being done through DTH TV channel.
Teachers can also use their telephones to access our two toll free numbers 1800-111-265, 1800-112-199 to listen to the resource persons and interact with them. Using technology and scaling the number in a time bound manner is our concern.
Vagish K Jha: What is the vision of PPP model that you have and how the organizations corporates and others can come and take it forward?
Amarendra P Behera: Actually there is no need to reinvent the wheel again and again. If some NGO has done something which is very good then we need not redo the same thing. Rather government has the capability for scaling. So, why can’t corporates and NGO sector and government join together and scale it?
There are some platforms where a portable box can be used as school server with all the contents given in the form of K-Yan or IL&FS’s Geneo kind of learning platforms. All the resources and teaching tools are embedded into it along with local area network.
Similarly, we have collaboration with Google and IL&FS in Bhopal. Such experiments can be scaled also. We should rather focus on customization. Translation into regional languages will be the second option.
Recently government of India launched a portal called ‘shala sarathi’. If any corporate would like to fund 100 schools to provide infrastructure and e-content and help the school to become a smart school and impart quality education, they can provide their funds under CSR to the government.
We not only talk about delivery of digital content but we also talk about automation of the whole process. In fact, Technology is not only providing e-contents solutions for teacher training, solutions for assessment, solutions for e-governance but also solutions for transparency and accountability and truthfulness in the management of the system.
(The full version of the interview is available at ILFS website- www.ilfseducation.com)