Indian economy has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in the world due to ICT revolution in last fifteen years. ICT has enabled government to deliver better governance and quality public services bringing in transparency and accountability. India has emerged as leader in knowledge economy by riding the demographic dividend of being youngest country in 2010.In order to garner this advantage of demographic dividend our nation has to overcome the education deficit like high dropout rates, low enrollment rates etc.
ICT provides the platform through tools and advanced technology to reach the unreached and poor section. ICT enables teaching and learning in both formal and informal environments through the effective use of technology.ICT has overcome the traditional gender, caste and lingual biases which are major constraints in delivering eduction. Education has benefitted to a great extent from ICT revolution; few worth mentioning are given below:
Building Competency: Competent teachers and trainers are required to eradicate illiteracy and are a must to deliver quality education. The role of the teacher has become more of a co-learner and a strong facilitator of learning. ICT could be used to provide the tools and applications to build the competencies of teachers and trainers engaged in delivering primary, secondary, technical or vocational education. ICT is needed here to provide an appropriate platform to foster continuous learning and assessment of teachers and trainers to engage them in continuous competency building. ICT platform enables knowledge sharing and networking of teachers and trainers across the country to learn best practices from others to ensure continuous learning.
Quality Content: Quality educational materials/resources are available round the clock to broaden availability through applications over ICT platform. Content management is another aspect which cater to the education needs of people from diverse backgrounds, and at different levels. ICT enables building reusable content which could be easily customized or edited in local language thereby allowing students and trainer to access the best content. Content development over ICT provides an opportunity for experts involved in designing the content to assess the impact of the content. ICT enables standardization by streamlining the content and courses across the country.
Customized offering: ICT platform delivers customized educational programs targeting poor girls and women, physically challenged, visually impaired and special ability children by using appropriate technologies. Education for physically challenged candidates, immobile or impaired candidates particularly in remote areas is a distant thought due to lack of infrastructure, mode and content. Learning styles have necessitated changes in the existing pedagogic approaches which are facilitated by learning application delivered thought ICT. Game-like exercises ensures enjoyable learning experience for students as well as trainers/teachers. Customized offering in terms of delivery has also benefitted the education system as new innovation like education over mobile phones provides flexibility.
MILLEE (Mobile and Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies) has been developing and testing mobile phone applications that enable children in the developing world to acquire language literacy in immersive, game-like environments.
Reforms: ICT provides platform to provide anywhere and anytime assessment of the learner which is more effective than traditional mode of assessments. Examination reforms needs to be addressed in order to shift from rote learning to assessing real learning i.e. application of learning in different scenarios. Challenge is to provide a robust assessment and evaluation mechanism to assess the learning of the beneficiary thus contributing to skill development of students.
Knowledge base: Digital learning resources (DLR) library helps in generating the knowledge base which could be extended to learners, teachers and trainers across the nation. Personal learning/support network provides support to learner round the clock and digital libraries ensures the availability of content anywhere and anytime. This out of class mode of learning is more effective as students can choose to learn as per his convenience.
Over a four-year period, Azim Premji Foundation produced the largest single library of digital learning resources (DLR) in India for children. Contained in 125 CDs, these were exciting lessons for children from classes I to VIII. Made in 18 languages—including tribal ones— they were designed to be completely integrated in school curriculum.
Accountability and Management:Managing the program delivery, competency assessment and content management requires best in class management tool which could help in facilitating the analysis of trends and decision making.
Assessment and information System: ICT provides the tools to assess the performance of program, student, trainer/teacher etc. It helps in providing the statistical data which could be utilized to make accurate decisions at policy and operational level.
Thus ICT has made education accessible to population in remote and rural areas. Mode of delivery, content and quality has also evolved over the period due to ICT revolution.ICT revolution has also expanded access to education, raised education quality, helped in delivering customized and relevant content in last few years.ICT makes teaching and learning experience more interactive and engaging. In future objective is to reduce the student teacher ratio, enable flexible learning and to eradicate illiteracy. ICT is the solution to address severe inadequacies in India’s infrastructure for delivery of education, particularly higher and vocational education. Expansion, inclusion and quality are the three cornerstones of our national goals in education which could be achieved with the help of ICT.