SSA-Project with MPBOU and IGNOU
In 2004, the GOI introduced the Computer Based Elementary Education programme as an extended but holistic nation-wide strategy to initiate comprehensive ICT-enabled education and training (with major focus on IMM CD ROMs) at the primary and elementary level. MPBOU in collaboration with IGNOU are making constant efforts to address the above needs, and deploy media and technology to facilitate the tasks so as to achieve the goal of universal elementary education by the year 2010. The task is enormous, and therefore concerted efforts are needed by both formal and non-formal agencies, and especially through distance learning, to achieve the target goals within the stipulated time frame.
The decade of 1991-2000 witnessed many significant developments in the filed of distance education and multi-media based learning in India. Advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) and satellite communication increased the reach of open learning system and the use of the distance mode for education and training. Contemporary distance education technologies in India include blended learning through innovative self-learning modules, greater reliance on practicum (especially hands-on experience), tutorials, phone-in counseling, audio and video, radio and television and teleconferencing. Distance learning inputs for teacher education at various levels had been designed to be consistent and cost effective without any compromise on quality. Interactive multimedia CD-ROM and online learning are the latest developments in the basket of multi-media learning.
The Partner Agency
The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) as the national nodal agency of MHRD, Government of India had been implementing the DEP-DPEP since its initiation about six years back, as also the DEP-SSA since 2003 involving substantial use of ICT for teacher professional development. The Madhya Pradesh Bhoj (Open) University (MPBOU) also, in the past, collaborated in the design and implementation of the scheme of IT for community development and school improvement through the HEADSTART project of the Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission, Government of Madhya Pradesh. A brief on the strengths of these two partners proposing to implement the CBEE is given as follows.
Indira Gandhi National Open University
IGNOU, established by an act of Indian Parliament, is the second larges mega university in the world, and the largest in the democratic world, with a student enrolment of 1.18 million and presence in 26 countries. It is both a national university as also the national apex body for coordination, funding and accreditation of distance learning institutions and systems in the country. It offers 88 academic programmes comprising 820 courses for certificate, diploma, degree, research, extension, training and community development through a network of 48 regional centres, 1098 study centres, and above 30,000 counsellors. Its multi-media packages includes print, audio, video, teleconferencing, interactive radio, CD-ROM, and online learning - the ICT capabilities are depicted as follows:111111
Its strengths for the proposed contribution to CBEE include the following:
· National Centre for Quality Assurance in Distance Education
· DEP-SSA National Centre; Programmes for Teachers of Navodaya Vidyalaya; Central Tibetan Schools Administration; NE States
· Community Development and Community-based programmes (e.g. Computer Literacy, SAVINI, Women Self Help Groups, Panchayati Raj, UNESCO basic education)
· Internationally acclaimed training expertise in technology-mediated training and distance learning. Its Electronic Media Production Centre, and the recently established Inter-University Consortium for Technology-Enabled Education are finest examples of its media capabilities in the region.
Madhya Pradesh Bhoj (Open) University
MPBOU is a state open university established by an act of the state legislature, and offers 77 programmes through a network of 11 regional centres, 1107 study centres and 3441 counsellors/coordinators. Its media capabilities are depicted as follows:222
· Unique capability of disseminating knowledge and cost effective quality education through Information and Communication Technologies. Providing Online Education since1999
· The Institute of IT at MPBOU caters to the Expertise, design, development and training components.
· The R&D Lab is a hub of software design and development activities.
· The ICT Centre for E-Learning is the carrier to provide cost-effective, quality education to our learners spread all over India.
· The University has also been providing its expertise in design, development and implementation of the following projects-
- Software Development and Teacher Training
- 394 Study
- 86197 students passed
- 86 MIS Trainers
- 600 teachers got training
- Development of Interactive Multimedia CDs ranging from primary to higher education including teacher training package
- Design, Development and Implementation of Internet based Live Lectures, Videoconferencing, Internet TV and Radio Channels
Our Partnership Strengths
The combined strengths of IGNOU and MPBOU, briefly outlined below, provide substantive justification for our handling of Computer Based Elementary Education under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for teacher training, interactive multimedia CD design and development for both hard spots and for upper primary and elementary education, and implementation of the initiative. We have:
· Network of expertise in content spread across the country
· Pioneer in technology mediated education
· Centre of Excellence in educational software development
· Expertise in management and implementation of large country-wide projects
· Already implementing teacher training programmes such as B.Ed., Certificate in Primary Education, and other teacher training programmes, including ICT training
· Cost-effective ways to design, develop and deliver technology mediated programmes
· Proven expertise in designing adaptable learning systems
· We have already successfully undertaken similar projects, e.g HEADSTART
Computer Based Elementary Education
Our proposed approach to CBEE is based on the following broad objectives:
· Preparing and empowering learners and teachers for the knowledge-based society
· Increasing access to quality education
· Moving towards learner-centred, collaborative learning and fostering creativity
We visualise that the CBEE implementation plan includes the following four components:
· Training and capacity building of trainers, teachers, students, other functionaries and the community.
· Development of context-specific, self-learning, interactive multimedia CDs for hard spot areas and other subject areas at upper primary and elementary levels.
· Availability of low cost and user friendly IT infrastructure in the schools.
· Implementation and continuous evaluation of the implementation, including continuous dialogue through ICT and face-to-face modes.
Our Proposed Model
Our model of CBEE suggests that there is simultaneous:
· training of trainers for further training in the design and development of interactive multimedia CD-ROMs,
· actual development of IMM-CDs,
· orientation of learners through colour picture workbook on how to use the CDs for self learning individually and most importantly in groups,
· teacher orientation through manuals, guides, workbooks, and f2f workshops and teleconferencing on how to use the CDs for further facilitating student learning in individual and group situations (i.e. to contextualise learning and facilitate classroom teaching), as also for developing ability to teach through ICT,
· orientation of various functionaries in the DPOs, CRCs, BRCs and VECs to facilitate collaboration, networking and actual implementation of the scheme of CBEE,
· orientation and training of evaluators and researchers to build continuous evaluation, research and improvement into the programme, and
· continuous interaction of state level and central level officers with grass-root functionaries.
The interactive multimedia learning model is shown in the following figure:33
The training model covering pedagogic, technological and managerial aspects includes the following (concerning levels of training, and target groups):444
The media to be used for training include: face-to-face interaction, painted workbooks, IMM CD-ROM, teleconferencing (and some web resources and web support). The model suggested for a holistic implementation of the scheme starting from needs analysis (i.e. collation and analysis of the existing data at state level and some additional new data) to pilot run and implementation includes the following:555
Learning is visualised to be in regional language, context-specific, activity-based and joyful, in a collaborative group situations, with minimal but guided teacher facilitation, and in an educational system or environment geared towards ICT-enabled education. It is contended that learning can be individualised, but would be enriched for development of individual cognitive structure and for knowledge construction and negotiation in collaborative learning situations in the community, with significant teacher intervention, guidance and facilitation. This is further facilitated, consolidated and integrated by community of teachers and educators and community participation in general. The planned and guided implementation is visualised as follows:55
· The IGNOU-MPBOU central team (with guidance and guidelines from the MHRD, GoI) plans the whole scheme in consultation with the State SSA project team (and this interaction is continuous, especially through MPBOU and IGNOU Regional Centres in the states and union territories); develops training materials; organises training; and oversees implementation.
· The Inter-University Consortium of IGNOU and the R&D Lab of MPBOU shall provide master expertise in training of trainers and development of IMM CD-ROMs, and for blended learning.
· The IGNOU Regional Centre in each state and MPBOU in Madhya Pradesh, in collaboration with the respective State SSA, acts as the nodal implementation agency and for monitoring the implementation from time to time. It also mobilises state experts for training of trainers, design and development of interactive multimedia CDs, training of teachers and learners, and orientation of other functionaries, under the guidance of the IUC.
· The resource persons (master trainers and developers) are drawn from and located at SCERT, DIETs and DPOs, and in selected schools in various clusters. They undertake further training and development of IMM CD-ROMs. The DEP-SSA of IGNOU has its downlinks available at DIETs and this is being extended to DPOs and BRCs. Further, the state level facilities (for instance GramSat of Orissa, Conferencing facilities of the Academy of M.P.) can also be utilised for the purpose of orientation, training and continuous interaction. The activities of SSA functions and functionaries are handled by the DEP-SSA.
· Selected functionaries of BRCs and CRCs can also be trained in content development, ICT-enabled education project management, and monitoring and evaluation of CBEE.
· While selected teachers from clusters of schools can be trained as master trainers and content developers, all the teachers of all the schools of each state shall be trained in the use and integration of IMM CD-ROMs (and other ICTs) in instructional design and instructional delivery. Further, all the students will be oriented/trained on the use of IMM CDs in individual and group situations, and learning from each other.
The outcomes of the interactive multimedia learning through CBEE include the following:
· Enhanced learning effectiveness
· Motivated learners
· Uniform quality education
· Mastery learning
· Increased teacher competence
· Better prepared teachers and learners for the knowledge society
· ICT-trained teachers, who can teach curriculum through ICT
· Advanced teacher developers, who can create interactive multimedia based learning contents, modify and contextualize existing materials
· Comprehensive integration of ICT into school curriculum, learning management, and school management.
The contents developed on hard spots for the HEADSTART project of RGSM and MPBOU can be adapted to the requirements of schools of each state, and this experience coupled with long term national-level implementation of the Distance Education Programme of earlier DPEP and the present SSA of the MHRD by IGNOU provide confidence and strength to IGNOU-MPBOU to fully implement the CBEE under SSA all over the country.
Since IGNOU-MPBOU will work towards the design, development, implementation and evaluation of CBEE on cyclic/spiral basis with the motto of no-profit no-loss (except institutional overheads), the costs involved in the implementation of CBEE (excluding supply and installation of computer infrastructure) will be much less than anybody else. To give a feel of the figures, we anticipate a cost of Rs. 300/- per CD-ROM per hard spot area and Rs. 3500/- per head for each ten-days face-to-face training.