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Indian Government Promotes Online Learning, Digital Literacy

The Ministry of Education has stressed that the National Education Policy (NEP)-2020, inter alia, emphasises digital literacy, coding, and computational thinking in its suggested curricula. It also ensures that mathematics and computational thinking are in the curricula throughout the school years, starting from the foundational or early stages. Coding is introduced at the middle stages, which includes grades 6-8 and covers ages 11-14.

Keeping in view the availability of digital infrastructure, the government issued the Pragyata Guidelines on Digital Education in July 2020. They outline various modes of digital education including online learning, which depends on the availability of an Internet connection; the partially online mode that uses the blended approach of digital technology and other offline activities; and the offline mode that utilises television and radio as a major medium of instruction for education. It also mentions the support that must be provided to students with special needs.

To fulfil the digital learning needs of students and teachers, state governments have been advised to tailor their digital resources for teaching and learning to the prevailing situation in each location. Depending on the states’ requirements, the Ministry of Education will provide up to IN 640,000 (US$ 7,787) to establish computer labs and IN 240,000 (US$ 2,920) to set up smart classrooms.

To facilitate online education, a comprehensive initiative called PM eVIDYA has been initiated as part of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan. It unifies all efforts related to digital/online/on-air education to enable multimode access to education.

Further, under Samagra Shiksha, a nationwide education programme, an ICT component aims to digitally provide for all government and aided schools from grades 6 to 12, subject to the availability of budgetary provisions. Under the component, the schools which have not availed the ICT facility earlier can either opt for ICT or smart classrooms as per their requirement and need.

In the event of more than 700 enrolments, an additional ICT lab can also be considered. The schools that have already availed of the ICT facility earlier can choose smart classrooms/tablets as per the guidelines of the scheme. For the ICT labs, a one-time non-recurring grant of up to IN 6400,000 per school and a recurring grant of up to IN 240,000 per school per annum will be given for five years. For smart classrooms, a one-time non-recurring grant of IN 240,000 and the recurring grant of IN 38,000 (US$ 462) is given for a period of five years. Under the scheme, 120,614 ICT labs and 82,120 smart classrooms across the country have been sanctioned.

In January, the National Institute of Transforming India’s (NITI Aayog) Atal Innovation Mission, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), and a private player announced they would add IT skills to the CBSE’s formal curriculum.

The move aimed to align NEP 2020 guidance to increase the pace of tech integration for youth, bridge the future skills gap in the country, and optimise the current infrastructure (including Atal Tinkering Labs) towards making India AI-ready. As OpenGov Asia reported, they launched the AIoT Integration in School Curriculum in September 2022 and initiated a pilot.

A recent showcase, which was the outcome of the pilot programme, included a display of AIoT integration-based lesson plans created by teachers after they were trained by experts from the academic and technology sector. It also included a demonstration of AI and AIoT-enabled social impact projects built by students using tinkering and AI, with guidance from their teachers. The hosting organisations also released a compendium with 70 lesson plans to promote digital readiness.


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