School education system has changed more in the past few months than it did in several years. While schools continue to remain shut in wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, classes have moved to an online ecosystem. Teachers are using information and communication technology (ICT) tools to conduct classes. Efforts are also being made to reach students through Swayam Prabha DTH channels and radio in far flung areas to ensure that no learner is left behind.
With online and blended mode of teaching becomes the new normal in a pandemic-affected world, the National Council Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has stepped in to procure "structured, curated and high quality digital contents" for school students and teachers.
It has begun a “market exploration” for procurement of such digital content for students and teachers under the Prime Minister e-Vidya initiative, rolled out by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently.
The council has invited Expression of Interest (EoI) from non-government agencies to finalise its “procurement model”.
“The objective of this EoI is to finalise the procurement process for the selection of agency/agencies for providing digital content for DIKSHA, TV Channels, Radio etc. under PM eVIDYA initiative,” the Council stated in an official note.
“The objective of this EOI is market exploration and no shortlisting will be done based on these technical presentations,” it added.
The government has already made available a lot of digital content for students and teachers at DIKSHA -- an online platform created by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in 2017 for knowledge sharing in school education sector --, Swayam Prabha educational TV channels and other online platforms created to provide free access to the learners.
But the Coronovirus pandemic has created an unprecedented situation and urgency to further enrich these depositories with structure and well curated high-quality digital content for students.
“This has mandated school closures. To mitigate the loss of learning, education is now increasingly resourced and conducted through digital devices. It is imperative, therefore, that we put our efforts and resources together to provide the means and infrastructure for making remote learning meaningful and effective for the teachers and children in our country,” the Council noted.
In recent months, DIKSHA and other remote learning platforms created by the government have seen “a manifold increase” in use by both teachers and students across the country. DIKSHA further provides access to large curriculum linked e-content through several use cases and solutions, courses for teachers and quizzes among other things.
“However, there are still some gaps which need to be addressed to ensure high quality, interactive content resources which are comprehensive and coherent in terms of multimode access,” the NCERT noted.
The digital contents to be procured by NCERT will be made available at DIKSHA, Swayam Prabha educational TV channels and other remote learning platforms, created by the government to provide free access to students.
In many of the states, Radio is currently being used as one of the mediums to reach out to students in far flung areas and also those who do not have access to smartphones, internet or television, according to ‘India Report-Digital Education”, released by the Human Resource Development ministry on Tuesday.