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the Monthly publication on ict and education

digitalLEARNING INDIA

Volume 5 issue 12

issn 0973-4139

Rs. 75

december 2009 www.digitalLEARNING.in

Realm of Technical Training Going Beyond Formal Education

2-4 December, 2009, Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, Colombo, Sri Lanka


Volume 5 issue 12

digitalLEARNING

issn 0973-4139

rni no. upeng/2008/25311

10

Contents

14

18 20 28

Cover story

6

Vocational Training and Skills Development: Priorities in the Globalised World

workshop report

31

Capacity Building of University Teachers: A collaboration between Institute of Life Long Learning, Delhi University and Microsoft

Research Paper

39

MATHVIS:Breaking the Barriers of Disability

Isuru Wimalasundera, Kulari Lokuge, Lahiri Soysa Menaka Nanayakkara De Silva, Ragavan Satkunanathan, Seyed Mowlana and Tharaka Tharanga

47 Pedagogy Changes for ICT Enabled Primary Education in Sri Lanka

M. A. Kaleelur Rahuman and Gihan Wikramanayake

50 A Study of Informal Learning in ICT Enabled Environment

35

Leaders speak

10

Harish Rawat, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Government of India, New Delhi

14

Sharda Prasad, Director General, Directorate General Employment and Training, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India, New Delhi

18

Manoj Chawla, Executive Senior Vice President, Employability Solutions Group, NIS Sparta

20

Rajeev Katyal, Director, Education, Microsoft

25

Chris Jones, Director General, CITY & GUILDS

28

Pankaj Rai, Director & CEO, Cyber Learning

35

Mukesh Sharma, Founder & Ceo, Qa Infotech

62

Mark Your Calendar

M. A. Kaleelur Rahuman, Gihan N. Wikramanayake and K.P. Hewagamage

regular features

22

News Asia

54 Effectiveness of ICT in Open

42

News India

44

News Corporate

56

News World



25

and Distance Learning: A Case Study Trisha Dowerah Baruah and Krishna Kanta Handique

www.digitalLEARNING.in


editorial

Realm of Technical Training: Going Beyond Formal Education A recent NASSCOM data reveals that more than 75% graduates of Indian Universities are really not employable. There is now a growing need to teach job-specific skills and to bundle the curricula with globally recognised certifications to be able to quickly respond to changing market needs. The Prime Minister of India has fixed a target, that is, by 2022 at least 5 crore Indian youth have to be technically trained. An overall assessment has revealed that in the developed and the developing countries put together, 4.5 crores of manpower is required as resource to match up with the industrial demands.

Advisory Board Prof. Asha Kanwar, Vice President, Commonwealth of Learning Dr. Jyrki Pulkkinen, CEO, Global eSchools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI) Shri Subhash C Khuntia, Joint Secretary, Department School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India Prof. V N Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice Chancellor, Indira GandhiI National Open University (IGNOU)

President Dr. M P Narayanan Editor-in-Chief Dr. Ravi Gupta Research Analyst Dr. Rajeshree Dutta Kumar Research Associate Sheena Joseph Research Assistant Yukti Pahwa Dy. General Manager - Marketing Siddharth Verma +91-9811561645 siddharth@digitallearning.in Sales Executive Ankur Agarwal +91-9313998750 ankur@digitallearning.in Subscription & Circulation Lipika Dutta +91-9871481708

Besides, India’s labour force is growing at a rate of 2.5% annually but the employment rate is growing at only 2.3% due to a huge dearth of skilled workforce. Only 5% of the labourforce has some kind of skill certification in contrast to 85% in the developed countries. Therefore, skill development in the current scenario is gradually assuming a role of great significance. In this issue, we aim to bring to the fore and to the attention of our readers, some skill development initiatives that have aimed to bridge the gap between the education imparted and the actual skills needs of the industry. Various ministries, departments and organisations have been actively involved in skill development pro grammes. Many industrial training institutes are being opened all across India to impart the right kind of skill to the youth population- which will enable them to contribute positively and productively in the development of the nation. The paradigm shift is from formal education to streams of vocational training to benefit a large chunk of our youth population including the unemployed, un-organised sector workers and the dropouts from school education. This untapped human resource segment goes waste because there is lack of training opportunities for enabling them to sharpen their skills with certification. Through this issue we also bring our readers, a glance of eAsia summit scheduled to be held in Colombo between 2nd to 4th December 2009. eAsia is an open ICT for development platform for Asian countries to discuss opportunities and challenges in promoting growth of ICT4D, through consultative dialogues, strategic planning, knowledge networking and business partnering. The conference will bring together scholars from Asia, high government officials, academicians and industry players for sharing knowledge and information regarding health, governance and education issues in the field of development.

Dr. Ravi Gupta Editor-in-Chief Ravi.Gupta@digitalLEARNING.in

Manoj Kumar +91-9891752931 Sr Graphic Designer Bishwajeet Kumar Singh

Editorial & Marketing Correspondence

Graphic Designer Om Prakash Thakur

G-4 Sector 39, NOIDA 201301, India Phone: +91 120 2502181-85 Fax: +91 120 2500060 Email: info@digitalLearning.in

Web Zia Salahuddin, Amit Pal

digitalLearning

digitalLEARNING is published by Elets Technomedia Pvt. Ltd. in technical collaboration with Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies (CSDMS). Owner, Publisher, Printer - Ravi Gupta Printed at Vinayak Print Media D-320, Sector 10, Noida, U.P. and published from 710, Vasto Mahagun Manor, F-30, Sector - 50, Noida, UP Editor: Ravi Gupta

digital LEARNING

December 2009




cover story

Vocational Training and Skills Development

Priorities in the Globalised World



www.digitalLEARNING.in


The population growth of India has declined over many years, yet the labour force is projected to grow close to 2% or some 7 million or more per year over the next few years. Modernisation and new social processes have led to more women entering the workforce lowering the dependency ratio from 0.8 in 1991 to 0.73 in 2001 and is expected to further decline to 0.59 by 2011. This trend is in sharp contrast to industrialised countries including China where the ratio is on the rise. The low dependency ratio gives India a comparative cost advantage and competitiveness.

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DECEMBER 2009




The Eleventh Five Year Plan has focused on developing a large pool of skilled workforce to meet the needs of the industry, trade and service sectors. For this purpose, a major initiative “Skill Development Mission” with an outlay of INR 22,800 crores has been proposed. The mission will ensure the supply side response involving both public and private sectors in a symbiotic relationship. An estimated 58.6 million new jobs in the domestic economy and about 45 million jobs worldwide, it opens a great opportunity to the Indian youth and the government and private sectors which must act in a consorted manner to seize these opportunities. The Action Agenda Industrial Training Institutes The Ministry of Labour and Employment plans to upgrade ITSs into institutions of excellence by investing INR 2-3.5 crores in each of them, establish new ITIs in Public Private Partnership(PPP) mode to empower the unskilled workforce of backward areas, setup new ITIs in SEZs, quadruple ITI capacity by encouraging them to run 2 shift operation and facilitate intensive faculty development programme. According to Shri Harish Rawat, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Government of India, “We have to develop skill based programmes for the teeming population in the urban and rural areas. For this we have a target of opening 50,000 Skill Development Centres, out of which 5000 are being opened by our ministry. The courses for these Centres have already been identified. Apart from that, we will

open 1,500 new ITIs and also focus on upgrading the existing 1,800 Centres so that they are well equipped to impart world class skills.” Polytechnics Ministry of HRD plans to upgrade 400 Government Polytechnics, running all Polytechnics in two shifts, establish 125 new Polytechnics through PPP mode and encouraging larger initiatives in the private sector. Vocational education is proposed to be expanded from 9500 Senior Secondary schools to 20000 schools, thereby increasing the intake capacity from 1 million to 2.5 million. All VE schools will get into partnership with employers for providing faculty/trainers, internships, advice on curriculum framing, skill testing and certification etc. Community Polytechnics Community Polytechnics have been designed to deliver the same types of courses in a community environment which are delivered through vocational education in schools, but the focus would be on the informal sector of the economy. Community Polytechnics have been established as entities within polytechnics rather than as autonomous institutions. RUDSETI Ministry of Rural Development has initiated setting up of 600 Rural Development and Self-Employment Training Institutes (RUDSATI) throughout the country. State Governments and banks will collaborate in this effort and the institutes will focus on entrepreneurship development programmes for the rural masses.

While looking for new TVET and Skills development strategies, we need to remember that in India, the shift of knowledge based activity has made an impact to the industry in two ways: • Changing the manufacturing sector landscape so that some traditional heavy industries have shrunk considerably (e.g. engineering manufacturing) while other sectors of the manufacturing industry have moved up the value chain (e.g. electronic components and medical instruments); • Reshaping the services sector, particularly through the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), leading to growth opportunities in both This paradigm shift in industrial scenario has been reflected in the NASSCOMMcKinsey Report 2005 Projections which indicate that talent pool will fall short by about 0.5 million suitable professionals by the end of the decade and the IT and ITES sector will need an additional 1 million plus qualified people in the next five years. The Skills Development Mission of the Government of India envisages to devise a comprehensive scheme for developing diverse and wide range of skills for the youth that will enable the country to reap the scientific and demographic dividend.



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With India’s demographic profile consisting of 550 million below the age of 25, it has the potential to constitute one-fourth of the global workforce by 2020. There is a need for a focused agenda for education and skill development to harness this.Statistics show that the lack of vocational skills is a major challenge. NSS data (61st round 2004-05) indicates that of the individuals in the labour force aged 15-29, only two per cent have received formal vocational training and another eight per cent reported to have received non-formal vocational training. This figure is far higher in developed countries: 96% in South Korea, 80% in Japan, 75% in Germany, 68% in UK and even developing countries, 28% in Mexico, 22% in Botswana. A part of the unemployment problem emanates from the mismatch between the skill requirements of the market and the skill base of the job seekers.In order to accelerate the course of development in the country, efforts have to be made to nourish innovation, entrepreneurship and to address the skill requirements of a growing economy. Jan Shikshan Sansthan Jan Shishan Sansthan was launched as an Adult Education Programme aimed at improving the vocational skills and quality of life of workers and their family members. Financed by the Adult Education Directorate withing MHRD, the programme initially focused on adults and young people living in urban and industrial areas and those who had migrated from the rural areas. JSS has acted as a district level resource to organise vocational training and skill development programmes. National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) NIOS offers Open Basic Education (OBE) programmes designed to bring students to Grade 3, Grade 5 or Grade 8 level. Its mandate covers especially designed groups described as girls and women, working men and women, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, the handicapped, other disadvantaged groups and rural youth. By assisting rural youth, NIOS serves potentially the largest group of new entrants to the labour market, a group most likely to find itself working in the informal labour market.


Recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission Towards a Knowledge Society, published by the National Knowledge Commission consisting of compilations of recommendations on education, has put specific emphasis on skills development. To improve Vocational Education and Training (VET), NKC’s recommendations focus on increasing the flexibility of VET within the mainstream education system. NKC has also emphasised the need to expand capacity through innovative delivery models, including robust public private partnerships. Given that only seven per cent of the country’s labour force is in the organised sector, enhancing training options available for the unorganised and informal sector will be critical for enhancing the productivity of the bulk of our working population. It is necessary to ensure a robust regulatory and accreditation framework, along with proper certification of vocational education and training. This will allow easier mobility into higher education streams, enhancing the value of such trainings. Knowledge Initiatives in the 11th Five Year Plan Vocational Training & Skill Development • Launch a National Skill Development Mission with an outlay of Rs 31,200 crore to increase capacity from 2.5 million to 10 million per annum; • The National Skill Development Mission would encourage Ministries to expand existing public sector skill development infrastructure and its utilisation by five fold. • Modernise existing public sector infrastructure to get into PPP mode with functional and governance autonomy, establish a credible accreditation system and a guidance framework for all accrediting agencies, encourage agencies to rate institutions on standardised outcomes, and establish a “National Skill Inventory” and a “National Database for Skill Deficiency Mapping” on a national web portal. • Set up a National Qualification Framework, which establishes equivalence and provides horizontal mobility between various Vocational, Technical and Academic streams at more than one career point and a Trainee Placement and Tracking System for effective evaluation and future policy planning. • Enlarge the coverage of skill spectrum to 1000 trades, with relevance to our emerging needs while making a distinction between structural, interventional and last mile unemployability and correspondingly set up programmes for 24 months, 12 months and 6 months duration. “Finishing Schools” will be encouraged to take care of last mile unemployability.· Create a “National Skill Development Fund” imposing a universal skill development obligation on industry to invest in skill development of Scs/STs/OBCs/Minorities/ others candidates from BPL families – as their contribution to affirmative action combined with matching Government contribution. • Facilitate repositioning of employment exchanges as outreach points of the Mission for storing and providing information on employment and skill development and to function as career counselling centres. • Enlarge the 50,000 Skill Development Centres programme eventually into a “Virtual Skill Development Resource Network’ for web based learning.

According to Dr Sitansu S Jena, Chairman, National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), “With the enactment of the Right to Education Act by the Parliament, introduction of NCF2005, and the introduction of the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) at the elementary and secondary stages, NIOS needs to revisit not only its curriculum on open basic education and other levels but also develop a system of parity with emphasis on vocationalising secondary

and senior secondary levels.” International Collaborations The Ministry of HRD has entered into bilateral collaboration with countries like UK, New Zealand etc. for sharing the best practices and policy experiences for the advancement of quality assurance and recognition of qualifications. The partner countries have agreed to

mutually cooperate and exchange experiences and information in the areas of designing of vocational education and skills development policies, curriculum development, delivery and funding mechanism for vocational education and training, leadership and capacity building among teachers and trainers, quality assessment of vocational education and mutual recognition of vocational education qualifications. Other Training for Informal Sector Almost all Central and State line ministries provide some form of training. They include: (1) The Ministry of Rural Areas and Employment conducting programmes like Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY); the Integrated Rural Development Programme, ending the Programme for Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) and Training of Rural Youth for Self Employment (TRYSEM); (2) The Department of Women and Child Development which runs Support to Training and Employment Programme (STEP); (3) The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) which has 51 training centers including 12 village industry training centres; (4) Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST) helps unemployed and under-employed youth aged 18-35 years to set up their own businesses; (5) Entrepreneurship Development Centres which provide training in different fields based on the resource endowment of the area; (6) The National Renewal Fund (NRF) provides assistance to cover the cost of retraining and redeployment of employees arising from modernisation, technology upgradation and industrial restructuring; and (7) The Ministry of Agriculture’s Krishi Vigyan Kendra’s impart training to farmers, farm women, rural youth and grassroots level extension workers in agricultural products. Programmes and Projects for Underprivileged Sector under TVET Targeting disadvantaged groups means that measures are targeted at groups of individuals such as ethnic minority groups, the urban poor, women, redundant workers, the long term unemployed and youth. Programmes and projects have included language training, skills retraining and job placement programmes, enterprise training, micro enterprise lending programmes, etc. \\ digital LEARNING

DECEMBER 2009




LEADERS SPEAK

Industry Specific Training is the Need of the Hour www.labour.nic.in

harish rawat Minister of state for labour and employment, Government of india, new delhi

The Ministry of Labour and Employment, GoI, has the mandate to protect and safeguard the interests of workers through enactment and enforcement of labour laws and programmes relating to welfare of the workers. Shri Harish Rawat shares with digital Learning about the recent scopes and opportunities of skill development and technical education in India. 10

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50,000 skill development centres are being opened and we have identified 450 skills so far to cope up with the industry-based demand. Our courses run from 19 hours to 2 year/ 3 year Diploma. We have a huge momentum built up because of PM’s initiative.

What is the Role of Ministry of Labour and Employment in relation to issue of Skill Development and employment opportunities? India is a developing economy and the major challenge before us, today, is how to fill the gap between the demand of the industries in various sectors and supply of trained labour. Interestingly, there is a mismatch between the demand and supply and there is a gap between what the industry requires and the available resources. Therefore, the key issue is to provide the right kind of skills that the industry requires for the country to develop. At the same time the level of skills which we are being developed, should essentially be in-line with what the industry desires. For fulfilling this purpose, the government has launched the skill development initiative. The Prime Minsiter of India has fixed a target, that is, by 2022 we have to train 5 crore people. Our assessment has revealed that in the developed and the developing countries together, 4.5 crores of manpower is required as resource to match up with the industrial demands. Not only can we succeed in providing the technical requirements of our own domestic requirements but also the requirements arising in the other countries. Can you highlight some of the influential factors which are part of the Skill Development Initiative? Let me give you an example. Our technical manpower which is working in US helps us to have an influence over that country. Let me share a few numbers with you. There are 17 other ministries apart from Minsitry of Labour and Employment, with a target of 5 crore, which are involved in this work. We also have participation of various industries and organisations such as FICCI involved in this initiative. Additionally, IITs which that are being opened, the curriculum being prepared for the ITIs and courses being undertaken at ITIs are being decided by us. This is how we are controlling and encouraging the actions for development of the initiative. In minority dominated 12

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districts and areas minority development ministry is working so that the weaker section can also reap the benefits from the initiative funds. For the purpose of the same, 50,000 skill development centres are being opened and we have identified 450 skills so far to cope up with the industry-based demand. Our courses run from 19 hours to 2 year/ 3 year Diploma. We have a huge momentum built up because of PM’s initiative. Our ministry has decided to open 1500 new ITI in backward areas, naxal areas, far flung areas, hilly areas and also in minority intensive districts. We have also started the initiative of opening 5000 skill development centres and we have identified 450 skills for them. Is there any special focus on women empowerment under this initiative? We are trying to make provision for women ITIs (Industrial Training Institutes). 450 modules and courses for gainful employment skills, covering 41 sectors have been developed and approved by National Council for Vocational Training. 22 industries and employer organisations have been empaneled as assessing bodies for conducting assessment. For this certification is required and for this purpose we require some independent body, which in this case is constitutes of 22 industries and organisations. The total number of persons who have been trained and adjusted in the industry, since inception of the initiative, is 2,53,803. Also, we have registered 4,293 vocational training providers. Our whole objective of skill development initiative is to provide vocational training to school drop-outs, employing untrained workers and improving their employability by optimally utilising the infrastructure available in government and private institutions and industry. There is a facility for existing skills of people under training to be tested and certified, under the scheme to build capacity in the area of competency development, standardisation of courses, standardisation of curricula/ learning material and assessment standards in the country.

Can you elaborate on courses being offered under the skill development initiative? Demand driven short term training courses are also the main feature of the skill development programme. These courses are based on modular employable skills which are decided upon in consultation with the industry. The aim is to provide the gainful employment. We have already upgraded the existing 100 ITIs through domestic funding, that is, the internal resources, since 2007 when the initiative was announced. Our ministry has been identified as a centre of excellence and it spent a total of INR 160 crores for the above. 400 ITIs are being upgraded through The World Bank assistance of around INR 1,581 crores. We are upgrading 1,396 government ITIs through Public Private Partnership, that will cost INR 3550 crores. Under the skill development initiative the total outlay for short term courses is around 550 crores. And our target is to train 1 million people in 5 years and this is ongoing now. After 5 years, 1 million are to be added every year. We have been told by the the PM that our target is of opening of 1500 new ITIs which will cost INR 36 crores. 5000 skill development centres which we have proposed will cost us INR 1000 crores, that are to be spent in coming 3 years. The role of vocational training providers is also very important. We are willing to help the states in training their inspectors, for building their infrastructure and also for upgrading the existing manpower. This is all about the ministries and central bodies only involved in opening of ITIs. Are their any efforts being taken to provide the trained manpower with employment? From the beginning we have involved the industry and whatever courses we are running are all requirement based. Our focus is on employable skills whether we are imparting the skill to the new person or upgrading the skills of the people who are already trained. Our focus is that the worker should get some rewardable employment.


// LEADERS SPEAK

450 course modules have already been developed and these modules are based on gainful employment skills, which are to cover 41 sectors.

What are the major challenges in achieving the target of 1 million in 5 years and then 1 million in every consecutive year? There is huge shortage of trainers for which we require trainer’s training programme. We have suggested to the states that where they have ITI, they should also conduct trainer training programmes. And with whatever facilities we have, we are ready to train the master trainers who can further impart training to their sub-trainers. Through National Council for Vocational Training we are working on developing the courses. 450 course modules have already been developed and these modules are based on gainful employment skills, which are to cover 41 sectors. Further, with the limited resources that we have, we can use a particular pool of resources in making video of that particular training programme and show it to the people in areas where they are not available. We have developed web based software for the SDI scheme, that is, design development and management of web based softwares, with testing and certifications from foreign agencies. Sir, you mentioned about the skills that have been identified. Can you specify some major skills that are being imparted that is the top priority schemes that are required in the market. These are matters of details and

from the old skill to the new skills required or the future technology these all are encoded in that. We are even developing courses for the service sector such as hotel industry and willing to impart training for developing even the minutest of skill required in the industry. The PM’s direction is very clear in meeting this future challenge if we are going to be an economic superpower. For that we need skilled manpower and for that purpose because we are the youngest country now, that is more than 75% population are below 25 years of age. There is more of older population in other developed countries. There is a huge gap in the age of the population in these countries whereas in Africa and other Asian countries they do not have the expertise and resources to be our competitor. So we can convert our young force into skilled manpower and our target is of 5 crores. Hence, the situation in the world is helping us. America, Europe, China and Russia, the population of these countries are ageing. About 63% of the school students are dropouts at different stages before reaching class 10th. Only 2.5 million vocational training seats are available in the country whereas 12.8 million people enter the labour market every year. This signifies that a large number of school dropouts do not have access to skill development for improving their employability. Thus our target is the school drop-outs. Our target is those who are somewhere working in skilled areas without having some skill training. For them the name is given Modular Employable Skill. What are your views on schemes such as sarva shiksha abhiyan and whether they can aid in skill development programmes? ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ has a different direction has a different focus, that is, to have a ‘sihikshit Bharat’ (educated India). Our focus, however,

is to provide gainful employable skills even to those who have never attended schools. There are other ministries to take care of them. We have different schemes for this such as swarnjayanti swarozgar yojna, shahri rozgar yojana, swarnjayanti grameen swarozgar yojana, pradhan mantri swarozgar yojana and many other schemes. For women we have mahila gafsta force to take care of them. We have to develop skill for them and prepare a modular of the skills. For this we have a target of opening 50,000 skill development centres out of which 5,000 are being opened by our ministry. We have identified the courses but apart from that we will open 1,500 new ITI s and whatever ITI we have that is 1,800 we are upgrading them to have world class skills. World class skill means the skill which the country and outside of the country is required. These Industrial Training Institutes are only in government sector. There are large number in the private sector. For private sector we have The National Council for Vocational Training. It has its own standard for deciding the criteria for giving recognition. We have even approved their procedure of assessment of their capacities, their testing and also certification. For certification, also we are tying up with the foreign certification agency. We are collaborating with some of the world class certifying agencies of the world. We are even tapping the expertise from countries such as Germany, UK, Korea. This is itself a big challenge! In this there are challenges of money, manpower, operation and stakeholders. At this time the condition worldwide is conducive for us. Earlier as a cheap labour on a large scale we were entering the world market and then with the coming of information technology. Now we could create softwares at a cheaper rate but things are changing for us even in the developed countries. The technology is growing at such a fast pace that in those countries also the earlier requirement of ten workers is gradually being replaced by one worker. So now Indians are getting hold of their technology. So young India will definitely turn into a big boom. \\ digital LEARNING

DECEMBER 2009

13


LEADERS SPEAK

Creating Technically Trained Resource Pool

Views on Industry Based-Demand and Manpower Supply www.dget.nic.in

Sharda Prasad Director General, Directorate General Employment and Training, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India, New Delhi

The Directorate General of Employment & Training (DGE&T) in Ministry of Labour is the apex organisation for development and coordination at National level for programmes relating to Vocational Training. In a brief conversation with digital Learning, Sharda Prasad expresses his high hopes on Industrial Training Institutes. 14

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According to a survey conducted by the Boston Consulting Group and the US Censor Bureau, there will be a deficit of trained manpower in the country by 2020 by 46 mn and in that situation India will have a surplus of trained population by 47 mn. Therefore, we are training people in such a way so that they make it possible to work even out side the country, globally. What are the major challenges and opportunities in the process of training labourers and employing manpower in the informal sectors of economy. After independence, one of the basic objectives of the government was to industrialise the country and therefore, formed Industrial Policy Resolution of 1956. To trace the feedback from the industry about their requirements in trained technical manpower the Compulsory Notification of Vacancies, Act 1959 was also framed which made it mandatory for the industry to provide information about their requirement of technically trained manpower to the Employment Exchanges. Besides, the entry at the moment of labour force in the market is around 12.8 million every year while our training capacity for the trained workforce is only about 3.1 million. Therefore, there is a huge gap of about 10 million per year. Therefore, the industry should come forward, feel free to participate and also sees a business opportunity in investing in the training process. How has India adopted the concept of ITI, if at all? In India the process was started by the government and the concept of ITI (Industrial Training Institute) was mooted along with the idea of employment exchange. Till 1968 there were about 850 ITIs and ITCs in the country. In the 2004 budget, the Finance Minister announced of upgrading of as many as 500 ITIs into the Centres of Excellence. And in that 100 will be upgraded from the domestic fund itself while the major 400 will have to have the world bank fund. The project was although launched in the year of 2004-05 but actually started taking a shape from 2005-06 initially with 100 ITIs. Have all the proposed ITIs been converted into the centres of excellence? Some parts of the plan is yet to be met in a year from now. It is a five years plan where the states also have to

contribute at least 25 %. Around 22 new sectors were adopted in the new course that included hospitality, production, manufacturing, tourism, construction, leather technology, garments designing and textile manufacturing, etc. The training methodology was also modified to a two years course where the first year itself has six modules instead of one in the earlier to make the student a multi-skilled worker. In the second year during the first six months he gets a special training in one of those six modules he got inducted in the first year and in the next six months he gets a hardcore hands on industry training on that particular module he has been trained recently. After two years of the complete training he comes out as a multi-skilled worker ready to work as per the requirement of the industry. In the process, Industry Management Committee (IMC) was introduced which was headed by a member from the industry. IMC was made responsible to trace the requirement of the industry, getting involved in the training as well as the on-the-job training and apprenticeship of the student. There are 11 members in the committee where five are from the industry along with the Chairman, five from the state government and the Principal is the member secretary. How the mission of National Skill Development Board has been taken forward to the rural population? We are now in the process of setting up 1500 new ITIs and 50,000 Skill Development Centres through PrivatePublic-Partnership (PPP) process. These Skill Development Centres are actually the smaller versions of ITIs. Now these new 1500 ITIs will be at the un-serviced blocks at the rural areas, where a proper set up of education and training is not present adequately. The new 50,000 skill development centres will be distributed one in each of a cluster of 10 villages which will mainly train the local population that will help in the development of the local industry, market as well as the rural population of the country. The scheme is expected to launch by January 2010.

A large scale of the trained population goes out, what is your say on that? Yes, a certain percentage goes out every year abroad. Till date as per record, around 6.5 lakh has already gone out. We also encourage people to take up jobs outside India. According to a survey conducted by the Boston Consulting Group and the US Censor Bureau, there will be a deficit of trained manpower in the country by 2020 by 46 mn and in that situation India will have a surplus of trained population by 47 mn. Therefore, we are training people in such a way so that they make it possible to work even out side the country, globally. You have earlier talked about the formalisation and upgradation of the training centres towards more formal and organised sectors, could you please give us an idea of that. We are in process to develop special councils for all the sectors headed by the industry experts of the relevant sector. National Skill Development Corporations have been given the responsibilities of setting up the sectoral expert councils with the help of the industry stalwarts. We also are planning to chalk out a guideline for strategic communication policies to publicise the excerpts of Government’s plans and performances in the sector. In the process all the government ITIs will also be upgraded overtime while the new ITIs and skill development centres will come up eventually. 500 institutes have already been covered in the domestic and world bank funded schemes and the rest will be covered in the PPP scheme of 3,550 crores in five years of time. We have already released a 1500 crores and 750 crores awaits for this year and the rest will be released in the next three years. According to our Prime Minister’s instructions we have to train 500 mn people by 2022 for the industry. We have estimated it around 40 mn per annum. Besides, 969 employment exchange branches will be modernised at a cost of 12 crores. Through the centres’ websites we will be able to take into account the requirement of the industry. \\ digital LEARNING

DECEMBER 2009

15


LEADERS SPEAK

Business Skills for Employment Solutions www.nissparta.com

Manoj Chawla Executive Senior Vice President, Employability Solutions Group, NIS Sparta

NIS Sparta has been working in the sector of employability solutions for years now and offers a wide range of training solutions for different categories in business and employment sectors. Manoj Chawla converses with digital Learning about growing opportunities in industry specific learning solutions. 18

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Many people discover the need to re-skill themselves after having worked for a few years. We understand and cater to both individual needs and corporate needs, in the employment market.

Can you highlight the role of NIS Sparta in field of vocational education? We started on 17th September, 1991 as a small division and by 2000 we were fully involved in training people, in both private and public sector. For the last 34 years our focus has been more on the career education sector. In the year 2009, we launched new programmes based on prior research with the industry. We noted that the students seek the industry-based jobs, need certain pre-skills before they join a particular industry. We launched new programmes keeping in mind what the industry needs. Still more important is the need of persons who can deal with the customers effectively, that is people who can sell to customers, serve them in best possible manner, who have the right attitude, and who have the ability and desire to grow as leaders. This we knit into a programme of ‘Business Skills’. This particular programme is a hybrid version of instructor led methodology versus pure e-Learning method. Various modes of teaching and e-learning are embedded into the programme. We are working in the sector of employability solutions and we are looking into continuum of education for students who pass out of class 12, pass out of college and also those in the age group of 25-45 years, who are in their mid career. NIS Sparta has different training solutions for different categories. Can you throw some light on ‘learning in an interactive virtual environment’ programme, that was launched by NIS in collaboration with the Xavier Institute of Management? That was the first institute we partnered with. We launched three batches of Post Graduate Certificate in Business Management, that is, PGCBM. The admission requirement for the same is three years of work experience. When we look at the profile of people, the average work experience of the people who are applying for the programme is about ten years of work experience. This implies that people who are approaching

us for admissions are more qualified in terms of experience than require for the course. This is also an indicator that majority of the people who are looking forward to upgradation of technical skills are in their mid 30s. What are the main objectives of the programmes you run? Who is your specified target audience for the programme? The objective when we started the above mentioned programme two years ago was to create a continuum of education. There was a need to address the needs of the working educated who may have missed in-depth class education, in a hurry to get a job. There are thousands of people who complete their education quickly and start working. They do not undertake further education at that point of time, because they do not feel the need. But, many people discover the need to re-skill themselves, after few years of working in an area. We understand and cater to both individual needs and corporate needs, respectively. We do not classify people on the basis of a particular background they come from. Nor it is purely on economic background but the fact remains that people who are economically well off can afford what we are offering which is at the same time not very costly. The business season for admission in education really starts in the month of April or May, when results get declared lasting till August or so when they get admissions. Has NIS Sparta entered in any other collaborations or Public Private Partnerships with organisations other than one mentioned above? We have recently, announced our tie-up with one more institute that is with IMT Gaziabad. We will be launching a few programmes with them; whether it is Xavier Institute of Management or IMT Gaziabad, they will be operating on the same platform, that I,s video conferencing which has its own advantage over many other methods of education especially those which are e-Enabled.

Can you elaborate on the Karma Jyoti Scholarship and the USP of your programmes such as Dronacharya? Few years ago we started refocusing on the education business. As a result, we found that there are many people who want to join a programme at NIS, are deserving but were unable to do so because of the cost. Because of these issues, we launched karma Jyoti scholarship 2009. Its a merit scholarship. People who are interested will go through an interview, and based upon the performance in the interview and the written test they will be given a fee waiver. The corpus that we have created towards this scholarship is INR 3 crores and the process has already been activated. Project Dronacharya, was a large scale project that we had executed in the past. We were given the task of coaching people on the field as against traditional training that happens in a classroom. Our consultant trained a person for two years and went out on field with him. This project lasted for almost three years. Can you elaborate something on the community college initiative in this field? We are amongst many people who have tied-up with IGNOU for this purpose. We have multiple colleges that we are looking at to set up across the country. This is unlike the other institutions who have tied-up with IGNOU. The curriculum that will be taught would be fairly standardised. However, being a community college the content also needs to be localised. It will be built around standardised and localised solution. Secondly, our focus will be on a lot of NIS components than the soft skills training. We have been heavily into softer skills ever since we started and our community college will be definitely teaching some hard skills because the community college will be at the local or state employment level. From the perspective of making the person more effective rather than only employable, our curriculum will be based on both effectiveness and employability. \\ digital LEARNING

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LEADERS SPEAK

Supporting and Fueling the Growth of ICT in Education www.microsoft.com/india

Rajeev katyal Director, Education, microsoft

Microsoft entered India in 1990 and since then has worked closely with the Indian government, IT industry, academia and local developer community for ushering in some of the early successes in the realm of IT. Digital LEARNING, in conversation with Rajeev Katyal, learns more about the projects and programmes of Microsoft in India 20

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Microsoft, along with NCERT, has now started developing lessons with the help of content developers so that at least one computer can be afforded for one classroom. In multi-point content development, the teacher draws the lessons plan and the content developers convert them into multi-point and give them back to the teachers. This is the concept of a content classroom.

What according to you are the challenges in IT education sector and the activities of Microsoft in that situation. Today ICT plays a major role in improving quality and aid the education system. Government has included ICT at schools by setting up IT labs and issuing PCs to the students. These ICT labs are eventually networked through broadband connections. The idea is to make all students IT skilled and to bring in pedagogy in the latest teaching learning processes through ICT. In the higher education system, the National Mission is to ensure IT setups in each and every college with adequate broadband facilities. The expectation is supposed to be met in the next 3 years and followed by which the government plans to bring in content and virtual universities, virtual classrooms and web based content, and web based delivery of the content in the classrooms. Thus ICT based education improves quality in education and makes a young person skillfully employable. Actually ICT enables vocational content available through seamless access and delivery methods and spreads vocational skills that brings about employability in the process. Having specific programmes in ICT, Microsoft plays an important role in introducing and imparting technology in education, supporting the government initiatives in the process of improving quality and equity in the process of education. How do you ensure ICT at school level as teaching assistance? At school level, initiatives are taken more towards setting up ICT labs ensuring that both the teachers and students are getting the desired skills. Down the line the government wants to bring in learning of objects such as Mathematics and Science through ICT in terms of visualising and practice. So in the coming years ICT will become an unavoidable part of pedagogy in teaching as well as in application of the curricula.

What is the role of Microsoft in the following three years to support government in their initiatives? We train approximately 80,000 to 1,00,000 teachers every year in government schools in IT. Now these trained teachers will further teach the students in improving the quality of education at every stage. For the IT curriculum, anybody can get it through the Internet as a registered member with Microsoft and can download the files. The registered member also has rights to replicate it. The government schools can apply to us and get the rights to replicate paying the royalty of the curriculum. In your programme, ‘Partners in Learning’, in association with the Government of Egypt, does the training take place in your area or school premises? The training takes place in DIETs which are present in every district. DIETs are centres where teachers come for training. Here the teaching infrastructure is provided by the respective government and Microsoft provides the programmes of the course and train the teachers. The programme duration is generally of ten days. What are the challenges in bringing ICT to schools? Infrastructure problem is the main challenge that exists at the school level. For example broadband connection might not be available throughout the year and there is a psychological fear associated with the use of technology at the school level. Besides, the teacher’s training in IT is not up to the mark in many places. To ensure quality in education Microsoft has introduced a feedback process from the teachers where post training they have to prepare lessons for their students and Microsoft scrutinises to meet the level of quality. What is the way forward for you? We firmly believe that the Microsoft offers the best of education in ICT across the world in terms of the sheer

interactivity, popularity and its wider presence through the interface with the windows software. There is a very strong comfort level between the students and the teachers using Microsoft. We are now into introducing education inclined more towards technology. Around 50% schools are computerised every year and the digital divide is going to be smaller. Other than accessibility, the challenge before us is to train teachers in IT and also at the same time provide computers in every school. Penetration of IT in school education is a big challenge facing the government as well as the private players in the field of education. What are the initiatives that Microsoft has taken in collaboration with the government? The bulk of the schools today in India are run by the government sector where bulk of the students come from economically challenged backgrounds. We tend to make an impact on the government. Out of 1.4 million schools in India, assuming that there are ten classrooms in each school, it is not possible to put computer in the hand of every child or even in each classroom. In such a situation multi-point technology can be of great use where 30 students can have 30 mikes using one computer. The government is desirous of training more and more teachers because the requirement is much more than the number available. The target before us is of training 20 million teachers in 5 years. What initiatives have Microsoft taken for the deprived sections of the society? Microsoft has initiated ‘Project Jyoti’, which is about training students who live below the poverty line. In higher education also we are developing softwares for students at affordable prices so that they can work on projects. Our initiative, IT in academics is to make sure that a school or college can set up an IT academy where they can get access to 30-300 Microsoft courses which are certified. \\ digital LEARNING

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news

asia

Technology for Teachers

Education Minister Sunil Premjayanth told that implementation is being done with special effort of training at least 75 % of the teachers in computer technology or literacy. Minister mentioned that Teacher Training Institute has been converted to a full fledged ICT training college to train 220 IT teachers, annually. Two years back, a survey was conducted by authorities, through which it was noted that only 25 % of teachers in government schools were computer literate. The Minister told that training provided to teachers since has achieved considerable results.

A special crash programme is being implemented by the Education Ministry, Sri Lanka, to develop Information Technology in government schools.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa had declared year 2009 as the Year of English and IT. The Education Ministry has taken several steps to develop IT literacy in the

Universities and Singapore Centre Collaborate for improving quality of Chinese teaching Four universities, including the Media Development Authority (MDA), SIM University (UniSIM), the University of Hong Kong and NTUC’s SEED Institute, are collaborating with the Singapore Centre for Chinese Language to improve Chinese teaching standards. The objective of the collaborations is to support upgradation of teaching skills amongst Chinese teachers. The partnership with SEED Institute, Singapore’s largest training institute for early childhood education, will offer pre-school mandarin teachers a part-time Chinese degree programme in the same area. The partnership with MDA will focus on integrating information and communication technology (ICT) into the learning and teaching of the Chinese language. A parttime Bachelor’s degree for Chinese teachers will be offered by SIM University, who are diploma holders. The programme will commence in 2010. The centre will also cooperate with the University of Hong Kong from next year, offering teachers a master’s degree program focusing on curriculum planning.

More funds to Higher Education To support quality improvements at universities the United Kingdom’s Prime Ministers Initiative was established. A fund of 1.2 million has been made available to higher education institutions around the world, including those in Indonesia, to develop international partnerships over the next two years. Indonesian students like other in world desire and dream of Higher. However, despite the demand there are no Indonesian educational institutions listed in the top 200 Times Higher Education Supplement (THE) ‘best universities in the world.’ The ratings of countries’ global competitiveness based on the 22

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quality higher education available in The Global Competitiveness Report 2009-10, ranks Indonesia at 54th position among

country, starting at grassroots level using the maximum resources available. In past two year, the ministry had trained 62,000 and aound 15,000 of the trained teachers had received international diplomas. Currently 100,000 teachers are being trained in weekend sessions, explained the minister. Explaining the progress, Minister Premajayanth also mentioned that a school IT development program is being conducted with 3,500 computer labs in schools island-wide while another 500 IT labs are currently under construction. The targeted number of school computer labs of 5,000 would be ready by 2010 end. He also mentioned that the ministry has taken steps to integrate IT at the GCE O level and by 2,010 it would be a GCE A Level subject.

the listed133 countries. This represents being placed below Singapore (ranked third), Malaysia (24th, China (29th , Thailand (36th) and India (49th). It was reported by The National Statistic Agency that as of February 2009, 13 % of Indonesia’s unemployed held bachelor’s degrees, which is around 1.2 million people. To improve the quality of education, one of the ways is through encouragement of partnerships between universities in Indonesia and other countries. International collaboration is usually delivered through double degree programs, franchising or staff exchanges. International students from universities already affiliated with a UK institution benefit double: they secure a double diploma and receive one of the best educational experiences available. Since its launch in 2006, the Prime Ministers Initiative has already funded 235 collaborative programs in research, lecturer development, student exchanges and scholarships with universities around the world. Success stories include Bina Nusantara University (working with Northumbria University in Design Studies and Bournemouth University in Tourism & Hospitality), and Indonusa Esa Unggul University (with Heriot Watt University in Management). Other countries in South East Asia benefiting from the Prime Ministers Initiative include South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand.

‘Visit-Japan Program’ for 6 Philippine High School Students Japanese embassy at Manila reported about six high school students from


of Don Bosco Technical Institute-Makati, Paul John T. Ngoyahon of Infant Jesus Montessori School, and Allen Alexander V. Villanueva of Colegio San AgustinLaguna, were included in this group of six. The visit is under the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths-Asia Japan Alumni Association (Jenesys-Asja) Jr. Program.

different parts of the Philippines, who have left for the two-week ‘Visit-Japan Program’ from November 15 to December 1. Georgina Palmario, the supervisor of the students, leads this group of 13- to 15-year-olds, who left for an opportunity to understand Japanese culture through home-stay and other exchange activities with students of the Kamigo Junior High School. Dana Sofia T. Ferma of Faith Christian High School, Patricia Marie S. Regalado of Colegio San Agustin (Makati), Lora Megumi Z. Santiago of Makati Science High School, Gabriel A. Monteza

Besides this group of 6 students from Philippines, participants from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore are also invited in this batch, where supervisors would get an opportunity to interact with their counterparts at this Japanese junior high school as well as to exchange views on education with each other. The Jenesys-Asja Jr. Program, which started in 2007, is sponsored by the Japanese government and is implemented jointly by Asja International and Philfeja in the Philippines, in cooperation with JICC and the embassy of Japan. Application forms and guidelines for both programs are available at the National Youth Commission. They can also be downloaded from the websites of NYC and embassy of Japan.

Universities brought together for Sri Lankan Education

With efforts of Amazing America 2009, 17 US universities were brought together to create an event that educated and informed the Sri Lankan students, parents and other institutes about the American education system, entrance opportunities, visas, scholarship programmes, student life and much more. Conducted annually the event was conducted for the second successful time in Sri Lanka. The event was held in Colombo at Cinnamon Lake on November 6 and 7 and at Queens Hotel in Kandy on November 9. In Colombo, the opening ceremony was graced by Her Excellency, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Patricia Butenis and Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga. The opening ceremony in Kandy was graced by Minister Keheliya Rambukwella. The event was sponsored by American College of Higher Education, Sri Lanka. The directive of American Alumni Association is encouragement of educational opportunities between Sri Lanka and the US, with the primary purpose of promoting fellowship, achievements, appreciation of American culture and values and ultimately to build a mutual understanding between the people of the two countries.

Tamil and Chinese Primary schools may follow Bahasa Malaysia Standard Opinions are being collected, currently, by the Education Ministry from all parties to study the feasibility of using Malay primary school’s Bahasa Malaysia syllabus in Chinese and Tamil primary schools, hoping that students from different streams will be 24

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able to achieve equal Bahasa Malaysia standard. Presently, Bahasa Malaysia is being taught as second language by Chinese and Tamil primary schools. An effort is being made by the government to strengthen English and the Education Ministry is studying the feasibility of using Malay primary school’s Bahasa Malaysia syllabus in Chinese and Tamil primary schools. However, the above study is still in the preliminary exploratory stage with no decision has been made. University lecturers, academic groups, Chinese education organisations, teacher associations, Tamil education organisations, as well as the Indian community are being approached by the Education Ministry for collecting views on the given matter. It seemed that Education Ministry officials had conducted a meeting with the representatives of the above mentioned groups to discuss on the curriculum reform in Chinese and Tamil primary schools, namely to use Malay primary school’s Bahasa Malaysia syllabus, including the UPSR examination papers, in Chinese and Tamil primary schools. During the meeting, discussions were also held about increasing Bahasa Malaysia lessons in Chinese and Tamil primary schools from the current 270 minutes per week to 360 minutes per week in order to implement the proposal.

Emphasis on Education and HR Development in 10th Malaysian Plan The Federal Government is gearing the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) to give particular focus on education and human resource development, for hastening the generation of a skilled pipeline of knowledge workers to support the country’s industries and lure investments. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yackop told that the plan is to be implemented from 2011 to 2015. The plan was being drafted ahead of its scheduled time to give enough time to iron out the details of allocations for the critical economic plan. He mentioned that government will make efforts to ensure that the physical infrastructure was built for the economy, as well as preparing appropriate human resource supply to protect and boost the industries. The objective clearly indicated that the allocations for the 10MP should be attuned towards developing a reservoir of professionals particularly that were indemand by industries identified to lead the economy by 2020.


LEADERS SPEAK

Perspectives on Tapping Technical Skills in India www.cityandguilds.com

chris jones Director General, CITY & GUILDS

Aiming to become a global benchmark for workplace skills and professional development, City & Guilds works to enable people and organisations to develop the skills they need for personal and economic growth. Chris Jones shares his experience about providing solutions in professional development. digital LEARNING

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IndiaSkills will localise business processes to create qualifications and assessment systems designed to match the needs of India’s very specific regional and sectoral market requirements.

What are the objectives and the target audience of City & Guilds, in reference to the area of education and training? How are its applications being deployed in India? City & Guilds works to enable people and organisations to develop the skills they need for personal and economic growth. Our aim is to become the global benchmark for workplace skills and professional development. We’re doing this by providing the highest quality assessment, learning and career support. In India, we have joined forces with Manipal Education to open a new company called, IndiaSkills. This new company takes the best elements of its two like-minded parent companies to create a solution that will respond to India’s skills needs. At an affordable price, learners will be provided with a ‘fit for purpose qualification’ and a direct link to employment supported by flexible delivery and learner and tutor support. City & Guilds have many training programmes running across worldwide. Can you give us details on the kind of courses run by your organisation, the duration of the courses, the fee structure and the scholarship schemes. How do you justify ‘training-on job’ scheme? City & Guilds is the UK’s leading awarding body. We have 300 qualifications, across 21 industry sectors and we operate in 81 countries. Our range of qualifications are as varied as the people who take them. We’ve got the crowd pullers - engineering, health and social care, hairdressing, automotive maintenance and construction - all the way through to more niche career options like floristry. We design qualifications for everyone from beginners to people who run their own companies. The duration and fee structure depends largely on the country, the qualification and whether or not the qualification is ‘subsidised’ by the government. IndiaSkills has developed its own products (qualifications) that are recognised in the Indian market and will be 26

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relevant to large employers in specified target sectors. Our fee structure ensures that vocational education is affordable and accessible to every level of society. Is the content provided for the higher educational skill training, under various courses, standardised? At the same time is localisation of the subject matter given consideration while approaching different communities, in different states/ countries? In most countries the benchmarks and standards are set by government skills councils, who liaise closely with industry. We then develop qualifications to match, or in some cases, improve on these standards. We strive to be the global benchmark for vocational education and we realize to achieve this ambition, you need to ensure your product is directly relevant to the local marketplace, which is why we have taken a joint venture approach in India. City & Guilds in association with Manipal University recently launched ‘IndiaSkills’. What is the role that City & Guilds is to play in the given partnership? What is the basis for forming partnership with Manipal university? The basis of the partnership is to create a business and qualifications recognised by employers in India with similar standards to City & Guilds’ existing framework. The joint venture has the aim of producing 500 centres and 1 million learners in 5 years. City & Guilds will provide the curriculum for the content of the courses. Manipal will provide support on the ground to deliver the work-based training schemes, while leveraging its existing

links with major employers in India to help ensure newly qualified students obtain employment. The most important factor is that IndiaSkills will localise business processes to create qualifications and assessment systems designed to match the needs of India’s very specific regional and sectoral market requirements. In practice this means that we will build on City & Guilds’ extensive range of qualifications but they will be completely redeveloped and localised, with the input of Indian industry experts and the input of major employers. Are there other institutions with whom an alliance is being sought in India? Are there any alliances being sought with Government of India, from your behalf? We are looking at many potential business partners and possibilities. Watch this space! Does City & Guilds have tie-ups with industry players for the placement of the trained manpower? What is the nature of companies being sought for placement of the trained manpower? Reputable training providers from across the country have been invited to become an IndiaSkills Vocational Training Centre. To ensure the highest quality teaching and assessment standards the centres will enter into an operating agreement to deliver training according to benchmarks laid down in conjunction with City & Guilds. The business model – which forges a direct link between skills training and industry demand is what learners, employers, training providers and the Government have been crying out for.’ \\


LEADERS SPEAK

Teach Job-specific Skills With Globally Recognised Certifications www.cyberlearningindia.com

Pankaj Rai Director & CEO, cyber learning

CyberLearning has been at the forefront of affordable education in the USA for over a decade now. In India, CyberLearning brings the same highquality, engaging and effective course content to skill and reskill the people. Pankaj Rai provides us his views on the need for digital literacy and details of the Cyber Learning activities in India. 28

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India needs to produce a large number of skilled manpower at an accelerated pace and must expand capacities in ICT

What according to you could fill the gap between what the industry needs and what the academia is producing and how? A Recent NASSCOM study indicates that more than 75% graduates being produced by Indian Universities are NOT readily employable. And this mismatch is likely to become more acute because of the rapid structural changes in the economy. Today, there is a huge shortage of middle level technical and supervisory skills in India, which can very well be absorbed by non-technical graduates with some validated training and certification. There is now a growing need to teach job-specific skills and to bundle the curricula with globally recognized certifications to be able to quickly response to changing market needs. In order to continue on the path of growth, it is imperative that India continues to produce a large number of skilled manpower at an accelerated pace and must expand capacities in ICT/Digital Literacy at all levels as pre-requisite for jobs of the 21st century.

such as Effective Writing, Business Communication, Communication Skills, Time Management Skills, Negotiation Skills, Customer Service, Leadership, and Personal Improvement to name a few.

Can we know more about the activities of CyberLearning In India in affordable education? CyberLearning, headquartered in the USA, has provided technology-based training since its founding more than 15 years ago. We started our operations in India in December 2006. Today, CyberLearning offers one of the most comprehensive and sought after content in the eLearning industry, effectively covering the entire range of learning needs of individuals, corporations, educational institutions and governments across the world. CyberLearning catalog is 2500 course titles strong and offers over 5500 hours of eLearning. The courses include 50 IT certifications like ITIL, CAPM, PMP, A+, CCNA, MOS, MCSE, MCAS, MCP, Oracle, Java, Project Management etc. In addition to eLearning for certification tracks, CyberLearning also offers eLearning courses in English language and soft skills that cover topics

Could you please elaborate further on the product of Internet and Core Computing Certification (IC³) and its relevance? The Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC³) provides students and job-seekers with the foundation of knowledge in computers and the Internet. The recently updated version known as ‘The Global Standard 3’ is an internationally recognized and widely accepted standard for digital literacy and reflects the most relevant skills needed in today’s academic and business environments. The IC³ Certification comprises of three individual examinations: Computing Fundamentals, Key Applications and Living Online.

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CyberLearning also provides some of the most in-demand and most critical global certifications like Digital Literacy, MOS, MCAS & ACA. How do these certifications add value to an individual? Certiport, the global administrator of these certifications exams, has appointed CyberLearning as the ‘Exclusive Provider for Microsoft Office Certification, Adobe Certified Associate & Digital Literacy Certifications for the Indian subcontinent’. They aid in practical technology problem-solving and improving on-thejob performance of IT professionals, developers, information workers as well as job seekers. Organizations also reap the benefits and are able to maximize their return on technology and people investments.

Why does one need for certification in MS Office? A study on usage of Microsoft Office tools and techniques indicated that:

Only 15% of the individuals are really proficient in the Microsoft Office Applications. • 85% of the individuals are striving hard on daily basis to learn and use the tools and applications effectively and productively. An average user uses only 10 20% of the functionality available in the Office Suite. Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) and Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (MCAS) are the universally accepted standards for desktop proficiency across the world. These globally recognized performance-based evaluation programs certify the individuals to use Microsoft Office applications efficiently and productively. What do you feel is needed to promote the digital literacy sector? The August 2009 Nasscom Newsline reports from a study that, out of 10,000 students from 150 Engineering colleges, only 6% are readily employable. All the above indicate that multi-pronged efforts are required to handle these significant issues and piece meal solution will not work. Innovative solutions like digital education are need of hour. Would you like to elaborate on these projects by CyberLearning and on any future plans of entering into Public Private Partnerships? CyberLearning has partnered with Rotary and is working closely with Rotary Club of New Delhi and also with the Rotary Dist 3010. The project to impart digital literacy skills and Microsoft Office Specialist Certification has already helped several hundred students and we expect that we will be able to touch about 2,000 students in the current financial year. We are at advanced stage of discussions with various organizations who are working in the area of bridging the digital divide. I invite individuals and Organizations to collaborate with us because only by working together, we can utilize the historic opportunity that is available to us. \\


workshop report

Capacity Building of University Teachers

A collaboration between Institute of Life Long Learning, Delhi University and Microsoft The Institute of Lifelong Learning, (ILLL) University of Delhi is the brainchild of the Honourable Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deepak Pental and is the hub of e-learning. It is an initiative towards the etransformation of the University. The idea is to make Delhi University state of the art so that it is abreast with the international standards of education and is able to scale them higher. Playing a crucial role, the Institute of Lifelong Learning is the nodal body that is going to effect this refurbishment. The vision of the Director ILLL Professor A.K.Bakhshi is to use a three-pronged approach. The first is to provide the basic infrastructure and cyber connectivity to facilitate a materialisation of the theoretical aspects of e-learning into praxis. In this the Honourable ViceChancellor has supported this venture by providing 80 computers for students in each Delhi University college. The second aspect of this approach is to develop content. At ILLL nearly 100 teachers of Delhi University are engaged in the preparation of e-content, equizzes, video lectures and generating virtual labs. The aim is to substantiate the existing pedagogy with technology so as to be able to maximise the imaginative potential of the teacher and the student to enhance the process of teaching and learning. But all this would be incomplete if the teachers of the University were not well versed with the latest in terms of technology. In harmony with its aim of transforming the paradigms of teaching, the Director ILLL, Professor A.K.Bakhshi, envisaged a project for developing the soft skills of the teachers and developed a programme, Developing Champions of ICT Capacity Building in DU in alliance with Microsoft India comprising a series of workshops aimed at the capacity building of teachers. Today, students are technologically advanced and therefore, it is imperative to remodel the pedagogy involved in

The Institute of Lifelong Learning, (ILLL) University of Delhi is the brainchild of the Honourable ViceChancellor, Professor Deepak Pental and is the hub of e-learning. It is an initiative towards the etransformation of the University. The idea is to make Delhi University state of the art so that it is abreast with the international standards of education and is able to scale them higher. the teacher-student dynamics. The old system of the chalk and talk method the students and teachers are class bound. The input of the student is, therefore, subject to two sources. One is the teacher speaking in front and the other is the words on the blackboard. In this model the dynamics of the student teacher relationship is structured and unidirectional. The student is at the receiving end in this discourse being completely dependent on the teacher

for information. In contrast, in the virtual world, the association of the youth with the new media is very different world where configurations can be easily changed by the click of a button. The students that we address in higher education are in sync with the technological revolution around them. The question to which then we turn is, how does this sync modify our role as teachers? Do we continue to look at our students as static recipients of the spoken words or can we enhance their digital LEARNING

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process of learning in any way? These were major concerns, as the team at ILLL brainstormed to evolve the idea of a workshop to bring about a change in the entrenched pedagogy. At the Institute of Lifelong Learning it was felt that it was time that the teachers reworked their own concepts in a new and more interactive frame so as to be able to meet the requirements of the students, as the simple lecture mode was completely insufficient. The ICT team at ILLL designed a programme for the capacity building of teachers in alliance with Microsoft India. But logistics became a huge challenge for us. Delhi University has 83 colleges and about 8000 teachers. It was a big challenge to come up with a workable methodology to train the entire faculty of Delhi University as inviting each teacher for a workshop would not have been realistic. It was decided to resolve this issue by coming up with a two-tier programme where at the first tier about 2-5 teachers from each college were trained in computer applications. This

At the end of this 10 day workshop, the teachers were equipped with the following: • Basic knowledge of computer hardware and software • Alternative Operating Systems • Documentation using MS Word • Spreadsheet using MS Excel • Making Presentations using Power-Point • Use of the World Wide Web • Developing e-quizzes • Use of animation with special reference to class room teaching • Use of i-work

was in the form of a 10-day workshop where Microsoft trainers held sessions with the teachers from Delhi University. The teachers were also trained in transforming a simple lecture or lesson into an e- lecture or e-lesson. This was expected to alter the dynamics of classroom teaching making it more interactive and student friendly. This would also increase the input and the exposure provided to the students. This is the first rung of the first tier of the programme. At the second rung, these teachers will be involved in a plan of action about how they will train the teachers in their respective institutions. At the second tier the champions of ICT will further train 34

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It is a great achievement for us at ILLL that we have created a resource pool of more than 100 teachers who have joined hands with us in taking this programme forward. the teachers in their respective colleges according to the guidelines of the ILLLMicrosoft team. It is a matter of great pride that the ILLL venture with Microsoft India to enhance the capacity building of the teachers of Delhi University has been a huge success. The first tier of the programme is already complete. The workshops to train teachers from the different colleges were conducted in three segments: • ILLL-Microsoft workshop-I 17 Aug-28Aug, 2009. • ILLL-Microsoft workshop-II 31 Aug-1Sep, 2009. • ILLL-Microsoft workshop-III 14 Sep-25Sep, 2009. The first batch was inaugurated by the Honourable Vice Chancellor, University of Delhi, Professor Deepak Pental and attended by the Microsoft Chief, Mr. Rajiv Katyal and had 42 participants from the different colleges of Delhi University. The second batch inaugurated by Professor H.C.Pokhriyal,

Dean Examinations, had 30 teachers as participants. The third batch had 40 teachers who were trained in ICT. At the launch of the third batch we were fortunate to have with us Mr. Ravi Gupta, Director, Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies (CSDMS), and Chief Editor Digital Learning and the Dean Planning, University of Delhi, Professor Vivek Suneja. It is a great achievement for us at ILLL that we have created a resource pool of more than 100 teachers who have joined hands with us in taking this programme forward. We are now on our way for the second tier of our project to ensure capacity building for each Delhi University teacher. The completion of this programme will be followed by similar workshops for the students. The ILLLMicrosoft training module will enhance the teaching strategies of Delhi University teachers who will be proficient in their use of cyber skills to plan classroom lectures that go beyond the chalk and talk. This will help in doing away with rote learning and will promote better knowledge acquisition. The teacher student relationship is now mediated by the virtual world that helps them to think in graphic terms about the concept that they are grappling with in the classroom. This is, decidedly, a leap in the field of higher education making learning a truly lifelong process for both students and teachers. The Institute of Lifelong Learning has been instrumental in achieving this target and making a constructive contribution to the University. \\


LEADERS SPEAK

QA Infotech

Ensuring Quality Content to Online Users www.qainfotech.com

Mukesh Sharma Founder & CEO, QA InfoTech

QA InfoTech (QAIT) is a leading Independent Software Quality Assurance and Testing Company which specialises in providing independent, unbiased services to Fortune 500 companies.  Mukesh Sharma, in conversation with digital LEARNING, provides insights into the work being done by QA Infotech in this field. digital LEARNING

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Can you tell us something about vision of your company? Please highlight your role in the Education Sector. We are a leading and independent Software Quality Assurance and Testing Company. The idea is to provide testing and quality assurance services to the elearning and the online education sector. We started in 2003 and the first product that we tested in India was essentially for libraries and online databases. In this kind of testing, we were trying to ensure that the users who utilise the search engines get the right and relevant data that they are looking for from the online archives and information portals. This is what we had started with and we have grown in. So far we have been working with e-learning companies and publishing houses like Pearson; companies providing software in e-learning, including Adobe systems, are also some of the customers that we are serving. What are your strategies regarding online education? Can you reflect on opportunities in field of testing for professionals? As a testing company, our strategy in online education is to assist companies providing online education to provide quality content in education. There are enormous opportunities in this field for a test professional. If we compare a programmer and a tester, we will find that the scope of growth for a tester is far greater than that of a programmer. The kind of knowledge that a test engineer has is much more expansive since he has to understand the functioning of the whole system, while as a programmer, the focus is on a specific component of the product. As a tester you are not just working towards making a product, but also are on a look out for problems from diverse customer perspectives, and trying to address it. What are the specialised software solutions that makes you company different from the other players in the Indian market? As an independent quality assurance and testing company, the primary advantage that we have in the testing field is our knowledge domain and expertise. By testing, we imply that we are not just looking at the input and the output. It is also about being able to understand the customer interests and needs and the kind of customers that the product is going to serve. Essentially as a tester, we are responsible for the quality of software 36

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and also to serve as a quality gatekeeper before the product is released. The value that we add to quality assurance comes from our domain expertise in elearning; the kind of tools that we use for testing, i.e., from open source and off the shelf tools created from test automation framework and processes; and performance testing. Are there any Research Projects your company is involved in? Can you share some details of the same? The research projects that we carry out are basically in the testing field. We have created something called ‘Distributed Intelligent Automated Test Harness’. The idea is to cater to a wide range of customer needs. Usually when a product is launched, 80% of the customers might be happy with the product. The rest of the 20% customer base who may have complaints are either those using old machines or those with high end equipments networked into highly sophisticated and complex systems. These customer requirements also need to be taken into account. Therefore, testing not only involves checking the functionality of a particular product on single user material but checking the same on multiple browsers and operating systems. Through our research projects, we are making it possible for software testing engineers to be able to click on just one test, run all these tests on the products and crosscheck the configurations. We are not creating a product but primarily creating a framework where these kind of services can be given to the customers. Would you like to throw some light on the partnerships you have with Private players? Do you think Public Private Partnership is useful in current scenario of education? Public Private Partnerships are very crucial and collaborations is going to be the key for the growth and success of this sector. A lot of content companies and publishers exist today. However, some of the publishers have absolutely no online presence. Publishing companies need to tie up with online content providing companies to deliver the content online. In the era of globalisation, we are looking for major partnerships in India and China. In India, with its distinctive feature of several regional languages, localised content can be provided in all these dialects. Infact, making this content online is something that has a huge potential and can be tapped into.

Can you give us some details about your security and performance testing methodologies? SABA is an enterprise learning management system which is used in companies whereas MOODLE and SAKAI are used in educational institutions. We do majority of our testing on institutional LMSs. There are a lot of companies in the US that have made their content online through their respective LMS, but the challenge to educational institutions is to use the content through individual LMSs of different publishers. To put it practically, for a student who is using 12 different books from 4 different publishers, it means that the student will have to use 4 separate online content and remember 4 user passwords which becomes challenging. Tools like Learning Management Integrated Platform have come into existence where these publishers integrate their e-content for the benefit of the user. We are not just manual testers. There was a perception in the industry that testers are the ones who cannot do programming, but such is not the case. Testers are the ones who understand the customer’s needs and relate it to the products. That is how we add more value to the testing sector. A lot of planning goes in performance testing. In security testing, a number of things need to be taken into account. How would the application behave when a lot of information has been stored in it? Security testing involves finding ways and means to prevent hacking. Presently, what according to you are the challenges being faced by education sector with regard to content quality? The lack of a systematic testing procedure and awareness, even while India is witnessing tremendous growth in online education, is a major challenge. A lot still needs to be done in terms of standardisation and collaboration. Several content related products are being released in the market, which have not necessarily been tested, resulting in a situation where the customers are not sure if they are buying the right merchandise. The government can play a facilitating role here. There has to be a Public-Private-Partnership wherein the government approves and empanels the testing companies. These companies will then be in a position to test products, give certification, and only then can the product be released in the market. This arrangement will ensure quality assurance for the customer. \\


Presenting Selected Research Papers from the Collection 38

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research paper

MATHVIS

Breaking the Barriers of Disability

Isuru Wimalasundera, Kulari Lokuge, Lahiri Soysa Menaka Nanayakkara De Silva, Ragavan Satkunanathan, Seyed Mowlana and Tharaka Tharanga

One of the main objectives of this research was to bring forth, with the use of technology, a learning environment that is new and exciting to visually impaired students. Howell and Porter (2003) highlight that technology has paved its way to greater heights in the modern era in facilitating visually impaired. Taking the opportunity of the technological revolution and latest teaching and learning pedagogies using technology, the team researched to identify the needs of visually impaired students. The literature revealed information about available software tools and resources for the visually impaired. JAWS, Text Aloud, MAGIC, and Zoom text were some of the software tools that were identified. The game was developed mainly using Java Language and applications such as ‘Netbeans 6.0’ was used to create the entire game. ‘Microsoft Access’ was used to store all the data needed for the game. The only way in which a visually impaired child can communicate with this application is through sound. Therefore, this game uses voice instructions with the help of software such as Text Aloud and Jet Audio. Developing and implementing The math game application, MATHVIS, was implemented as a desktop application in order to make the learning process more interactive and lively. All output was given as voice instructions since the focus was on visually impaired students. The language selection was given an important feature in the application. The student is given an opportunity to select either Sinhala or English as their language in order to proceed with the game. After the language selection, the student is allowed to register with the game and log in to play the game. The game consists of three levels where, at each level, different types of questions are introduced to the

MATHVIS is a software application that is capable of uplifting the educational background of visually impaired children. MATHVIS has been developed embracing game based learning properties, mainly targetting the visually impaired. It was identified that there were limited resources for learning mathematics using local languages for visually impaired children in Sri Lanka. Hence, the intention of the research was to develop the mathematical knowledge of these visually impaired Sri Lankan students by stretching their thinking capacity.

player. If the student answers the question correctly, a number of points is awarded whereas if the student fails to answer correctly, a maximum of three attempts is given to answer correctly. To enhance usability for visually impaired students, a replay button is given for them to listen to the question again if required. The use of a mouse or the shortcut keys allows the users to navigate within

the game. The shortcut keys were introduced as most visually impaired students find it difficult to use a mouse as an input device. This application was fully developed using Java Standard Edition technologies. Given below are the most important development phases for this project. 1. Developing an audio player to play the audio tracks as final output. digital LEARNING

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2.

Creating a database for all questions and their relevant audio tracks. 3. Creating user interfaces for the game. Sound was one of the key features used to facilitate communicating with the visually impaired students. Therefore, user input, selection of options and other facilities were provided along with sound tracks and a menu to enable selecting native languages such as Sinhala and English to fulfill their requirements. An audio player was developed using Java sound API, which provides lowlevel support for audio operations. The audio player has been developed in such a manner that the developer has only to create an object instance of the audio player class and pass the audio file name as a parameter in order to play the audio adhering to Object Oriented standards. This audio player was used to play all instructions and notifications which were given throughout the game. After evaluating several databases, MS Access was found to be the most suitable database application to create the database and store all question, answers and audio tracks for the application. For each question in each level, a unique ID has been given to select questions and audios. Within each level, this ID is randomly generated and questions that have the same ID are selected from the database. This enabled the development of a key feature for the application allowing the user to be presented with different questions each time he/she enters the same level. The audio tracks were recorded and created using software such as Text Aloud and Jet Audio. Finally, JFC/swing API was used to create the Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) for the application. The design application The main reason for developing this game to implement mathematical questions was to open up avenues for visually impaired students so that they may expand their thinking capacity. The game was designed to challenge the students to proceed to the next level while encouraging and motivating them to learn. As a result of this concatenation, the students are encouraged to think in a much broader perspective of logics rather than focusing on just one method of solving problems. It was designed not only to help visually impaired students educationally, but also to develop their overall thinking capacity in a positive manner. 40

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Firstly the user is presented with a Welcome page followed by language selection. This page enables the user to select the desired language, either Sinhalese or English. Depending on the language selection, relevant voice recordings are retrieved to give further instructions. Finally, the user logs in to the system by feeding in the appropriate credentials to the system. The game comprises three prominent sections: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Further, Level 2 is divided into 2 sub sections. Level 1 consists of simple addition and subtraction questions. Ten questions are presented to the user where each correct answer for a given question is awarded ten marks. The user is required to obtain a score of seventy marks in order to proceed to the next level. This scoring process encourages students to further enhance their mathematical skills. Level 2 section 1 consists of number sequence questions and Level 2 section 2 consist of equations, which requires the user to calculate and guess the value of a given unknown character. Each of these levels consists of ten questions in which each correct answer for a given question is awarded ten marks. As in the previous level, the user should obtain seventy marks in order to proceed to the next level. Level 3 consists of scenario type questions, where a scenario is read out and the user is prompted with a question based on that particular scenario. Level 3 contains a maximum of five questions in which twenty marks are awarded for each correct answer to a given question. The user is required to obtain a total score of sixty marks in level 3 in order to complete the game successfully. After completing each level, the total marks will be read out with the aid of an audio track indicating the total marks gained by the user. While proceeding with the game, if the user fails to provide the correct answer for a given question, he/she will be given two additional chances to provide the correct answer. Failing which, the answer will be read out to the user and the user will be taken to the next available question in order to carry on with the game. If the user fails to obtain the minimum score for a given level that would enable him to proceed to the next level, he will be presented with two possible options: to exit the game or retake the same level. At the end of the game, a final score page is displayed indicating the scores gained by the user at each level. Questions

are populated to the system through the question database which was created for this application. The uniqueness of this game is that it not only generates voice instructions but that a diagrammatic interface is also represented along with each voice instruction. The instructor guiding the user would be able to look at the interfaces and direct the user in case he/she comes across any difficulties while proceeding with the game. The feedback Students application evaluator for the ‘Ceylon School for the Deaf and Blind’ in Ratmalana, evaluated the prototype and provided feedback. The main concern of the visually impaired was to incorporate changes that would enhance the language selection process. Further, the instructors recommended limiting the number range to two digits. The visually impaired were impressed by the resource as the availability of such resources in local languages is very limited. They also recommended the incorporation of the Tamil language to enable visually impaired Tamil students to benefit by learning mathematics in an enjoyable manner. Further, the application was tested out with a visually impaired student at Informatics Institute of Technology. He evaluated and commented on the application saying that the game was a good idea. However, he was concerned about the quality of the voice instructions and suggested the inclusion of a replay button for the questions. Since, visually impaired students need special equipment such as Braille keyboards that are expensive, this software application can be considered as a cost effective mechanism to be used with a standard computer with the help of short cut keys in the QWERTY keyboard. Conclusion The use of game based learning for visually impaired students to learn mathematics was rewarding as the evaluation feedback highlighted how the software application could encourage many local visually impaired students to use this cost effective approach to learning. MATHVIS can also be utilised to improve computer literacy in addition to mathematical knowledge and to make a difference to the traditional education system by engaging visually impaired students in learning activities enthusiastically. \\


news

INDIA

HRD Ministry: NEFC to fund Primary Education After reviewing and discovering that the implementation of the Act will involve a hefty amount of INR 1.74 lakh crore, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has asked the proposed National Education Finance Corporation (NEFC) to fund school education and has asked the government / local bodies to increase enrolment and develop infrastructure. According to the previous directive, NEFC was to finance only higher education. However, it is only after the HRD minister Kapil Sibal’s orders that funding of Right to Education and school education in general was also included as the mandate for NEFC. INR 32,000 – INR 36,000 crore is the anticipated annual cost of school education, including the civil works, teachers’ salary, child entitlements and teacher training programmes. Sibal retorts against banks, who, he feels, treat loans and advances to the education sector in the same manner as that for trade, industry or commerce sectors. Additionally, he believes that the reimbursement period for loans to educational institutions is at par with those for ‘profit’ concerns. The function of NEFC will be to directly sponsor any educational institution recognised under law and finance any government or local body for increasing enrolment and retention. It is also supposed to grant loans and advances to any scheduled public sector bank by way of refinance for establishment, development or promotion of educational institutions.

CAT 2009 to offer 560 more seats

the IIM family are to include Tiruchirappalli (Tamil Nadu), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and Rohtak (Haryana). The admission limit of all the new IIMs is set to be 140 seats, which is objected by the directors of some of the existing IIMs, claiming it to be on a higher side for a new institute to manage.

Degree Course in Law introduced by IGNOU in Tamil Nadu

With the increase in probability of getting a seat in the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), there is a reason to for increased hope for all the students appearing for the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2009, as there now stands a brighter chance. With new four new IIMs coming up across the nation, CAT this year will offer 560 extra IIM seats to the aspiring management candidates. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) sources reported that the CAT committee was asked to include these additional seats from this year. Presently, India has seven IIMs across different states. Now the cabinet has cleared to set four more in the country in August. The additions to 42

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new Colleges to be setup in Punjab Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal announced that 13 new degree colleges would come up in the state by next year at a cost of INR 104 crore. Locations of these colleges would include the educationally backward districts of Amritsar, Bathinda, Faridkot, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Mansa, Moga, Muktsar, Nawanshahar, Patiala and Sangrur. These locations have been chosen on the recommendations of the University Grants Commission (UGC). Badal was presiding over a function to mark the silver jubilee of the Government College, 10 km from state capital Chandigarh. He mentioned that to boost higher and technical education, a central university at Bathinda has already started its academic session. Another worldclass central university would be set up in Amritsar in over 700 acres of land. Further the state government had transferred 501 acres of land for setting up the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Ropar, 45 km from Chandigarh. The classes for the IIT have started this year from the building of a government polytechnic.

Kanyakumari district has now come under Thiruvananthapuram and, therefore, the candidates should re-send their application forms to the regional office at Chekkalamukku in Thiruvananthapuram. With more than 5000 registered students, this region includes 43 study centres. With the aim of the region to enroll 2000 students annually, the target is to encourage students to pursue higher education. With the Kanyakumari district also included in the Thiruvananthapuram region, new courses of study will soon be offered to the students in various colleges.

US community college model under exploration Nagercoil is to see new lawyers and doctors, as the Regional Director of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), B. Sukumar has announced the introduction of a degree course in law and plans to include Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S) as one of the academic programmes. For administrative reasons

IGNOU and American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) on the campus started dialogues through presentations to evaluate strengths of American model of Community Colleges (CCs) under the aegis of US-India Educational Foundation (USIEF). A two-member team of AACC, headed by Dr. Judith Irwin, Director of International Programmes and Services of the AACC, discussed a slew


Neemrana Green Campus by NIIT University

of novel ideas in the areas of social development through Community Colleges. Of 700 applicants from all parts of the country IGNOU followed a rigorous process of assessment and standardization and registered 50 Community Colleges in July 2009. Vice Chancellor Professor VN Rajasekharan Pillai said over 12,000 students from these colleges will take their first semester examinations in December 2009. Professor Pillai also assured audience and the distinguished guests to create a ‘single window’ system for clearance of important decisions and recommendations with regard to CCs. Dr. Judith Irwin gave her presentation on behalf of the AACC, whereas four out of the 50 Community Colleges registered with IGNOU submitted their presentations. Enthusiasm was very high even as Dr Judith through a presentation explained in details the American model of Community Colleges. In the US the Community Colleges constitute the largest segment of higher education. These include nearly 1,200 institutions with an enrollment of 11 million students, 6 million of whom are seeking a degree or certificate. According to an estimate, in the US, the Community Colleges ensure 83% of the tertiary education, of which higher education is only a part. Set against the achievements in the USA in India the figure is merely 11%.

Learning centres for Tribals by YCMOU In an attempt to bring tribals into the mainstream, the Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU) will soon be setting up educational centres. In whole, a total of 15 districts have been identified considering the concentration of tribal population for the centres. The state government has requested to provide five acres of land in each district for the said purpose. The university will spend INR 10 crore on each complex which will be equipped with hi-tech facilities sufficient enough to

Chancellor Karan Singh of eco-friendly NIIT University (NU), formally inaugurated its green campus at Neemrana, spread over 100 acres on the foothills of the Aravali range. The NU officials claim that 95% of the water is recycled and harvested and there is no use of air conditioners in the two academic and hostel blocks. The university is planning to start with programmes such as B.Tech. in computer science and engineering, ICT and biotechnology, while its M.Tech. programmes are to include computer science and engineering, ICT, bioinformatics and educational technology. Its Ph.D. programmes include computer science and engineering, ICT, educational technology and bioinformatics and biotechnology. The university also appointed Dr. Rajeev Shorey as the first President of the educational establishment. A Ph.D and a Gold Medalist from The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, Dr. Shorey’s research papers on wireless and wired networks have been published in more than 50 international journals and conferences and he has 10 US patents to his credit. Dr. Shorey worked with General Motors India Science Laboratory (ISL), in the Vehicle Communications & Information Management Group, Bangalore, IBM Research Laboratory, New Delhi, with SASKEN Technologies, Bangalore and the Computer Science Department at the National University of Singapore prior to joining NIIT University. Talking about his new role Dr. Rajeev Shorey remarked, ‘Research as an approach in any discipline is the key to success in today’s complex and fast changing information economy. This is a challenging opportunity for me to ignite the passion for excellence in research and academia in today’s youth.’

operations in 1989 with just two courses, 15 centres and 3,280 students.

Talent, Innovation inspires Delhi Technological University

accommodate 100 students. Based on a pilot project near Nasik, one of the largest open universities in India, the YCMOU will be launching the project from next year. Training will be provided to 1,500 tribal boys and girls initially; who were unable to clear school level exams. The university has drawn a roadmap for the next 20 years which was approved by the chancellor. The university has plans to go online very soon. Additionally, it plans to open foreign languages translation school and a school to conduct social justice for law courses. Speaking about the Nagpur centre, the VC assured that the university will soon set up a permanent centre in the Orange city with state-of-the-art facilities for the students. YCMOU had started its

Formerly known as the Delhi College of Engineering (DCE), the Delhi Technological University (DTU), recently completed its hundred days of being accorded the university status. It is now all set to root its foundation in its future endeavors. The National Network of Education (NNE), DTU Vice Chancellor Prof. P.B. Sharma discloses some of its immediate agendas, announcing the beginning of new programs including dual degree programs and integrated Master’s programs in areas of relevance to our country in Medical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Bio-informatics, Clean Energy and Environment Technology, New and Smart Materials and Nano-Technology. The Vice Chancellor of the university explained that DTU’s board of management has already given its nod to construct a multistorey academic block; a teaching block housing ICT enabled lecture theatres and additional hostel facilities for both boys and girls. A finishing school in partnership with the industry and alumni to further boost employability of their graduates is also in the wish list of the VC. digital LEARNING

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news

corporate

MeritTrac unveils Pariksha, secure environment LargeScale Examination MeritTrac, India’s largest Testing company unveiled its next-generation service offering, ‘Pariksha’ for delivering high-stakes, large-scale exams across the country in a secure environment. Continuing on its journey of innovation after winning the NASSCOM Innovation Award in 2008, MeritTrac has unveiled Pariksha as a service offering built on an innovative technology platform that comprehensively covers the entire spectrum of examination delivery processes, supported by a huge network of 50,000 testing terminals in 185 cities across India. This offering is backed by stringent ISO 9001:2008 quality standards

that MeritTrac has recently got certified. Addressing the media Madan Padaki, Co-Founder and CEO, MeritTrac, said, ‘Pariksha will usher in a new era for highstakes, large-scale examination delivery – both for the Education sector and the Government/PSU exams. Security, Accuracy, Fairness and Access are key parameters for any exam process and our Pariksha suite of offerings is leveraging technology, increased reach and quality processes to deliver large-scale exams

Admissions open for Manipal University’s MBA (Media and Entertainment) and MBA (Advertising and Marketing Communications) Admissions to India’s first and only MBA in Media & Entertainment (ME) and MBA in Advertising & Marketing Communications (AMC) are now open for the January 2010 batch. Manipal University, the pioneering force in higher education in India, offers MBA (ME) in association with Whistling Woods International. The programmes are offered from the Manipal University Bangalore Campus. This first year of the MBA (ME) would be conducted at MU Bangalore Campus covering all General Management Subjects and Media Case Studies. The second year of the Program will consists of one (1) year of internship/ industrial training at WWIL premises located at Film City. This will include actual production and post production techniques, the process of film making, understanding TV, Radio and other sectors of the entertainment industry, hands-on exposure at the WWIL and Film City campus in Mumbai. WWIL, on behalf of MU shall also provide to the Students with industry interface and internship with Media companies. MBA (AMC) programme is offered from the Manipal University Bangalore Campus and it covers Integrated Marketing Communication, Strategic Media Planning, and Advertising Strategy with General Management subjects. These 44

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courses are new, exciting and truly industry focused, combining managerial tools and frameworks with an in-depth understanding of the media, entertainment, advertising and marketing communications industries. These programmes prepare students to be well-rounded professionals and opens up avenues for exciting and successful careers in the fastest growing. Admissions to the two year MBA programmes January 2010 in (ME and AMC) at Manipal University are currently open. The last date for submitting applications is 30th November 2009. The programmes are open to those who have completed any undergraduate degree, with a combination of creativity & business rigour and aspire to be media and marketing professionals.

KPMG and NIIT Imperia collaborate to launch Advanced Certificate Program on IFRS KPMG in India in collaboration with NIIT Imperia announced the launch of Advanced Certificate Program on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The six week Certificate program

that are 100% secure, 100% accurate and better candidate-experience. As a pre-cursor to a national roll-out, MeritTrac had partnered with Gujarat Technological University, Government of Gujarat, to conduct the Gujarat Common Entrance Test (GCET 2009) online in July this year. Over a period of 4 days, 23,000 candidates successfully appeared for this online test which was conducted in 37 centers across 11 cities in Gujarat, deployed over a network of 2100 terminals. “This entire project was a great success - it dispelled a lot of myths associated with largescale public examinations and paved the way for launching Pariksha on a nation-wide scale.” Padaki commented. Incidentally, the GCET 2009 project won the jury award for the Best e-enabled University project at the e-India Awards in September 2009.’

which commences on 2 December 2009 is designed to assist companies and individuals on the forthcoming convergence from Indian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The program will see KPMG’s senior professionals use NIIT’s modern virtual classroom formats to deliver the training. The training will be conducted simultaneously across several cities using NIIT’s Synchronous Learning Technology. This will allow practicing professionals and in-job professionals to be in a classroom close to their place of work. In addition, they can manage their day to day work since there will be only one day of training in each of the six weeks. This well paced program is designed for better understanding and absorption of the transition process and will help the practising and on-job professional in implementing IFRS smoothly and on time. Indian accounting and finance fraternity and those others who are interested to enrich knowledge on IFRS transition may log on to www. niitimperia.com for further information about the program. Commenting on the launch of the Advanced Certificate Program on IFRS, Jamil Khatri, Head of Accounting Advisory Services, KPMG in India said, ‘We are pleased to come in association with NIIT Imperia during this important transition for the Indian accounting fraternity. Through this collaboration we foresee participants to gain not only the conceptual knowledge of IFRS but also the practical perspectives that KPMG’s professionals carry through years of


experience. We have seen very good interest in this program and look forward to interacting with executives across the country during the IFRS training sessions.’ He added, ‘The training covers critical IFRS concepts along with case studies and will culminate with an exam at the end, which will enable participants to obtain the certificate.’ Shraman Jha, Head, NIIT Imperia remarked, ‘We are pleased to extend our offerings to now include Advanced Certificate Programs on IFRS, by KPMG- for finance professionals. Through this alliance, IFRS Training will be offered in 19 cities simultaneously, over the NIIT Imperia network, thus helping professionals overcome the challenges of mobility and time and gain from the insights of KPMG’s professionals.’ Corporates, accounting & finance professionals would need to swiftly understand IFRS and assess the implications in their work environment. This is because current Indian accounting practice & standards differs from IFRS in several areas of accounting norms. Firstly, the accounting for M&A activities and for financial instruments is largely driven by the fair value concept under IFRS, a fundamental shift from the historical cost accounting under Indian GAAP. Secondly, there are subtle but important differences in several other areas, for example, the concept of control over an entity, capitalization principles relating to property, plant and equipment, accounting for gratuity plans, the way reportable segments are identified, etc. Thirdly, IFRS lays equal emphasis on qualitative disclosures in addition to the quantitative disclosures that Indian companies are well used to. All stakeholders, from promoters to finance executives, from investors to analysts and from government agencies to bankers need to become aware of the critical differences.

Axiom Education is now Mexus Education Axiom Education Private Limited, an education innovations enterprise, recently announced the transformation of its company name to Mexus Education Private Limited. Mexus Education under its flagship brand- IKEN delivers innovative and interactive learning tools. Iken provides interesting features as such as Iken Books, Iken joy, Iken Library and Iken Pro. Commenting on the development, Saurabh Saxena, Director, Mexus Education, said, ‘The conversion is undertaken keeping in mind our strategic 46

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business - Planning, Finance, Materials, Sales, Marketing, Manufacturing and Human Resources. NIIT would leverage its reach and basket of products and services to build them around the SAP training program that trains and nurtures well-rounded SAP professionals. In the next phase, these courses will also be offered in other countries in the region such as China, Vietnam and Thailand. business plans. As innovators, we aim to bring new and exciting products and services in the education industry. With our new identity and distinctive strategy, we intend to extend our reach not only in the domestic markets but across the globe.’ With immediate effect, all business transactions will be carried out under the name Mexus Education. There has however been no change in the company’s management or ownership. Besides, the company is in a process of launching over 200 ‘never-seenbefore’ innovative products and several institutional offerings that will completely change the way education is perceived.

SAP and NIIT Partner for MultiMode SAP Training Programs

SAP India and NIIT, the leading Global Talent Development Corporation and Asia’s largest IT trainer, entered into a strategic alliance to offer training to future SAP consultants in world-leading business software, Enterprise Resource Planning and related applications provided by SAP. Both organizations believe in enhancing India’s talent base to help Indian enterprises transform and become more competitive at home and abroad. Under this alliance, NIIT will offer SAP training programs in both Instructorled and Online modes to working professionals, post graduates and graduates as well as students in colleges. On the anvil are SAP Academy Programs, Standard Short Duration Programs and New Dimension Product Training. The training programs will cover all facets of a

Iken.in Empowers e-learning Experience e-learning website ‘Iken.in’, announced the launch of online learning subscriptions packages for Class VI to IX of study material designed for CBSE, ICSE and State Board students, mapped according to the NCERT curriculum. The packages include educational videos, slides shows, movies, animations, test papers and questions, performance assessment, feedback and a whole host of content which complements course curriculum and simplifies the learning process. Iken. in is a student centric education portal which integrates e-learning and social media features, in order to facilitate easy learning methods, with its unique blend of ‘edutainment’ - education and entertainment. Students can share and view presentations and videos, take tests, revise their curriculum, connect with peers and play educational interactive games on the site. Unique features of Iken.in include integration of e-learning and social media features to create a unique online learning experience; it complements CBSE, ICSE, and State Board prescribed course material with interactive, multimedia enhanced learning content; it offers more than 10000 unique courseware elements which include educational videos, animation films, slideshows, mind maps, assessment tests, FAQs, etc. available on the site; it has 25,000+ users already registered on ‘Iken.in’; it includes virtual knowledge currency ‘Ken’ which facilitates easy access to educational material on ‘Iken.in’; and it has more than 6000 unique educational videos, 3000 presentations, 2000 mind maps, 4000 assessment tests and 5000 unique customized questions. ‘Iken.in’ also offers ‘pay-per-content’ option, where instead of buying an entire subscription package users can pay for access to only select study material elements, like a video or presentation as per the need.


research paper

Pedagogy Changes for ICT Enabled Primary Education in Sri Lanka M. A. Kaleelur Rahuman and Gihan Wikramanayake {kal, gnw}@ucsc.cmb.ac.lk

Arrival and the use of Information and Communication Technology have been reengineering almost all the fields of human life from basic needs like contacting a friend living abroad to fundamental needs like education, health and governance. It is not only a technological evolution but also a social revolution that forces the different age group of human, to discover new habits, new morals and formulate new life systems, so that to adapt with global change in human culture and life style. Our education system also has to be geared to meet this concept and has to be aligned with this new technology. Hence, the innovative utilization of ICT for education is becoming most indispensable need since the knowledge is the backbone that is changing the culture and the whole civilization time to time towards better quality of life of the people. OLPC One Laptop per Child (OLPC) (http://laptop.org/en/), an amazing especially designed educational tool for childhood learning. The introduction and implementation of this tool is expected to revolutionize the childhood education in the country and will introduce change to the pedagogical approach in primary education systems (Alexander, 2001). This will further impact on the teaching and learning methodologies. Figure 1 shows a picture of an OLPC, taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OLPC_XO-1 OLPC helps the children to learn by exploring, creating and sharing knowledge and skills. OLPC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ One_Laptop_per_Child) is introduced exclusively to create educational opportunities for remote rural children who are struggling with the access to skilled teachers, proper guidance for learning, ICT awareness, electricity and Internet infrastructure and who are

Ministry of Education has introduced One Laptop per Child (OLPC) in selected primary schools around Sri Lanka. School teachers who are going to cater the teaching learning activities has to adapt to technological changes and use appropriate pedagogy to guide the children. Content developers who are also trained teachers have developed localized interactive learning material based on the curriculum for primary level formal education. The implementation of the OLPC pilot project conceptualizes the change in needs, building a new learning environment. The changes focus on the pedagogy in childhood education related to ICT enabled teaching learning environment. The aim of this initial research is to explore the technology involvement in formal curriculum and the possibilities of future informal learning comprising childhood creativity and innovation in primary education. digital LEARNING

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in India India is a very large multicultural country with many interest groups with various culture and language. OLPC project in India not only revolutionize the way they teach children but also scale up the whole system of sharing between the diverse set of communities. The pilot project deployment in a rural village at Khairat where OLPCs have been deployed and every child carries one home. The project has expanded to several other parts of the country have shown very promising results (http://wiki. laptop.org/go/OLPC_India). Readiness, adaption and application of OLPC in Sri Lanka

unable to afford new updated education system. OLPC was originated from MIT media labs by Prof. Nicholas Negroponte, the founder and chairman of the OLPC non-profit association (http://laptop.org/ en/utility/people/nicholas-negroponte. html). Stakeholders Primary stakeholders in the pilot project are Ministry of Education as the owner, OLPC Lanka Foundation as the OLPC providers, University of Colombo School of Computing for knowledge partner (including server/ operating system installations, localization and training) and the Open Source Community for content development. This project is funded by the World Bank. Teachers who were trained on teaching learning activities and to handle the OLPC and the set of teachers who developed the contents for OLPC based on formal curriculum are also important stakeholders. OLPC around the world According to the learning tool implemented in countries like Sri 48

the OLPC principals, projects have been several developing Lanka, Afghanistan,

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India and Uruguay. Each project has a different specialty as detailed below. 1350 OLPC units in Sri Lanka OLPC Lanka Foundation is currently working with the Ministry of Education and the World Bank in deploying 1000 OLPC and private sector funding to import another 350 units that additionally. Schools in the whole nine provinces of Sri Lanka is considered for piloting in primary pilots which t is closely monitored by both MoE and World Bank officials (http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Sri_ Lanka). olpc outside sri lanka In Afghanistan OLPC is powered with “pedal power generator” in Afghanistan, the PAIWASTOON team that perform the technical implementation designed a new pedal powered machine that can power the XO as you pedal and use it at the same time. Even small kids (3rd/ 4th grade) can power it. As the laptop charges as you use it no additional battery is needed (http://www.olpcnews. com/countries/afghanistan/updates_ from_olpc_afghanistan_1.html).

The Ministry of Education together with its major stakeholders implements the OLPC pilot project in selected schools in Sri Lanka. Readiness and adaption among stakeholders in the implementation process is concerned with three major pedagogical elements such as teacher training, content development and localization. Trained teachers are directly involved in assisting students is to create an environment to adapt to the technology and understand the theory behind. Content development is enabling a new environment to learn the subjects and do learning activities using the tool and the localization facilitate the students and teachers to fulfill their teaching learning activities on their own language. Content Development – A Leapfrog Innovation Developing contents for primary school children based on formal education curriculum is leapfrog and an innovating idea of the country while the whole world is using OLPC – for informal learning concept. Committed teachers are selected and trained by subject matter experts to develop contents adapting to limitations and features of the OLPC. This was time consumed commitment that resulted in an excellent output – the contents for all grade one to five curriculum. Teacher Training The selected teachers who are currently involving with the students are trained to adapt with sophisticated


features of the tool that facilitate for informal leaning (Livingstone, 2001) like collaborative learning, peer learning coincide with “learn while play� concepts. Through fulltime training workshops teachers were given a considerable amount of knowledge on the concept and hands on skills of using OLPC. Localisation The operating system interfaces, in-built activities and content were originally bundled with the machine in English language. Localization process localized the operating environment and all the contents into the two official languages Sinhala and Tamil, so that the students and teachers fulfill their teaching learning activities in their own language and utilize the tool effectively. It overcomes the language barrier in education and support to master the soft skills and knowledge in the mother language of the user. Changes in Pedagogy This is a new and challenging experience for the educational promoters and stakeholders in primary education system in Sri Lanka. Changing existing pedagogy or planting new pedagogy among existing teachers with traditional mind set, is not an easy task. Clear and appropriate strategies and pedagogies have to be drawn including the broad ideas and suggestions of the teachers population is a must for successful pedagogy changes. Pedagogy Changes The OLPC usage in education will definitely increase the literacy rate among school children. It will add some values for their culture and morality such as sharing resources and shared learning. It will increase the friendship and further understanding between students, while it will slightly reduce the hobbies and physical activities (games) since the tool consume considerable time. It will enhance the informal learning by increased collaboration and communication via the tool during school hours and thereafter. It will raise the habit of self learning or learner centric learning by the use of Internet and searching and by the attraction to the tool. New awareness and knowledge would be created so that to accept and adapt to this tool in school education. From parents, principals to educational

departments and policy makers should be made aware and to be taught overall concept and benefit of the tool. The tool has to be used correctly and carefully and have to be handed over to the other learner in a good working condition. While the learner using the tool at home there should be an ethic to be followed so that the tool will not be used for private purpose and others such as family members.

Possibilities of Informal Learning

New Environments

Usage of this new tool will create the avenue for accessing world class learning resources and as a result of this will make the students to compete with global parallel learners in similar learning domains. Rapid advances in technology were observed by some teachers as negative aspects. It gives easy access to western ideas and can have a negative impact on local cultures. Some teachers find it hard to adjust to the technological changes and continuously enhance their knowledge. They see these developments take most of their free time. Some children get addicted to tools and could give less importance for their formal learning activities.

As in the case of a typical computer lab, there is no need for dedicated buildings and use of electricity. These OLPCs forms a portable virtual environment that could be set up in the classroom. Machine to machine or machine to server communication can take place in a wireless environment. However there is a need to charge the individual OLPCs and to host the server as well as to manage and maintain them. Childhood Innovation & Creativity Even though the literacy rate seems to be high, the higher values of childhood creativity and innovative thinking of kids is lacking in developing countries like Sri Lanka. Creativity and innovation is an extreme need for an education system of this era. This educational tool, once the project is implemented well, will help not only the students, but also the involved teachers to compete with the people who are in the forward line in the innovation and creativity in primary education.

Even though Informal learning is considered as learner centric adult learning, the habit of learning things informally using the features of the tool will create new informal learning environments. Effect on Economic & Social Values

Conclusion This paper emphasized the readiness and adaption of the stakeholders on the implementation of the educational tool, conceptualizes the change in needs, building a new environment, redesigning the pedagogy in childhood education in ICT enabled teaching learning environment in Sri Lanka. \\ digital LEARNING

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research paper

A Study of Informal Learning in ICT Enabled Environment M. A. Kaleelur Rahuman, Gihan N. Wikramanayake and K.P. Hewagamage

Contemporary studies have emphasised that the high possibilities of achieving better performance and intended learning outcomes is through effective use of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs). VLEs facilitate online Teaching Learning Activities (TLA) for formal learning domains within a Managed Learning Environment (MLE). Many tertiary level educational institutions already use different VLE for formal learning of thousands of students. In addition, VLE can also be used for Informal Learning domains. Formal & Informal Learning Formal education occurs when a teacher has the authority to determine that people designated as requiring knowledge effectively learn a curriculum taken from a pre-established body of knowledge either in the form of age-graded school systems or elders initiating youths into traditional bodies of knowledge. Informal learning is a combination of improvised, semi-structured, unplanned, just-in-time learning efforts that occurs in a variety of places, such as home, at work, and through daily interactions with peers and shared relationships among members of society. The informal learning 50

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This paper presents a framework as a foundation for facilitating informal learning in an on line learning environment. This environment is created by exploiting Information and Communication Technology innovations such as web 2.0 paradigms and the effective and efficient use of an open source VLE - Moodle that has number of sophisticated features for a Learning Management System (LMS). This framework is built based on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as the learning gateway and on the use of a number of Rich Interactive Learning Objects (RILOs) that are tailored to provide three important levels of learning, namely: one way information flow, interactivity and collaboration. RILOs are used to achieve expected learning outcomes of a certain life long informal learning domain. is not only more common but also more effective than formal learning. Informal learning is also considered as workplace learning or on job training/ experience. According to a study by ASTD, two out of three workers say that everything they need to know was learned on the job, rather than in the classrooms. The

workplace is the most frequently traveled avenue to education and training for most employed persons. Learning Paradigm Shift The learning paradigm is shifted from instructor centric face to face


education and coop up with according to the global growth of the technology changes as well as considering the demand of the contemporary knowledge and skills area which can help the development of the country, hence the VLE is set up (but not limited to) for four following knowledge area or learning domains for OLPC, e-Governance, business process outsourcing and human rights etc. The informal learning domains are maintained precisely by facilitating better learning experience. Existing Learning Objects & Different Learning Theories

class room learning environment or traditional learning to some media or machine mediated learning or otherwise Internet mediated web based learning environment with the innovative ICT revolution. This revolutionary learning method using media, machine, Internet and web is called on line learning or on line learning environment and it is much more learner centric. VLE: A management system for online learning which is used to facilitate and manage teaching learning activities in online learning environment or virtual learning via the web is called Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) or Learning Management System (LMS). A VLE will normally work over the Internet and provide a collection of tools such as those for teaching learning activities, assessment, communication, uploading of content, return of students’ work, peer assessment, administration of student groups, collecting and organizing student grades, questionnaires, tracking tools, etc. New features in these systems include wikis, blogs, RSS and 3D virtual learning spaces. ICT Innovations in Education The emerging ICT innovations such as Web 2.0 is also integrated with VLE to maximise the expected results through utilization of ICT innovations for education. Web 2.0 is not just adding a new user interface onto an existing web page. It is about attracting users and changing entire functions, concept,

delivery mechanism, support etc. Web 2.0 enhanced with steady network effects and efficient databases so that more people interact with them and use them to communicate with peers effectively. They are smart applications that driven by user experiences and feedbacks. All these contribute towards enhance online learning. Learning Objects The very basic building block of an online learning environment is a single learning object that is carefully designed to meet a particular intended learning outcome of a considered curriculum or a specific problem. Now a days number of learning objects are widely available over the Internet as objects in the format of texts, graphics, animations, audio clips, video clips and so on. Learners & Learning Domains Sample learners are selected carefully. Different learners with different learning styles are involved in the study – from limited knowledgeable primary school children to knowledgeable, communicable and controllable adult learners. This learner sample is chosen from various disciplines such as public service, private sector and civil society and from various part of the country, if need international learners from abroad will be considered. Learning domains considering the national interest of rapid adaption and comprehensive use of ICT innovation in

The existing learning objects are limited to cater a particular level of learning experience rather than giving mixed levels of learning experience so that to meet utmost intended learning outcomes. In this context we consider three different learning levels - information flow, interactivity and social presence coincide with three different learning theories. These learning levels are mapping with the three way of learning out of four major ways of learning transmission, acquisition, accretion and emergence as described below. 1. Transmission is the process by which information; knowledge, ideas and skills are taught to others through purposeful, conscious telling, demonstration, and guidance. Over the course of a lifetime, this method accounts for only about 10% of learning. Unfortunately, this is the most traditional and, currently, the mostly predominate method of instruction. 2. Acquisition is the conscious choice to learn. Material in this category is relevant to the learner. This method includes exploring, experimenting, self-instruction, inquiry, and general curiosity. Currently, acquisition accounts for about 20% of what we learn. 3. Accretion is the gradual, often subconscious or subliminal, process by which we learn things like language, culture, habits, prejudices, and social rules and behaviors. We are usually unaware that the processes involved in accretion are taking place, but this method accounts for about 70% of what we know. 4. Emergence is the result of patterning, structuring and the construction of new ideas and meanings that did not exist before, but which emerges from the brain through thoughtful digital LEARNING

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elements are forum, blogs and social networks etc. Rich Interactive Learning Object

reflection, insight and creative expression or group interactions. This form of learning accounts for the internal capacities of synthesis, creativity, intuition, wisdom, and problem-solving. This method is greatly dependent on the allocation of time, and opportunities to reflect and construct new knowledge. This method plays an important role in inspiration and originality. In the context of current educational practices, we learn only 1-2% by this method. Accretion is gradual process what the learner unaware the learning occurs with the life time of the learner even though it accounts a considerable amount of learning. It is not included in the study since it cannot be easily presented in online learning environment. The other three ways of learning Transmission, Acquisition and Emergence are mapped with the three learning levels described bellow respectively. Level 1 Learning: One way information flow Learning objects of the type of texts, graphics, animations, audio clips, video clips facilitate one way information flow from the machine to the learner and it is mapping with the way of learning transmission. It plays a role of creating mental model of a certain piece of information in the brain based on the cognitive learning theory (Siemens, 2004). Examples for text based learning materials are http://opentraining.unescoci.org and www.wikipedia.org for video clips www.youtube.com etc. 52

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Level 2 Learning: Interactivity In the online learning environment context, the greater challenge is, the man is replaced with the machine and media. It mean that an instructor himself teach the matter and interact with the learners on different teaching learning activities in the traditional teaching method, is to be replaced by the media and machine which can be acted as an instructor. It is mapping with the way of learning Acquisition. In this approach, the interactivity between the learner and the machine plays a major role of guiding the learners by learner controllable interactive elements with feedbacks and communications so that to construct their own idea of the given information that is based on the constructivism learning theory. Examples for interactive learning materials are guided animations and activities and also quizzes with in time feedback. Level 3 Learning: Social Presence Further considering the online learning environment, peer to peer learning and to share the relationships and ideas among members of the society, collaboration and social presence are identified as another most important factor. It is mapping with the way of learning emergence. It plays an important role to create a new collective idea of the information shared based on social constructivism learning theory. Examples for collaborative learning

These identified obstacles in the machine mediated virtual informal learning environment can be hurdled by the use of learning objects which facilitate the whole identified requirements above. These factors lead and motivate us to design a single learning object with blends of learning experience of three learning levels. Therefore, a need is aroused for digital learning objects with two way information flow, excellent interactivity and social presence so that to maximize the intended learning outcomes. Hence the Rich Interactive Learning Object (RILO) is proposed and it is defined as – Rich Interactive Learning Object is a simple, easy to handle, informative, more interactive and collaborative light weighted learning object which is used to meet different levels of learning outcome of a particular learning domain. As shown in figure 1, number of courses can be facilitated in a single VLE. Informal Learning Gateway is one of them and this course has a course page consisting of an introduction part “General Information, FAQ & Guidance” and it has a number of RILOs according to the learning domains. Results An open source VLE - Moodle instance is established make available for specific users. A number of RILOs are used to achieve intended learning outcomes for selected applicable life long informal learning domains from different disciplines. The optimum use of ICT innovations are considered to cater better learning experience. New set of learners are trained with soft skills and are involved with the system to learn. Conclusion A virtual learning environment to facilitate informal learning for different learning domains is created to initiate informal learning gateway. Rich Interactive Learning Objects is introduced to facilitate different informal learning levels through the use of modern ICT innovations and implementation in education. This will no doubt enhance the quality of life of the learners towards a better knowledge and skills community. \\


research paper

Effectiveness of ICT in Open and Distance Learning: A Case Study Trisha Dowerah Baruah and Krishna Kanta Handique

ICT is a major factor in shaping the new global economy and producing rapid changes in society. Within the past decade, the new ICT tools have fundamentally changed the way people communicate and do business. They have produced significant transformations in industry, agriculture, medicine, business, engineering and other fields. They also have the potential to transform the nature of education where and how learning takes place, and the roles of students and teachers in the learning process. Embedding ICT in teaching-learning process is a major initiative in all branches of education; ICT has a particularly important role to play in developing provision for bilingual learners. This is concerned with exploring new ways of working with bilingual learners as well as facilitating more established techniques. The increased use of ICT to deliver and enhance aspects of educational provision is now an emerging practice for all learners belonging to rural and geographically remote and mainly monolingual areas thus having advantages in overcoming geographical barriers. For example video conferencing facilities developed to enable isolated learners to share learning with others in remote areas can also be used to reduce linguistic isolation by allowing same first language learners to discuss and communicate remotely. Learners Support Services are an important part of Distance Educational system. Since the learners in ODL system are not directly involved in the regular classroom teaching-learning process having direct interaction with the teachers regularly, they are provided with adequate Learners Support Services. Such support services include the pre-admission counselling, admission process, provision of study materials both in print media and audio visual forms, subject specific academic counselling, audio visual viewing facilities, participation in teleconferencing, ICT 54

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The role and the use of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Learners Support Services in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) is a proven fact now. The distance education system responded positively and quickly to the revolution in ICT. It is because of three reasons – the need to reduce the cost of imparting education, to introduce need based educational programmes to a large number of people and to reduce time required for sanctioning new programmes by adopting new flexible nature of administration. facilities for e-learning, library services, laboratory support facilities, academic career guidance, information services related to rules, regulations, procedures, schedules etc. The role of ICT to speed up the delivery of the support services has now become inevitable for the distant learners. It also considers the shift from mass produced generic resources to tailored, personalised support and communications and sets this in the

context of globalisation of the economy and the changing expectations of students as ‘consumers.’ ICT and learner support Distance and open education schemes that have until recently relied mainly on the mailing of written materials, videos, cassette recordings, and radio or TV broadcasting techniques can be augmented, enhanced or replaced by


new on-line tools and technologies which have the power to transform the learning environment. Technological developments are coming together which offer the following benefits: • Through the Internet and worldwide web, new and enlarged sources of information and knowledge that offer teachers and students opportunities for self-development as well as benefits from incorporation into classroom environments. • Through e-mail and other Internet related feedback mechanisms, greater opportunity to reduce the isolation and time delay associated with distance education. • Through the extraordinary pace of software development, enriched teaching and learning with enhanced graphics, interaction, animation and visualisation. • Through lowering telecommunications bandwidth costs and emergence of enhanced cable, wireless and satellite systems, greater opportunities for basic access, video conferencing, on-line interactivelearning, and live interaction with the central place of a distance education programme. • Through community access schemes, more potential to make the benefits of distance education eventually available to lower income people and rural communities. Sound pedagogical principles would increasingly dictate the need for a more interactive learning environment which was earlier difficult to achieve and also adds considerably to the remotest areas. But it was noted that its deployment requires expensive satellite resources as well as an expensive face-to-face lecture and broadcast system running in parallel. Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) satellite systems are increasingly seen as a powerful distribution mechanism for Internet based resources, with ready access to interactive learning tools and e-mail, especially when linked or packaged with key educational web-site sources, servers and services. VSATs can overcome many of the bandwidth/delivery speed, limitations of terrestrial systems, particularly in developing countries, and can be especially economic when deployed in an asymmetric multi-casting mode in which high-speed ‘downlink’ capability is combined with slower speed ‘uplinking.’ These features and the emerges

the need of specially designed Distance Education network management and learner software packages of ICTs in distance education especially in the developing world. The use of ICT in distance education actually depends on at least five factors. These are: • Geographical size and situation: Large countries with dispersed people and communities have an additional drive or motivation to use communications to deliver educational services costeffectively. • Policy on telecommunications: The Internet, IT and Education, Privatisation and Liberalisation of telecommunications and the Internet are improving quality, lowering costs and accelerating innovation around the world. Education policy is often the key to raising awareness and providing leadership in educational use of ICTs. • Population and market size: Small markets attract fewer investors and less competition, and offer fewer economies of scale which would lead to price reduction, while regional schemes can overcome that, aggregate market size and achieve scale economies. • Per capita means: To address start-up investment challenges and the market affordability to attract commercial players to ease the way to change and growth. • Perceived educational or developmental needs: These can relate to educational delivery challenges due to geographic or cultural isolation, or appreciation for the more systematic challenges - such as adapting to the demands of the information economy which can only be seriously addressed with ICTs. For the purpose of finding out the effectiveness of the use and role of ICT in distance mode, IGNOU has been chosen as a case study. This is mainly because IGNOU uses a wide variety of ICT materials to reach out to the distance learners /students. IGNOU – A Case Study The Instructional System: Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) provides multichannel, multiple media teaching-learning packages for instruction and self-learning. The different components used for

teaching/learning include self-instructional print and audio-video materials, radio and television broadcasts, faceto-face counseling/tutoring, laboratory and hands-on experience, teleconferencing, video conferencing, interactive radio counseling, interactive multimedia CDROM and Internet –based learning, and the use of mobile phones for instant messaging. While the traditional distance education delivery through print and study centre support is being strengthened, the University is gearing towards the development of interactive multimedia content and learner support through video-conferencing and web –based platforms, by utilising both the EduSat and the Internet. The design of the instructional system, as well as teacher and learner capacity building, are facilitated by the different Schools, Divisions and Centres of the University. Brief descriptions of the important ICT tools that are used by IGNOU, Assam regional centre comes under EMPC: Electronic Media Production Centre (EMPC): The Electronic Media Production Centre (EMPC) is entrusted with the task of production of audio and video educational programmes. This centre is equipped with stateof-the-art production facilities: two digital audio studios, two large video studios, Betacam SP edit suites, nonlinear editing, audio editing suites, a large duplication plant, graphic facilities, etc. EMPC coordinates the educational radio and television channels like Gyan Darshan (GD), a fully digital 24 hour exclusive Educational TV channel, Gyan Vani, a unique low cost, interactive medium for enhancing and supplementing the teaching-learning process by reaching out to widespread learners, a two-way audio teleconferencing facility being offered through GD2, one hour of live phone-in counselling programme weekly through the national network of AIR and the Gyan Vani stations and Edusat that has ushered in an era of Internet and intranet for transmission, interaction, dialogue, digital repositories, digital multimedia content, and for virtual education and research. Nevertheless to say that in IGNOU, ICTs are really effective in enhancing the learners support services above the conventional means and methods of learning and therefore, days are yet to come to explore newer technologies in distance learning further. . \\ digital LEARNING

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news

world

New Era IT wins IT support contract for UCol, Australia

New Era IT, the specialist in education sector has won the IT support contract for UCol, the institute of technology in Palmerston North, Wanganui, and Wairarapa, displacing incumbent HP. New Era also supplies services to the University of Auckland, including server monitoring and management. Mike Willing, New Era’s Director of tertiary services mentioned that the company views the tertiary education sector as a potentially developing area with growing market. The company already provides services to 950 primary and secondary schools. Willing mentioned that New Era specialises in helping education clients incorporate IT into their curricula. He also told that New Era has a service desk on site and is charged with ensuring IT services, are available 24 x 7; with provision of desktop support.

NMS solutions for ICT in Learning Across UK, every school and academy can now benefit from a personalised

ICT solution designed in accordance to the needs of staff and students with Northgate Managed Services. Building upon its significant experience working with Building Schools for the Future programmes in Leicester, Kent and Bristol, Northgate is now working with a plethora of exceptional centres of learning, including Trent Valley Academy in Gainsborough, Bristol Cathedral Choir School in Bristol, Havelock Academy in Grimsby and Litherland High School and Abraham Guest High School, one school BSF Pathfinder projects school in Sefton and Wigan. Northgate has a flexible approach to solutions and designs the service to each school’s needs, to encourage every school to have its own development and improvement plan. Northgate’s team works closely with the leadership team from the outset to foster a flexible, dynamic partnership to support this vision and ultimately help to transform learning. The services offered are tailored to meet the needs of each school and this may also include elements of outsourcing of technical and support staff.

approach to TUPE (whereby school ICT technicians work directly for the company) is helping to improve standards, ensure a smooth transition for ICT and ultimately transfer risk, establishing confidence across the school community. As schools face the challenge of developing a shared vision for ICT, this approach ensures that Northgate’s team of professionals gain a much deeper understanding of the different ICT needs and issues experienced by individual schools.

Northgate believes in having a two-way interaction for improving on the challenges faced as well as for supporting a school’s ICT provision. Both parties need to be continuously engaged and challenge each other every step of the process to improve ICT provision. Northgate’s

Taoiseach Brian Cowen is to unveil a major investment in computers for schools, to overcome the criticism that Irish school children are losing out in the digital revolution. It is expected that Cowen is to commit about 150 million to a new plan for providing laptops and computer software for every school in the State. The Government has been stung into action by criticism from former Intel Chief Craig Barrett at the recent Farmleigh summit. Presently, Irish schools are noted to be lagging behind leading OECD states in the provision of information and computer technologies (ICT). The new plan is to incorporate laptops in every classroom and much closer integration of ICT in all elements of teaching and learning. It is to promote teacher training and technical support as well.

Civil Servants from Africa to go to Japan for Technical Training Fourteen civil servants from different public institutions are expected to leave for Japan towards the end of this month for a technical training programme. The Ministry of Education (MINEDUC), Workforce Development Authority (WDA) and National Forestry Authority, are the institutions from where the candidates were chosen for the programme. The candidates are expected to undergo the training for three weeks in different areas including education, environment and forestry management. One of them is Adrien Uwamahoro from Kigali Institute of Science and Technology will be enrolled for a two-year Masters’ programme. This initiative is supported by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Meanwhile, Japanese volunteers are expected in the country to provide expertise in areas of education, rural economic development and health. 56

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€150 Million for computers in Ireland schools

It was found through a recent survey that one in five computers in schools cannot be used and more than 50% are at least four years old. The Republic has one of the lowest rates of ICT usage in education in the developed world. The


National Development Plan had proposed spending 252 million on ICT in schools over the next seven years but none of this funding has been availed to date due to government cutbacks. The Government is financing the new ICT programme from savings made in the school building programme where over 200 million in funding has still to be allocated.

CANARIE funds for the First-ever Wind and Solar Internet service

An announcement was made by CANARIE, Canada’s Advanced Research and Innovation Network, for providing funds worth $2.4 million for four groundbreaking Green IT projects aimed at reducing ICT’s carbon footprint and measuring the impact of ICT and cyberinfrastructure on university electric consumption. GreenStar Network is one of the biggest recipients of Green IT fund by CANARIE, an alliance of Canada’s leading IT companies, universities and international partners, led by Quebec’s École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) in Montreal. CANARIE has given $2 million to develop the world’s first internet network at the GreenStar Network, where the network nodes will be powered entirely by wind and solar energy and yet will provide the same reliability to users as the current Internet network does. CANARIE’s three other GREEN IT funding recipients include, firstly, a joint project between McGill University (CLUMEQ) and University of California, San Diego (SDSC Centre) to design an ultra-efficient data centre for high-performance computing applications. Secondly, International Institute for Sustainable Development, based in Winnipeg, will conduct a study to assess the business case, and carbon-offset potential, for Canadian universities to use CANARIE’s ultra high-

Britannica Online to benefit GEMS Schools UAE students under GEMS education system will now have anytime, anywhere access to Encyclopedia Britannica Online School Edition. Secondary students can avail thousands of articles, illustrations, interactive games and multimedia resources to support their learning through the GEMS Learning Gateway (GLG). As students use the Internet more as a primary source of information, students can simply log-on to Britannica through the GLG from anywhere accessing content which is reliable, trustworthy and safe, providing peace of mind to both teachers and parents. GEMS Education has bought this content and integrated Britannica Online to make the learning experience truly interactive at schools, by providing students with learning resources at home to complement classroom teaching. Britannica provides accurate reference information that can be used to meet specific learning objectives in the classroom and ultimately make learning fun.The process by GEMS education has helped in reducing the time spent by teachers in creating their own resources and planning, to help children develop important research and ICT skills. Teachers also benefit from using the extensive Britannica resources to enhance their lessons with movie clips, images and animations, using the site as a reliable form of reference when planning their lessons. The encyclopedia also provides on-demand Arabic translation, supporting accurate translations for non-native English speakers. Placing the mouse over a word will display the translation of the word or phrase in its current context. The translating tool goes beyond simple dictionary lookup by providing context analysis, phrase recognition and morphological support - a plural form in English is translated into the plural form in Arabic. Britannica makes sure that language does not become a barrier in the acquisition of knowledge.

speed network to run IT operations from remote, zero- carbon data centre facilities; and thirdly, University of British Columbia’s Centre for Sustainability and Social Innovation at Sauder School of Business will develop a business case for how carbon offsets can be used to finance data centre relocations and how universities could implement this opportunity.

Teaching Aid Frog in-line for National Award

Frog, the teaching online-aid specialist, has been chosen for a national award. Providing with tailored learning platforms,

the Dean Clough-based company gives secondary school teachers, administrative staff and students a platform which is embedded in the school’s working practices. It supports schools and local authorities develop better ways of addressing educational needs and empowering students and staff to achieve excellence in education. Frog is competing for the most sought after awards in education sector known as the ICT Company of the Year BETT (British Education and Training Technology) award. The firm has been recognised for its ability to radically improve the engagement of students and the academic results of schools across more than 80 local authorities in the UK. The BETT Show 2010, the world’s largest education technology event, will showcase some of Frog’s work with the help of teachers and parents. Students are also encouraged to learn independently and develop a more mature and academic approach to their work through Frog. Using the remote user application, pupils can access the school network, software packages and learning resources from their own homes. digital LEARNING

DECEMBER 2009

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4 – 6 August 2010, Hyderabad, India This three-day international conference and exhibition is a unique platform for knowledge sharing in different domains of ICT for development and facilitates multistakeholder partnerships and networking among governments, industry, academia and civil society organisations of different countries, including the host countryIndia. The objective is to bring together ICT experts, practitioners, business leaders and stakeholders of the region onto one platform, through keynote addresses, paper presentations, thematic workshops and exhibitions. In short, the event provides an excellent opportunity for participants to interact with a wide and diverse development community. eINDIA 2010, through its five seminal conferences, will focus on five emerging application domains of ICT for Development - e-Government, ICT in Education, ICT and Rural Development and ICT enabled Health services. The five conferences - namely: • egov India • digital learning India • Indian Telecentre Forum • eHealth India • eAgriculture India Digital Learning track covers ICT in Education conferences in India with following focus areas: • From Literacy to Digital literacy for all - from school pupils to university teaching staff • ICT Leadership: Competing on the Edge of Innovation • Digital competencies in the national education programmes & policies • Future Technology - Learning from the past • Cooperation and collaborationManaging multistakeholder partnerships • E-Learning & Pedagogy, and so on. eINDIA 2010 seeks abstracts/ proposal(s) for speakers who illustrate innovation in using information and communication technologies for development. Watch out for further updates at www.eINDIA.net.in


Realm of Technical Training - Going Beyond Formal Education : December 2009 Issue  

[www.digitallearning.in] With the aim of promoting and aiding the use of ICT in education, Digital Learning education magazine focuses on th...