The Forum on ICT Based Professional Development for Education Stakeholders was organised jointly by UNESCO and Intel, on December 7, 2010 for deliberating on the professional development needs of education stakeholders of the states and discussing a sustainable roadmap for the same. UNESCO and Intel shared ICT based professional development content and skills needed by education stakeholders, based on recommendations of the National Curriculum Framework 2005.
The Forum aimed to enhance capacities of Educational Planners and Administrators through understanding the current needs and emerging requirements of education stakeholders, sharing of Best practices followed by different countries, sharing of experiences in India, sharing Competency standards and roles of the various education stakeholders and discussing development and implementation of sustainable professional development roadmaps.
The Forum brought together experts from UNESCO Bangkok ; UNESCO, New Delhi ; UNESCO, Maldives and Sri Lanka; Senior officers from Education Departments of various states of India, Academicians and representatives from other Education Apex bodies in India; Principals and faculty from SCERTs , DIETs, rural and urban schools.
Mr. Anshul Sonak, Intel Education Manager- South Asia welcomed the delegates and participants. He shared Intel’s focus on Transforming Education for a world of opportunity. Emphasising the role of Education for social and economic development, he shared the changing skill set required by the industry. Detailing why and how our education system needs to keep pace with the changing demand, he shared Intel’s Education transformation model. Mr. Sonak concluded with the importance of sustained professional development for empowering the 21st Century educator.
This was followed by a session by Dr. Miao Feng-Chun, ICT and Education Programme Specialist, UNESCO and Benjamin, Program Officer, UNESCO, Bangkok- focusing on the relevance of ICT in education. They divided the participants into groups and asked them to undertake a situation analysis – to deliberate upon and reflect on the diversity and complexity of the Indian education scenario. As part of the Needs Assessment exercise, the participants undertook an interesting activity of giving suggestions that they would like to make to the Education Minister.
The responses included:
States should have education policies and master plans to drive the integration of ICT in Education, which should be followed up and implemented effectively – and not just rest on paper. The idea of having a phased and time bound master plan was taken from the experiences of Thailand and Singapore. The participants also stressed upon the need for inbuilt monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
Enhance infrastructure in schools – including making one person in-charge of the maintenance of this infrastructure.
Provide effective, regular and sustained professional development in ICT in Education to in-service teachers, which includes not just technology skills but also pedagogy skills
Curriculum reform in the Pre-service segment at the highest level to integrate ICT in Education as a compulsory subject.
Formation of a Department of School Education in Universities to strengthen the relationship between Pre-Service and In-Service segments.
Guidelines to schools to not only teach computers as a subject to the students, but also use technology as a teaching tool.
Provision of a laptop to each teacher
Experts and teachers should develop e-content for teaching / learning and this should be shared widely.
Frequent and regular revisions of the syllabus and flexibility in the system that gives more autonomy to schools and teachers for the development and transaction of the curriculum.
Orientation and skill development sessions for Principals
Dr. Miao introduced the various resources of UNESCO that the stakeholders could use. He discussed standards for teachers and India’s readiness for these. The Forum participants felt that India may not be ready right now for such standards in the In-service segment, but these should be developed for the Pre-Service segment. This was seen as a way of strengthening ICT in teacher education.
Benjamin Vergel de Dios sharing
UNESCO’s E-Learning Series on ICT in Education
During another activity led by Dr. Miao, the participants were asked to develop a dream project. Depending on their perception and analysis of the Indian education scenario, and the need for ICT, participants worked in groups to develop a dream project in education. Some of the dream projects presented were:
Development of a policy for ICT in education -with time bound, measurable indicators and clearly defined roles and responsibilities and a state- level agency to ensure proper implementation of this policy and the associated master plan.
Each teacher to be empowered with one laptop per teacher. This will ensure easy access to technology, motivate teachers and promote implementation of ICT in teaching-learning in classrooms. As an immediate and realistic step, it was suggested that to begin with, faculty in teacher education institutions be provided with a laptop each.
Providing professional development programs for effective ICT in Education to all teachers, especially in rural India. With rural India getting ‘connected’ at a fast pace, integration of ICT in education, along with integration in agriculture, e-governance, travel, etc. should be encouraged.
Professionally trained educators should undertake peer coaching for teacher educators and fellow in-service teachers. ICT skills should be taught to students not in isolation but as essential, 21st century skills or life skills.
To strengthen integration of ICT in the Teacher Education Institutions, ICT should be made a compulsory subject in B.Ed and post-graduate (M. ED.) levels. Qualified and experienced subject area experts are needed in the Education Departments of Colleges and Universities.
Teacher competency standards in ICT should be developed for the Pre-Service segment to begin with; and subsequently for the In-service segment also. These should be used at the time of teacher recruitment, promotion and increments.
Dr. Miao profusely appreciated the enthusiasm shown by the participants for their dream to transform ICT integrated education in India. He motivated them to ensure that they work towards the realisation of these dream projects – at whatever position they are in the education environment.
Mr. Anshul Sonak gave the concluding remarks for the session wherein he shared Intel’s commitment to the states to support them in professional development of teachers; formulation and implementation of policies and strategies for effective integration of technology in education and sustained education transformation.
Mr. Karmegam, Director, DTERT, Tamil Nadu thanked UNESCO and Intel for a wonderful workshop, and welcomed the organisations to his state. He said that his state was quite ready in terms of vision and infrastructure to integrate technology towards better learning. He was optimistic that the education stakeholders of the state would benefit from a sustained professional development roadmap.
Ms. M.A.Vasana S. Edirisuriya, Assistant Director of Education, Sri Lanka said that it was a wonderful learning experience for her to participate in the workshop and that her country would definitely benefit from this initiative of UNESCO and Intel.
Ms. Huma Masood, Program Officer, UNESCO, New Delhi thanked resource persons from UNESCO, Bangkok, participants from Ministry of Education, Maldives and Sri Lanka and all other participants for the excellent deliberations. She thanked Intel for the collaboration that is working towards sustained education transformation. On behalf of UNESCO, she reiterated UNESCO’s commitment to help governments translate their vision for ICT in education into reality. The day proved to be an important beginning for developing a roadmap for ICT based Professional Development for Education Stakeholders.