ICTs programmes in school education PPP models vs. integrated approach
Citation: Gurumurthy K. (2010) ICTs programmes in school education PPP models vs. integrated approach.
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Tagged: ICT (RSS), Education (RSS), India (RSS)
The main points that the paper highlights are:
- The BOOT (Build Own Operate Transfer) model was employed by the Mahiti Sindhu project in Karnataka, India. The project was implemented in association with Aptech, NIIT and Educomp.
- A major expenditure of the funds allocated by the Mahiti Sindhu project in Karnataka towards integrating ICTs in school education was on vendor payments instead of establishing in-house capacities.
- The BOOT model (included verbatim):
- A tender is floated inviting bids to set up computers (with basic software) in specified schools, and also to provide one or more trainers/ support persons in each school who will take care of training and support in that school, for a specified period of years.
- Businesses respond to the bid and typically a vendor is chosen mostly on the 'least cost'.
- 'Site preparation', meaning setting up a computer room with furniture and power, in the identified schools, is the responsibility of the government
- The vendor installs the computers and software
- The vendor deputes the person ('trainer') whose role is to be with the school regularly / daily and train students on computers as per the timetable of the school.
- After the end of the specified period, the assets are handed over to the government.
- The government in return makes a fixed payment (based on the tender amount) to the vendor on a periodic basis (from monthly to quarterly) . These amounts can be quite significant
- Based on a study on the Mahiti Sindhu program the key findings were:
- The 'trainers' provided by the service providers interacted directly with the students and there was no knowledge or skill transfer to the teachers in the school. Thus, a barrier of isolation between the vendor and the teachers and school management was created.
- The result was the teachers not adopting computers in their classroom curriculum as they were alienated from the technology implementation process.
- No attempt by vendor to integrate computer based education into the regular curriculum.
- The trainers are poorly paid and thus there are limitations to the quality of labour and their output.
- Regular hardware failures due to low quality of hardware provided. Support is also low.
- Very few systems for any meaningful learning. No extra learning resources or Internet access provided.
- There is no localisation(l10n) of software and training material in the local language. English is primary language of communication. Thus, inability of students to comprehend what is being taught.
- Students introduced to only a few basic computing tools.
- Computers had only a minimalistic version of proprietary software.
Comparing with the 'integrated model' in Kerala :
- Kerala moved from the BOOT model to the Integrated model due to protests from the Kerala School Teachers Association(KSTA) and activists of the free and open source(FOSS) in Kerala.
- An attitude that treated computer learning as trivial and not difficult.
- The program was absorbed into the regular education system. Initial help was taken from 'external experts' who trained 'master trainers'(dedicated teachers) who in turn trained their colleagues.
- ICT was integrated into the core curriculum and not a separate subject.
- Teacher is not isolated from the process and hence effectively engages the learners using technology.
- There was no increase in workload as it was a different method.
- The process was systemic capacity building.
- Free(as in Swatantra or Freedom) software was used.
- All software localised to Malayalam which is the language of Kerala.
- Hardware procurement, installation and maintenance is integrated into the system.
- Assessment of learning in computers and with computers part of class ten examination. In Karnataka, there is no such assessment system.
Factors that influenced the adoption of 'integrated model' in Kerala:
- Involvement and support by teachers' union.
- Good teacher-student ratio ensuring that teachers could participate in the training programmes.
- Kerala has very high literacy levels, greater urbanisation etc
Theoretical and Practical Relevance
With the Indian Govt. cutting funding towards education and moving to PPP models, this paper brings out the problems with the PPP model and the necessity for an integrated approach where all the stake-holders are actively involved in the education process.