The Department of Public Instruction, Government of Karnataka and Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, have initiated a public software based ICT education programme imed at all the high schools of the state. This entire programme, including the classroom training, has been outsourced. However, preliminary implementation suggests that vendors are finding it challenging to impart an ICT based education in the selected schools.
Though the ICT@Schools programme in Karnataka is on a public software platform, in the absence of teacher capacity building, it was largely restricted to the vendor faculty teaching basic computer literacy to students. Based on our request to DSERT to build the capacity of teacher-educators, and based on feedback from the successful pilot, DSERT invited us to train DIET faculty on the same platform so that they could, in turn, train other school teachers across the state. Approximately a hundred DIET faculty across Karnataka were trained to install and use public software platform and tools and were also provided Cds with actual software resources, which is not possible with proprietary software, and many of the DIET faculty were able to install the same in their offices. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) provided support including computer lab facilities and DSERT coordinated the programme along with the Policy Planning Unit (PPU) of the Education Department. This was followed by the PPU organising workshops to train 120 government teacher educators’ from DIETs and BRCs, as 'Master Trainers on Public Software educational tools' with resource support from Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Azim Premji Foundation, infrastructure support from RV College of Engineering and faculty from IT for Change and RV Educational Consortium.
For a page report on this workshop on FOSS educational tools, click here.
For the course material, visit http://karnatakaeducation.org.in/misc/Master_Trainers_Training_Module.pdf.
Such training for teachers on public software education platforms were well received, debunking myths that teachers are unable or unwilling to learn ICTs. These programmes also helped us to develop a better understanding of teachers' needs and expectations. Teachers are keen to learn computers and adapt it in teaching-learning, however vendor driven models bypass teachers. Likewise teacher-educators who are responsible to provide academic support to teachers or monitor the programmers are not able to do so, since they are also left out in the outsourced model. While many of the DIET faculty are inhibited when it comes to using computers due to a high degree of unfamiliarity, such inhibitions would make the adoption of ICTs by teacher-educators, and their support to teachers on ICT based learning in schools, difficult.
These two capacity building programmes prove that there is no need for the education system to depend on technology vendors for organising capacity building on ICTs. Once the basic infrastructure of computer labs is created, the department can internally organise a large number of capacity building programmes.