Influence of Technology in Education Framework. The Implications and Challenges of the Implementation of "KYAN" in Government Schools of West Bengal, India
Essay 2017 11 Pages
Table of Content
2. Project Overview
3. Impact of KYAN
4. Example of KYAN implementation: Achana High School, District South 24 Parganas
5. Issues and Challenges faced during Implementation
The Government of West Bengal has been implementing Sarva Shiksha Abhiya since its inception. To optimize its impact, the State Govt. is combining Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan with Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Tools for Education Programme in the primary and secondary Govt. schools. Integration of the ICT in education projects popularly called Technology in Education (TIE) is generally used to familiarize students with the use and workings of computers as well as leverage the power of the ICT for teaching conventional subjects that get registered far effectively compared to conventional teaching-leaning method. The integrated approach of Technology in Education (TIE) has prerequisites such as use of technology by students to create learning arte-facts, integrating technology with curriculum, focused learning achievement and teacher designed instruction. The Department of Education, Govt. of West Bengal introduced Technology in Education (TIE) system titled ‘KYAN’ (Vehicle of Knowledge) to utilize ICT tools and ensure sustainability. KYAN, modelled on best principles of TIE, was developed in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, as a Community Computer. The device contains a computer with inbuilt projector, content, speakers, and has wireless keyboard and mouse. It combines the computing power of a computer with an appropriate high luminosity, high resolution, and large screen projection system. The project has resulted in significant improvement in the class-room teaching learning practices apart from improving the morale of teachers; enhance attendance, improved retention of the core academic concepts as well as better recall, improvement in the examinations results etc. This paper is an attempt to review the implications of the implementation of ‘KYAN’ in the different districts of West Bengal and unfold the issues and challenges the Govt. has been facing in the implementation of ‘KYAN’.
Key Words: ICT tools for education, KYAN, Class room teaching learning practices, TIE, Govt. schools.
There is a growing awareness amongst the policymakers globally as well as across India on the emerging and pivotal role of ICTs in the education sector. There is a wide recognition for addressing digital divide issues. The integration of ICT at the school and classroom, warrant significant changes in the educational delivery mechanism, both at the school and classroom level. The Government of West Bengal has been implementing the Central Govt. sponsored Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan ever since its inception, and has further focused on improving the universalization of the primary and secondary education by combining it with the ICT Tools for Education Programme.
In 2007–08, Government of West Bengal took up the scheme for implementation and introduced computer education in 543 government aided higher secondary schools at a cost of INR 0.4 billion. The state engaged full time computer teachers in these schools and encouraged computer education. In 2008–09, 2,418 more schools were brought under the ambit of the scheme with training being provided to other subject teachers to utilize ICTs in the teaching learning process. In 2008–09, under the central scheme for universalizing secondary education, the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), five states including West Bengal were selected to implement ICTs in schools.
1,400 schools in West Bengal were each provided with 10 computers, 10 UPSs, 1 scanner, 1 web camera, 1 projector, and 1 printer at a cost of INR 0.9 billion. Further, the Department of Education, Government of West Bengal, constituted a committee with the Director of SCERT (State Council of Education Research and Training), West Bengal, as the chairman to develop strategies for utilizing media resources like TV and radio to educate students and teachers. KYAN (Vehicle of Knowledge) was one of the many initiatives of the Govt. of West Bengal.
Many of the evaluation studies of ICT Initiatives in the schools have relied heavily on individual stakeholders self-report, to indicate the success of the programme and identify outcomes for students. However some caution needs to be must be exercised in using attitudes as an indicator unless positive attitudes or attitudinal change can be shown to relate to improved learning outcomes. This is not necessarily the case. Parr (2000) noted that attitude has been shown to have no significant connection to learning outcomes in relation to integrated learning systems (Wood, Underwood, & Avis 1999).
For this reason Parr excluded attitude as an indicator of learning outcomes in her review of the outcomes of computer-assisted learning. This debate is relevant to the use of ICT in schools in general. Indicators that are specifically tailored to the goals of an initiative and to the way ICT is being integrated into the classroom, such as the ability to handle mathematics and science data (as developed by Passey et al., 2001), appear to be more valid indicators of the impact of a ICT innovation than generic achievement tests.
International best practices were kept in mind in the conceptual design framework for understanding the impact of the ICT tools for Education. The indicators were tracked every six months based on a rigorous data-collection template and these have been used to “realign educational practice with reform expectations for the ICT Tools for Education”. These indicators developed for KYAN monitoring and tracking were:
- Student retention and satisfaction.
- Academic skill development and contextual problem-solving, that is, how students can apply academic skills to real-life situations.
- Career exploration and skill development.
In this backdrop, the objective of this paper is to review the implications of the implementation of ‘KYAN(Vehicle of Knowledge) in the different districts of West Bengal and to unfold the issues and challenges the Govt. has been facing in the implementation of ‘KYAN’.
2. Project Overview
The project has been implemented successfully in all districts of West Bengal after successful completion of the pilot project.
Phase wise deployment of KYAN project in various districts was as follows:
- Phase I (2007)—65 Schools in Bankura and Burdawan
- Phase II (2008)—51 schools in North 24 Parganas
- Phase III (2009)—90 schools across 6 districts (15 each in Cooch Bihar, Malda, Nadia, Purulia, Howrah & South 24 Parganas)
- Phase IV (2009)—115 schools across the state
Every Govt. school has been given following equipment under the ICT Tools for Education Programme:
- Two units of KYAN (PCs with Microsoft windows operating system) acronym used for Knowledge-Gyan.
- Two units of UPS
- Two units of Trolley Cabinet
- Two sets of 1090 units of concept based audio-visual teaching aids, locally sourced content, CBT, Learning English
- Two units Web Cam and One unit MFD
- 2 reams of A4 size paper,
- Blank CD-10 units
- Printer Cartridge 2 units
The equipment based on various rounds of inspection carried out by third party audit (TPA) and evaluation agencies, was found to be in good working conditions and as well as the equipment was received by the school contact persons in appropriate condition. All schools were inspected twice a year by TPA. The TPA also filed their reports on continuing basis to the Project Management Unit (PMU) comprising of officers from the WEBEL and Department of Education.
Understanding the crucial role of the teachers in bringing out a fundamental change in the teaching-learning paradigm, the teachers were brought on board. The content in the KYAN, developed by IETS, consists of 1,090 lessons on various hard to teach topics in all the subjects from kindergarten to Class X. These lessons are preinstalled in the machine. After the first phase it was realized that the lessons needed to be mapped to the topics of the textbooks as per the curriculum, and hence IETS did an extensive study and with the help of the teachers mapped the topics in the textbook to the lessons created by IETS. The content generation for KYAN has been a continuous process.
The content is updated in all the KYANs installed in all schools of the state as and when required. At the time of installation, representatives from IETS conduct one-day orientation training for the head of the institute, followed by a two-day teacher training. On the first day, the teachers are given basic computer training and the fundamentals of using the KYAN, and on the second day, they are taught how to navigate to find lessons; they are given a demo of a class and finally as an evaluation process the teachers are asked to take a small KYAN class, for other teachers giving rise to a healthy competition among teachers.
After these trainings, the teachers are asked to practice delivering classes with KYAN and once they are comfortable using the machine they were certified for giving classes to the students. This process brings a sense of ownership in the teachers. IETS established a call centre to address technical, logistical and administrative issues with the machine, and representatives of IETS also visit the schools to monitor the progress of KYAN implementation. Amongst the teachers selected in the training, one of them is assigned the responsibility as an ICT coordinator for the initiative.
This selection is done by the Head Master on the basis of interest and previous knowledge of computers. The job of an ICT coordinator is to coordinate and encourage teachers to effectively utilize KYAN and to train other teachers in the school as well.
This was done rigorously in order to improve the capacities of the stakeholders, and was undertaken by the Department of Education-Govt. of West Bengal:
- Orientation for Head Masters/Head Mistress.
- ICT and Soft Skill training has been imparted to 6 selected teachers from each school who in turn are supposed to train other teachers of the school
- ICT coordinator training for 2 selected teachers from each school has already been imparted.
- School-based handholding support to teachers @ 2 visits per school bi-annually has been given.
3. Impact of KYAN
KYAN has been making positive impact on the teaching-learning process and also in covering class syllabus. This has been established conclusively from the evaluation data, in comparison to show that the teaching has improved and this improvement can be quantified in percentile terms as 4% every quarterly cycle, in comparison to the earlier rounds of field evaluations conducted. From various rounds of the evaluation it has been safely concluded that the syllabus was covered far more easily on a fast track basis under KYAN implementation, due to higher retention amongst the students and with improved teaching-learning outcomes in comparison to a conventional class-room approach.
Competition was considered as one of the best ways to judge the knowledge of the student, and to maintain the curiosity of the student. Introduction of KYAN in the classroom resulted in 79% teachers organizing competitions on monthly basis. In order to keep the class attentive as well as for enhanced learning achievement, questions were asked proactively by the students. This is a well-established norm even from conventional teaching methods and more so in the case of KYAN where the curiosity enhances substantially. On a comparative scale during various KYAN evaluation rounds it was found that the KYAN class students were asking more questions.
After implementation of KYAN there has been a significant increase in the group activities; which have shown an increase from 67% (before) to78%. Possible reasons for this outcome were expeditious completion of the syllabus prior to the stipulated period, allowing the students to get more time for the leisure as well so that they can be involved in certain other creative group activities. The students are also getting more time for doing revision in their syllabus after the introduction of the KYAN. .
During the process of evaluation, 75% parents reported the students had reduced their addiction towards the TV. The parents have also responded affirmatively regarding enhancement in their learning achievement viz. in Maths 85% enhancement in learning achievement, in Biology 77%, in Physics it is 85%.