NCERT launches revised student-teacher ICT curricula
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The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has launched a revised Information and Communication Technology (ICT) curriculum for schools across India which focuses on integrating ICT tools as part of pedagogy instead of teaching computer as a separate subject.
The revised syllabus which takes into consideration the recommendations of the National Curriculum Framework (2005) and the Digital India campaign comprises three integrated segments – class 1 to 5, 6 to 8 and 9 to 12.
According to the policy document detailing the new curriculum, ICT need not be a separate subject at the primary level where instead 130 free source games that help students develop basic computing and visualisation skills have been identified to be integrated into the curriculum.
From grade 6 to 8, three-year courses spanning 90 weeks with three periods a week (one teacher-led and two hands-on sessions) is recommended. This can also be expanded to a five-year course but it must be ensured that the training is completed before the student leaves school. Courses for class 6 to 8 focus on creating and collaborating using ICT through graphics, programming and data processing. An advanced study of these themes can be undertaken from classes 9 to 12.
“Currently, external vendors across the country were implementing ICT-related schemes in educational institutes which made it a very hardware-centric experience,” said a senior NCERT official who did not wish to be identified. “Students were told what a monitor or a mouse is without them actually operating the device.”
According to the official, students in the digital era already have a certain exposure to hardware but lack training on how to effectively use digital tools for learning and communication. “The focus of the new policy is to ensure that students can use services like digital maps to identify the shortest route from their school to homes,” explained the official.
Some of the skills that students would be trained on include learning to create digital materials, sending and storing mails and using social media among others. They will also be sensitised on issues related to cyber safety, data privacy and online bullying.
For efficient execution of the policy, a teacher curriculum that equips teachers to integrate ICT in pedagogy has also been devised. “NCERT has trained 450 master trainers till March 2017 who are equipped to orient other stake holders to the ICT curriculum,” said the official. “ICT kits comprising educational resources such as free and open source software have been given to teachers for their classrooms.
The student-teacher curriculum was first piloted in 588 Navodaya Vidyalayas in 2014-15 followed by the first round of teacher training.
“The current thrust is on ensuring a student to be a prosumer where they not just consume already created content but also actively create it while learning to manage and store it using ICTs,” the official said. “For instance, if students in Port Blair visit the Cellular Jail, they should be able to create a two-minute short video describing their educational experience and share it on social media or any educational resource portals like the National Repository of Open Educational Resources for the benefit of students across the country.”
A comprehensive portal which contains both teacher and student curricula is also available where courses can be accessed remotely. The learning management system allows teachers to take courses and accumulate assignments on the basis of which they can seek certification. The portal can be accessed at www.ictcurriculum.gov.in
A review of this curriculum is scheduled to happen in March 2018 which will also see NCERT collate best practices and feedback by master trainers across all states.