Education is a systematic process to make an individual or society civilized, refined, cultured and educated. The education system is solely based on chapter-wise lectures and routine evaluations through examination at institution examination at institution is being profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Government has imposed lockdown/shutdown as a safety measure throughout the country to stop spread of novel coronavirus. Due to this, the structure of schooling and learning, including teaching and assessment methodologies, has been affected.
The pandemic has put Government under pressure to rethink for finding a way out of this centuries-old, chalk-talk teaching model to technology driven blended learning - education system by maintaining the balance of theoretical and practical learning. Other processes of student lifecycle (starting from admission, examination, assessment, along with easy accessibility to vital information & communication) also needs to be addressed & automated with the help of technology. The ICT intervention should not only facilitate students for a hassle free education system but also ensure safety through a contactless online process, which is the need of the hour.
In addition, it is also imperative to have a smooth administration system which would help monitor & facilitate the performances of the student & teacher to ensure quality education. The way forward would be preparing the safe and resilient schools for the post pandemic era. This would need a system like school mapping to figure out suitable locations (facilitated with electricity, roads, water etc.) for the future ICT enabled schools with enough capacity for social distancing.
ICT Tools for Blended Learning
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) referred blended learning has achieved a lot in continuance of education system in the country i.e. virtual schooling and learning, including teaching and assessment methodologies. As we have entered into a pandemic era, the impact of ICT tools on education system has been acknowledged globally to such an extent that blending of ICT in education has become inevitable in today’s teaching learning process. The simplest model of blended learning “is the thoughtful integration of classroom face-to-face learning experiences with online learning experiences” aiming at taking advantage of a synchronous face-to-face situation and the asynchronous, text-based Internet. Typically, this means traditional face-to-face teaching or lecturing with additional materials and learning assignments online, using different learning management systems.
In this approach, teachers in the classroom no longer blindly input information and force students to receive it in a passive way. This has changed the years old teacher-centered approaches to learner-centered ones.
Geospatial Planning For Safe, Inclusive, Resilient & Connected Schools
GIS is a collection of tools and techniques that works on the geospatial data and is used in the analysis and decision making. GIS based School Mapping plays an important role in building a geospatial database with relational databases of educational, demographic, social and economic information for schools and educational directorates to support educational planners and decision makers. The post pandemic situation would demand for more ICT enabled schools with more student capacity to ensure social distancing with adequate infrastructure for it. It could be used in the infrastructure development and upgradation of schools by combining several indicators like; electricity, communication facilities, roads, drinking water toilets, distance from villages or settlements etc.
The school mapping project has successfully created a robust database for around 35,000 schools in 10 regions of Ethiopia in a year!
Such system would help in capacity mapping of the school along with location & infrastructure to check the ICT readiness as a way forward roadmap for post pandemic situation. The GIS-based School Mapping Tool has been implemented by CSM for the World Bank & Ministry of Education in Ethiopia to gather information and geo-location of all the registered schools of Ethiopia and provide empirical evidence for informed policy making decision on education.
Facilitating Students through Automation of Vital Processes (Admissions, Examinations & Scholarship)
Admission Process is a critical aspect for any education institute. It involves many workflows, criteria and many administrative people are involved in it. In brief, it is practically a hectic activity for students & guardians to travel miles for getting admissions in their favorite colleges by spending lot of time and money. And moreover the challenging situation like the Covid-19 pandemic, where social distancing and contactless approach is the new normal, it demands for alternative medium of automation of vital processes of a student lifecycle like admission, examination and scholarship.
CSM has implemented the Student Academic Management System (SAMS) in Odisha. This system has made a big impact on the Odisha Education System & changed the centuries-old manual system to online mode.
The Student Academic Management System (SAMS) project has bagged a number of national awards and accolades for being recognized as the best Government Policy initiative like Indian Express Tech Sabha Award & Skoch Governance Award2015& 2018, Gold Award for ‘Outstanding Performance in citizen centric service delivery’ for 2012-13 to name few.
While witnessing a rapid transformation in the education sector, CSM has put their effort to make scholarship system online and reach out as many as eligible students. The Scholarship Management system is currently being used by the Higher Education Department of the government of Odisha to hundreds of eligible students across the state. CSM has also successfully implemented the above solution for Bihar education system in association with Bihar School of Examination Board, Government of Bihar.
Such ICT intervention is changing the landscape of education by making it more resilient in the post pandemic era for a secure future!