Paper abstract bibtex
[Overview] The National Policy on ICT in school education has set the goal of preparing youth to participate creatively in the establishment, sustenance and growth of a knowledge society leading to all round socio-economic development of the nation and to be geared for global competitiveness. The National Curriculum Framework which guides the teaching-learning effort in schools cautions that technology used as a mere medium to disseminate infor- mation tends to bypass the teacher. It expresses a firm belief that teachers and children must be treated not merely as consumers but also as active producers. It is the two-way interactivity rather than one-way reception that would make the technology educational. The present curricula for ICT in education is a step towards realizing the goals of both the National Policy and the National Curriculum Framework. It has factored in the rapid evolution of technologies and the ground realities of Indian school systems. For the teacher, it is an initiation into exploring educational possibilities of technology, learning to make the right choices of hardware, software and ICT interactions, and more importantly, growing to become a critical user of ICT. For the student, it is an initiation into creativity, problem solving, and an introduction to the world of information and technologies which could also shape career pursuits. ICT distinguish themselves from other technologies by their rapid evolution, defeating attempts to define a curriculum which can serve the schools for a while. Keeping up with the changes require constant upgradation and at times, unavoidable replacements, which makes it an expensive proposition. Given the dynamic nature of the field, the curricula, emphasising the core educational purposes, are generic by design and focus on a broad exposure to technologies aimed at enhancing the creativity and imagination of the learners. Recognising that teachers as a group represent varying levels of exposure to ICT, the curriculum for teachers attempts to fast track them into becoming proficient users of ICT by defining milestones and an evaluation system that allows for teachers to assess their readiness and decide their pace through the course. Based on the size of the school, the infrastructure available and other related issues like availability of electricity, students may have varying access to the ICT facilities and resources. The student's curriculum, therefore, is designed as a three year course spanning 90 weeks with three sessions per week. Schools may opt to begin the curricular programme as early as sixth grade (beginning of the upper primary stage), in any case completing the programme before the student leaves school. The ICT curriculum is a common programme for all students in school. As such it is distinct from any optional subject at the plus two stage and distinct from any vocational education programme under the NVEQF. The curricula are built around a set of guiding principles, enabling any school system to provide the right exposure to emerging technologies to build capabilities in teachers and students, not only to use technology comfortably, but also employ them judiciously to enhance their learning. The requirements of the curricula are not to be hardware or software specific. Undoing the general trend of limiting software to office applications, which are not only ill suited for educational purposes but also tend to narrow down the view of what computers and ICT can achieve, a wide range of software applications specifically designed for education are introduced. Use of proprietary software would become very expensive and make the implementation unviable. Therefore, Free and Open Source software have been suggested throughout the curricula. The use of FOSS applications will also obviate software piracy and enable customisation to suit local needs. The curricula underscore the need for internet connectivity of adequate bandwidth, particularly for teachers as access to the internet is no more a matter of choice. The educational potential of internet resources and interactions are immense. It also serves the essential purpose of connecting teachers and schools to each other and contributing to bridging of divides. Responding to the National Curriculum Framework's observation that treating e-content as yet another teaching aid trivialises the potential of this medium and has detrimental effects on teaching-learning practices and the role of the teacher, the teachers' curriculum emphasises the involvement of teachers in the creation of e-content, its sharing with peers and its critical evaluation. Taking cognizance of parallel efforts like the National Repository of Open Education Resources, the curriculum encourages the participation of teachers in its collaborative platform to share such evaluated creations.