Facilitating Data Capture : Professor Ved Prakash, Vice Chancellor, National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NEUPA)

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Tell us a bit about your activities in the field of technology induced teaching and learning?
We have created a database of all the   elementary education institutions in the country, which is known as DISE- District Information System for Education. DISE advantage is to provide information and data about the number of schools, their infrastructure, etc. in no time. The same data would take about 5-to-7 years time, but today the time lag is four to six months.

We have developed an electronic system for data capturing purposes, available at the grassroots level. The information is collected from individual schools and is sent to the cluster resource centre, then to the block resource centre. From the block resource centre, it is sent to the district headquarter and finally it goes to the state level. The entire amount of information is checked and cross-checked at each level till finally a national-level database was prepared. The Information Management System implemented not only provides a highly cost-effective method, but also helps cleaning the data quickly.

What steps are you taking to spread the use of DISE data?
We have decided to upscale it from elementary to secondary level. We have already completed the first phase of this exercise, which means we have developed the data formats. We organise regional level seminars in which the district and state level authorities, school representatives are  involved.

We have successfully created the database of more than 1.20 million elementary, primary and upper primary schools. Now the similar attempt will be made in the 152,000 secondary and senior secondary institutions in the country. A similar kind of initiative for the post secondary institutions in the country is also undertaken, the number of which is a little over 19,000 that includes universities, institutes of national importance.

We have introduced an “eminent scholar lecture series” in universities in the country. Under this we invite scholars from different parts of the country to deliver lecture on various educational themes, and we have also planned to make these lecture available through EDUSAT so as to disseminate the gains.

How does the roles of the database and the university converge? What are the other attempts made towards digital learning?
Our role in the University is related to developing the entire methodology; a capture format. We have trained the educational functionaries at district and state levels.

We have a documentation centre where there is a collection of 60,000 books that are digitised and accessible freely.

How do you feel technology should be integrated into education and educational planning?
Technology should be an integrated part of the educational planning as a module, but we have not done enough in that direction. In private schools, we see a lot of ICTs but in the public institutions you will not find it. The purpose of education is to reduce such inequalities. While it can not eradicate inequalities, it can reduce extreme form of inequality. Despite investment, pubic institutions are not properly integrated with technology in higher education. We have done it with the help of UGC, but we need to do the same in the school education as well.

Things should be the other way round, as we have not developed the right kind of infrastructure. Technology will facilitate the implementation of  and achievement of the educational goals, but we also need to create certain common facilities at a common place. We need to create work culture and ethos with full back up support so that the people in this field of ICTs should get recognition and advantage. 

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