Computer education provides a unique opportunity for boosting natural ways of learning. Integration of ICT into the school curriculum is instrumental in developing a culture of thinking, lifelong learning and social responsibility
With e-Learning and digital adaptive learning becoming buzzwords in the recent years, the age of integration of ICT in school education seems to have truly arrived. But the moment one looks beyond the urban centers, the rural areas throw up hundreds of thousands of schools just beginning to wake up to the idea.
In the absence of a clearly defined computer science curriculum, computers could just get relegated to entertainment devices. A systematic curriculum can be instrumental in developing algorithmic thinking and organisation skills. This will not only lay a foundation for future programming skills, but develop important life skills.
In this article we share the learnings of a pilot project on implementation of computer sciences curriculum carried out for 10 months from class 1 to 5 at a private school in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Computer education provides a unique opportunity for boosting natural ways of learning. Integration of ICT into the school curriculum is instrumental in developing a culture of thinking, lifelong learning and social responsibility.
For developing countries, investing in computer education can be instrumental in building indigenous technological capability and autonomy.
Addressing digital divide Given the support for ICT in schools under government schemes such as Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA), computer education has got a thrust in the past five years . However, compared to developed countries and even deve-loping countries like China, the figures of computers in schools are quite low.
In India, less than 10% of all schools have computers, and even this is also heavily in favour of urban areas (26.41%) while the rural areas (6.66%) are marginalised. Amongst the urban areas, six Indian states of Chandigarh (73.65%), Sikkim (55.56%), Delhi (55.40%), Kerala (48.19%), Andhra Pradesh (43.48%), Nagaland (39.41%) have more than 35% penetration of computers in schools. On the other hand for the rural areas, only three states Delhi (51.18%), Chandigarh (40%) and Kerala (36.87%), have more than 35% penetration of computers in schools .
Except for Delhi, there is a wide gap in computer penetration in schools in rural and urban areas of each state indicating the rural-urban digital divide.
Even when computers are available in schools, the emphasis is largely on acquiring the skills for its usage. There is little deliberation on the course content and the methodology best suited to teach it. Private international schools have been the major frontrunners in computer assisted learning and other private and government schools are slowly catching up.