NCERT’s Free Online Treasures
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is meant to serve all sections of society whether rich or poor. Even as the world was in lockdown, education was not something that could be closed. Realising this, in the month of April 2020, NCERT brought out an ‘Alternative Academic Calendar.’ The document was circulated to all state governments and published in newspapers. It described how different technologies, especially the mobile phone can be utilised for teaching and learning. Many people don’t have Android phones. But even with a simple mobile, by sending a message or SMS a teacher can establish a relation with students and parents. Thereby the education in different subjects can continue. This was one of the important contributions of NCERT in pandemic which the nation will always remember.
Secondly, to address the poor students and parents, we started developing e-content. We have a big studio in Central Institute of Educational Technology and studios in regional institutes of education in 5 places. The video and e-content were developed for all classes and subjects. By September end, we could complete e-content development for all classes. E-content is freely accessible to each and every student in India.
India Government has launched one class one tv channel. It is now in testing mode. The Android phone may not be available to all but TV is available to the majority. E-content was transmitted through YouTube channels and Tv channels of NCERT.
To address the mental and emotional health issues faced by teachers and parents, NCERTwas a running a tv program with discussions on mental health problems through Swayam Prabha DTH channels.
Community radio programmes were introduced and easily accessed. NCERT with approval of Central Government issued guidelines called Pradhyotato help schools conduct online classes. It provides help on how to use laptop, how to use mobile-based on the age, physical and mental development of the child.
How to integrate different technology platforms in teaching? Every day from 3 to 4 pm or 4 to 5 pm. webinars on the ICT tools for teaching were held. Opensource tools available were shown and demonstrated there - it benefited teachers, educators, and students. We had to integrate and collaborate technology tools, content areas, keep in mind the learning outcomes.
NCERT reduced the syllabus and Board examinations were restructured. To enable online teaching and learning- Epathsala opensource mobile app was launched which is free. It contains audio materials and also entire content development by NCERT Another initiative we took is National Repository of Open Education Resources (NROER). We have integrated audio and video content developed by states in NROER after being scrutinised and edited by NCERT.