Image credit: Financial Express
By Varad Pande and Aishwarya Viswanathan
Specifically, we believe that much of the success of the NDEAR tech infrastructure will lie in getting the ‘non-tech’ elements right. There are four fundamental issues that implementers and enablers will have to factor in.
While the pandemic has accelerated education online, it has also exposed a deep digital divide, with more than 30% students not having access to online learning. This has increased the focus on building inclusive solutions in EdTech. A ray of hope in this context is the National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR), the blueprint for which was recently released by the government. Set up as a digital pathway to the policy goals envisioned in the National Education Policy, 2020, NDEAR takes on a ‘Open Digital Ecosystem’ approach, where a set of principles, standards, specifications, building blocks and guidelines seek to enable different entities to create elements of the digital education ecosystem. At its core is the principle of interoperability, i.e., enabling disparate education related tech systems to “talk to each other” seamlessly, rather than operating in silos, thereby multiplying the possibilities of impact.
How will this change the life of a student? Here is just one example of how NDEAR could potentially help: Consider a student, Manisha, whose parents are relocating from Bengaluru to Dehradun. Manisha is worried that she may be behind her new peer-group especially as the curriculum of the Uttarakhand state board may be different. Her parents are stressed about completing the paperwork for the school transfer. And teachers in her new school are concerned about how to accommodate her learning needs. NDEAR can help ease this transition in multiple ways. To catch up with the rest of the class, Manisha can access curated learning material specific to her needs via the DIKSHA platform. Her parents, with access to her student ID, can complete the transfer process entirely online in just a few steps, by instantly sharing verifiable school records and test results. As for Manisha’s new teachers, access to her online learning passbook can enable them to have a better understanding of her needs, while being able to support her, for example, in ‘catching up’ on Hindi language skills using online teacher manuals and other personalised tools enabled by NDEAR.
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