Revised Scheme of Information and Communication Technology in Schools (ICT in Schools) during the XI Plan
The scheme of Educational Technology (ET) was started in 1972 during the IV Plan. Under the scheme 100% assistance was given to 6 State Institutes of Educational Technology (SIET) and the States/UTs were assisted for procurement of radio cum cassette players and colour TVs. Further, in recognition of the importance of role of ICT in education, the Computer Literacy and Studies in Schools (CLASS) Project was introduced as a pilot project in 1984-85 with the use of BBC micros.
The project was adopted as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme during the 8th Plan (1993-98) and its scope was widened to provide financial grants to educational institutions and also to cover new Government and Government aided secondary and higher secondary schools. The use and supply of software was limited with coverage confined only to higher secondary Schools.
The National Task Force on Information Technology and Software Development (IT Task Force), constituted by the Prime Minister in July, 1998 made specific recommendations on introduction of IT in the education sector including schools for making computers accessible through the Vidyarthi Computer Scheme, Shikshak Computer Scheme and School Computer Schemes. Smart Schools were recommended on a pilot basis in each State for demonstration purposes. It was also stipulated that 1 to 3% of the total budget was to be spent on provision of computers to all educational Institutions upto Secondary and Higher Secondary level during the next five years. Based on the experience gained so far, a need for a revision of the scheme of ICT @ Schools was felt on the following grounds.
- Expansion with emphasis on quality and equity: A need was felt to expand the outreach of the scheme to cover all Government and Government aided secondary and higher secondary schools in the country with emphasis on educationally backward blocks and areas Revised with concentration of SC, ST, minority and weaker sections. Along with that, there is a need for ensuring dependable power supply where the electricity supply is erratic and internet connectivity, including broadband connection.
- Demonstration effect: There is a need to set up smart schools at the district level to serve as demonstration models for neighbouring schools.
- Teacher engagement and better in-service and pre-service training: Since ICT education will be imparted to all secondary and higher secondary students, an exclusive ICT teacher is required for each school. Similarly, there is a need for pre service as well as in service training of all teachers in effective use of ICT in teaching and learning process.
- Development of e-content: There is also a need to develop and use appropriate e-content to enhance the comprehension levels of children in various subjects.
- A strong mechanism for monitoring and management needs to be set in place at all levels for ensuring optimal delivery of set targets.
- The Scheme envisages that the School Management Committee, Parents Teachers Association and local bodies would be involved in the programme management along with the setting up of an online webbased portal for real-time monitoring and transparency. In addition, independent monitoring and evaluation is envisaged.
Accordingly, the Scheme has been revised, with the approval of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 9th January 2010, for implementation during the remaining period of 11th Plan. The scheme continues in the 12th Plan period.