E-Governance and Impact in Educational Sector


By

Rev. Fr. Paul Raj Kumar
Principal
Blessed Mother Teresa Model
Higher secondary School
Puducherry

Dr. K. Murugadoss
Director
Bharathidasan University College
Perambalur
 


The application of Information Technology (IT) is fairly widespread by now in India in the private sector. However, when it comes to public governance, India has been a laggard in the utilisation of IT.   The common man has benefited from the e-governance measures implemented so far. Perhaps the best example in India of how e-governance can lead to order out of chaos and put paid to the machinations of the ungodly is the replacement of the old ballot system by electronic voting in elections.  Despite these advantages, e-governance has not yet made much headway in government in India.

The slow start off the block, particularly of e-governance, is that it enables transparency and cuts down avenues of corruption. Implementing e-governance in any sector and that too realting to education sector will enable effective monitoring of academic standards.  The amount of investment by the Government in the Information Technology is not enough and which is accounted only 15 per cent of India's $12 billion domestic IT market. Out of 30 "Mission Mode e-governance projects" totalling $6 billion in IT spends that were drawn up by the centre back in 2006, only three have been awarded so far.

In this circumstance it is the time to analysis the imporatnce of e-governance in educational sector.  Today, there has been an increasing gap between what has been imparted to students' curriculum and what has been really demanded.  Both UG and PG level needs reforms with regard to curriculum, teaching, learning the evaluation so as to meet the every changing needs of the world.  Keeping this in view, an attempt has been made in this wirtup to highlight the impact of e-governance also.

What is e-governance?

This is a brief introduction to the notion of `e-governance,' which the author defines as a set of technology-mediated processes that are changing both the delivery of public services and the broader interactions between citizens and government.

E-governance may be understood as the performance of this governance via the electronic medium in order to facilitate an efficient, speedy and transparent process of disseminating information to the public, and other agencies, and for performing government administration activities. 

E-governance can bring forth new concepts of citizenship, both in terms of citizen needs and responsibilities. Its objective is to engage, enable and empower the citizen. 

Why introduce e-governance? 

 The purpose of implementing e-governance is to enhance good governance. Good governance is generally characterized by participation, transparency and accountability. The recent advances in communication technologies and the Internet provide opportunities to transform the relationship between governments and citizens in a new way, thus contributing to the achievement of good governance goals. The use of information technology can increase the broad involvement of citizens in the process of governance at all levels by providing the possibility of on-line discussion groups and by enhancing the rapid development and effectiveness of pressure groups. Advantages for the government involve that the government may provide better service in terms of time, making governance more efficient and more effective. In addition, the transaction costs can be lowered and government services become more accessible. 


The fields of implementation of e-governance are: 

* e-administration- refers to improving of government processes and of the internal workings of the public sector with new ICT (Information and communication technology) executed information processes. 

* e-services- refers to improved delivery of public services to citizens. Some examples of interactive services are: requests for public documents, requests for legal documents and certificates, issuing permits and licenses. 

* e-democracy- implies greater and more active citizen participation and involvement enabled by ICTs in the decision-making process

Impact of e-governance in education:

Two different point are considered to analyse how teachers will use IT in their teaching and Administration, to study the impact of e-governance ineducation.

1. Establishes a baseline for exploration:

It makes the point that, during the 1990s, the nation established the foundation for extensive use of technology in schools and Classrooms. Access in schools and libraries to computers and the Web is now widespread, on its way to becoming universal. Use of technology in the classroom, however, is more sporadic; few teachers use technology to offer educational experiences previously unavailable.

2. Looks into the future:

In particular, it considers whether information technology will simply support and amplify conventional classroom practice or whether it will have, in Brown's (2000) terminology, a "transformative" effect on the nature of the curriculum and pedagogy. It begins to explore how teachers will use technology in 2007 by imagining what the technology environment surrounding them will look like. The quality and power of technology will continue to increase to the point where it will be able to deliver practically anything that can now be imagined. Moreover, technological advances will make powerful computing tools available to almost everyone at affordable prices. Outside of schools, it can be expected that educational and training uses of information technology will be commonplace.

To better understand where the future of technology in education is headed, it is important to establish a baseline for changes by examining the advances over the last decade.  This will leads to follwing advantages.

1. Student Access to and Use of Technology in Schools
2. Changes in curriculum, school organisation and administration
3. Integrate e-governance in education sector
4. Education and Technology
5. Improving education system
6. Monitoring academic performance

1. Student Access to and Use of Technology in Schools

Over the past decade, technology grants and donations from businesses, parents, and the government have led to the increasing presence of computers and the Internet in educational institurtions.  Currently, In our country private schools with the financial support of the management and Government school with the help of new schmes for providing standardised education at par with International standards have computeriesed.  This shows, at best, a crude measure of student access, however, because it includes schools that use computers solely for administrative purposes.

A more useful indicator is the percent of U.S. classrooms that have a computer designated for instructional use: In 1998, more than 75% of U.S. schools met this criterion (Education Week &c the Milken Exchange, 1998).

The last decade has also seen a significant increase in student access to the Internet in school. In 1998, 95% of schools had at least one computer connected to the Internet (NCES, 2000). Once again, this measure is crude; thus, it is important also to examine the percent of instructional rooms within which there is access to the Internet.

2. Changes in curriculum, school organisation and administration

Given that technology's appropriate role, is to support the achievement of main stream policy directions, and consider how well the school system itself is adjusting to change.  One of the ways that the school system is beginning to address vocational need is to reshape the curriculum to provide a far broader mix of academic and vocational courses for all learners. This will involve greater cooperation between schools and the colleges of further and higher education, which have a specific remit to address essential skills shortages and to provide vocational education. There has also been a marked increase in the number of students taking 'business studies' as an optional programme of study at school and in the further education sector. Also understood is the notion that the development of an enterprise culture requires far greater attention to the place of creativity in learning, with a stronger recognition that this involves risk-taking and innovation.

3. Integrate e-governance in education sector

The studies in educatinal technology states that implementing e-governance in educational systems will enable effective monitoring of academic standards. The studies cite the example of M-Star1 education expert system which has overhauled the infrastructure in schools and colleges across India, making the learning system more accountable.

4. Education and Technology

The Right to Education Act gives little importance for implementing e-governance in our education system and the education sector has remained relatively untouched by e-governance before this Act. This is most distressing, considering that "education is the cornerstone of our efforts to build up the future generation".

As it stands today, our education system is chaotic, to say the least. It is characterised by a high dropout rate, teacher truancy, obsolete syllabi, inadequate infrastructure, unemployable graduates and the lot.

The tiny proportion of quality output that emerges from it is more a case of serendipity and the determination of the students belonging to this micro-minority.

This is because the present system lacks means of continuous monitoring, meaningful evaluation of the teacher and the taught, constant feedback to the players of education concerned like administrators, faculty, parents and students and appropriate timely control and correction mechanisms.

5. Improving education system:

If the quantity and quality of output from our education system have to be substantially improved, then there is no alternative to introducing e-governance in this sphere. However, to be really effective, the e-governance system deployed will have to go beyond mere computerisation of records or processes.

It has to be able to provide the management of the educational institution information about, Why of a happening or a trend besides the What, When and where, so that adequate prophylactic action can be taken. It should be able to provide answers to queries like:

* Why is the performance of a class dropping in a particular subject?
* Why is a particularly bright student lagging in performance in the last two terms?
* Which teacher has produced the best consistent results for her class?

Then again, considering the paucity of funds in our state-aided educational institutions, an e-governance system which is inexpensive to install, simple to use, easy to maintain and can be conveniently expanded will be much more acceptable.

6. Monitoring academic performance

One such e-governance system for educational institutions the M-Star Education Expert System has been piloted in scores of schools in India. This system currently runs in a variety of schools and colleges in the country.

The M-Star system and application runs on proprietary OmVcard or an Online Multi-domain Value Card, costing just a few hundred rupees. Every child and staff member is given the OmVcard which they can insert into any computer where the application is loaded.

Incidentally, the card can be used to check the oft-quoted issue of teacher truancy. Teacher performance in a 'single teacher' school can be monitored by his supervisor remotely, not merely by looking at his or her attendance records, but by gauging the effectiveness of teaching as borne out by the academic performance of the pupils.

Ultimately, if the Education Expert System gets linked to other national e-governance systems, such as the national ID project headed by Nandan Nilekani, then the possibilities are endless.

It could analyse the reasons of dropping out from the system and the teachers become more accountable. The Right to Education could thus become a reality through technology.

Uses of e-governance system

Technology is impacting education in revolutionary ways the momentum toward these changes is irreversible. When students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community leaders are able to communicate and electronically about issues critical to education, the traditional process will undergo a fundamental transformation, with decisions about a student's learning being resolved in new and more effective ways.

As we are standing at the door of virtually unlimited opportunity, using technology in school administration enabled administrative tasks to be completed more quickly and efficiently and in turn enabled school personnel to more actively participate in the organisation and use data to make more effective educational decisions.

Our School Admin Software comprises 15 different modules that cover each and every department of school and makes the functioning of Institute effortless. This software covers each and every entity of school. It is an interactive platform for all the entities of School like Teachers, Management, Financial Department, Students, Parents and Librarian etc.

With School software all the stakeholders of the School can communicate with each other very easily.  It helps to

* Automate Admission.
* Manage Student Information Efficiently.
* Manage Classes, Subjects according to requirements.
* Maintain Transport Maintenance Management.
* Maintain effectively Students & Staff Attendance.
* Automate Library.
* Staff Salary Generation & expenses Management.
* Automate Examination Management System.
* Maintain Grades, Create Grade Book.
* Analyze the Performance of a class.
* Countless MIS Reports Generation.
* Automate accounts and inventory (SAP).
* Intranet Mail Service for all heads and Admin staff.
* Internet and School Mail Id to heads and admin staff for Online Collaboration.
* Grievance addressing of stack holders by using e-mail, SMS and    telephonic service.
* Online Firewall protection of all the machines connected to internet using Fireguard firewall.
* 8 Mbps BSNL and Reliance internet connectivity.Internet on demand for students and teachers.

Conclusion:

The planning for efficient administration of educational institutions, increasing Global communication skill, to achieve the world class standard it is necessary to have a improved collaboration and access to informations available in all the parts of the world are possible only by introducing IT in Educational Sector with e-governance as a security for maintaining standard.  The organizational growth and developments are possible only by exploiting the facility of IT sector.  Today the IT has become an integral part of life of the people in the world.  India is one of the world leader in IT sector and therefore the talent in this field is abounds.  It is the time to applying the skill for the betterment of Indian educational system as well.   The implementation of e-governance education is merely to increase the productivity of players of the field and not to replace them.  With the use of e-governance the players can be empowered to achieve more, at a faster pace and exercise greater creativity by reducing the amount of mundane and repetitive work.

IT will enable universal access to information, promotion of public domain information also enhances learning content, ensuring that content is available in all official national languages, Provision of points of access at community levels and Partnerships for skills transfer.

E-governance will enable the Government and Citizens to access easily, to improve new class of quality of services and to provide multi channel service delivery system. The vision of e-governance is to transform service delivery through the use of IT and Multimedia. 

The e-governance needs security for smooth information flow, best practice database and enhanced capacity for information analysis etc, Government should support by enacting favourable legislations and updated amanments for maintaining standards in the business process and improvements in the related field.

Reference:

1. Digital Era Governance by Patrick Dunleavy, Helen Margetts, Simon Bastow, and Jane Tinkler
2. TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS IN EDUCATION by Harold F. O'Neil, Jr
3. e-Schooling by Roger Austin and John Anderson
4. www.digitalopportunity.org
5. www.mgrmnet.com
6. http://portal.unesco.org
7. www.velammal.org
8. www.mapit.gov.in 
9. www.mgrmnet.com
10. www.i4donline.net
11. www.winentrance.com
12. www.keralaeducation.com

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1 M-Star has been developed by MGRM NET after a deep study of educational systems. It is highly flexible in that it can apply to any educational system and yet be customised to a very high degree to fit in with all the required parameters and diverse needs of an institution.

It takes the life cycle approach and works all the way up the education chain from kindergarten right up to the university level for all kinds of curriculum and structures. The system bridges the gap between different stakeholders in a school, such as students, parents, teachers, and principal and education administrators.

For administrators like school boards and education directorates, which have to keep tabs on the functioning of many schools, M-Star offers immense value to monitor academic performance of individual schools as well as impact of schemes like mid-day meal or Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for All Campaign)
 


Rev. Fr. Paul Raj Kumar
Principal
Blessed Mother Teresa Model
Higher secondary School
Puducherry

Dr. K. Murugadoss
Director
Bharathidasan University College
Perambalur
 

Source: E-mail November 10, 2010

          

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