An Election Manifesto for Education

Its time for the next General Elections in India, and I think it is also about time that citizens put together an education manifesto for all parties, given that they have been notoriously lax in laying down a concerted vision for the education system in their manifestos! India is an amazingly diverse country and its... Continue Reading →

Rough Book and 3 Idiots

Here is a story you shouldn't miss. Rough Book is a movie built somewhat parallel to the theme of the movie 3 Idiots and has some common reflections on commercialization with the Nana Patekar movie, Paathshaala. Rough Book is a muted drama focused on the teacher and her friends in a K12 setting - preparation... Continue Reading →

Crying Woolf

A group of academics hailing from top universities have decided to create the world's first ever blockchain university called the Woolf University. They have released a rather illuminating whitepaper on the concept. Essentially, the University will disintermediate the traditional university structure and leverage 'trust' through an alternate federated structure powered by a non-profit trust and... Continue Reading →

India’s syllabus haircut

The HRD Minister is advocating a syllabus haircut for India. Following on the heels of the initiative by the Delhi AAP government in 2015 ("Delhi's Syllabus Haircut"), which apparently went nowhere, the BJP government has tried to give it a populist national character by inciting NCERT to trim the syllabus by 50%. Subsequently NCERT, the... Continue Reading →

Nationalizing Indian EdTech

Indian edTech has always been a tough battleground. It is getting tougher and more inexplicable by the day, and unless we, in edTech, take a stand, it will get far worse. Here are some of the major forces shaping the industry. The government has always had the lion's share. They maintain the right of exclusion... Continue Reading →

National Education & Destiny

What is National Education? Following a session of the Indian National Congress, H V Dugvekar, in 1917, came out with a compilation of essays by prominent freedom movement leaders including Bipin Chandra Pal, Gopal Krishan Gokhale, Annie Besant and Lala Lajpat Rai. A speech from Bipin Chandra Pal, founder of the Brahmo Samaj and part... Continue Reading →

Totalitarian Educracies

In education systems that have an oligarchic organization, with a small number of large private and/or public players, educracies acquire a kind of totalitarian rather than an egalitarian expression. From a current example in India, the government is flexing educratic muscles on a set of private affiliated (to a national education board) schools that comprise... Continue Reading →

Educracy

Recently at a conference, someone asked me about the future of publishing. Remarking that it was a interesting question the answer to which I really did not know, which evoked much mirth, I ventured further to assert that the publishing and edTech are both a product and a function of the underlying system of education... Continue Reading →

Education Systems: Flawed Design?

In the traditional system of education, there are many fundamental incongruities. For example, let us take certification of progress or advancement. The output of an academic level (degree, year) is a certification of progression. This certification, awarded by the institution, indicates the achieved levels of learning and performance. The value perception of that certification is... Continue Reading →

Courage, Craft and Character

There are three things I believe are necessary for success in product development, and perhaps in other endeavors in Life as well. Courage. You need the courage to dream on a very wide canvas, the courage to fail and make mistakes, the courage to acknowledge what can defeat you and persist in your efforts to... Continue Reading →

The Digital Isolation of Classrooms

Our classrooms are digitally isolated by their very design. It is a distortion of our bureaucratic education systems wherein, on the one hand, grade levels are broken down into separate groups/classrooms, insulated from each other, while each group is encouraged (or mostly not) to independently interact with the outside world. As a result, students learning... Continue Reading →

edTech vs. ICT – New Education Policy

The New Education Policy, 2016, has to give mission level status and significance to education technology by: Systematically building up our intellectual and institutional capabilities in edTech Planning and implementing strategic edTech initiatives Actively promoting edTech entrepreneurship and R&D Mission Level Focus on edTech The NEP draft places no mission level emphasis on education technologies... Continue Reading →

Reclaiming SWAYAM

Today’s news article on the SWAYAM MOOCs and open-ness by Anil Sasi of the Indian Express raises some very important questions about the future of MOOCs in this country. The facts of the matter are as follows. A proprietary rather than open source approach has been adopted because open source seems not be open after... Continue Reading →

The corruption of the SWAYAM RFP

It seems the SWAYAM RFP dated 21st November, 2015 is actually inspired from previous RFPs made for other contexts. You have to only compare the SWAYAM RFP with two earlier RFPs: National Career Services Portal RFP dated  13th August 2014 A JNU RFP on eLearning Development dated 5th February 2015   To give a sense... Continue Reading →

2015-Slow year for edTech

This past year has been very eventful. Here are some of my impressions of 2015. xMOOCs have strengthened this year. The major players have received lots of new funding, added 1800 new courses, 100 new credentials, doubled enrollments to 35 mn students and co-opted many new partners from academia (over 550 universities in all) and... Continue Reading →

Delhi’s Syllabus Haircut

The most amazing thing has happened in Delhi. Something that I have been advocating for the past few years has actually seen the light of day. Delhi's AAP government has cut syllabus upto Class VIII by 25%, with the promise of doing that for Classes IX-XII by next year! Director, education, Padmini Singla explains that... Continue Reading →

East or West: Their rhetoric is the best

George Siemens vents in a post that describes his emotions upon coming out of a consultation on Innovation and Quality in Higher Education at the White House recently where he was invited. He sees many key things happening: 2. Higher education generally has no clue about what’s brewing in the marketplace as a whole 3.... Continue Reading →

Did someone just learn?

Most of our education system is geared towards a particular conception of a student and her specific way of learning. Let's face it. We give our children the same amount of time to learn every day. It is the same time in the day for learning. It is mostly the same cohort with which you... Continue Reading →

Faculty shortage or learner shortage?

People keep on going on about there being so much shortage of good quality faculty. That, they bemoan, is the most important factor behind the problems that we face in K12 or Higher Ed today. It is definitely true to an extent.I believe the bigger challenge is to find learners. Not students. But learners. Or... Continue Reading →

India MOOCs and eLibrary

Massive Open Online Courses  (MOOCs) and OERs have captured the imagination of our polity. The new Government's election manifesto clearly specifies MOOCs, although not under school or higher education, but under Vocational Training as a means for "working class people and housewives to further their knowledge and qualifications". Further, there is a firm push, although... Continue Reading →

Blended Learning in India

There are many positives happening in EdTech in India. A government led mission called the National Mission on Education using ICT (NMEICT) has created massive amounts of content for engineering, arts and humanities, social sciences and natural science. It has also delivered the under 50 USD tablet, Aakash and a slew of innovations including Virtual... Continue Reading →

The Learning Revolution is Here

I didn't know it at that time, having been born just a few months later, that the revolutionary Open University, UK was born in January, 1971 with 25000 students. Of course, my parents didn't know that either when they named me Viplav (my Sanskrit origin name literally means "revolution"). It's just one of those weird... Continue Reading →

Design of Complex Learning Environments

This year I will focus my efforts on the design of learning environments that are complex - adaptive, emergent, self-organizing, chaotic and personal. As a project description at TU Delft states: In these situations system content, system structure and system boundaries shift and evolve without any global or central coordinator. Instead, order and regularity emerge... Continue Reading →

The Outcomes of our Educational Systems

Does a particular type of education system tend to produce the same outcome irrespective of the underlying environment? Or is it that the underlying social, economic and political environment will cause pretty much any educational system to tend to produce the same outcomes? Or is it that the outcomes emerge as a result of the... Continue Reading →

MOOCs as instruments of democratic politics

Democracy requires intellectually armed political activism to succeed. MOOCs (cMOOCs) provide an unprecedented occasion to demonstrate the power of connective learning for democracy, just as much as they demonstrate the democracy of connective learning. The four letters that make up the MOOC abbreviation are as apt as a stage for political protest as for our... Continue Reading →

W(h)ither Indian Education

Much of the discussion I am involved in (I am lurking here) with some senior education leaders from industry, government, academics and NGOs here is revolving around issues such as: The Regulatory aspect: In India, with its regulatory restrictions, is it possible to find a parliamentary/administrative way to foster a marketplace (euphemistically called an exchange)... Continue Reading →

Educational Analytics Conference Session

Recently (Nov 6), I had the opportunity to convene a session at the FICCI Higher Education Summit 2012 titled Powering the Higher Education System through Information and Analytics. Please also see the pre-session page on this blog. A summary presentation is provided below. I had a really interesting panel reflecting government and corporate interests with... Continue Reading →

Serious Gaming and Social Connect 2012

I had a good time at the Serious Gaming and Social Connect 2012 Conference organized by Christopher Ng and Ivan Boo in Singapore between Oct 4-6. Kudos to the organizers and their terrific effort at getting so many different stakeholders in one place. It was also great to have NASSG members Amruth (Vitabeans), Rajiv (Knolskape), Inder (Wisecells)... Continue Reading →

A billion dollars for teacher education

The Indian government has allocated USD 1.15 bn or INR 6,308 crores for teacher education in the 12th Five Year Plan under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Restructuring and Reorganisation of Teacher Education. Approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in March, 2012, the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) formally approved it this... Continue Reading →

MOOConomics

Carlos Salerno over at Inside HigherEd wrote a piece on the Bitter Reality of MOOConomics. The major point he makes is that because students need to acquire credentials from top universities/colleges for better employment prospects whereas colleges are loath to provide these credentials through MOOCs because they have no barriers to entry (in terms of... Continue Reading →

NCERT Review of Teacher Education in India

I have no words to describe the contents of this report, Comprehensive Evaluation of Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Restructuring and Reorganization of Teacher Education, NCERT, 2009. It is a must read for those involved in Teacher Education in India. The Scheme was initiated in the 8th 5-year Plan for India (1992-97). It was from this... Continue Reading →

Distributed Educational Systems

(Following is a paper I wrote a few months ago. The conference where I submitted it perhaps did not think much of it, but I hope you will!) Introduction Worldwide, there is immense concern on how we will meet the educational needs of a rapidly growing young population. The challenge is compounded by many other... Continue Reading →

Small Scale Education

Education has always been considered by planners as being for the people. Consequently, a lot of effort by private and public entities have placed great effort and emphasis on just one aspect - how do we educate people? This is not entirely democratic. A democratic view of education also considers education to be by and... Continue Reading →

De-committee-ifying Education

There is lots of talk about de-commodifying education. I would like to talk about de-committifiying education. Or at least, giving a new terms of reference to committees. Perhaps the standard Yes Ministeresque response to this post, would be to set up a committee to study the proposal to de-committify, but I am hoping someone will listen. With all... Continue Reading →

Educating Educators

One of my favorite rants is that "you cannot educate teachers using the same methods you use to educate your students". Teachers are going through no different a process than their students. The National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education document states (quoting the National Curriculum Framework 2005 document): Experiences in the practice of teacher education... Continue Reading →

Report on Open Distance Learning in India

The following is a brief summary of the Madhava Menon report on ODL in India titled "Report of the Committee to Suggest Measures to Regulate the Standards of Education Being Imparted through Distance Mode". The report was released in 2010 it seems. The report defines Open Distance Learning (ODL) as a term that encompasses the "open"... Continue Reading →

EDGEX2012 – Nearly There

Less than two weeks to go for EDGEX2012! EDGEX is conceived as a platform that would connect people with different passions for education to come together. There are plenty of disruptive things happening in education around the world and EDGEX aims to kindle some conversations within and across learning communities - whether they be organized in some way... Continue Reading →

The EDGEX2012 Primer

Over the next few weeks, as the countdown to the EDGEX Disruptive Educational Research conference to be held in New Delhi from March 12-14 begins, I hope to bring to you all news and updates about the conference and its themes. The EDGEX 2012 Conference has been carefully and collaboratively constructed to bring cutting edge educational research... Continue Reading →

The Travails of Teacher Education

Particularly in Higher Education in India, I have long been bothered by a systemic gap in Teacher Education. The gap lies in the preparation of teachers for HE. Today the minimum entry criteria for an Assistant Professor in HE is the National Eligibility Test (NET) or the State Level Eligibility Test (SET/SLET) [UGC Regulations 2009, and the most... Continue Reading →

Assocham Conference, New Delhi

The Associated Chambers of Commerce held a one day conference called the Assocham National Conference on E-Education & Distance Education - Innovative & Creative models in Higher Education on Dec 8, 2011. This conference was a small gathering of people from different parts of the education sector. I tweeted some of the proceedings with the hashtag... Continue Reading →

EDGEX 2012 Conference New Delhi

It gives me great pleasure to announce a unique conference on educational research and innovation called EDGEX, to be held at the Habitat Centre, New Delhi from March 12-14, 2012. The two main themes of the conference are: Learning X.O - marking the significant and ongoing developments in learning and teaching, particularly in informal learning, connectivism... Continue Reading →

Day Two: FICCI HES 2011

Started off with a bang. Sam Pitroda struck the right notes by questioning the dominant paradigm. He pushed levers when he raised a lot of questions that we have been discussing online - teachers as mentors, need to look at different educational model, need to scale, need to question our view of universities, need to question the... Continue Reading →

FICCI Higher Education Summit 2011

At the FICCI Higher Education Summit 2011 today. Had an interesting first day yesterday. The highlights for me were the talks by Montek Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Mr Michael Russell, Member of the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Prof. David Naylor, President, University of Toronto, Canada and Dr Daniel C Levy,... Continue Reading →

The Education World is changing

Over the past few months, I have seen the signs of what could be the next generation of teaching - learning experiences, the signs that show how traditionally accepted models and conceptions of tools are being superseded and are gaining focus and importance from education companies, vendors and users, not just innovator-entrepreneurs who have a good... Continue Reading →

The tyranny of content

I have had the opportunity to interact with some school textbooks and instructional designers in my lifetime (and I am rediscovering some now). I have also had occasion to browse through India's National Curricular Framework, 2005. The puzzle that has confronted me has been that although there seems to be no dearth of good thinking... Continue Reading →

Consumer Choice in Education

A chance conversation prompted me to think - why and how does a consumer student/learner decide on taking a course? The answers are many depending upon the stage in the student lifecycle, context and many other factors. So it is interesting to see how marketing and sales functions view the problem of student acquisition, how... Continue Reading →

Learning Styles and Learning

When I was building up the story for LearnOS, in my mind I had a mathematical model for how a complex of factors, assessed through various instruments (psychometric, inventories, observable analytics), could result in heuristics not only for content presentation, but also for collaboration, tools usage and learning process design. A Learning Weights Matrix mapped... Continue Reading →

Scaling the teacher qualifications challenge

Yet another example of a one size fits all approach has manifested itself recently. An excerpt from an article in the Indian Express on June 29, 2011 titled B.Ed. must, alternative schools weigh options reads: At Rishi Valley School and Doon School, many teachers have been working for a long time without a Bachelor’s degree... Continue Reading →

Para teachers

There are both champions and detractors of para-teacher schemes in India. Champions claim that these schemes reduce pupil-teacher ratios (PTRs), eliminate single teacher schools, lower the cost of providing elementary education and may increase teacher accountability to local panchayats. Detractors, on the other hand, rue the lower professional training and allegedly lower educational qualifications of... Continue Reading →

The Service of Democratic Education

In case you haven't read it yet, please do read Linda Darling-Hammond's speech at the Teacher's College at Columbia University. It is a profound lament while at the same time a sliver of hope that we may have a real shot at democratizing education through teachers education. Linda paints a grim picture: The United States now... Continue Reading →

Parallel Universe of Education

Thanks to Aradhana Sharma's article by the same name in the Times of India, I got some more information on the informal/formal coaching/tuitions marketspace in India. I have always believed that this marketplace place is under-represented, specially the informal side of it. First, some background. Coaching is an inclusive term defining academic interaction on commercial... Continue Reading →

3Cs of Education

At the risk of sounding over-simplistic, I think there are 3 cores or 3Cs of education - Capability, Capacity and Conscience. I think that these three encapsulate all that I feel or understand about our educational systems. Capability For educational systems, this is the ability to, systemically, foster a society where educational needs of its... Continue Reading →

EY Reports – Higher Education in India

During the EDGE2011 conference, Ernst & Young, came out with a report called 40 million by 2020: Preparing for a new paradigm in Indian Higher Education, building on its earlier report with FICCI (Making Indian Higher Education Future Ready, 2009). This post deals with the salient analysis of and in the report. At the outset, overall... Continue Reading →

Financing Indian Higher Education – Parthenon

The Parthenon group, whose  mission is to be the strategic advisor of choice for CEOs and business leaders worldwide (Case Studies) came out with a report titled Financing Indian Higher Education during the EDGE2011 conference. So did Ernst & Young, with a report called 40 million by 2020: Preparing for a new paradigm in Indian Higher Education, building... Continue Reading →

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