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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

The Demonetization of Indian Education

Very recently, the Indian government announced a demonetization measure by removing 500 and 1000 rupee notes as legal tender, ostensibly to combat cash hoarding (black money) and counterfeiting (which was helping fund terror). Of course, we have seen the impact of fiscal demonetization on the economy in the short term, though the long term prognosis... Continue Reading →

An open letter to CABE

The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meets on October 25, 2016 to discuss many important issues. The apex education advisory organization features education ministers, HRD officials, key institutional heads and key influencers from outside government. The CABE takes the important decisions about education in our country. This time around, on the tentative agenda are... 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 Indi(an)gnity of Education

Of late, I have been increasingly dismayed by the growing indignity in Indian Education. Somehow the very character of the system seems to be under great stress. Take for example, the Manoj Mishra-ization of Indian education. This gentleman, lauded by the Times of India as one who is Leading a fight to get India's truant... Continue Reading →

The de-amplification of Amplify

Nearly five years ago, Newscorp's Rupert Murdoch bought over Wireless Generation (90% for USD 360 mn, such a hit) with the belief that “When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach... 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 →

The Myth of Learning in India

Update (Aug 6): IIT Roorkee has decided to re-admit the expelled students, on certain conditions.They have taken a lenient view, considered the situation again and accounted for the impact of the expulsion on the students' future. #inanity-of-it-all IIT Roorkee, a premier engineering institute of India, recently expelled several first year students for not meeting the... Continue Reading →

What openness means for Indian education

I believe we have to seriously think about what open-ness means for Indian education. There are many dimensions to being open that extend beyond merely making data available for public accountability and transparency. For example, if we do not provide appropriate redressal of grievances that emerge from an analysis of the data, we are not... Continue Reading →

Whither Indian MOOCs?

Today, India is at an important crossroad when it comes to MOOCs. Much has been written and spoken about the potential of MOOCs in this country. Unfortunately, most of the conversation has been around platforms. It has also centered around xMOOCs or XBTs as I term them, ignoring the rather rich discourse around the cMOOCs.... Continue Reading →

The Slumdog Graduate

In the Oscar-winning movie, Slumdog Millionaire, the main protagonist manages to answer very difficult (to the common person) questions to win a jackpot. People are quite unsure how he did it and he becomes the object of an intense investigation. While providing explanations for how he answered each question, it was found he could answer... 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 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 →

Offline Connectivism

In 2008, when discussing the critical role of technology in the existence of a Connectivist learning environment, Stephen commented:Take the steam engine, for example. It works through a process of burning coal to heat water, which turns to steam, which it then fed through a turbine or engine in order to produce power.You need quite... 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 →

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: Some reflections

The EDGEX2012 conference is now formally over. But it will continue informally here and here. To say I feel tremendously happy would be an understatement. It was simply incredible to have such distinguished and enthusiastic people under one roof, both from India and abroad. I think the objectives of the conference were also served well -... 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 →

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 quality of educational administrators

I think this is a key challenge, not only in India, but across the world. It is every bit as important as the quality of educational technology and content in our classrooms. I am, so far, largely untouched by what I see in India (and maybe I have limited experience).  The first problem, and the most important... Continue Reading →

Higher Education Survey – India

Another news item provokes a sense of deja vu. As part of the EDGE2011 report, I had pointed out the dismal state of affairs in collecting and analyzing educational data in India. In Higher-Ed specifically, the HRD ministry is undertaking a unique, first of its kind survey to collate data and to update it on... Continue Reading →

Order from Chaos – Syllabii Revisions

Another example of how we want more order. Apparently, there are 47 different Boards of Education in India and COBSE (Council of Boards of Education, India) is a body that: ...provides academic support to its member Boards on: 1.     Setting and maintenance of educational standards. 2.     Curriculum planning 3.     Preparation of Curriculum materials and transaction... Continue Reading →

CBSE schools to go vocational

When I wrote We don't need no education in mid-2010, I urged: cut down school content, start school later, end it earlier, focus on growing the mind, building teamwork and other “21st century” skills, enabling our children to become responsible and knowledgeable citizens with a global perspective, reshape the assessment tools and frameworks that we... Continue Reading →

Learner Responsibility

We have often, actually most of the time, decided to focus on teachers, teaching methods, institutional structures, assessments and certifications, but what is the responsibility of the learner herself in this experience? I am not talking about defining learners by the characteristics (autonomous, takes responsibility for her own learning...) under the category of responsibility, but... Continue Reading →

New models for Indian Education

In this post, I would like to propose some new models/directions for Indian Education by addressing some core problem areas that I have been able to identify. I would like to focus on, in particular how some strategic new models could change the way we are addressing the huge scale and diversity in India. The... Continue Reading →

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