Aadhaar can be a boon for India’s education system

An Aadhaar-linked academic record can enable each new school to be confident that it knows what previous education each student has received, prior to attendance
An Aadhaar-linked academic record can enable each new school to be confident that it knows what previous education each student has received, prior to attendance
(Dinesh Krishnan/ Fobes India, April 13, 2011)


Most would agree that Aadhaar is India’s most revolutionary technological endeavour in recent history, second only to mobile telephony in its scale and impact. What other technology or service has shown such impressive growth anywhere in the world – from zero to over 80 crore (800 million) users in under six years? If you ask a room full of people, “Who has an Aadhaar card?” most will raise their hand. But if you ask them if they’ve ever used their card, few hands go up. I believe Aadhaar has implications far broader than the financial services with which most people currently associate it with. This under-utilised asset is ready to improve education, create jobs, and grow the economy.

To understand its potential in education, one must first grasp how Aadhaar works in the most well-known application: The Aadhaar-enabled payment system. This system essentially allows anyone with an Aadhaar ID to go to a micro-ATM and check their balance, withdraw money, deposit cash, and transfer funds to another person with an Aadhaar number. The Aadhaar system also allows the government to send payments electronically to beneficiaries – even those who may not have previously had bank accounts – without concern for the fraud that currently plagues direct payment schemes. Simply put: Aadhaar’s ID’s are attached to real people, and reliably allow transactions of all kinds to happen between clearly identified citizens and the institutions that serve them.

While payment services enabled via Aadhaar have clear value in “financial inclusion” and save money by eliminating fraud and corruption, they are not fundamentally changing an industry. The impact on education will be different. India’s education sector, which broadly includes K-12 and university education as well as vocational training, is ready for Aadhaar to improve via a fundamental disruption: Long term tracking and certification of results, all tied to reliable IDs. India currently lacks a formal system of tracking a person’s school record, training certifications, or employment history. As a result, the academic performances of Indian students have limited documentation and are not tracked over a student’s career; data that is tracked cannot be verified, and service providers and employers in India’s job market lack an efficient means to properly match the most qualified job candidates of specific skills sets to the jobs that most require candidates with those qualifications.

India’s youth are increasingly mobile, moving with their parents as they seek economic opportunities, and then moving to larger towns and cities to get better educational opportunities. An Aadhaar-linked academic record can enable each new school to be confident that it knows what previous education each student has received, prior to attendance. As a result, policymakers and curriculum designers can track academic results of students over time, even as they move between school systems in different states, in order to determine the outcomes of various improvements made to educational systems at the local or national level.

Such student tracking is well established in the US. As of 2010, all 50 states are using a statewide student identifier that remains with a student throughout his or her primary and secondary education career. And 33 states now have the ability to follow student progress into post-secondary education. They can do so by connecting primary/secondary records of individual students with each state’s respective records in its state public higher education system. Creating a similar tracking system based on Aadhaar IDs is well within the reach of the more centrally-managed Indian education system over the coming years.

Aadhaar’s unique IDs can also be used by the vocational education sector as a tracking mechanism that can link to a record of a person’s vocational skill set as well as his or her academic and employment history. For example, a mechanic who specialises in a specific field will be able to charge proper fees for being the most qualified mechanic to best diagnose and fix a problem.

Qualification will be determined by verified skills, certifications, and reputation rather than by word of mouth and anecdotal stories. Having the ability to track the academic and professional history of each person and increase the efficiency of the matching process in services and employment markets will ultimately incentivise citizens to lead more productive careers. Service providers and job seekers will be able to conclusively certify their knowledge, skill sets, experiences, and thereby be rewarded accordingly. To date, people have been expressing their capabilities on resumes, websites, and sign boards. Nobody could easily know how truthful such claims were. Now, skills claims linked to Aadhaar IDs will be verifiable – they will be a new, higher value currency.

Aadhaar-linked skills marketplaces are already being created. In August 2013, the Indian government launched a new programme called the National Skill Certificate and Monetary Reward scheme through a training company, Centum Learning. In order to create a stronger skilled and employable workforce, this new scheme grants government monetary rewards, called Standard Training & Assessment Rewards, to its programme graduates. Training programmes under the scheme are intended to develop and certify skills against industry standards. The assessment and certification processes involved are based on rigorous norms as per National Occupational Standards. Under the scheme, Centum Learning offers skills training on industry recognised courses in order to orient and skill the youth on diverse job roles across priority employment sectors, including, sales in telecom and organised retail, customer service skills in BPO, telecom installation & fault repair, telecom tower equipment operations & maintenance, gems & jewellery, etc. The rewards are directly transferred to the graduates’ Aadhaar-linked bank accounts.
Therefore, in order to be a part of this programme, the government requires that each candidate be enrolled in Aadhaar, ensuring that funds go where they are intended, and that participants are rewarded accordingly.

Leveraging Aadhaar to track students and electronically certify academic and employment histories can certainly contribute to the growth of India’s economy while realising the “demographic dividend” and improving income opportunities across the population.

– By Will Poole, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Unitus Seed Fund

Source : http://forbesindia.com/blog/economy-policy/aadhaar-can-be-a-boon-for-indias-education-system/#ixzz3p6bS1bqo

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Online education is the way-forward in India

Internet bandwidths are revamping traditional modes of education with new dimensions and a better reach. Distance is no longer a barrier. Choice of course is no more a hindrance. If you prefer a course, online education-service providers will ensure that you get the best through innovative interactive means, no matter where you are.

At the recently concluded EdTech.Now conclave in Delhi, organized by WizIQ, the discussion aimed at understanding the challenges and opportunities for online education service providers.

“The whole purpose of creating a premier conclave in the form EdTech.Now was to bring together thought leaders, innovators, industry experts, educators and content providers on a common platform. We are providing ‘do-it-yourself’ platforms to online education service providers across the globe,” said Harman Singh, Founder and CEO, WizIQ.

According to Aakash Chaudhary, Director, Aakash Education, technology can enhance the abilities of teachers and make them more accountable. He said that technology can help teachers become better teachers.

Also, present during the discussion, Vikalp Jain, Co-Founder, Acadgild, online-service provider from Bengaluru said, “Online courses don’t solve problems for majority of people. We have to bring human element in online courses. Along with this, duration of the online course plays an important role in retention of the student.”

The overall opinion echoed during the discussion – interaction is the way-forward in the changing education culture in India. Brick-mortar models are not completely passe but online courses are gradually gaining ground owing to their flexibility and low cost.

The online course offered by Aakash Institute, for instance, costs 1/4th the price of the offline course.

Plus, it comes with live tutoring mechanism, which allows students to access course without aid of any teachers. Students can later submit their doubts, which will be clarified by subject-matter experts through online mode. The company runs such virtual classroom models in Kota, Malda, Kharaghpur, Cuttack and Chandigarh.

Running on virtual classroom format is another Startup Embibe. Started in November 2012, the company helps students prepare for engineering and medical exams, through a completely online mode.

“We try to provide private virtual teacher to every student through data sense driven engine. Our goal is to help students learn and score higher by identifying their weaknesses which could be related to time management while appearing for exams, overcoming careless mistakes or gaining better clarity over concepts,” said Aditi Avasthi, CEO, Embibe.

She added that through this platform, she is trying to help students become confident individuals by helping them realize their true potential.


Source:- http://www.financialexpress.com/article/industry/jobs/online-education-is-the-way-forward-in-india/151934/


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E-learning Becomes An Essential In India!

The digital wave in the country has transformed the entire education ecosystem, making it more tech-oriented and student-friendly. As technology seeped into every aspect of life, it was only a matter of time for it to penetrate one of the most important facets of one’s existence i.e. education. Online learning presents various benefits such as easy accessibility, on-the-go learning, flexibility and convenience to name a few. These are the main reasons behind the increasing inclination of people towards this mode. In fact, it has quickly become a default way of studying and has evolved from being an option to being a need. Digitisation of the education landscape is also letting the students residing in tier-2 and tier-3 cities reap the benefits of quality education tools. On the other hand, however, offline learning also has its own merits, which definitely cannot be overlooked. Therefore, a seamless blend of both offline and online pedagogical approaches is now the need of the hour.

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Online Learning
Online learning enables students with the option to study in the comfort of their homes, without having to travel miles to go to an institution for attending an important lecture. This makes it a cost-efficient mode of learning. Besides this, online learning is suitable for working people as well who do not have the time at their disposal to attend regular classes. They can get a certificate or a degree without having to physically go to a brick-and-mortar institution. Online video lectures help these students stay connected with what is being taught in traditional classrooms. This way they don’t have to miss out on anything and can fulfil their ambition of working and attaining further academic qualifications simultaneously. There has been a slow and steady pick in self-paced courses, and this trend is fairly visible for all.

While these are the benefits of online learning, there are some limitations as well. Self-discipline and time management matters a lot in online learning. Limited interaction with fellow students and with the instructors can also result in lesser enthusiasm and confidence as compared with offline pedagogical approaches. Although lectures can be attended online, the interpersonal relationship between a student and instructor is harder to build virtually.

Traditional Learning
The concept of traditional learning is slowly undergoing a transformation with the advent of the internet and technology-led education. However, the innumerable benefits of this mode of education cannot be denied. With its multi-sensory appeal, it enables students to grasp what’s being taught easily and quickly. Immediate interactions help them clear their doubts then and there. They can take part in live discussions and know the view-points of other students at the same time. Visual Learning classes have been appreciated by students and faculties alike. It helps students to understand the tough concepts easily and learning becomes fun for them.

However, there is no denying that traditional learning eats up a lot of time. It’s expensive as compared to online learning and lacks flexibility. In many cases, the traditional format makes quality education and guidance inaccessible to those students in whose locality there aren’t any good institutions or coaching centres.

Advantages of digital education for students of tier-3 and tier-4 cities:
Digital education has metamorphosed the education landscape of the country in such a way that students of not just tier-1 and tier-2 cities but also of tier-3 and tier-4 cities are now able to access superlative learning opportunities. Digital courses have tremendously helped in bridging the wide geographical gap that hitherto existed between students and the leading institutions of the country. Such online courses have been instrumental in enhancing the learning experience of students residing in extreme corners of the country.

E-learning has made inroads in the entire nation, the result of which is this that students are now rapidly embracing this new concept. A blend of the online mode of learning and traditional pedagogy is being adopted by institutions these days so as to provide a compelling learning experience to students. Live lectures combined with the facility to interact with faculty in real time and give students a feel of traditional classrooms is what many institutions are now focussing on. This combination of the physical classroom and the e-learning experience is enriching the way students understand and absorb information and apply this knowledge.

New age education methods like app-based learning also give superlative convenience to students and bolster the result of other learning techniques. The spike in smartphone and mobile data usage has given to rise to new, innovative, creative and highly engaging ways of understanding concepts, memorising difficult topics, taking tests and assessing oneself. Quality content remains the main requirement of students and is pivotal in making the online learning experience rich and beneficial. Education providers have to ensure that they deliver meaningful content to students in the online space and amalgamate this content with the best of traditional learning methods so that more and more students embrace this new way of absorbing information. The offline versus online debate is now not as relevant as the debate about how the merits of both these formats need to be synchronised to create new benchmarks in the Indian education space.

The author, Ritesh Raushan, is the director at The Gate Academy – See more at: http://www.businessworld.in/education-institutions/e-learning-becomes-essential-india#sthash.nAJ6uxmt.dpuf

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Quality education still main challenge in India, says Kailash Satyarthi

Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi has said that quality education is still a challenge in India.

Addressing a programme on ‘child rights and issues’ in New Delhi, Satyarthi said that growth in education should not be confined to numbers.

“The enrollment rate has gone up. The retention rate has also gone up but when it comes to quality and inclusive education, when it comes to equity in education, these are vital challenges. Of course, in India, but also globally, I have been fighting for right to education since many years. But not just for right to education, but for right to quality education with equity and inclusive (ness),” said Satyarthi.

He added that the right to education was key to the development of a country.

“Right to education or education is the fundamental right which opens the doors of all rights of human being. Without education you cannot open the door of rest of the rights of life. Whatever rights, in the constitutions, guaranteed in the law, they are not going to be fulfilled without the very fundamental thing, right to education,” said Satyarthi.


source: http://www.financialexpress.com/article/industry/jobs/quality-education-still-main-challenge-in-india-says-kailash-satyarthi/100553/

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Secondary education reduces HIV risk for girls

Longer secondary schooling reduces the risk of contracting HIV, particularly for girls, shows a study.

Students with longer secondary education had an eight percent lower risk of HIV infection, about a decade later, from about 25 percent to about 17 percent infected, found the research from Botswana.

“It is difficult to isolate the effect of education on HIV risk from the complex web of co-factors such as personal motivation, psychological traits, socio-economic status and family background. In the absence of large-scale trial data, natural experiments can provide robust evidence to guide policy,” said senior author Jacob Bor, assistant professor at Boston University School of Public Health.

The study used a recent school policy reform as a ‘natural experiment’ to determine the impact of increased years of secondary schooling on risk of HIV infection.

The authors examined the causal effect of an additional year of schooling on HIV status in 7018 men and women at least 18 years old at the time of the surveys.

Individuals with an extra year of secondary schooling were eight percentage points less likely to test positive for HIV about a decade later.

The effects were particularly strong among women, with each additional year of secondary schooling reducing infection risk by 12 percentage points.

“This study provides causal evidence that secondary education is an important causal determinant of HIV infection. Our results suggest that schooling should be considered alongside other proven interventions as part of a multi-pronged ‘combination’ HIV prevention strategy.”

“Expanding the opportunities of young people through secondary schooling will not only have economic benefits but will also yield health benefits and should be a key priority for countries with generalised HIV epidemics.”

The study appeared in The Lancet Global Health journal.

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Revenue from distance education used elsewhere

The distance education programme seems to be a cash cow for universities because the only major expense is for reviewing and printing study material, which in any case is done once in three or four years. In many universities, the distance education programme sustains regular colleges, said an official of the Madurai Kamaraj University on condition of anonymity.

“This explains why universities are reluctant to drop courses and often tie up with private players to conduct contact classes,” he said. “We do make a profit from the distance education programme — during the last fiscal, we had a proft of Rs 1 crore,” said TD Kemparaju, director, DCC and DE, Bangalore University.

BU’s distance education programme makes about Rs 3 crore from its undergraduate programme (Arts, 3 years) alone. There are about 2000 admissions per year for its various Arts programmes, with a fee of Rs 4000. BCom sees a higher intake than Arts and its BBM course fee is Rs 9000.

With a fee of about Rs 6900 for each of its six postgraduate programmes (excluding MCom) and an intake of about 40 students per year, Mangalore University rakes in Rs 33,12,000 from its programme (for two years). Its MCom programme rakes in about Rs 20,70,000 with about 150 students paying Rs 6900 in fees for two years.

“Open and distance education is profitable. However, where we differ from regular programmes is the study material,” he said.

According to Mangalore University officials, it spends about Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh for printing study material. Apart from this, experts who revise study material are paid Rs 15,000 per subject.

This cost is periodical, perhaps once in four years.

Other expenses are for conducting contact classes and examinations, administration of university (including staff salary, telephone bills, maintenance of computers and other infrastructure, etc). Lecturers from other colleges/ universities are hired on an hourly basis at Rs 500 to Rs 1000 per hour plus travel expenses. According to NS Ramegowda, former VC, KSOU, universities using revenue from distance education is rampant.



Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/Revenue-from-distance-education-used-elsewhere/articleshow/47838519.cms

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India does not need new education policy, ask experts

Some of India’s most renowned education experts have reportedly opined that there is very little evidence to back the government’s decision to revamp the nation’s education policy.Participating in a recent roundtable conducted by CUTS International Public Policy Centre (CIPPolC), the experts reportedly arrived at a consensus that earlier polices related to education have already spelt out concerns relevant even today.They said what was needed was an implementation strategy.

For this, they said there is a need to focus on credible data collection at all levels of the education system.

Prof S K Thorat, Chairman, Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) said India should have a similar system as UK’s educational statistical institute.

He also stressed that in the Indian context there is also a need to have a National Education Commission which should conduct in-depth assessment of the requirements of the educational system.

Prof. Thorat chaired the roundtable while C Raj Kumar, Vice Chancellor –O P Jindal Global University, Prof. J S Rajput- former Chairman NCTE & NCERT and Sanjay Bhargava – Chairman Shiksha Mandal Wardha – a Bajaj education trust, were the key catalysts at the roundtable.

The discussion also significantly dealt with the question of India having the need for-profit entities in the education sector.

There was a divided house on this issue. While C Raj Kumar stated that education worldwide is run by non-profit entities, some other experts opined that it is for profit entities which alone can provide for the expansion and quality provided it is accompanied by effective but not excessive regulation.

Currently, even though India has the largest private sector participation in education, it does not work because of excessive controls.

Sajaya Bhargava said that decisions on starting and expanding an institution should be left to institutions, especially for institutions with a good track record.

Speaking on merit of earlier polices, Professor Rajput suggested that common school system as recommended by Kothari Commision (1968) should be put in place.

Some of the other important issues that were dealt with included lack of philanthropic involvement in education and the need to include even pre-primary education within the fold of education system in India.

Some of the key recommendations included need to have student feedback on teachers, doing away with restrictive labour polices to boost skill development, need to have capable leaders at the helm of institutions and reform of UGC by involving states in its governing body.

Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General of CUTS International, delivered the concluding remarks.

The roundtable was attended by representatives of academia, policy makers, researchers, civil society, UN agencies and NSDC, amongst others.

News Source : dnaindia.com



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