Texts to be revised, used for lower classes

Information Technology (IT) education in Kerala schools should be so redesigned that by 2016-17 IT-based learning happens from class eight onwards while students in classes five to seven would ‘learn IT,’ Director of Public Instruction Biju Prabhakar has said.

As an immediate step, the learning of IT using existing textbooks should be made optional for classes one to six. The IT textbook for class eight should be revised and introduced for class seven. “IT education under the IT@School programme should be carried out only from class seven onwards from next academic year,” the DPI’s concept note on ICT education reads. The note submitted to the State Curriculum Committee has been approved in principle.

The current IT textbooks for standards ten and nine should be suitably revised and introduced one standard lower. Even while retaining the IT examination in standard 10, there should be a complete switchover to IT-based learning in next academic year. In 2015-16, the IT textbook for standard seven should be revised and introduced for standard six even as class nine switches over to the IT-based learning mode.

Two components

All these suggestions have been made by Mr. Prabhakar preparatory to the extension of the IT@School programme to the higher secondary classes. For classes 11 and 12, the IT@School programme would have two components; IT-based education and an advanced skill acquisition and development programme. In addition to ensuring adequate infrastructural facilities in the Plus Two schools, the DPI also mooted the introduction of a child-centric pedagogy for these classes — a teaching method that encourages self-learning and mining online resources for information and value addition of topics in the syllabus.

For the skill acquisition and development component, Mr. Prabhakar suggested tie-ups with private firms, government organisations or both, for offering specific modules which empowered students with skills currently required by industry.

“We would offer a bouquet of such courses. Each school can decide which course or courses to sign up for. Every two or three years these courses would be updated. The organisation with which we have a tie-up will give us the curriculum, the material and the manpower to run the courses. The fee can be shared in half by the student and the local body concerned. Alternatively, the student can pay one-third, the panchayat one-third and the government, one-third. Or the government and the local bodies can bear the entire fee. That can be worked out,” Mr. Prabhakar said.

The committee asked the IT@School to organise workshops for teachers where these concepts would be explained to them and their feedback, sought. “If this proposal is cleared, a State-level committee will be formed to oversee its rollout,” he added.