Talk to anyone in the UT Education Department or teachers and school heads about a free online repository of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), and you’ll know ignorance is indeed bliss. No one knows about this courseware which was launched in 2013.
While the education department has been exploring options to provide interactive ways of learning in government schools and is ready to pay lakhs of rupees for it, it seems unaware of the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER), which can provide students with material such as concept maps, educational videos, talking books, multimedia, learning objects, diagrams and wikipages for all the grades and in multiple languages, starting from class I to XII.
Director Public Instructions (Schools) Rubinderjit Singh Brar was not available for comment.
The teachers and principals fare no better. Ask them about the repository, and the common response is, “Where is it available?”
Principal of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, Anujit Kaur first asks for which of the classes the repository is available, and then says, “If it is for elementary classes, it is of no use because the class I children are too small to sit in front of computers.”
She adds, “This applies to all the classes. Students should not be allowed to use computers unless they are doing subject work, because once the computer is given to them, they can have access to everything. We do not mind this repository to be a part of curriculum but it should not be online.”
Vinod Kumar Sharma, principal of Government Model High School, Sector 34, expresses ignorance of the national repository.
Principal of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 19, Sukhneer Sekhon blames NCERT for not publicising this facility. “As our teachers are not computer-savvy at all, they must not be aware of this online courseware. If this kind of thing is available, it is the responsibility of NCERT to spread awareness among teachers about it. Teachers should be told about this and given initial training on how to use it.”
A teacher from a Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, says, “We try our best to make the subject as interactive as possible, but nobody told us about such courseware which is available free of cost. There are so many students who cannot afford books; they can download books from this courseware.”
The national repository was launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in August 2013, with an objective to enhance the quality of teaching-learning, to facilitate teachers to create and share contextualised teaching-learning resources and to utilise innovations in resource creation.
The repository includes digital resources like documents, audio-visuals, interactive objects, images and charts are mapped to concepts. It also enables access to a library from which teachers can choose resources or can even contribute to them. For instance, a student learning a science experiment at school can supplement his/her knowledge by watching a video on the subject available in the repository or for learning a difficult concept of geometry, an interactive free-of-cost software available can be useful.