In India, primary school teachers are ready to introduce ICT in education. They want their student should be aware of and enable such change. The implementation of ICT in primary education has lots of hurdles.
Most schools do not have enough number of working computers. The computer subject is just on a timetable because student and computer ratio is really worse. Most of the computers have not updated according to curriculum and software requirements. Internet connectivity is also not available in most of the primary schools.
Today students have better computers at their home, and so they don’t take an interest in working on slow computers. In most of the primary schools, computers and their hardware is substandard or maintained less frequently. Many primary schools are carefully assigning a proper budget for a computer, equipment, and annual maintenance, but some schools are managing all of the papers only.
Networking and internet access is another immense trouble. I believe most of the schools are unable to give internet access to the entire class. Walk into a few of your nearby primary schools and ask to connect the internet or Wi-Fi, and the computer teacher will give an excuse for disconnection.
If we talk about e-safety, several schools are enabled with smart firewalls to filter objectionable content. By default most widely used thing like email and social media is blocked. Some of the schools are reasonable and have unblocked nominated contacts to grant access to receive an email, social communication, and playing games with family and friends. With the method, most of the educational websites enabled with social elements get blocked automatically.
I admit e-safety is important, and students should stay safe. But students should be in the role of consumers and producers of internet content. Sometimes e-safety becomes an obstacle in ICT learning. How can students learn the internet if half of it is absent? Most of the time, parents and teachers talk about the internet as a threat, but think what will be our future if we bore our children with this cliché.
In training, ICT coordinators hardly mention anything except online safety and other subject’s internet resources. We teach our kids as per the timetable. They usually play online games while tying up their work. They are less able to understand how computer works and the creation of online content. This is the time when we have to plan how to change present computer education at the primary level.
I know it can’t help anyway, so what are the solutions to these present problems?
- Schools should invest more money to buy the latest computers or update computer hardware and software. It’s essential, and the government should provide a grant for this.
- The government should provide affordable internet data plans exclusive for schools along with particular funding.
- A global whitelist of websites is available that are safe to access in schools. An expert panel may review such websites.
- Teacher training at regular intervals is important. School teachers and ICT coordinators should get more involved.
- Schools should hire programmers and developers who can make different subjects enjoyable in real-time and help kids to learn the computer.