In India, primary school teachers are ready to introduce ICT in education. They want their student should aware and enable to such change. Implementation of ICT in primary education has lots of hurdles.
Most schools do not have enough number of working computers. 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 requirement. 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 interest to work on slow computers. In most of the primary schools, computers and its hardware is substandard or maintained less frequently. A number of 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 few of your nearby primary schools and ask to connect internet or Wi-Fi and computer teacher will give an excuse for disconnection.
If we talk about e-safety, a number of schools are enabled with smart firewalls to filter unnecessary 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 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 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 the training ICT coordinators hardly mention anything except online safety and other subject’s internet resources. We teach our kids as per timetable. They usually play online games while tying up their work. They are less able to understand how computer works and creation of online content. This is the time when we have to plan how to change present computer education at 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 latest computers or update computer hardware and software. It’s very 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 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 interesting in real time and help kids to learn the computer.