The Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched ePathshala, Saaransh and a National Programme on School Standards and Evaluation Framework (Shala Siddhi). These platforms are available over the web and as apps. Other than this, it also showcased other initiatives like Shala Darpan, MDM-IVRS and Ekta projects from Alwar, Rajasthan.
The ePathshala platform is a portal that hosts educational resources for teachers, students, parents, researchers and educators. The portal is available as an Android, iOS and Windows app, and features resources like textbooks, audio, video, periodicals, and a variety of other print and non-print materials. These materials can be downloaded by the user for offline use with no limits on downloads. The app is available in English, Hindi and Urdu.
Shaala Siddhi is a school evaluation platform that enables schools to evaluate their performance to make better judgements in policy and improvements. The results are public so anyone can provide feedback. The Ministry claims the initiative has been successfully piloted in four districts of Tamil Nadu. It’s not clear where the platform is live yet, but here is a pdf outlining the framework for school standards and evaluation under Shaala Siddhi.
The other projects showcased include the MDM-IVRS scheme for an interactive voice response system to monitor the implementation of Mid Day Meal schemes and Shaala Darpan, which is apparently an integrated platform to address all academic and administrative requirements of schools, teachers, parents and students. Note that the Centre for Innovations in Public Systems (CIPS) had published a report (pdf) on the initiative back in July 2014. Ekta is an initiative for the universalization of elementary education.
Saransh for CBSE: In December last year, the CBSE launched an online self-review tool for schools affiliated to the board called Saransh. CBSE said that this tool would allow schools to identity areas of improvement in students, teachers & curriculum and take necessary measures to implement change.
MediaNama’s Take: While these initiatives are interesting, the Government has a long history of overtly ambitious projects with little outcome. Take for example the eBhasha initiative, which the was supposed to launch in December last year. This initiative, which was part of BJP’s 2014 manifesto, was first announced by the President in June 2014 and is yet to go live. Even the Saransh initiative by the CBSE doesn’t have a proper domain name, and is hosted at an IP address. This makes it inconvenient to access, as either one has to reply on a search engine to direct to the right place, or remember the IP address! With greater efficiency, these initiatives could be actually useful to users.
Technical education institutions: In January, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and Samsung Electronics signed an MOU to set up the MSME-Samsung Technical School, with an aim to establish a total of ten such schools for conducting joint training programmes across the country.