The draft National Education Policy, 2019, about four years in the making, has finally been released, with comments sought from all stakeholders until June 30. The K Kasturirangan Committee’s draft has a number of provisions concerning the use of technology and digitisation, specifically for government agencies to administer and manage and monitor teachers, students and educational institutions. Following are the key tech points that the draft education policy makes (emphasis ours):

Maintaining digitised records

To improve governance and management through technology, the bill proposes setting up a National Repository of Education Data (NRED) under the Digital India programme. NRED will maintain all records related to institutions, teachers and students in digital form. Apart from this, it will be tasked with:

  • Developing systems for authorised institutional users to enter and update data. This will be the only mechanism for institutions to disclose data to government agencies (State and Centre) for monitoring, accreditation, ranking, rating and checking eligibility for government schemes.
  • Maintaining records while adhering to national norms, best-practices, and laws related to privacy of data. Practices based on “security by obscurity” will be explicitly rejected. The policy further states that laws be strengthened to preserve the privacy of all individuals at the earliest.
  • Alerting concerned governmental agencies about important trends (both positive and negative) as they are developing, for immediate action where necessary, and making these analyses public on an annual basis. These analyses will also include assessments of the quality of school education at the district level.
  • Monitoring migrant learners, and tracking their health and educational progress to mitigate the negative impact of disruptions to their well-being due to frequent displacement.

Governance and administration

Educational information management systems for community monitoring will be created and integrated with NRED. These systems will be used to streamline manual processes related to educational planning, admissions, attendance, assessments, etc. Local communities, panchayats, and SMCs will be able to look at the data.

Use of blockchain

The draft says that the problem of fake degrees can be solved by using blockchain technology. Each state government must commission its own depository of certificates, like the ‘National Academic Depository’, for all educational institutions within the state to create an exhaustive resource of conferred degrees.