Intel: Closing the digital divide
CB Bureau, New Delhi, April 15, 2011
In 2009, Intel Education Initiative in India announced that approximately one million teachers, teacher educators and student teachers had completed the Intel Teach Program during the previous 10 years, across 20 states and 73 universities in the country. Globally, Intel had by then trained over six million teachers across 40 countries and India was the second country to reach the one-million milestone.
The Intel programme is based on the rationale of creating digital literacy to enable greater empowerment in a knowledge economy. Problem solving and critical thinking are among the crucial skills that are believed to be inculcated in the process. On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Intel Teach, Dr Praveen Vishakantaiah, president, Intel India, had said, 'Intel is committed to empowering teachers and students in India with the tools to navigate the opportunities the global economy offers. We have collaborated with others who share this vision, and have been working closely with the government, development agencies, multilateral organizations and non-profit organizations to advocate for education excellence. Making quality education available to more students around the world, with the help of technology, has inspired Intel's commitment to education for ten years in India.'
Globally, Intel CSR's education programme supports two principles: to strengthen communities and improve people's lives through technology as it is critical to inspire creativity and innovation. Intel Education Initiative reflects Intel's commitment to education, and promotes effective use of technology in classrooms all over the world. The goals of this initiative are: 1) improving science and math in primary and secondary education; 2) increasing the effective use of technology in classroom teaching; 3) broadening access to technology; and 4) increasing the number of people, especially women and minorities, pursuing technical careers.
On its website, Intel states its belief that young people are the key to solving global challenges, and a solid math and science foundation coupled with skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and digital literacy are crucial for their success. As part of its sustained global commitment, the Intel Education Initiative in India has been working with government and other decision-making bodies at the central, state and local levels since 1999 to improve teaching and learning in both formal and informal educational environments through the effective use of technology; inspire and expand students' knowledge and enthusiasm for science and math; and bring technology expertise to universities.
The Intel Teach Program is a professional development programme that helps classroom teachers integrate technology to enhance student learning. Teachers learn from other teachers how, when and where to incorporate technology into their lesson plans, with a focus on developing students' higher-order thinking skills. In India, Intel Teach Program was launched in February 2000 in the cities of Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai.
The programme uses the 'Train the Trainer' model. Master trainers (MTs) are identified by the principals of the participating schools. They undergo comprehensive training and then become the resource persons and impart training to other teachers in their schools.
The vast majority of children in India study in government schools, and the full potential of technology in the educational arena will only be realized when its benefits reach students and teachers in these schools. In joint initiatives with the government at the central, state and local levels, Intel is working towards the broad deployment of computer-aided learning in these schools through the Intel Teach Program. Under the central government, the teachers trained are from autonomous educational bodies Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, also known as Jawahar Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS/JNV's), Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) and Vidya Vahini.
In consultation with Kendriya Vidyalaya, Navodaya Vidyalaya and state governments, certain schools are selected and set up as pilot TAL (technology-aided learning) schools. These schools act as model schools for the government, which help them in implementing TAL and associated methodologies in other government schools that have adequate infrastructure.
Intel also collaborates with governments and community organizations to implement after-school, community education programmes. These specifically target communities where youth have limited access to technology in their homes and schools.
Launched in 2004 in India, the programme has been instrumental in promoting technology literacy among children from the underserved communities in the age group of 8-16. Intel claims that the programme has so far benefited over 142,000 learners across 25 states and 5 union territories in India.
In July 2005, Intel also collaborated with Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) as a part of the expansion of the programme in India. NVS is an autonomous body under the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) and it was set up to establish and manage fully residential co-educational schools called Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV), one in each rural district in the country. The agenda was to make educational facilities accessible to children from rural areas.
Areas of concern
Intel Teach Program is evaluated
periodically by an external research agency and the findings are shared with
all stakeholders. The findings are used to improve the programme further and to
assess the impact on teaching methods.
It is certainly of interest to take note of
the areas of concern that the evaluation underlines:
1. Need to push 'frequency of
technology-related activities' within teachers in public schools
2. Frequency of use of aids is
stagnant in both private and public schools
3. Inadequate time and language
(CDs and websites being in English) continue to be the biggest challenge
towards implementation of computer technology in both public and private
schools. Additionally, in public schools, infrastructure and week student
computer skills are other challenges
4. Constraints towards
non-implementation of computer technology have increased in magnitude within