Information and Communications Technology
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Barriers in Web Based Education
- Lack of ICT literacy, limited PC and Internet access, lack of telecommunication and network infrastructure.
- Lack of financial resources to update the infrastructure, high access cost to global networks, expensive telephone services and licensing, as on date only about 15% have the telephone facility.
- Due to poor financial resources many colleges do not have even rudimentary facilities like library, computer lab, Internet connectivity, etc.
- Cultural and social resistance, geographical, economic and linguistic barriers.
- There is a big digital divide within country between developed, developing and under developed states/cities.
- ICT constitutes a very expensive resource for institutions. In addition to maintenance costs, the rapid evolution of ICT implies constant upgrading to keep abreast of these developments in the classroom .
- Poor communication Infrastructure, traffic congestion on networks, low bandwidth, etc.
- ICT and Electricity are hand-in-hand, poor power supply in rural, remote and small towns
Challenges before Indian Higher Education Institutions
In free India, the growth and development of education institutions, student strength and faculty number, enhanced enormously. As a result we have more than 300 university level institutions, single and dual mode universities that include Central ( 17) and State universities (178), Deemed to be Universities (52), Institutes of National Importance (43) and Open Universities ( 10), 15630 Colleges, 4.6 million teachers and 9.28 million students (Nigvekar, 2003),Thus, size of the higher education system appears to be quite large and impressive but its covers hardly 6% of the relevant age group while this figure in much higher (46% to 5 I %) in case of developed countries, Therefore, India has a big challenge to provide affordable higher education to its citizens to meet the aspirations, needs and requirements of the society as well as to cope with the fast changing scenario of the technological advancements and challenges arising due to globalization and liberalization policies.
- ICT enabled education has two distinct components – Contents and Technology. Contents are most prominent driver of ICT enabled education then technology comes. Technology can be easily sourced but there is a dearth of quality contents which can only be provided by the subject experts/teachers.
- The rate of change in ICT field is astounding. Target of SO million users was attained-Radio 38 years. TV- 13 years and PCs- 16 Years, while Internet only 4 years (UNDP- 1999)
- An appropriate, stable and affordable technology to deliver quality education to all aspirants with full flexibility. in Indian environment is required
- Globalization and a shift to a market- led-knowledge-based economy demand that education must be the corner stone of development. Therefore, to find its own place in the future competitive market, career development must be the core theme of reform of higher education in India. Due to the impact of GATS, education will tend to be the commodities (the education community should adopt the model of the open soured software movement) and will demand an economic value building knowledge for competitive, information based society.
- To play a competitive role with the member countries and to capture the market for educating in foreign land, as compared to other developed countries, we have to compete on delivery mode e.g. to deliver better quality education at a low cost, and in various form text, data, sound and video.
- In our country there is tremendous variance in the quality of education being impacted by various universities/institutions of higher education. India has excellent institutions like llTs and llMs, which have earned international acclaim. But these are very few, therefore, quality of higher education may not be compromised.
Shah (2002), reviewed that although, media and technologies have extraordinary and marvelous potential to provide facilities for teaching and learning through distance education yet the personal contact between student and teacher cannot be ignored, To compensate the weaknesses of instructional material and lacuna of emotional relationship between teacher and taught, personal contact programmes (PCP) must be orgainzed even in web based education. These can be structured in two ways:
(i). Offering Direct Contact on telephone;
(ii). Offering Periodical Contact- Semester/Course-end meeting, seminars/workshops, vacation/summer schools, tutorials, group discussions and counseling.
Filipezak ( 1996) also agrees that mere access to data does not automatically expand student’s knowledge and similarly, the availability of information does not intrinsically create a framework ofideas. Therefore, skill facilitaion among learners through teacher is essential for effective use of technology in distance education.
Thus, no doubt, technological advancement allows us to spread knowledge speedily and widely but it makes sense to think about how we can maximize the possible benefits.