Satellite Conferencing for Professional Development of Elementary Teachers Towards Education for All
Santosh Panda, Staff Training and Research Institute of Distance Education, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi 110068, India.
The most important concern in education today is ‘Education for All’ (EFA). Diversified efforts have been made in especially the developing countries to adopt strategies for increasing enrolment, retention and completion; reducing dropout; enhancing quality of curriculum and instruction; undertaking capacity building of various functionaries including teachers; and deploying information and communication technology (ICT) for capacity building and quality instructional delivery. In India, EFA (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan: SSA) was earlier implemented with the help of multi-donor international agencies, and from 2001-02 by the Government of India. The SSA which addresses the issue of comprehensive quality elementary education is implemented in all the 29 states and 6 union territories. The magnitude of the task is very high in India with 245710 Middle/Senior Basic schools/High/Higher Secondary schools, 33214100 students and 2039753 teachers (a sizeable number of which is untrained), and about 40 million children being out of the provision of schooling. The SSA addresses the issue of compulsory elementary education upto the age of 14; and the distance education programme (DEP) of SSA has a major responsibility to use multi-modal strategies to train a variety of functionaries – from village education committee to the provincial education department, and including millions of teachers -using ICT. Teleconferencing has been one of the major technologies used for the purpose.
This paper reports the findings of a research study completed in 2006 to study teacher professional development for EFA using teleconferencing: design of teleconferencing, quality and usefulness, attitude and perceptions, nature of interaction, and further areas of capacity building through teleconferencing. The findings have been discussed in the context of decentralized administration of EFA and centralized media deployment, and the emerging possibility of localized content generation and (tele) conferencing in the context of a fully dedicated satellite for education –EduSat-- in the country.
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