Online Digital Education in Nagaland – A Success Story

Introduction:
The COVID-19 Lockdown forced majority of the school children to be occupied with entertainment programmes in TV and mobiles for the whole day. As this may cause psychological depressions in children, the Department of School Education, Nagaland started exploring ways and means to keep the children engaged in the continuous process of education during the lockdown period. In the mean time, the Ministry of Human Resources Development suggested States to consider telecasting educational programmes through Doordarshan broadcast. Motivated by the initiative of MHRD, the department has developed the idea of Tele Education further and launched the innovative Online Digital Education in the State.      
Pre-Telecast Preparations:
The department had invited applications from teachers residing in and around Kohima for delivering lessons through the digital media. Nearly 50 teachers have volunteered for rendering their services and a total of 23 teachers ( 11  from Govt. schools and 12 from private schools) were selected through a screening process for executing the project. A temporary video recording studio was setup at the Directorate and a private production unit was commissioned to make the videos. Directorate officials guided the teachers in the task of delivering lessons in the studio and coordinated shooting of the episodes well ahead of the proposed date of telecast.  
 
Memorandum of Understanding were signed between the Department of School Education,  Doordarshan Kendra and All India Radio for  daily broadcast of the recorded lessons in the 3 hours per day time slots for an initial period of one month which shall be further extended  for another two months. 
Commencement of Broadcast: 
The video broadcast of lessons through Doordarshan  commenced from 1st May 2020 and the audio broadcast through All India Radio commenced from 2nd May 2020.  Initially, the broadcast is done for students of classes 8 to 10 and 12 and it is proposed to extend the same for students of classes 5 to 7 from the month of June 2020.  
 
In order to ensure maximum coverage for the DD and AIR broadcast across the State including the remote areas, all the District Education Officers, Sub Divisional Education Officers and School Heads were directed to work in association with the District Administration in each district and make necessary arrangements for students who do not have TV facilities at home to view/listen the broadcast at a common place like Village Hall, School Auditorium etc. The broadcast schedule was made in such a way that children could follow the norms of social distancing while viewing the broadcast from public places. 
Efficient Utilization of Social Media: 
As the digital social media platforms have more influence on people, all the videos telecasted through Doordarshan are also shared with public through the Youtube channel of the department, ‘DoSE Nagaland’ and also through the Facebook page ‘School Education, Nagaland’. The Youtube channel of the department has registered more than 16,800 subscribers within short period of its launch and the Facebook page has 6,300 followers as of now. The Online Digital Education Programme of the Department has earned the appreciations of people from different walks of life and thousands of students from other States have also subscribed to the department’s Youtube channel.
Supplementary Study Materials:
The department directed schools to device mechanism for preparation and circulation of notes and exercise materials for the lessons being broadcasted. The department also proposes to make Class wise DVDs/Pen Drives of the entire telecast and distribute to interested parents, teachers and schools at a nominal charge.  
Online Evaluation Programme: 
Overwhelmed by the interest shown by students, parents and teachers, the department decided to take the programme to the next level of digital learning. The department is ready with the Online Students Evaluation Portal ‘https://dosenl.in’ and proposes to launch it in the first week of June 2020. The evaluation schedule will be made available to students in advance so that they could prepare themselves for the assessment with the help of the video lessons. On the specified date and time of evaluation, students could login into the evaluation portal from any Mobile/Laptop/PC and respond to the Objective Type Multiple Choice Questions by clicking against the correct options within the given time limit. The page will be made active only during the specified time and will become inactive after the scheduled time. Best performing students and schools will be rewarded so that it will serve as a motivation for all others. The result analysis of the ‘Online Tests’ will be made available to all stake holders so that remedial measures could be initiated by the concerned parties. 
Utilizing Services of Expert Educators: 
The department proposes to make use of the talents and expertise possessed by educators from the State and also from other parts of the Country. Original Video recordings on different lessons/ topics have been solicited for broadcasting through department’s YouTube Channel & Facebook page and this initiative is greeted with a good response from educators across the State. Best presentations will be rewarded and producers of all videos selected for the broadcast will be honoured with certificates of appreciation. It is proposed to extend this adventure to students also in the next phase. 
Limitations:  
People viewing TV telecast using private DTH service providers are unable to view the Doordarshan telecast as private service providers have not included the DD Kohima satellite transmission in their telecast list.  The matter is already taken up with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and it is hoped that the issue will be resolved soon. Poor internet connectivity in various parts of the State also remains as a hindrance for many students across the State to make use of the programme to the optimum level.
Conclusion:
In spite of various difficulties being faced during the lockdown, the department has made the remarkable achievement of making the services of few of the best teachers from the State Capital available to all sections of students across the State. This initiative has opened the avenue of sharing of knowledge between students from rural and urban areas in the State in the coming days. It is worth mentioning that Nagaland is the 14th State in India to launch the Tele/Online Education Programme  during the COVID-19 Lockdown and might be the first Indian State to introduce the Online Evaluation Portal for Upper Primary, Secondary and Higher Secondary School Children. The department proposes to carry forward these initiatives even after the lifting of lockdown.     
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