The innovative mind behind digitizing Educational content!
Meet Sajad Ahmad Rather, the National Award Winner-2018
Ensuring that teaching-learning process doesn’t stop and is rather more effective and attractive, this young innovative mind comes up with a unique solution and dedicates his intellect and his expertise in developing and designing ‘ICT Enabled Multimedia Educational Videos’ in regional languages using Local Resources –Teachers, Students. Sajad Akbar Rather, the ICT teacher of District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district who won the National Award, 2018 for his innovative solution is all set to make an enormous impact on the process of learning by making multimedia educational videos and ensuring that students have greater access to these videos-an endeavor to end learning crisis caused by any factor (s).
Tech savvy Rather is the only teacher from Jammu and Kashmir who made it to the list of 28 teachers selected for the National Award-2017-2018 across India by National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT), New Delhi, and finally topped the list and won the award. NCERT invites applications from teachers of both government and private schools across the country for participation in the run for the National Awards for ‘Innovative Practices and Experiments in Education for Schools and Teacher Education Institutions.’
While talking to the reporter, he said that while “we have tremendous content available, on Youtube, but it is limited to a very tiny viewership as it tends to be in just a few prominent languages. Only a small population of students gets the benefit while majority remain unaffected and don’t get benefitted at all. So, developing educational content in regional languages by the help of expert teachers, more and more students can now reap the benefits and can easily understand and comprehend the content.”
Sajad further said that since education department was facing shortage of teachers and subject experts resulting in dismal performance of students, his innovation can serve as an effective tool to minimize such gap by providing the students ICT enabled video lectures of their own subject experts in their own local language.
“Our department lacks human resource and subject experts won’t be available in far-flung schools. So teachers in these schools can use the videos developed as Teaching Learning Material (TLM) and students can avail the facility both in offline and online mode,” the award winner added.
The innovation can help in providing immediate education to students in their own dialect besides reaching out to those students facing teaching -learning crisis during natural disasters like floods, earthquakes and also violence. Pertinent to mention that Kashmir valley has seen some the worst academic years in the recent past and students here have been severely impacted by the political crisis that has keep our academic institutions closed for longer stretches of time. In this regard, the innovative venture can ensure that despite all such odds, students have access to educational content in the form of CDs/DVD or in online or offline mode.
“Having digital content available in our regional language with local examples can make concepts more comprehensible and students will be motivated to pick up their local language and indirectly be closer to their cultures,” he maintained.
Elated over winning the prestigious award, Rather says that his message to all teachers of the state is that they must be optimistic and avoid negativity. “We should try our best in making teaching learning process very effective and attractive and must apply for these awards to make our state proud.”
Talking about the achievement he further added that “hard work with dedication is admired and acknowledged irrespective of any caste, colour or region. My work was highly appreciated at NCERT as I was the only teacher representing my state,” he said expressing his sincere gratitude to Abdul Ahad Insha, Chief Education Officer (CEO) Baramulla, who is also the Principal of DIET Sopore, for his appreciation and encouragement in carrying forward the innovation in the district.
“I am very much thankful to HOD/In charge Principal DIET Sopore for helping and motivating me at every step for carry out this innovation. I am grateful to every DIET faculty member and Dr.Pervez Maqbool Lone- In charge Innovation cell DIET Sopore for their valuable support. I am thankful to Mohmad Rafiq Rather- In charge Planning and Monitoring Wing and M. Maqbool for providing me the logistic support in carrying developing the programme,” Rather stated.
Sajad did his innovative project at High School Jamia Qadeem which provided ICT lab for recording of video lectures there, he said the without support and help of Headmistress and the teachers including Tasaduq Hussain of HS Jamia Qadeem, Mohsin Maqbool of HS Zaloora and G.M Lone GMS Lathihat, Tujer) his dream innovation couldn’t have turned into reality.
To carry out practical trials of his innovative project, he visited HS Duru, HS Seelu, HS Bomie, HS Rampore and HS Balkote where students and teachers received him with overwhelming response and hailed his efforts.
Prior to his posting at DIET Sopore, Rather was posted at HS Rampora and his project titled ‘Electronic First Aid’ was selected for national level in 2014 for National level Science Fair 2014 at New Delhi.
Having done his MCA, MBA (IT), M.Ed, Rather want to use his technical skills and expertise for making teaching learning process very effective and interactive by developing different types of projects. In his project report he explains the National Policy on Education 1986, as modified in 1992, and highlights the importance of ICT in education to improve the quality of education. The significant role ICT in school education has also been highlighted in the National Curriculum Framework 2005 (NCF) 2005. Given the diversity of the country’s educational, linguistic and social situation, there exists a need for a wide variety of digital content and resources for different subjects, curriculum, ages/grade levels and languages.
His attempt also goes a long way in preparing local resources persons like lecturers, masters and teachers to participate creatively in the establishment, sustenance and growth of a knowledge based society leading to all-round development of the nation and global competitiveness.
He claims that while a lot of investment was being made in training of teachers but due to the lack of subject-oriented teachers it becomes difficult for a science teacher to teach English and vice versa. This innovation, he added, will serve as a cost effective tool for achieving maximum benefits on low investment i.e A single Teacher can virtually teach thousands of students at a time by sharing his/her digital content to the students across the state or globe.
Rather says that when ICT has a prominent role in every sphere of life be it e- commerce, Health sector, Banking, Media etc, the need of hour is to understand and implement this in the education sector too. “Similarly in case of natural disasters like earth quakes ,floods etc it takes months together for normal functioning of schools and this project serves as an alternative tool of providing immediate access to education in the form of digital content easily available to the students,” he added.
“We better understand that due to cease fire violation along the LOC(Line of Control) the students of Jammu & Kashmir in such areas face a lot of problem as their schools remain closed for weeks together. A digital library can provide the much needed quality education to them in the form of multimedia videos in their local languages. Here in the valley, in case of strikes/Hartals, students feel very much depressed by getting stuck in their homes and the project shall ensure that educational videos reach students.
There is no doubt about the fact that the new initiatives in ICT by NCERT including SWAYAM Portal, e- pathshala website, ICT Curriculum, ICT at Schools, NROER (National Repository of open Educational Resources), PINDICS (Performance Indicators for elementary school teachers) shows the significance of ICT in present education scenario. Even in the latest study published on 5th of April, 2018 by Govt. of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of school Education and Literacy stresses for the implementation of Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SMSA) which highlights the importance of this innovation. The study reads: Development of local, localized and vernacular quality digital content in regional languages and to enable students, teachers and teacher educators to partner in the development and critical use of shared digital resources.