Digital Education Revolution inMauritius. How revolutionary it is? Conference Presentation EDU 8719 Presented by: Teemul Soobhadra
About Mauritius Population size: 1.3 million Former British and French Colony Gained independence in 1968 Multi-pillar economy with heavy emphasis on knowledge Free education from pre-primary up to tertiary level
Background Education based on British education system: • 2-year pre-primary education • 6-years primary education • 7- years secondary education • Tertiary education Educational reform Government came up with the Education and Human Resources Strategic Plan 2008-2020 Emphasis on digital education to improve teaching and learning at primary and secondary schools, and increasing access to tertiary education Compulsory education up to age of 16 Literacy rate: 85% Education budget: increasing subsequently (11.4% of Government’s expenditure in 2011)
ICT Infrastructure in Mauritius 20 learners per computer in school 29.6% internet penetration ratio Broadband penetration rate: 75% Internet speed up to 1 Mbps 30% households possess computers All the schools are equipped with computer lab and have internet access 80 mobile phones per 100 inhabitants
About Digital Education Revolution(DER) DER refers to the integration of digital technology (ICT) in education to bring meaningful change in teaching and learning It is a new concept: Learning is not restricted to classroom School are connected to homes and workplaces Learning takes place through networking and social interaction Digital education has many advantages compared to traditional education.
Preconditions for DigitalEducation Political and financial commitment Conducive policy Access to ICT tools and equipment Adequate infrastructure Professional development of teachers Teacher motivation Appropriate curricula Institutional flexibility Digital culture
Advantages of digital education Greater learning opportunities for learners Improved quality of education Learning more adapted to student’s needs Greater flexibility for learning Better interactive digital materials Teaching/Learning continues after school Promotes lifelong learning culture Reduction of cost and waste of resources
Digital Education at Pre-primary andPrimary Education Level Pre-primary Education Level Schools equipped with multimedia equipment which are used for teaching songs and viewing educational films Primary Education level Teaching and learning is still oriented towards the classroom model Blackboards and printed media are the most commonly for teaching and learning at school ICT taught as a compulsory subject Multimedia rooms equipped with PCs and video projectors. Multimedia rooms are used for teaching ICT and projection of educational films Schools are not connected to homes through digital networks Classes are being equipped with smart boards Digital multimedia materials are not yet available for teaching/learning
Digital Education at secondary level Schools are equipped with computer rooms comprising of PCs, video projector and internet access Blackboards and printed media are widely used for teaching and learning in classrooms Computer labs have been set up and are connected to internet Computer and internet are used as tools to edit documents and research works Absence of on-line teaching and learning No formal networking between educators , students and schools Digital educational materials not yet available Classrooms are gradually being equipped with smart boards Mobile reporting system implemented to notify parents of absences and latenesses of students.
Digital Education at tertiary level Distance learning programmes are offered through both synchronous and asynchronous mode by tertiary institutions such as Mauritius Institute of Education, Mauritius College of the Air and Universities Teachers training programmes are being offered through distance education mode The Centre for Open and Distance Education has been set up at the University of Mauritius with the sponsorship of Commonwealth of Learning Virtual Centre for Innovative Learning set up in 2003 with several learning platforms such as I-learn, Learning Object Repository and online test centre. Foreign tertiary education institutions are offering distance education programmes and managed learning environments Internet is extensively used for research purposes.
The Sankore project Mauritius is one among the participating countries Initiative of French and British Governments to promote mass education in Africa The project is phased over 2010-2015 Objective of the project is to equip all schools with smart boards /interactive projectors and produce and share digital learning materials among the participating countries Gradually classrooms in primary and secondary schools are being equipped with smart board and digital teaching materials
Government initiatives to promoteDER Setting up of multimedia room and computer lab in primary and secondary schools respectively Provision of broadband internet services to schools Universal ICT project implemented to upgrade the computer proficiency skills of the population Professional development programmes in ICT for teachers NEPAD e-school project implemented on a pilot basis Mobile reporting system introduced at secondary school level Participation of Mauritius in Sankore project Setting up of hot spots in designated areas Curricula made available online
Major challenges to Digital EducationRevolution Digital divide among population (only 30% households equipped with computers and 20.2% have internet access) Educators lack technical skills and motivation to engage in digital education Lack of coordination among tertiary institutions to implement e-learning programmes Lack of digital teaching/learning materials No formal networking between schools and the community Copy rights act hinders production and sharing of educational learning materials Resistance to change from traditional education to digital education
Strategies proposed New school model where the school and homes of students and educators form a network Continuous professional development of educators through the setting up of on-line learning communities Review of curriculum at primary and secondary levels to provide learners with the necessary ICT knowledge and skills to develop a culture of ‘learning to learn’ More incentives to households for procurement of computers and internet services to reduce the digital divide. More hot spots need to be set up and the internet speed increased to facilitate the transmission of multimedia files for learning Integration of mobile phone technology in learning A blended approach to education combining face to face teaching and digital interaction More collaboration and networking among the tertiary institutions Review of copy rights act to enable use of digital materials for educational purposes
Conclusion Government committed to implement digital education Various initiatives taken to promote digital education DE still in early phase of development Sakore project expected to bring digital education in primary and secondary schools Various challenges have to be addressed Strategies proposed to improve digital education