Inclusion of Information & Communication Technologies in Digital Education in Lahaul & Spiti, Himachal Pradesh

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Inclusion of Information & Communication Technologies in Digital Education in Lahaul & Spiti, Himachal Pradesh

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Alok Nikhil Jha, Parul Gulatiz
Assistant Professor, Cluster Innovation Centre, University of Delhi, India

ABSTRACT:

This paper presents evolutionary background of education segment in Lahaul & Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh, India. The versatile demography of the Lahaul & Spiti district is severely aflected by  weather conditions due to which the education segment is compromised. In this paper we have studied the current situation in the domain and have identified improvement opportunities. We have proposed a low cost Information & Communication Technology framework to improve the accessibility ofEducation and move towards electronic education (e-education) & digital learning. The paper concludes the effectiveness of the proposed model and its economical implementation for a sustainable system ofeducation.

Keywords: Education in Lahaul & Spiti, IC T in Education, Technology Framework, Weather
conditions.

I. INTRODUCTION

Himachal Pradesh(HP) is one of the Northern state of lndia bordered by Jammu & Kashmir in its north and Uttar Pradesh & Haryana in southern end with Punjab in West & south West end and touches International boundary of China (Tibet) on eastern side. The total percentage of rural population is 91% of the total population residing in 17,495 inhabited villages. Himachal Pradesh has the highest percentage of rural population among all the States of the country. Since Z01 1 census there is almost a 13% growth in population which is 68.65 lakhs compared to figure of 60.78 Lakh in 2001 census as shown in Table 1, which presents the district wise population in the state. According to the 2011 census Lahaul and Spiti district has a population of 31,528; this gives it a ranking of 638th in India (out of a total of 640). Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 has minimized by 5.1%.

Table 1: District Wise Population in Himachal Pradesh
District
Bilaspur
Chamba
Hamirpur
Kangra
Kinnaur
Kullu
Lahaul-Spiti
Mandi
Shimla
Sirmaur
Solan
Una
2001 Census
Population
Total Per cent
share
340885 ,
460887
412700
1339030
78334
381571
33224
901344
722502
458593
500557
448273
5.61
7.58
6.79
22.03
1.29
6.28
0.55
14.83
11.89
7.55
8.24
7.38
2011 Census
Total
382056
515844
454293
1507223
84298
437474
31528
999518
813384
530164
576670
521057
Population
Per cent
share
5.57
7.57
6.63
21.98
1.23
6.38
0.46
14.58
11.86
7.73
8.41
7.60
Per cent
Decadal
rate of
growth
12.08
11.92
10.08
12.56
7.61
14.65
(-)5.l0
10.89
12.58
15.61
15.21
16.24
Change in
per cent
share over
the decade
(-)0.04
(-)0.01
(-)0. 16
(-)0.05
(-)0.06
(+)0.10
(-)0.09
(-)O.25
(-)0.03
(4)018
(+)0.17
(+)0.22
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The state has 12 districts; In tenns of Area, Hamirpur is the smallest district of the Himachal Pradesh which covers an area of 1,118 sq. kilometers (2.01%) and Lahaul & Spiti has the largest area of 13,835 sq. kilometres (24.85%). Table 2 depicts the demographic profile of the Lahaul and Spiti district.The literacy rate in the Himachal state has been satisfactory and has risen up to more than 90% according to the 2011 census.The literacy rate in females, however is low as compared to the other gender and has scope of increment as per the information available in reports. However Lahaul and Spiti district showed a very small improvement of about 4% from 2001 to 2011 on the literacy front and has a sex ratio of 903 females for every 1000 males as shown in Table 2 & Table 3.The state follows regular Indian education pattern comprising schools at various levels that include Primary School, Middle School, Higher Secondary School & Senior Secondary school i.e. the notion of 5+3+2+2 as shown in Table 4.
Table 2: Demographic Profile of Lahaul and Spiti District
I Description
I200l
|_2011
Actual Population
I 33,224
I 31,528
I
I Male
I 18,441
| 16,588
Female
I 14,783
I 14,976
Population Growth
I 6.17%
-5 .00%
Area Sq. Km
13,841
Density/km2
I 13,841
I 2
N
Proportion to Himachal Pradesh Population
0.46%
Sex Ratio (Per 1000)
I 0.55%
I 802
903
Child Sex Ratio (0-6 Age)
I 961
1033
I Total Child Population (0-6 Age)
I 3,664
3,125
Male Population (0-6 Age)
I 1,868
1,537
Female Population (0-6 Age)
I 1,796
>-
LII
O0
DO
Table 3: District wise and Gender wise Literacy rate in Himachal Pradesh
District
2001 Census literacy percentage I 2011 Census literacuaercentage
HS
_ Gap
Perso Male Female Gender Persons Male IFemale Gender
Gap
I Bilaspur
77.76
86.04
69.55
I 16.49
85.87
92.39 I 78.70
13.49
I Chamba
62.91
76.41
48.85
| 27.56
73.19
84.19
| 62.14 I 22.05
Harnirpur
82.56
90.15
75.70
15.35
I 89.01
95.28 | 83.44
11.84
Kangra
80.08
87.54
73.01
14.53
I 86.49
92.55 | 80.82
11.73
Kinnaur
72.20
84.30
64.40
19.90
I 80.77
88.37 I 71.34
17.03
Kullu
72.90
83.98
60.88
I
I 23.10
I 80.14
88.80 | 71.01
17.79
Lahaul &
jpiti
73.10
82.82
60.70
22.12
77.24
86.97 I 66.50
20.47
Mandi
75.24
85.94
64.82
21.12
82.81
91.51 I 74.33
17.18
Shimla
79.12
87.19
70.07
17.12
I 84.55
90.73 I 77.80
12.93
Sirmaur
70.39
79.36
60.37
18.99
| 79.98
86.76 I 72.55
14.21
Solan
76.56
84.75
66.89
17.86
I 85.02
91.19 | 78.02
13.17
I
I Una
80.37
I 87.73
73.18
I 14.55
I 87.23
92.75 I 81.67
11.08
I HP total
76.48
I 85.35
67.42
17.93
I 83.78
90.83 | 76.60
14.23
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Table 4: Education profile of Lahaul and Spiti
Education _ 2011 Census
Primary Schools 205
Middle Schools ‘ 33
High Schools/Sr Sec Schools _ 29
Govt Degree College _ 1 at Kukumseri (Udaipur)
Kendriya Vidyalaya (KVS) 1 at Keylong
DIET ‘ 1 at Tandi
University Nil
Lahaul & Spiti is a tribal district of Himacha] Pradesh having several small villages and is amongst
the remotest and most inaccessible areas. Due to demography of the area, which is surrounded by
Himalayas and the temperature fall in winter goes in negative; affecting the district badly with (Table
5) snowfalls, landslides and flash floods thereby making it worse for the residents of the district to
access basic services.As per the Govemment reports, the district is considered virtually cut-off from
the Himachal Pradesh during the winter season for more than 6 months i.e. Oct/Nov till Apr/May.The
winter period is also known as cut-off period where in most of the regular activities are stalled like
agriculture, animal husbandry, Primary Health Care centers, Communication systems, road
transportation. Due to bad weather conditions all the basic amenities of life are severely affected.The
only presence in Information Technology has been the District Centre of National Informatics Centre,
Ministry of Communication & Information Technology.The Government has embodied the facilities
for e-governance with IT enablement in the existing systems e.g. Integrated Community Services
Centres (iCOSC), Land deed registration (HIMRIS), e-Payroll for salary accounting, e-Udaan for
helicopter booking. The facilities are more of Government centric for having a proper control on
efficient management for specific set of parameters.
One of the major problems faced by the inhabitants of this district is in the education segment
especially during the Winter block period, during which it becomes extremely difficult to gain access
to education.As informed by Centre Resource Co-coordinator, who himself is a teacher, Schools do
operate in winters, Students and teachers travel several kilometers to school but parents are reluctant
to send their wards due to harsh Weather conditions. Schools also provide facilities like mid-day meal,
books, pens & copies. It was also stated that female education is improving when compared with male
literacy rate in the district.
In view of the above facts it is vital to understand that there is a strong need to have a collaborated
system of education wherein students and teachers from different villages, towns and cities can
interact with each other and enhance the traditional process of education system. The lack of
Information & Communication Technology limits the student’s development process.
This paper tries to fill this lacuna by providing a low cost Information & Communication Technology
framework to improve the accessibility of Education and move towards electronic education (e-
education) & digital learning. The idea is to enhance the education level of the people living in these
areas by providing a coherent system of education which maintains a balance between accessibility
and sustainability. The framework will provide ICT enabled solutions to the problem in accessibility
to get education which will be both time and cost effective and will sustain over a longer period of
time.
II. CHALLENGES
With the given information, system looks good but thereis a lack of properly valued education among
children. Teachers are trained from time to time but due to lack of infrastructure availability, the
schools remain localized to the knowledge of teachers only. There is no connectivity from the outside
world. The students are left behind in terms of extracurricular learning, skill set development &
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PP 20-25
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overall exposure and interaction with outside world and the scenario becomes more critical in the
winter season i.e. Oct/Nov – Mar/Apr period.
The cultural structure of the district embodies the layout of the education with schools and Monastery.
The Monasteries are mostly run by self-funded trusts or funded by Departments of Tribal Affairs at
state level & national level; however there is lack of proper Communication media in educating in
schools or Buddhist studies remains persistent.As per the Government reports, the involvement of
domestic labor is quite negligible and almost all skilled and semi-skilledlaborers are imported from
outside the district, therefore there is a strong need for Skill based education and education which
works in the overall development of Student‘s endeavor as well as the society’s’, such a system would
become significant from the inclusion of information & Communication technologies. The evaluation
parameters for students in terms of a correct leaming curve would need significant improvement and
will be possible by improving the traditional classroom teaching& collaborating with the outside
world.
III. PROPOSED FRAMEWORK
The idea is to have Information Communication Technology solution for stated issues by designing a
cost effective infrastructure with features of simplified implementation and robustness. Considering
the primary issues of quality education and the problems in the accessibility there is a need to develop
a collaborative model with the skill development focused institutions. The perspective education
model would be then designated to deliver the education in an interactive & collaborative way so as to
facilitate the leamers with the contents and make a platform which is equally beneficial and reachable
to all the learners. It comprises of a Wireless router with higher range of coverage which would be
placed in the village or a place connecting two villages.
With current systems specifications, we can reach a radius of more than 40 KMs in a range with good
stability in highly cold situations. The wireless device (router) would be powered by Battery or
electricity or solar powered cell. The aim is to create a small Intranet of systems in that range. The
setup would consist of a low cost system having server configuration which would facilitate the
communication with the wireless device and organize communication with the users. The users or
students would carry a tablet device, we can account on Akaash Tablet which government has
planned to distribute, or else we can arrange a low cost tablet device issued by administration, which
would be wirelessly connected with the router and can communicate with teacher & other students in
that radius of coverage via server. The framework will have a Sip Server which provides flexibility of
incorporating software based Audio Video Chat Engine and can easily be scaled to connect to ISDN
lines or traditional phone lines. It means that with Sip Server, we can scale the system to connect to a
Phone Line and a Softphone application embedded in computer or tablet or a mobile device which
would then connect to other soft phones via the Sip Server connectivity and wireless router as shown
in fig. l.
A small Local Network between other systems can easily be fostered& extended using Ad-Hoc
mechanism to connect to other intranets i.e. locally to wireless systems in other village and can be
scaled up to a larger domain. This, hence, enables in Cross Collaboration among teachers and students
of different villages and thereby assists in cross pollination of knowledge and skills.
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__ _. _
f‘
l X _
f \
I I ~\ \ \
I p . l x‘
1 ‘ ” * I
\ _.-31>‘ . ‘Kl e 1
\ ‘ “‘ . ‘ III /
\ \ xi “H V , I
i §
§ p
§ _ SERVER __ ow
Figure 1: Layout of Architecture
5e|f sgudyl Long Range Wireless Router To
¢ on demand Setup Intranet power by Solar Cell
c|asseS & or regular batteries and create a
Live local communication media with
:> SIP server or sirr\ilarWebserver with
3 .. – __ Sofizphone s. video conferencing
‘ facility at low cost
I 7 i Digital Schools
W
— —
Figure 2: Implementation Architecture
Collaboration feature plays in an important role in development of Quality education. The
Collaboration can be glorified as a mechanism to inculcate knowledge & leaming among teachers,
students and common people. This collaborative teaching model assists the local population in various
domains that would be helpful in providing the information about techniques of effective farming,
weather forecasting, education, healthcare facilities etc for everyone. The Skill based education
should be another area which can be used to train the students, learners & youths at grass root level on
technical and commercial trainings and other uncountable aspects. The Skill based collaborative
training would be aligned in a way to assist the local population & motivate them and their children to
leam by majorly identifying the potential employability activities. Interactive collaborative sessions
can be setup with experts and on demand, mode of content learning would be available on the systems
of users/learners and students. The implemented model as in fig.2 would carry a value system and
measurement parameters to evaluate the involvement of the leamers of all categories in the system in
place.
IV. CONCLUSION
With the proposed framework, there are chances of improvement of standards of education in Lahaul
& Spiti also it is applicable to any demography where physical setup is difficult. This could be
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e-ISSN: 2279-083 7, p-ISSN: 22 79-0845
PP 20-25
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achieved only by exploring and creating a virtual platform in which the possibility of collaborative
base for enablement focusing on education segment with microscopic & macroscopic perspective of
quality education. This model would be effective as it provides window of involvement & interaction
to the learners with alternative interfaces. The proposed infrastructure is a cost effective & a
sustainable method which can be easily scaled up to a wider area by following the multiple servers
with Ad-Hoc technology of expanding the intranet to larger scale.
V. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We are thankful to Mr. Rajender Sharma, Centre Resource Coordinator in Education department in
Spiti District and also a teacher in Kaza for helping us in understanding the current education model.
He also informed that government is providing free books, study materials and food & has
scholarships scheme to promote education. He also gave time in our solution and presented his views
and assured his assistance to maximum as in his role in case of cross training of Teachers and
Students & per state government nlles. We are also thankful to Mr. Padma, who is primary school
teacher in Mud who gave his time in discussing the progress & government initiatives.
VI. REFERENCES
1. @402//www.census2O11.co.in/census/district/231-lahuI-and-spiti.htm|
Z. flp://www.himvani.com/news/2013/O8/23/tribal-areas-kinnaur-lahauI-soiti-darkness
months[23125
. @p://www.rinchenzangpoorggpiti-vallev.htm|
. http:flwww.’amyang.org[pages[spiti.htmI
. httgzflhglahaulspiti.nic.in[it.htm
. @p://www.nueoa.or&/DownIoad/Publications/OccasionaI%2OPaper-32nsood.@
. httg:[Zwww.nivaIink.com[sQitirural[index.htm|
. flp://en.wikioedia.or2/wiki/List of districts of Himachal Pradesh
. Jha. Choudharv. Shokeen “e-Publishing: A Sustainable. affordable & available digital service
provisioning for e-learning” ICOASCR 2013
10. httg:[[www.aises.nic.in
11. gp://www.7thsurvev.ncert.nic.in/1568910/sec0nd@;ze.asg
12. httgzfldbtindia.nic.in[w0men[gaper14.htm
13. Qp://books.££o0E|e.co.in/books?id=J|0qdJYU3LgC&p;z=PAl97&|Qg=PA197&dq=status+0f+w0men
+in+himacha|&source=b|&ots=z|xzv6rRrE&sig5pH c0mO16GfNDlOrftbR8LfCEvU&h|=en&sa=X&ei
=MfCSUbvXC5CnrAfU84CQAQ&ved=0CE£Q6AEwAw#v=one@ge&q=status%20of%Z0women%Z0in
%20himacha|&f=fa|se
14. httg:[[himacha|gr.gov.in
15. www.sourceforge.net
\OO0\|OWU’1J>UJ
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