From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Vidya Samiksha Kendras (VSKs)
Mains level : Not Much
- Under the National Digital Education Architecture (NDEAR), the Ministry of Education is spearheading the establishment of Vidya Samiksha Kendras (VSKs) across Indian states.
What are Vidya Samiksha Kendras (VSKs)?
- VSKs are data repositories designed to consolidate information from various educational schemes and initiatives run by the Ministry of Education.
- These repositories aim to streamline data management, promote data analysis, and enhance decision-making in the education sector.
Key Components of VSKs:
- Comprehensive Data: VSKs will aggregate data from diverse educational programs, including:
- PM-POSHAN mid-day meal programs
- Teacher training records from the National Initiative for School Heads’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement portal
- Textbook content from Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing
- School dropout and attendance data via Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE+)
- Students’ learning outcomes from National Achievement Survey
- Performance Grading Index evaluating state-level school education systems.
- Central and State-Level Centers: At the central level, VSK operations are housed in the Central Institute of Educational Technology building within the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) campus. Ernst and Young, a multinational IT company, manages these operations.
- Advisory Role: The EkStep Foundation, a non-profit organization co-founded by Nandan Nilekani, former Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), provides advisory support for the VSK project’s implementation.
- Transition to Automation: While data entry currently relies on manual processes and is available for download in Excel format, there are plans to transition to automation through Application Programming Interface (API) integration. This shift will enable seamless communication and data integration between multiple platforms at the central, state, and district levels.
- Funding Allocation: The central government has allocated funds ranging from ₹2 to ₹5 crore to each state for the establishment of VSKs. These funds cover pre-configured open-source hardware and software, as well as human resources.
- States in Action: States like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Jharkhand have already initiated the setup of these technological platforms.
Benefits of VSKs:
- Data Correlation and Analysis: The primary objective of VSKs is to enable data analytics through correlation. With vast data from numerous educational schemes, VSKs seek to derive meaningful insights by connecting various data points.
- Example Scenarios:
- Attendance Patterns: Analyzing attendance data alongside student dropout rates to identify potential correlations.
- Mid-Day Meals Impact: Investigating whether consistent mid-day meal provision in certain regions leads to increased school attendance.
- Student Improvement Tracking: Monitoring students’ progress over time using data from weekly tests to tailor educational support.
- Gross Access Ratio Mapping: VSKs will facilitate mapping the location of schools with population data to assess the Gross Access Ratio. This information can guide the establishment of new schools, support industry clusters in understanding skilling needs, and assist in higher education planning based on demand and future projections.