Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Denmark ranks first in ICT and second in e-Government

Each year, the Digital Agenda commission of the European Union offers figures that let people gauge the advances and imbalances countries show regarding the performance of their Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). 

This year Denmark  ranked first in ICT use, according to the average global ranking of the Digital Economic and Society Index (DESI) published by the EU. 

The European Union started the Europe 2020 growth strategy, which has five targets for growth attainable by means of seven “flagship initiatives”. One of these is the Digital Agenda, which defines the route European nations must follow to meet their objectives for 2020.  The DESI gauges the advances in the digital domain. 

Denmark stands out on account of their Internet use, their integration of digital technology, and their use of public digital services (e-Government).

The country’s performance is especially strong in e-Government. It has been at the vanguard of digital public services for years; in 2015 it ranked first, and it slipped to second place this year.  
Despite this good performance, authorities do not seem to be completely satisfied, and in order to go back to number one, Denmark has designed a new electronic management strategy (2016-2020). Despite not being published yet, we know this strategy aims to strengthen their leadership in the Public Digitization Service, which from 2011 to 2015 was highly ambitious and successful. 

Estonia, which surpasses Denmark, developed in 2015 an Internet voting system that has allowed Estonians to vote remotely from any location.    

This electoral technology has given Estonia the capacity to implement digital solutions to empower their citizens, and they have become a worldwide reference when it comes to elections, turnout and digital governance. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

India looks at E-governance to improve education

In its bid to improve overall performance of learning institutions, the Indian government has outfitted 1,200 central schools in New Delhi with e-governance technology. 

Through this program, activities of both the students and the teachers will be monitored to increase productivity and achieve a more efficient administration. Officials of the schools are optimistic that the e-governance program can help improve performance of students, teachers, and school administrators.

Already, some educators are reporting such expected improvements. Suresh Singh, a principal in Kendriya Vidyalaya in South Delhi, has credited the adoption of the e-governance system with minimizing the drudgery of administration allowing him to teach more.

“Now I am more of a teacher,” Singh says, “less of an administrator”. Mathematics teacher Alka Sharma from Ahlcon International School in East Delhi shares the same optimism. Digital intervention lessens administrative burden on teaching staff, enabling them to focus more on educating than doing paper work.

E-governance has clearly brought an effective tool to teachers, who are also looking at leveraging technology to improve student engagement through customized tutorials, better pedagogy, which in turn, develops an ideal teaching-learning atmosphere.

The government tapped MGRM Net Ltd, an IT company to implement the project. MGRM’s senior vice-president Partha Mohanty said his company seeks to bring the e-governance program to private and government schools as both require an education system that observes “transparency, accountability, improved efficiency and universal access to information”.

For this specific purpose, the e-governance is the solution he believes will bring a remarkable difference. Numerous domestic and international studies have revealed quality issues with India’s education sector, making it the target of a reform initiative.

The Union Human Resource Development Ministry has also considered the same e-Government technology through its “shaala darpan” system, an ICT program that provides mobile access to parents of students of government and government-aided schools.

With this technology, parents can view updates on their child’s progress. Observers are optimistic that integrating “shaala darpan” with e-governance technology would bring about outstanding results in terms of student engagement, assessment and gap analysis, and even school infrastructure.