The Road to Digital Education System: Tracing India’s Journey from DISE to UDISE to Unified Digital Information on School Education (2023)
As it seems from the Official website of UDISEPlus, the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) is renamed as Unified Digital Information on School Education.
The renaming of UDISE (Unified District Information System for Education) to Unified Digital Information on School Education (UDISEPlus) signals a push towards digitization in India’s education sector, a welcome step. However, this change seems premature when considering the stark digital divide still prevalent across schools.
Many schools, especially government-run schools in rural and underprivileged areas, still lack access to basic digital infrastructure like computers, internet connectivity, electricity, and UPS backup; this severely limits their ability to integrate digital systems like UDISEPlus into daily operations. Most schools also do not have teachers skilled enough to leverage technology and upload data to online portals; this adds to the already heavy administrative workload of school staff. In addition, single-teacher schools may also be lacking in moving toward the digital mode.
|%age of Schools As per the Availability of|
Source: UDISEPlus, different years.
Despite the mandate for digital information, the ground reality is that most schools still rely on traditional, manual methods for data submission. School headteachers/teachers often visit block education offices physically carrying records or filled-in DCF forms to submit their school information online. This tedious process shows the gap between envisioning unified digital systems and the lack of implementation resources. With the present arrangements, making the data real-time is impossible.
The recent requirement of detailed student data collection from 2021-22 further highlights the urgency of addressing this digital divide. As administrative requirements progress toward digitization, many schools lack the tools to provide this data seamlessly. UDISEPlus 2021-22 data reveals that the percentage of schools with digital access is still low. Just a fraction have obtained essentials like computers and the internet. This disparity between policy and ground reality is concerning.
Additionally, Head Masters/teachers face significant difficulties attempting online data submission. Lack of digital skills among staff, unreliable internet connectivity, and dependence on external cyber cafes incur additional costs and complications. This dependence reveals schools’ lack of self-sufficiency despite the push for digitization.
In summary, while UDISEPlus represents a digital evolution, its implementation is hampered by limitations like a lack of infrastructure, resources, and skills. As India’s education sector transitions to digitization, addressing this digital divide is critical for ensuring all schools can equitably leverage technology. The true vision of Digital Information in the School Education system, which is the need of the day, cannot be realized in a real sense without first empowering schools at the ground level.
The core message is that renaming alone is insufficient without meaningful capacity building of schools to leverage technology and bridge the digital divide.