Education Ministry asks States to bring all data under one platform


Context: Under the National Digital Education Architecture (NDEAR), the Education Ministry is pushing States to open Vidya Samiksha Kendras (VSKs), which are data repositories that will have data from all schemes run by the Ministry.


About Vidya Samiksha Kendras (VSKs)

  • This will include regularly updated data from 
    • the PM-POSHAN mid-day meal programmes; 
    • teacher training data from the National Initiative for School Heads’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement portal
    • textbook content from the Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing
    • school dropout and attendance-related data on the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE+)
    • students’ learning outcomes from the National Achievement Survey; and 
    • Performance Grading Index which evaluates school education systems at the State and Union Territory (UT) level.
  • Currently, at the Central level, a VSK is housed in the Central Institute of Educational Technology building on the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) campus, with multinational IT company Ernst and Young (EY) managing its operations. It is an open-source platform run on C-Qube software.
  • EkStep Foundation, a non-profit organisation, is an advisory role for implementing the VSK project.
  • Currently the data are fed on the platform manually, and available in downloadable Excel format for anyone to access and use, to visualise and analyse trends.
  • There will be a shift from manual mode to automatic mode once the Application Programming Interface (API) integration process is complete
  • This means multiple platforms at Centre, State and district levels can communicate with each other using requests and responses to seamlessly integrate data at all levels on the platforms,” the official added. 
  • This is in line with the National Education Policy (NEP)-2020 talking about developing operational standards for making data open source.
  • The Centre has allocated funds ranging from ₹2 crore to ₹5 crore to each State for adopting and establishing VSKs that include pre-configured open-source hardware and software as well as hiring human resources. 
  • States like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Jharkhand have already begun the process of setting up the tech platform.


Need for Vidya Samiksha Kendras (VSKs)

  • The idea of bringing all data on one platform is to employ analytics for correlation. 
  • Currently we have a sea of data from different schemes that cater to 15 lakh schools, 96 lakh teachers, and 26 crore students, but it is irrelevant if it cannot be correlated or analysed.
  • For instance, in certain schools, Gujarat has employed biometrics to capture attendance patterns of students and teachers. The attendance gets recorded and reported at the State level. This can be mapped with trends of student dropout data to analyze any correlation between both data sets.
  • Another instance would be correlating data from the mid-day meal scheme, or PM-POSHAN, with attendance. This will give us insight into whether in those demographic areas where mid-day meals are provided regularly, students are more incentivized to attend schools. 



The idea of developing VSKs is also to map the school location layer with the population layer to assess the Gross Access Ratio, which can help plan for new schools, or for industry clusters to understand skilling requirements of the area, and help plan higher educational institutions based on demand and future scenarios.


Imp for: GS Paper I

Topic: Society

Imp for: GS Paper II

Topic: Education, Government Schemes