New Delhi: Diksha, an online learning platform launched by the Narendra Modi government four years ago, emerged as a key tool for teachers and students as they tried to navigate lessons during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Diksha, available as an app as well as a website, offers textbooks for students across different boards and languages, and training modules for teachers on subjects that go beyond the curriculum, such as mental well-being and inclusive classrooms. It can be accessed free of cost by anyone, but registration on the portal helps users track their progress.
According to government officials, the platform has received a great response since the Covid-19 lockdown kicked in last March. Launched in 2017, it was included in the government’s e-Vidya lockdown package for the education sector and has since seen many upgrades.
Since March 2020, the portal has been receiving “an average of 3 crore hits per day”, a senior official from the Union Ministry of Education told ThePrint.
“It was during the lockdown that we did a lot of work on the portal, added a lot more content, and made it into a one-stop solution for teachers and students,” the official added. “We are really happy to see the results, it has been a success.”
Teachers who use the portal swear by the offerings of Diksha, whose training modules are aimed at facilitating career progression and periodic training for tutors.
Speaking to ThePrint, teachers and management officials at several private and government schools said the app allows them to offer holistic lessons that extend beyond textbook knowledge. They describe it as a tool that has proved extremely useful.
‘High-quality learning material’
Asha Phandse, who teaches Class 5 students at a private school in Visakhapatnam, said she has completed all the training modules offered on Diksha.
“We were asked by my school to take up short courses on Diksha portal for teacher training, including that of mental well-being and inclusive classrooms. I completed all the modules, they were short and easy,” she added. “I find the platform very useful for teachers and students both.”
Dr Abhishek Chaturvedi, director of the Kanpur Education Society, which runs 11 K-12 (Kindergarten to Class 12) schools with 9,500 students across different boards, said the portal has been used extensively across all the institutes.
“Diksha has high-quality and relevant learning material, well aligned to the prescribed curricula for our government-aided schools. Teachers like accessing their resources for effective teaching, with detailed lesson plans, worksheets, activities, videos and texts to create engaging classroom experiences,” he added.
The app, Chaturvedi said, “helps us to understand the needs and challenges of students too, allowing teachers to work on holistic learning beyond textbook knowledge, also meeting students’ personality development”.
“Students can go through the materials asynchronously whenever they want,” he added.
Alka Kapur, principal of Modern Public School (MPS) at Shalimar Bagh, Delhi, described Diksha as “a great platform that assists educators all over India”.
“Since we’ve always prioritised making education efficient and effective, we utilise this platform extensively,” she said.
“The teachers at MPS conduct quizzes via the Diksha portal and visit it regularly to find modules that can be showcased to the students to give them an in-depth understanding of academic concepts,” she added.
“We also emphasise teacher training at MPS and our teachers stay up-to-date with the latest teaching methods and pedagogies as per their interests/subjects and requirements by going through all the latest teacher training programmes that are made available on the portal,” she said.
The Diksha portal, Kapur added, “is a great platform that can bring all the educators in the country under the same umbrella”.
“It can help the students and teachers by facilitating the right information at the right time,” she said.
Sonam Aggarwal, who teaches at a government school in Haryana, said the portal has “very good modules for teachers to get updated with the latest developments and methods of teaching”.
“We get instructions from the CBSE and our school to use the Diksha portal for training purposes. We also use it for our students, but mostly for senior classes, from 9th to 12th. We advise them to use workbooks and textbooks on the app,” she added.