The Information and Communication Technology (ICT)–based Network of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Educational and Research Institute, Belur, Howrah, West Bengal, India, called VIVEKDISHA, is established to cater to the needs of Students, Teachers of Schools and Colleges at the State, National, and International levels with the following objectives:

  1. Providing online and off-line Education to the Students from 6th Std upto +2 level including undergraduate programmes in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Life Sciences, Social Science, Communicative English, Value-Education particularly in remote and rural areas so as to ’Reach the Unreached’
  2. Developing interactive website with online examination facilities
  3. Uploading video lessons/books in all subjects recorded/prepared using the expertise of eminent academicians of respective subjects
  4. Training in-service teachers through online workshops/interactive sessions
  5. Conducting online Spiritual Heritage programmes to the Public Audience in India and abroad
  6. Creating Book Banks at different Centres having online facilities.


The Context

The integration of new technologies into the curriculum is essential for providing opportunities for students to effectively learn and thoroughly understand. The act of integrating ICT into teaching and learning is a complex process leading to encountering a number of problems. Different categories have been used by educators to classify the problems in use of ICT in Education into extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic problems refer to Access, Time, Support, Resources and Training mostly pertaining to institutions rather than individuals. Intrinsic problems refer to Attitude, Beliefs, Practices and Resistance pertaining to teachers, administrators and individuals. We may also encounter the obstacles in the use of ICT pertaining to material and non-material conditions. The material conditions may be the insufficient number of computers and copies of software etc.,. The non-material obstacles include teachers’ insufficient ICT knowledge and skills, the difficulty of integrating the use of ICT in instruction, and insufficient teacher time.

The Practice

ICT-based learning offers greater diversity of learning in theoretical and practical fronts. Also it allows the learners to make full use of their own multiple cognitive abilities and skills. In the ICT-based teaching-learning process, teachers and students alike are enthused because teaching becomes more dynamic, expanding their vision and making use of available high quality study materials. Moreover, teachers are motivated to teach more creatively and to introduce innovative pedagogical strategies in the classroom with vigor and enthusiasm.

At present, we have 21 VIVEKDISHA centres in West Bengal for Online and offline education, teachers training and other activities. The University has the provision to connect twenty five centres for videoconferencing through Internet Broadband facility anywhere at anytime on the globe. The centre at University, Belur Math is the Expert Centre, while the other centres in West Bengal and other areas are participating centres. The distribution of the Vivekdisha Centres in West Bengal is wide enough to cover a greater part of the State of West Bengal—from Jalpaiguri, in the north of the state, to the Sundarban region in the south, and to the district of Bardhaman in the west. All the Vivekdisha Centres are located in the branch centres of Ramakrishna Mission or in places where ex-students/devotees of Ramakrishna Mission run centres with dedication to the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda ideology.

What exactly happens in an online class of ‘Vivekdhisha’ ICT Network ?

A teacher teaches using a digital notepad or multimedia presentation prepared by using computer software. This is transmitted simultaneously to all the centres logged in to the University Expert Centre. In these centres the students are able to see and hear the teacher, the multimedia presentation, the notepad as well as students at other centres who are also participating in the online class. At the same time, the teacher at the University Expert centre or anywhere on the globe can listen to all the participating centres. It is a virtual class room whose boundaries are not defined! It makes a vibrant interactive virtual classroom environment for the teacher and students at various geographically isolated centres.

The biggest challenge is the need for constant renewal of content, which means expanding ICT-based curricular requirements to accommodate widespread applications that have emerged over the last few years. As technology develops and the environment becomes more user-friendly, there is greater demand for practical experience in the use of software, the strengthening of network communication and skills in preparing documentation.

Evidence of Success

Subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, Value Education and Communicative English for students of Classes Six to twelve are taught mostly through multimedia presentations i.e. through texts, pictures, animations, real visual clips, video recordings from laboratory.

  1. The students of standards VI to XII are benefitted as classes held through interactive mode in Bangla or in English. In case of higher classes the medium of instruction is English.
  2. ICT tools like PC, laptop, LCD monitor, camera, digital notepad, projectors, audio system, many software etc. are used to make the teaching-learning process not only more effective, but more joyful and fruitful as well.
  3. Interactions and discussions enable learners to strengthen their understanding of various concepts.

Special Features of Vivekdisha Online Programmes

  1. ICT-based, Multimedia-based, multiple videoconference-based Online classes going for 6 days/week
  2. Spreading quality education in urban as well as rural areas through Internet-based broadband connectivity– thus minimizing digital divide
  3. Online classes provide opportunities for Interactions, Concept building, Connecting the real world with the subjects taught, Creative and joyful learning
  4. Conducted in Bangla and in English
  5. Online students’ strength – more than 13000
  6. Dissemination of Digitally prepared study materials

Problems Encountered

  1. Problems in running existing centres
    1. Sometimes broadband connectivity is unstable
    2. Less number of IT-trained people in Expert centre and in remote centres
    3. High maintenance cost of computers, projectors and high capacity power back-ups (UPS)
  2. Problems in starting new centres
    1. Provision for broadband connectivity in the remote localities
    2. Provision for regular maintenance of infrastructure
    3. Need for trainers in IT at remote centre
    4. Adequate funding

Resources Required

  1. Provision for stable and effective broadband connectivity, at least 1 mbps, at the remote centre
  2. Creating a dedicated secured room for Online classes at the centre
  3. Availability of adequate number of IT-trained persons at the remote centre
  4. Provision for recurring finance at the expert centre as well as remote centres