Personal Education Number
A child starts its learning journey from a play school followed by primary, secondary, any other higher/professional or vocational education with multiple touch points involving many entities (schools, college, universities, education boards, sports academy, financial institutions etc.). In the current scenario, all these entities maintain their records in isolation, creating multiple and duplicate information for each student having its own way to become accessible to the individual. This leads to nothing but chaos, confusion, no way to track dropouts and increased efforts at every stage and for every stakeholder but most importantly for the student.
Public Digital Platform for Education could be envisaged as unifying isolated systems into a combined Platform with a unique number where all the entities through consent-based mechanism supported by new age technologies would interact with the data available across entities. Thus, helping the student with a consolidated view of their education journey foremost but also making it easier for other stakeholders involved within the education system and even outside it.
What is Personal Education Number (PEN)?
Personal Education Number or “PEN” is an initiative to create a unique identification number across all the Education platforms. PEN would be issued to 5 key personas (Learners, Parents, Teachers, Administrators and Community Members) interacting through 3 generalized scenarios: Learn, Help Learn and Manage Learn as defined in National Digital Enterprise Architecture (NDEAR).
- PEN would contain minimum set of essential parameters (like name, date of birth, gender, email, phone etc.) validating the association of personas to the education sector to uniquely identify an academician or an entity.
- PEN would facilitate unifying of existing digital assets and applications part of the federated system.
- It would act as a permanent reference number in the entire persona lifecycle at different learning stages including pre-primary, primary, secondary, senior secondary, graduate, post-graduate, upskilling etc.
- PEN can also facilitate building of national core registries such as student, teacher, counsellor, entities etc. as identified in NDEAR.
- Most importantly, it would benefit the personas by providing a unified view of digital assets from diverse federated systems. Stakeholders would be able to share the digital academic assets like UPI model which uses mobile number linked to various kinds of financial accounts for making transaction. On the similar lines PEN linked with multiple registration numbers can be used for availing different services including employment, education, scholarship, credit transfer, loans, examinations, admissions, Passport/Visa etc.
Why Not Aadhaar and other Identifiers?
Aadhaar can be enlisted as an attribute for PEN rather than a unique identifier as it might not always be available for everyone part of the education system like NRIs, foreign nationals, organizations etc. Also, due to the legal frameworks associated with Aadhaar, it can’t be made a mandatory parameter for educational services. Similar is the case with other identifiers like Health ID, Passport, PAN etc.
Although generating identification numbers for such a huge population can be a daunting task, it can be implemented if done in a phased manner. In the initial phase, the focus can be on existing class 10th passed students and teachers for whom the database is readily available and slowly it can be cascaded down further for rest of the population. The new entrants can be easily considered by providing tools and creating policies & procedures.