Can eLearning help improving literacy condition in India and other developing countries?
Illiteracy is a curse! Education can bring about a wave of change. But improving the literacy rate is a challenge in developing countries. Do you think eLearning can help? What measures should be taken according to you so that education via Internet can play an important role and become a help hand for removing illiteracy.
In India no. Most of the people who are illiterate live in very poor neighbourhoods or villages and would not have access to a computer. While they could take lessons at an internet cafe that also costs money which many poor, illiterate labourers simply don't have. They also likely lack the skills to use the modules.
Since many of the illiterate people in India are women it's also important to consider whether or not their families would permit them to take such classes. While many women and girls in India are educated unfortunately some families do not consider education for their daughters or wives to be a priority.
Finally, the language issue. What language are they learning to read in? Every region in India has it's own language. If someone lives in a poorer neighbourhood or village knowing how to read English would be of very little use to them. In some regions Hindi would also be of little use.
For this cause, at least in India I think old school is the best way.
You're right, accessibility of computer and internet is a problem, but I don't completely agree with you. Today I was trying to teach the household help's daughter, with no prior preparation. Websites with hindi Alphabet were available to help us..
There are plenty of Hindi websites, I just think the program would be very difficult to implement on a large scale without a lot of funding and preparation. Even if it is unsuccessful,there is no harm in trying.
e-Learning is an amazing thought. Children and students, these days, have access to enormous amount of knowledge via internet. Teachers, Trainers and Lecturers have an advantage to expand their boundaries by uploading videos of their lectures on day-to-day basis which can be accessed by people around the world, provided they have to allow open access. Sadly, most of them use such facilities to endorse their institute and such.
However, e-Learning is an option for those who are comfortable using computers, atleast basics of internet and ms-office or such. Here one thing is necessary, primary education, which has to be provided physically instead of online.
Thus, for those who has primary education and are comfortable working with technology can have this, e-learning, as a boon. For others, social workers have to come out hand help people setting up everything.
I am staying in a remote village in Tamil Nadu just 30 KM from Infosis our world famous info-tech center here in my village there is no school even for LKG level hundreds of children walk to nearest school daily.If it rains they come home drenched in rain.The Chief Minister was told by me and she just forwarded the letter to Block Development Officer who called the village panchayat president and. told him to Pay to the Govt of Tamil Nadu Rs.1,00,00 to build a Pre School.What should I say?.The president told me if he had that much money he could build a Pre School himself.
The Chief Minister is worried that Govt of India is training Sri Lankan Army in India.
Now a days I see a lot of people batting for e-learning and other non-conventional modes of learning and arguing that how it can improve the literacy rate among the developing countries but I don't see a far reaching effect of such practices on ground zero because the ground zero belongs to that section of society which usually find it hard to sustain their family through their daily labour. An internet connectivity and computer availability for such families may very well be a far fetched dream. E-learning can be a blessing for well off and dedicated students having good financial background, but in case of countries like India, where parents find it hard to admit their children to a good school (which is sure to make a big hole in their pockets) and by good I mean having basic infrastructure of labs computers and good faculties, it can increase the quality of education for sure, but the purpose of increasing the literacy rate may still not be achieved.
But situation is still not as grim as I made it sound. I think the government is doing a good job as off now. The main objective should remain to make school available to children from poor background and far off areas. Different government and NGO programs like aanganwadi schools, mid day meals, subsidised government schooling etc. are of great help. But since this question is about e-learning, I will not digress from the topic.
The other problem with e-learning is the lack of infrastructure necessary for it. There may be a school in a village but asking it to have internet connectivity for e-learning, in my mind, is too much to ask. Other issues may the language problem (as in general people tend to use English language for computer oriented projects) and the degree of comfort of people with technology. Many of the answers to your question suggested that the social workers can help in this task but I doubt that government and NGOs have that much of man power for a substantial effect. But nevertheless, such efforts are much appreciated.
In my final comments, I would like to summarise that e-learning may become a revolution in near future in education but it will remain a revolution for few if it does not make inroads to the poor section of the society.
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