Empowering women and children through the usage of ict
ISECED – an ICT infrastructure for Early Childhood Education and Development Ruvindee Rupasinghe, Anuruddha Ranatunga, Sanjaya Ratnayake, Amila Sajayahan Favulty of Information technology, University of Moratuwa firstname.lastname@example.org ABSTRACT Therefore, UNESCO has given top priority for Early Childhood Education in their agenda forEarly Childhood Education is considered to be “Education for All” [15, 3].one of the most important aspects of a country’seducation process. Unlike other areas of However, most of the countries are stilleducation early childhood education needs an struggling to provide a satisfactory Earlyintegrated approach from various parties Childhood Education for the children withinincluding the Government, teachers, students, their territories . Especially developingparents and health care services. However most countries are faced with several problems withcountries especially developing countries, have related to development of Early Childhoodso far failed to integrate those systems Education . Among these, three prominenteffectively resulting low quality and inefficient issues could be identified. They can besystems for early childhood education and mentioned as, lack of resources, inability ofdevelopment. Further locating the resources for parents to spend time on their children and poorchildren is not properly organized. health conditions of the children [18, 1, 4]. Therefore an integrated approach is important inTherefore we are proposing an ICT achieving the success in early childhoodinfrastructure which could be implemented as a education process [7, 2, 19]. The objective of thegovernment portal that supports an efficient proposed solution is to develop an ITmanagement of Early Childhood Education and infrastructure which could facilitate theDevelopment within a country. This integrates attainment of above mentioned requirements.all the parties relevant for the early childhoodeducation and development (Government, The proposed system is called ISECEDteachers, nurseries, parents, doctors/health care (Integrated Services for Early Childhoodofficers etc.) enabling a cooperated actions Education & Development) a web applicationamong them. We have kept a strong eye towards that integrates all the parties related to Earlythe research and other recommendations of the Childhood Education, including the nurseries,international organizations like UNESCO day care centers, teachers, students, parents,regarding the same domain. We believe that by doctors, local authorities and Non Governmentalimplementing this type of a networking model, Organizations (NGOs). So, the maingovernments can accelerate their drives towards functionalities provided by the system can bethe Millennium Development Goals. This type of specified as follows.an ICT infrastructure is also capable of 1. Integrate all parties important for earlyenabling common masses to achieve high childhood education through a single system andquality education for their children. enable communication among them. 2. Let parents to actively get involved in child’s2.0 INTRODUCTION development process. 3. Give Government the opportunity to monitorEarly childhood education is considered to be and guide all nurseries, day care centers,the most important stage of the human education teachers and children with the help of a singleprocess [12, 16]. Reason for this is that, it could system.have direct impacts on the secondary and tertiary 4. Provide training, syllabuses and e-learningeducation processes of a person and hence could materials for teachers.effect to the overall literacy of the country.
5. Support to allocate scarce resources US government portal for Early Childhoodefficiently. Education provides useful information for6. Develop a comprehensive information multiple parties engaged in Early Childhoodsystem, which could support government to Education. Here, the information for parents,develop policies and plans for early childhood service providers, researchers, agencies andeducation. policy makers are available . Resources available for the parents include various guidingA pilot project was carried out with two materials covering different aspects of Earlynurseries to evaluate the system. The project was Childhood Education. Service providers are alsoa success and got positive responses from the provided with various guiding materials. Datateachers, parents as well as the health care sets, statistics and funding details are availableofficers. for the researchers. However, the functionality of the portal is eventually limited as only an3.0 EXISTING WORK information provider.Several ICT initiatives exist in the domain of When we look at the existing work, it is clearEarly Childhood Education . These projects that in most of the situations ICT has been usedare ranging from the government information for either supporting the in class education or asportals to ICT enabled class room education. a mere information provider. These kinds ofTwo such examples are discussed below. systems might be sufficient for developed countries. But, for developing countries there are3.1 ICT infrastructure project in New certain other issues that can be effectivelyZealand addressed by incorporating ICT . Especially,An ICT infrastructure has been developed in enhancing the parent participation in child’sNew Zealand for supporting the Early education process, keeping a better awareness onChildhood education. This concentrates mainly the child’s health condition, coordinatingon using the ICT as a supporter for the in class resources for the needed and integrating all thelearning. Here, various related issues like IT stakeholders in a particular child’s educationapplications, Ergonomics, Cyber Safety and process can be addressed by creativenetwork designs have been addressed . introduction of Information Technology. TheHowever, this project does not try to utilize ICT contribution of this project comes here.beyond the class room environment and addressother important issues faced by the Early 4.0 USAGE OF INFORMATION ANDChildhood Education. COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IN EMPOWERING EARLY3.2 “TEChPLACEs” Project CHILDHOOD RELATED ACTIVITIESTechnology in Early Childhood-Planning and ISECED integrates all the related parties to theLearning about Community Environments early childhood education and development.(TEChPLACEs) was funded in 1997 by the U.S. Therefore it Empowers parents on the progressDepartment of Educations Office of Special of child’s education process in an effectiveEducation Technology.This involves the manner. Further ISECED provides a commondevelopment of a web site for linking local interface for parents and teachers to interact andschools. Pre schools and kindergartens were also share their knowledge with the experts ininvolved with the project. Basic objective of the education field as well as the health sector.project was to enhance the learning experience Through these processes it is able to utilize theof the children . available resources in an efficient manner. The main features of ISECED are as follows.3.3 US government portal for EarlyChildhood Education 4.1 Empowering parents
Fig1: The high level architecture of ISECEDIn Sri Lanka most of the parents are engaged in maintaining education related health records isvarious kinds of jobs. Especially the parents in important for improving the child’s long termurban cities are busy with their work schedules mental and physical health . Therefore the. Therefore they do not have enough time to local midwives are provided with a PDAattend children matters in an efficient manner. application in order to store the health data ofISECED portal breaks those barrios for parents the children in her village. She may collect databy implementing a way to empower electronically through the devices provided andcommunication among parents and other later will upload the data to the portal.relevant parties. 4.4 Manage resource distribution among4.2 Standardizing nurseries relevant partiesCurrently the nurseries are maintaining their There are many donors located locally as well asown syllabuses which may be ineffective in internationally having lesser information on themost of the time . Therefore ISECED resource requirements of the developingbrings up a way to provide daily learning countries like Sri Lanka. Therefore the portalmaterials for nurseries to follow. Therefore provides a way for donors to come to know the resource requirements of the nurseries in theall the nurseries will be following the same region. Further the system implements a one toguidance in teaching the children. one donor concept by letting individual donors4.3 Maintaining education related health to select individual nurseries or children and contribute their education. This will encouragerecords of children small donors to take part in the child’s educationThe education and health has an unbreakable process.relationship between each other . Therefore
5.0 DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION donors can easily identify and choose a child or families to donate using online maps and detailsThe high level architecture of the system is provided through the journal. All the payment isdepicted in the figure 5.1. All the parties related going through secure payment gateways. Otherto early childhood education are connected than these services the system provides servicesthrough the web portal. The system has been for government and researches also. They canimplemented considering the computer literacy view those summarized data to analysis andof the users of the system. Most of the users of decision making.the portal are people with little computerliteracy. Therefore the interfaces provided are The portal is implemented in three tierimplemented in a way that users can easily architecture with User Interface, Business logicunderstand and use the portal. layer and Backend database. Backend layer implements all data access methods and dataISECED provides more facilities to the user to control procedures. The middle business layerenhance the early child education. online supports all the classes and methods to accessmeetings, daily progress reports of the child, those data. The front end or the user interfaceSMS notification service for parents, special display those data in a more user friendlyvista side bar gadget to support donor’s manner.participation, maintain health data of child,maintain centralized database for all parties, 6.0 EVALUATIONanalytical data tool for governments andresearches, one to one donor coordination, multi In order to test the system ISECED waslanguage facility and virtual community services introduced to two nurseries. The results obtainedare some of them. Services are provided to the were quite good. The parent’s respond was thatidentified users through the log in. it was much easier for them to use the system and they were able to manage their work The doctors, parents, local child care officers properly. The nursery was happy as they couldand nursery teachers can use the online meeting maintain a proper data management system forfacility and video conference facility provided their nursery. Further the parent’s respond rateby the system. Daily progress reports can be has been increased from 5% after implementingviewed by parents and local child are officers. the system. We choose two nurseries formUser can analyze those data in various ways Kandy district, considering extreme ends. One isusing different visualizing methods in this very urban and other is very rural.system. Criteria parent teacher docto childThe SMS notification service which is s rimplemented as an additional service is used toensure child security as well as effective Number 24 5 1 6monitoring. ISECED gets support from different of Usersservice providers. Apart from the basic servicesprovided system provides special services for Per user 1 hour 4 hrs 2 hrs 1 hrsdoctors, child care officers, parents and teachers. durationThe portal maintains separate health records of Total 24 20 2 6each individual child and provides necessary durationguidance when a professional consultancy isneeded. Hit rate App 4 App 3 App .5 AppThe donor coordination module which (per day) 1implements the one to one donor concept Repeat 6 2 0 2provides individual resource person to take care visitsof individual child. This would attract moresmall donors for serving the needy children. The
Table 1: Performance evaluation of the ISECED the project participated the exhibition portal “Unlocking Young Minds” organized by Faculty of Information Technology, University ofWe were able to collect data from urban nursery Moratuwa, 2009. The project’s feasibility wasvery successfully. We educate 59 parents, 6 interviewed by Rupavahini Corporation, Sriteachers, one doctor and 60 children. 40%, 83%, Lanka, for the live television program “Sedhe100% and 10% contribution was there Nimnaya”. In 2009 ISECED was selected as arespectively. These ratios are expecting to feasible business solution in Graduateincrease with the marketing and promotional Entrepreneur Challenge, organized by Britishactivities. By introducing more educational Council, Sri Lanka.games and one to one donor module child andrural parent involvement can be improve. Any It has been identified Sri Lanka as a veryuser can use ISECED with very basic suitable region for the ISECED true implement.infrastructure requirements. A computer Because, the society is well diversified andconnected to internet is more than enough. therefore, all the features can use in somewhere down the line. For example, the parents can beHowever, from the system administrator’s side categorized as urban busy parents, non urbanthere are costs such as server maintenance, back busy parents, non urban wealthy parents and nonup and security cost and etc. Therefore a Web urban non wealthy parents.business model is essential for the ISECED.Therefore, we can allow parties such as Currently system has been implemented andnurseries, day care centers, Child care peripheral tested locally within two nurseries. It has shownsuppliers, Other classes (English, Swimming, that a portal which integrates the related partiesElocutions), Banks with child saving accounts, to early childhood education can improve thePrimary schools (international colleges), efficiency and quality of their education process.Pediatricians and child psychologists, Leisure Due to the efficient handling of donoractivities (children films, children parks), coordination the resource distribution couldNannies, NGOs, Government and etc to handle easily. As a future development we hopeadvertise on the ISECED. Additionally we can to introduce several standards for nurseries andcharge subscription fee from parents, nurseries, implement the system island wide.doctors, donors and government for theadditional servicers. Moreover, registration fee The localization capability brings a greatand download fees are also possible. opportunity to implement ISECED in other developing countries as well. Further a Social7.0 CONCLUSION AND FURTHER Networking module where users can interactWORK very effectively will also be implemented. Also this includes a community forum as well.The project is three year maturity and during theperiod it has gained many achievements. In 9.0 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS2007, ISECED won the Island widechampionship of imagine cup competition, Sri All the faculty members and our colleaguesLankan, organized by the Microsoft deserve to be appreciated for contributing to theCorporation. Also the ISECED project get success of this project in various ways. Also thequalify to the world wide finals of cup authors of the references we have usedcompetition in Seoul, Korea in 2007. The throughout this project are highly appreciated.project got a good impression from theparticipants of the world wild finals. The themefor the competition was “Technology enables 8.0 REFERENCESbetter education for all”. ISECED exhibit twotimes in the “Dayata Kirula” the national  Allen, Sharon, “Successful Methods forexhibition in 2008 and 2009 consecutively. Also Increasing and Improving Parent and Child
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