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Education and ICTs in Rural India- A short overview of a six-week ethnographic field-researchAbhigyan SinghIntern, IBM Res...
Introduction. The field-research was conducted in collaboration with IBM Research India and SRF Foundation.  The six-weeks...
Research Location: Mewat District, Haryana State. Mewat is 50 kms away from Gurgaon and 70 kms from New Delhi.. Mewat is o...
Mewat District, Haryana. Mewat is inhabited by a unique ethnic group called ‘Meo Muslims’, or ‘Meo’. Meos are descendants ...
Salaheri Village, Nuh Block, Mewat. A ‘remote’ village, lesser developed [3 kms removed from Gurgaon-Alwar SH-13 Highway]....
Kanwarsika Village, Nuh Block, Mewat. A ‘highway’ village, more urbanized [By the side of Gurgaon-Alwar SH-13 Highway]. To...
Salaheri Primary and Middle School. Total Students: 1559 [818 Male/ 741 Female]. Total Teachers: 28 [26 Male/ 2 Female]. T...
Kanwarsika Primary and Middle School. A model school in Mewat. Total Students: 274 [123 Male/ 151 Female]. Total Teachers:...
Various Participants and Informants. Students: 51 (33 Male/ 18 Female). Teachers: 19 (15 Male/4 Female). Local Villagers: ...
Religious Beliefs, Mass Media and ICT Consumption. Meo cultural and religious identities have strong impact on media and I...
Religious Code and Media Content. The religious leaders have serious objection to any image, sketch or photograph of any ‘...
Infrastructure and Issues. Teachers’ identity and gender has a role in student enrollments. Lack of provision of water aff...
Desire for Spoken English Language Skills. Students and teachers voice the need to focus on development of Spoken English ...
Huge Popularity of game of Cricket. Cricket is immensely popular amongst students, both boys and girls, of Mewat.Very few ...
Mobile Phone’s Popularity in Mewat. Mobile phone penetration is very high in villages of Mewat.. There are many local shop...
MicroSD chips for data sharing and media consumption. MicroSD cards are very popular for sharing videos, movies and songs....
Prototype 1: Spoken-English Learning Cricket Game. An after-school mobile phone based audio game for students in rural Ind...
Working Mechanism. An English word/phrase/sentence is spoken (‘Bowling’) to the user and the user is encouraged to  respon...
Technological Implementation. The game is based on the Spoken Web platform developed by IBM Research India.. The game is c...
Problems in Data-Management and Sharing. Records are maintained in paper registers (Background Image: record book from 195...
Information Flow (from education ministry to a rural school and back)                       1. DIRECTOR EDUCATION         ...
Problems in Information Flow and Access. With increasing reliance on Internet and lesser use of regular post, accessing in...
Prototype 2: Spoken-Web based Data Flow System. An application that explores a voice-based approach for information and da...
Working Mechanism                                                                           +        +                    ...
Further Work. Exploring and Developing the Spoken-English Cricket Game by:    - Introducing ‘collaborative’ and ‘competiti...
Thank You   Contact: abhigyan.singh@gmail.com
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Education & ICTs in Rural India - An Overview

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This presentation provides an overview of an ethnographic and participatory field research in villages of in Nuh block of Mewat district of Haryana, India.

Research Partners: Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), SRF Foundation and IBM Research India. The six-week of field-research was funded by STITPRO Foundation, a research funding body in The Netherlands.

Contact: Abhigyan Singh (a.singh@tudelft.nl)

Published in: Education, Technology
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Education & ICTs in Rural India - An Overview

  1. 1. Education and ICTs in Rural India- A short overview of a six-week ethnographic field-researchAbhigyan SinghIntern, IBM Research IndiaDesign Researcher, Multimedia Information Retrieval Lab, Delft University of Technology, The NetherlandsMay 2012
  2. 2. Introduction. The field-research was conducted in collaboration with IBM Research India and SRF Foundation. The six-weeks field-research was funded by STITPRO Foundation.. The field-work focused on building a holistic understanding of education in villages of Nuh block of Mewat district of Haryana.. During the field-research two design concepts and application prototypes were developed: - ‘Spoken-English Cricket Game’ - ‘Spoken-Web based Data Flow System’. Research Methodology: Ethnography and Participatory Research. Design Approach: Participatory Design and Rapid Prototyping. Research Methods: Group Interviews, In-depth Interviews, Participant Observation, Village Transect Walks, Resource Map Drawing exercise, and Field-notes
  3. 3. Research Location: Mewat District, Haryana State. Mewat is 50 kms away from Gurgaon and 70 kms from New Delhi.. Mewat is one of the least developed district of Haryana.. Mewat falls under sub-tropical semi-arid climatic zone. Google Map Image
  4. 4. Mewat District, Haryana. Mewat is inhabited by a unique ethnic group called ‘Meo Muslims’, or ‘Meo’. Meos are descendants of Rajput (upper caste Hindus), Gujjar, Meena who converted to Islam in 1000-1200 AD.. Main occupation is agriculture. Agricultural productivity is low and is heavily dependent on rain- water for irrigation.. Languages and Dialects: - ‘Mewati’ dialect and Hindi are most common - Other spoken language and dialect: Urdu and Haryanavi. - Students learn English in schools but is not used for conversation. - Arabic is spoken in ‘Masjid’ or Mosque for religious teachings of Quran but is not used for everyday communication.. Mewat (Census 2011): - Total Population: 1,089,406 ( 88.6% Rural Population, 11.8% Urban Population) - Sex Ratio (per 1000): 906 - Average Literacy: 56.10 (Male Literacy: 73.0, Female Literacy: 37.1) - Density/km2: 729 - Average Household-Size (2001): 7.5
  5. 5. Salaheri Village, Nuh Block, Mewat. A ‘remote’ village, lesser developed [3 kms removed from Gurgaon-Alwar SH-13 Highway]. Total population: 5457 [2839 Male/2618 Female]. Total Families: 713 [700 Muslim/13 Hindus]. Religious places of worship: 10 [Mosques]
  6. 6. Kanwarsika Village, Nuh Block, Mewat. A ‘highway’ village, more urbanized [By the side of Gurgaon-Alwar SH-13 Highway]. Total population: 1646 [848 Male/ 798 Female]. Total Families: 235. Religious place of worships: 1 [Mosque]
  7. 7. Salaheri Primary and Middle School. Total Students: 1559 [818 Male/ 741 Female]. Total Teachers: 28 [26 Male/ 2 Female]. Teacher-Student Ratio: 56:1
  8. 8. Kanwarsika Primary and Middle School. A model school in Mewat. Total Students: 274 [123 Male/ 151 Female]. Total Teachers: 9 [4 Male / 5 Female]. Student-Teacher Ratio: 30:1
  9. 9. Various Participants and Informants. Students: 51 (33 Male/ 18 Female). Teachers: 19 (15 Male/4 Female). Local Villagers: 17 (14 Male/ 3 Female). SRFF Field-Officials: 10. ‘Maulavi’ or Local Religious Preacher: 1. Local mobile shops: 5. Local Historian: 1. Local Poet: 1. Mewat Development Agency (MDA) Officials: 1. Radio Mewat Officials: 2
  10. 10. Religious Beliefs, Mass Media and ICT Consumption. Meo cultural and religious identities have strong impact on media and ICT consumption. Strict restrictions and developing social tolerance on use of photography, videography, and editing. Newspapers are resisted because of presence of photographs. Very few households have Television-sets but Radio is ubiqitous. High penetration of Mobile Phones (and increasing popularity of Mobile Internet). Gender disparity in media and ICT consumption. Heterogeneous consumption of various media contents under the social censorship
  11. 11. Religious Code and Media Content. The religious leaders have serious objection to any image, sketch or photograph of any ‘living’ object but there are no religious objection to visual representation of ‘non-living’ objects (‘non- living’ includes trees & flowers). Case of Nokia’s Snake game, objectionable due to digital representation of snake. A ‘rope’ instead of ‘Snake’ would not be objectionable.. Religious objection to the values and ideas presented by the contents of the visuals and not to the medium as such (E.g. advertisements are problematic and not the television set). No objection to the use of human voice with a visual representation of a ‘non-living’ object.
  12. 12. Infrastructure and Issues. Teachers’ identity and gender has a role in student enrollments. Lack of provision of water affects student attendance in variety of ways. Education of girls is a challenge. Student and Teacher Absenteeism are on-going problems
  13. 13. Desire for Spoken English Language Skills. Students and teachers voice the need to focus on development of Spoken English language skills.. Spoken English is considered to have a potential to change the employment landscape of the region.. Spoken English is considered important for improvement of the self-esteem of the many students.. Need for coherence of content of any mobile game/application with content of school curriculum.
  14. 14. Huge Popularity of game of Cricket. Cricket is immensely popular amongst students, both boys and girls, of Mewat.Very few households have television sets and people are accustomed to listening to cricket commentary on radio.. Other popular sports in Mewat: Wrestling, Kho-Kho, Kabbadi, Volley-ball and AthleticsA representative image from wikipedia.org: Cricket in stanley park.jpg (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cricket_in_Stanley_Park.jpg)
  15. 15. Mobile Phone’s Popularity in Mewat. Mobile phone penetration is very high in villages of Mewat.. There are many local shops that cater to mobile based businesses.
  16. 16. MicroSD chips for data sharing and media consumption. MicroSD cards are very popular for sharing videos, movies and songs. Most popular formats are 2GB and 4GB MicroSD cards.
  17. 17. Prototype 1: Spoken-English Learning Cricket Game. An after-school mobile phone based audio game for students in rural India.. Primary aim is to improve the Spoken-English language skills. The game also incorporates English spelling learning and word-meaning learning.. The content of the game is based on the curriculum of the schools.. The game can be used by calling a toll-free number. The user does not have to pay for using the game.
  18. 18. Working Mechanism. An English word/phrase/sentence is spoken (‘Bowling’) to the user and the user is encouraged to respond back (‘Batting’) with the right pronunciation.. The system analyses the user input, determines whether the pronunciation is correct or not and awards scores based on the user performance. The system also informs the user of the English spelling and Hindi meaning of the word. Three possible results: - ‘Match’, i.e., Correct Pronunciation results in score (‘Runs’) - ‘No-Match’, i.e., Incorrect Pronunciation does not result in score (‘No-Run’) - ‘No-Input’ results does not result in score (‘No-run’). The interaction in the game is through cricket commentary. Cricket commentary dialogs (in male voice) are used for: Introduction, Encouragement, Score-Reporting, Transition, Bowling. The game starts with easy words and then moves to difficult words, phrases and sentences. ‘Bowling’ (in female voice) consists of: - English words, phrases and sentences - Hindi meaning of English words - Translation of phrases and sentences in Hindi
  19. 19. Technological Implementation. The game is based on the Spoken Web platform developed by IBM Research India.. The game is completely a server-side technology and hence independent of type of telephone device. A user’s phone does not require any extra features or software to be installed.. The technology behind the pronunciation detection is based on speech recognition.. The scalability and support are extremely streamlined and efficient. The current infrastructure is capable of supporting more than 10,000 students community.. Spoken-English Cricket Game (Pilot Video) [1 min 58sec]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZSyTVtbcWY&feature=youtu.be. Spoken English Cricket Game (Functionality Video) [2 min 23sec]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzMz8aQm948&feature=youtu.be
  20. 20. Problems in Data-Management and Sharing. Records are maintained in paper registers (Background Image: record book from 1955 till 1982). Problems: Protecting records from water, rats and any other damage, retrieving data from numerous paper registers is time-consuming and labor-intensive work
  21. 21. Information Flow (from education ministry to a rural school and back) 1. DIRECTOR EDUCATION Chandigarh Primary: Fax, Internet, Post Secondary: Phone 2. DISTRICT ELEMENTARY EDUCATION OFFICER (DEEO) District Head Quarter, Nuh Primary: Phone, Post 3. BLOCK EDUCATION OFFICER (BEO) Block Office, Nuh Primary: Phone URBAN Secondary: Post RURAL 4. CLUSTER CENTRE Village Primary: Phone Secondary: Post, Face2Face 5. SCHOOL HEAD-MASTER Village Primary: Face2Face, Phone 6. TEACHER Village
  22. 22. Problems in Information Flow and Access. With increasing reliance on Internet and lesser use of regular post, accessing information from education ministry has become more difficult for teachers in rural Mewat.. Number of scenarios where an information flow cycle (education ministry to a village school and back) takes around 45 days to complete. Many times information needed is readily available in school registers and is entirely numeric in nature.. Two significant modes of information reported from schools: - ‘Pakka’ or Formal Mode: Data reported on paper consisting of signature of school head- master. ‘Format’ for the data is crucial in ‘Pakka’ mode and lack of communciation regarding the format causes delay. - ‘Kachha’ or Informal Mode: Data reported over the phone to Cluster Centre or BEO. This mode is extensively used, especially during urgent information requests from Director Education of Haryana.. Mobile Phones are widely used in ‘Kaccha’ or Informal mode of information reporting. Lack of approaches for formal ways of information access from schools in rural Mewat using mobile platform.
  23. 23. Prototype 2: Spoken-Web based Data Flow System. An application that explores a voice-based approach for information and data access using mobile phones from rural schools.. Particular scenario of use: Data flow between DEEO/BEO and teachers in rural schools in Mewat. The application can be used by calling a toll-free number. The user does not have to pay for using the application.. Spoken-Web based Data Flow System (Prototype Video) [2 min 12 sec]:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HJ3jAg6BXY&feature=relmfu
  24. 24. Working Mechanism + + Spoken-Web Data Flow + System’s Server User Phone +Step-1a. A user calls the system and records a questionStep-2a. The system simultaneously calls saved contact phone numbersb. The system plays the recorded questionc. The responding-user key-inputs answer and records ‘spoken’ description of the answerStep-3a. After sometime, the user calls the systemb. The system communicates the aggregate of key-inputsc. The system sequentially plays the recorded messages
  25. 25. Further Work. Exploring and Developing the Spoken-English Cricket Game by: - Introducing ‘collaborative’ and ‘competitive’ aspects - Engaging Spoken-English Language experts - Engaging existing oral tradition’s components in the interaction design of the game - Longitudinal study to evaluate the impact of the game. Spoken-Web Data Flow System: - Exploring the issues of anonymity and identity - Exploring the issues with documentation, management and sharing of voice-recordings - Extending the design concept for parent-teacher interaction and student attendance - Extending the concept for Asynchronous Voice Messaging - Co-design activities with Government officials (BEO and DEEO) and local teachers. Mobile based multi-modal applications for educational content - Utilizing the microSD cards usage practices for distribution of educational content. Exploring Mobile Internet for various education related possibilities in rural schools
  26. 26. Thank You Contact: abhigyan.singh@gmail.com

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