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Mobile education comes to villages

by Prasad Krishna last modified May 30, 2011 05:49 AM
PEOPLE living in remote villages, trekking many miles to schools and colleges before dropping out, can now look forward to a tech option — mobile education. Education over mobile phones is vital in India, where the literacy rate according to 2011 census is 74.04 per cent, observers note. This article by Shayan Ghosh was published in Mail Today on May 27, 2011.

India has 791 million mobile subscribers according to regulatory body TRAI with a significant share in villages. That is the target group several start- ups and educational institutions are looking at.

Indira Gandhi National Open University ( IGNOU) based in New Delhi, is taking a lead in the matter. “ The technology is pretty new in India and we are planning to implement things like SMS alerts to students and coursespecific databases,” K. R. Srivathsan, pro vice- chancellor, IGNOU, said.

"It will definitely change the scenario of education in rural India," noted Srivathsan. 

"All possible components required in a learning cycle including auditory, visual, reading, writing, collaboration, interaction, recording and computing," Amit Zaveri, CEO, EnableM, a company that delivers education through mobile devices, said.

"In rural areas the challenges for delivery of learning content & services are many including physical distances ( to institutes etc.), lack of teachers, no or limited access to standardised & branded content, time & cost constraints, limited capability for peer assessments, lack of skills development facilities for employability," Zaveri added.

Mig33, a Singapore- based mobile social network is hopeful that the mobile revolution could actually mean impart education to all.

"Mobile phones have moved from being phone devices to communication devices. With the advent of 3G, this is going to become bigger and better.

Also tablets are expected to play very effective role in this," Mohit Gundecha, India operations head, Mig33, said.

"With 3G the video clips can help educate, smart apps can help people learn, good sms apps can engage audiences about education concepts. We already see a host of companies coming in to take care of the hardware aspects and digital content to match the need," Gundecha explained.

According to Vikram Nagaich, director and founder, InnovateEdu, on one side, with mobile phones the content the reach of the content could be very wide. However, the efficacy would have to be delivered through extremely innovative and sophisticated content.

"Mobiles can penetrate better as they have things in favour like better battery life and people do not need any training to operate it. This gives it an upper hand over computers," Sunil Abraham, ED, Center for Internet and Society, said.

The Tech Option

Education over mobile phones is vital in India, where the literacy rate according to the 2011 census is 74.04 per cent, observers note.

With a significant share in villages, this is the target group several start- ups and educational institutions are looking at Indira Gandhi National Open University ( IGNOU) based in New Delhi, is taking a lead in the matter. 

In rural areas, challenges regarding delivery of learning content & services are many and include physical distances, lack of teachers, limited access to standardised content.

Mobile phones have moved from being phone devices to communication devices. With 3G, this is going to become better.

Read the original story here

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