8 Feb 2011

Shilpa Sayura is a Social Change Maker at Telecentres

Local language e learning at rural Telecentres
An imperative of ICT for increasing access to education

Niranjan Meegammana, Shilpa Sayura Foundation
Keeragolle Dhammasara, Talakumabura Nenasala
Chaminda Samarawikrama, Siyambalanduwa Nenasala
Saman Sisira Kumara, Madagama Telecentre

In the face of emerging global challenges, from climatic change, heath, economic crisis and cultural issues, education remains the foundation for innovation for the advancement of human kind. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) help us to find new ways to teach people and improve the quality of education to initiate social changes through life long learning. Hence it is important to know the future imperatives of ICT that can be used in developing people to face the 21st century challenges and to respond to crucial problems in access to education with scalable and replicable ICT innovations.

This research is done in rural areas of Sri Lanka where early school drop-off rates after secondary education ranges from 51.6% -66.9% creating an adverse effect in rural societies increasing unemployment and unrest among youth. The research studies cases of local language e learning at Telecentres in rural Sri Lanka, implemented by Shilpa Sayura – rural e learning project. This initiative created open learning environments in rural Telecentres by catalyzing the power of ICT for enabling of self and group learning of the national curriculum to increase access to education by the marginalized rural youth whose education has been hampered with lack education resources. Shilpa Sayura by creating a new means of access to education helped improving of quality and performance in rural education. This research involves four case studies of local language e learning at rural Telecentres and a survey done among rural youth to understand how local language e learning was deployed in rural Telecentres of Sri Lanka, the approaches for development, resulting social change, innovative uses of ICT, obstacles, challenges and mitigation measures in the process to initiate a learned discussion on how “local language e learning at Telecentres” can be used as an effective development instrument for social change of rural societies in the developing world

In conclusion, the research finds that Shilpa Sayura and Telecentre local language e learning model as an innovation emerged through information and communication for development for increasing access to education by marginalized rural youth which can hope to improve examination performances and reduce school drop-offs. The scaling up of this innovation can help us to bridge gaps created by disparities in access to education in rural communities to transform them as “learning societies” for engaging them with life long learning to face the challenges of the 21st century. In this context “local language e learning at Telecentres” is seen as an effective development instrument which can significantly catalyze the social change with increased access, improved quality and performance in rural societies of the developing world, hence suggest as a future imperative of information and communication for development for social change.

Keywords: Shilpa Sayura, Telecentres, education, development, social change

This paper on Shilpa Sayura Impact was presented at "Future Imparatives of Informtion and Communication for Social Change" conference held at UNESCO Conference Center in Bangkok, Thailand on 22nd December 2010.

Part I

Part II