Monday, March 9, 2015

Not confusing Literacy and Education

As early as 1967, a humble, yet very important program started on Doordarshan - Krishi Darshan. Agriculture forms the backbone of our economy. One of the prime challenges we faced was that the farmers were, by and large, not literate. So India did something brilliant - it took knowledge to the farmers in their first language - using the very powerful medium of AV - Audio/ Video education.

That's the great part. The sad part? That the adult education program, in spite of this great early win, was not integrated with the AV mechanism. Instead, we focused on the Adult Literacy program and linked education and literacy - an artificially created relationship.

Various NGOs doing field work in the rural areas and with those who are not literate will vouch for the educational potential of AV. We now need to utilise that potential and use AV for education. This is a step beyond the idea of using literacy as the sole vehicle of education.

AV - Audio/ Video is a much richer way to impart education. This is because multiple senses are involved in the reception. This is the next best to experiential learning, where all our senses are involved in the learning process.

Audio - Audio alone is way more flexible and portable than AV. It is not as rich, but it is lighter and can be used to reach more people. With audio, the infrastructure requirement is significantly lower - a simple audio player, a small speaker set.Can be managed in most remote locations. But there is one more advantage with audio - because images are not being presented for consumption, it allows the listener to engage their brain in a very important activity - imagery - the ability to create images from descriptions.
A simple mp3 player can be used to make a personal audio library for anyone.

Because all we need is a working phone!

That's why CLABIL is important. It creates that online resource which is versatile  - because it does not depend on print as the sole medium of instruction - and is flexible, because all you need is a phone with speakers. mp3 plays on most phones or any audio device at all. It is downloadable - which means one can just carry the content to the most impoverished, most remote places, and use it there.

Of all the things we have on CLABIL, stories are my personal favourite. Because they impart life skills like few things can.

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