There are very few schools set up in the rural areas, and as such, students living in remote villages have to walk miles to reach school. Moreover, the scope for higher education is almost negligible. Even within the few schools present in the rural areas, quality of education is usually not up to the mark, with poor infrastructure, absence of proper qualified teachers and other facilities like electricity, etc. This in turn drives more potential students away from school. Attempts to get round this problem have been made by different third world countries in their own ways.
Almost all solutions lie in the use of technology. In our neighboring country, India, the government has tried to promote rural education in various ways, like ensuring provision of at least one computer in every school in the villages, providing group classes by using video and audio conferencing, thereby promoting mass education. Moreover, teachers are given tools like Laptops, printers, etc. To provide notes and other important notices to children. Private institutions like Real, UNIT are opening their centers in rural areas to provide computer education to students and teachers.
Private companies like Wiper and others are providing basic infrastructures like computer parts, teachers and technicians for promoting rural education. These initiatives are proving effective towards the promotion of rural education. Computers in the rural primary schools attract the children and in turn they attend classes. The computer education brings a feeling of confidence and equality among the village children. They feel like they are no less than those studying in the city schools and colleges. This feeling makes them work harder to achieve their goals.
The companies and institutions that provide free computer education are also promoting the talent of the village children in a productive manner. A few schools are even using electricity produced by non conventional resources of energy. All in all, technology seems to be helping the promotion of rural education there. In Kenya, according to a BBC report, a pilot project was initiated which was aimed at using technology to deliver education across the African continent. In this project, conceived by Division, textbooks are out, and customized Pocket PC’s, referred to as e-slates, are in.
They are Wi-If enabled and run on license-free open source software to keep costs down. E-slates contain all sorts of information you’d find in a textbook and more. They contain textual information, visual information and questions. Within visual information they can have audio files, video clips and animations The handheld PC’s were chosen in place of desktops because they are more portable, so the children can take them home at night, and also because they’re cheaper, making them cost-effective alternatives to traditional methods of learning. The Justification Division uses is that families pay upwards of $100 a year for textbooks.
This system is something that they hope will be sustainable, and the money that they use towards textbooks could be used to buy e- slates instead, which can last more than a year, thereby reducing the cost of education. Moreover, the potential offered by e-slates are enormous. The content stored on them can be dynamically updated wirelessly, hence the need for Wi-If. This means that they could include anything from new textbooks which have Just come on stream, to other content like local information or even pages from the web. The team eave also devised a rather neat system for getting the information onto the devices.
First off, content is created and formatted for use on the e-slate. A central operations centre distributes the material over a cheap satellite radio downlink to a satellite radio receiver in the school. The information passes through a base station which beams it out wirelessly to the students. And so a new and enjoyable way of learning is born. The team is convinced that this system will play a part in Africans digital future. Now that WI-FL is available in Bangladesh too, a similar system could be piloted y willing Nags or the government to see how our rural children can benefit.
In Bangladesh rural education has been encouraged through Distance Learning. A small number of educational institutions (public and private) in Bangladesh offer distance and open learning programs. Among these, Bangladesh Open University (BOO) is the only public institution which plays a major role. BOO mainly aims at mass education and training, especially of rural groups like women, agricultural workers, etc. It basically uses media, like lectures on TV and radio, face-to-face tutorials and audio cassettes, tapes, email, teleconference and printed modules for independent study.
The government also provides programs like ‘Matt O’ Mannish’ an agricultural information TV program. However, there are a number of limitations to the system. There is no interactivity involved with the students, no feedback of learning outcome, no way of gauging student progress and no evaluation of teaching quality. Given the limitation of resources, a computer-based system would be unfeasible for our rural setup. However, mobile phone use has been growing sporadically into rural areas of Bangladesh. The use of Short Message Service (SMS) is also growing accordingly.
SMS, which costs less than calling, offers a mode of communication that is within reach of almost everyone. As such, SMS may be effective in providing two-way feedback during a distance education session. In a paper prepared by Houses M Islam, Killer Raman, Shafts Shamans Razz, Md. ABA Stayed and Shakable Zamia of BRACE University and Soft-Deed Limited respectively, it has been proposed how the SMS system can be incorporated into a distance education session over national television. A participant may SMS his queries regarding the ours, using particular key words.
After few seconds the system will automatically send the information about the courses. So, people in remote areas can also easily find out course’s information using SMS without the need for Internet access. If a participant fulfils the course requirements, he/she can register his/her information using SMS. If the registration is successful then the proposed system will send a confirmation via SMS. If the lectures are telecast live, the students can confirm his/ her attendance. The logged attendance will help the teacher ask random individual questions by phoning up attending students.
The lesson session needs to be question-based to provoke thought and establish the mechanism of two-way feedback. The presenter would pose questions at suitable intervals. If some participants do not participate in the question answer session then the system can send a message to the participants to give the feeling that he/she is being personally monitored by the presenter. This would motivate participants to attend the question- answer session. In the last 10 minutes of a live show, participants can send in their queries and questions by SMS.
The presenter can browse the questions and give answers on air. The system can also keep record of each participant’s performance throughout the course. At end of the each class, participants can get a performance notification via SMS. This may motivate participants to attend the next class. The system of taking lectures over television with feedback established through SMS was lab tested in a few universities using a multimedia projector fed from a video camera – the presenter being in a separate room. During the lecture, the students responding via SMS were independently videotaped.
Most participants were ported to have enjoyed the lecture thoroughly and came out with a clear concept about the lecture. Moreover, the system helped the weak participants, who were shy to answer the questions. They also said that the proposed system helped them to concentrate on delivered lecture. Thus Immediate student feedback on learning positively motivates students and can be used to enhance distance learning. The SMS system of distance education can prospectively help bridge the rural education gap in an effective and non-expensive way, and encourage a larger crowd in Bangladesh to reap the benefits of education.
Such initiative was taken by our neighboring country, India, where a network service provider , Avoidance , came up with an idea that make it possible for their country to easily educate people in remote areas. The initiative called “Learning with Avoidance” service, being implemented by the Avoidance India Foundation, and developed in partnership with Program Education Foundation, aims to improve the standard of education for schoolchildren in India by using innovative software and mobile internet to train teachers and help them engage students using interactive learning materials and multi-media content.
The service makes education more accessible to students wherever they are using mobile phones, tablets or the Avoidance Webbed (a low-cost internet-enabled device that connects to a television). Together with Program, we provide all the necessary equipment and learning materials, and train teachers to use the service. Learning with Avoidance provides access to digital educational content aligned with the prescribed curriculum. It includes multiple choice tests that can be completed via SMS text message and a notification service enabling teachers to check understanding of the content and keep parents informed of their children’s regress.
Teachers can also track attendance, grades and administrative requirements using the accompanying school management system. Following a successful pilot in 150 schools across the state of Karakas in 2011/12, Learning with Avoidance is being extended across three more regions in India. Nine out of 10 teachers involved in the pilot believed their students performed better and were more involved in the class. With funding from the Avoidance Foundation, the program aims to introduce Learning with Avoidance at 1,000 schools by 201 5, reaching 50,000 children.
English language lesson via mobile phones in India In India, being able to speak English can help people get a Job and increase their earning power. Those fluent in English earn up to four times more than non-English speakers. In 2012/13, Avoidance launched ‘Hello to English’ with education provider Pearson in Harlan and Attar Pradesh, India. This service enables people in remote and rural areas to use any basic mobile phone as a Virtual classroom’ to learn basic English language skills and achieve a level of proficiency for business use.
It is aimed primarily at young adults, particularly those who never had the opportunity to attend r finish school. The virtual classroom cuts the cost and time needed to travel to a classroom. Students can learn in bite-sized sessions at a time that suits them and pay the fee of 1,945 Rupees (around IIS$36) over seven installments, improving accessibility for people on low incomes. Starting with a Pearson text book in the student’s local language and English, the course includes self-study exercises and pre-recorded messages with instructors leading learning.
Students interact with teachers in real time, talking to them on the phone and receiving tests via SMS text assuages to check their understanding. Teachers start and manage classes through an online platform and the SMS tests enable them to track students’ progress. On completion of the course, students receive certification marking their achievement that they can use to help them gain employment. The service was first introduced in February 2013 and the full-scale rolled in India aims to train 250,000 students in the first year.
Digital methods can make a qualitative difference to rural education. The Government and private sector should pitch in. However, despite the tremendous Roth in many crucial sector, access to quality and higher education remains largely confined to urban and semi-urban Bangladesh, while much of rural Bangladesh is still deprived of primary education. Schools in rural areas continue to suffer from a paucity of committed teachers and proper infrastructure, such as classrooms, blackboards and benches.
Given that such schools are few and far between, most classes are overcrowded, leading to a distorted teacher-student ratio. In such a situation, it is impossible for teachers, even if they are willing to help, to attend to each and every student. An all-India survey of school children in the rural areas, conducted by EASER, found that only 58 per cent of children enrolled in class Ill to V could read a class I text. Less than half -? at 47 per cent -? were able to do simple two-digit subtraction. And only half the children in class V to VIII could use a calendar.
Proper textbooks, learning materials, skill-based, relevant and contemporary curriculum and, most important, experienced teachers are urgently needed to enable rural children to compete with their urban counterparts, not only at the national, but at the global level too. Many division are increasingly looking for better, more economical, models of education delivery to impart education, particularly in under-serviced areas. Although there is limited support for private education from the Government as of now, a policy in this direction is perhaps imperative in the long run.
Of course, there are obstacles. IMPARTING QUALITY EDUCATION Poverty continues to be a stumbling block in imparting and accessing quality education in rural Bangladesh. In the absence of private schools, parents have to depend largely on government schools which are considerably cheaper, but are poorly equipped. Also, to make matters worse, in some regions, there are only a few government schools and education opportunities are limited due to geographical, cultural, economic, social and religious reasons.
Quality education at a nominal cost is desperately needed in the rural areas. Parents of children in these areas, like their urban counterparts, have begun to give a lot of importance to quality education. IT- ENABLED SOLUTIONS It has been argued that digital education could act as a major trigger to overcome such issues as lack of textbooks and blackboards, but it too is faced with its own set of challenges. Unlike urban centers where technology is imparted through smart classes and computer labs, rural areas lag behind.
Huge investments, the need to develop digital content in regional languages and limited exposure of teachers to technology in rural areas are some of the deterrents. It is here that private organizations and digital service providers, along with the government, have a major role to play. They need to create technology-based applications that cater to all regions of the country and train teachers. The Government also needs to support such initiatives and ensure that costs are brought down. While private schools have sprung up to cater to these sections, many are fly-by-night operations with dubious academic standards.
While the governments have made some progress in building technology-enabled schools in villages, it is very difficult to run these institutes as the format doesn’t find acceptance in the villages. As a result, a lot of money goes down the drain. (CDC Deduced Solution 2013 Deduction Foundation has created a new model called Universal Academy Schools to target first generation learners in remote areas and villages. The schools were designed to provide a nurturing environment for learners room diverse cultural, social and economic strata and religious backgrounds.
The school’s curriculum is customized to address the challenges in such areas. The schools provide modern education based on the latest teaching pedagogy and are learner-centric, skill-based and Job-oriented. They are also catalysts for social change and while respecting local culture and customs, they influence the community to absorb new, progressive ideas. This program has benefited close to 20,000 rural people across six districts, 120 villages in six States. The schools disseminate modern, anthropometry ideas on sanitation, health, social Justice, gender quality, labor, industry and enterprise.
Schools in rural areas should not only promote education across sections of society but must also focus on imparting vocational training that will help the students get Jobs at the end of the study period. Another problem in such areas is that the education of a girl child is the last priority for most households. Schools in rural areas must address this aspect as well. The Government has to be more proactive in furthering this agenda. Schools at the nursery, elementary and secondary levels and for adult education need to be set up in every village so that students do not have to travel to neighboring villages.