The project was aimed to empower adults and children of selected tribal hamlets with tablets & 1000 ST candidates in Kerala where trained on integrated program with ACC combined with either social/ health awareness training. Amrita CREATE had taken into account the learning needs of tribal children and adults while designing the educational content in tablet format, taking into considering its screen size and low processing power. This project aimed to spread computer literacy and health awareness among the scheduled tribes using tablet technology in native languages.
It offered benefits of e-literacy and empowerment to the tribal people, particularly the youth through Digital Literacy Program. Through this programme, the tribal students got the opportunity for the first time to use technology and tablet education free of cost. The project was piloted in the tribal areas of Palakkad (Attapadi), Idukki and Wayanad. ACC training, along with specific modules on social awareness was offered to the targeted tribal population.
- A video application intended for adult learners to clarify and understand about basic societal functioning, child safety, health, hygiene and diseases was created and video contents developed by UNICEF were mainly used as part of the training.
- Once the project got over, an impact study was conducted with a multifold perspective. The main objective was to study the impact of the training done among tribal areas in IT Skills and how much of E-Inclusion has been brought out through low cost devices among scheduled tribes in Kerala. The study also focused on measuring the impact of effectiveness of tab based education in tribal communities in Kerala.
- Nair, P. (2007) has given importance on non-formal education in tribal areas particularly to reach out to the hardest-to reach group of children in remote areas. The content was created in the mother tongue of the tribal’s i.e. Malayalam for effective delivery and adaption. Jha & Jhingran, D. (2002) have strongly advocated the use of the mother tongue or home language as medium of instruction in early stages of education.
- Access to education for rural communities is able to generate awareness about various issues that are commonly observed in rural areas: poverty reduction, control of disease, augmenting employment prospects, the importance of education, and increasing the-literacy rate (Chotani, 2013). With the intensifying network expansion of information communication technologies (ICTs) across the world, educationists are keen on making the most of the advantages of contemporary technology to catapult the-literacy levels amongst the world’s underprivileged population (Winthrop & Smith, 2012).
- If well-executed, it can work remarkably well for fostering literacy and better quality of education across India, especially in linking rural students with superior faculties and universities (Das & Singha, 2012).Educating both boys and girls in a community through Low Cost Tablets can bring about the awareness needed to tackle various social and health issues (Chaudhary etal., 2010).Children understand and learn efficiently with the help of these visual aids.
- Laptop and tablet computers offer much greater flexibility than desktop computers. Total touch interaction with the tabletop and the average total time spent by a group were found to be the two main collaboration factors contributing to the performance gain..Studies show that Clickers, tablet computers and other kinds of technology enable instantaneous interaction and feedback between teachers and students. Use of tablet computer technologies increases their motivation to participate in class.
- Education can help overcome majority of issues as those mentioned earlier. It can help in the development of the tribal community by improving their living conditions and letting them know their privileges. However, trying to educate the tribal community has a few setbacks. These arise from the issues due to the lack of qualified teachers, adequate facilities and infrastructure and due to no access to quality education. An educational method that is capable of reducing the illiteracy rate by engaging the children and compensating for the lack of facilities, competent and committed teachers, as well as access to fundamental educational material is needed. Nedungadi & Raman (2012) describe the architecture of an adaptive learning system that offers personalized assessment and learning on both personal computers (e-learning) and mobile devices (m-learning) and showed that student engagement and learning on m-learning is comparable to e-learning
- These have been addressed by the Amrita e-literacy and Awareness project that has the goal of improving the overall living conditions in the tribal areas by educating them on Social and Health Awareness and introducing them to e-Literacy using tablet technology. This will help to empower them and broaden their awareness about the need for healthy choices in their lives. For instance, making them aware of the importance of nutrition using stories and animations on the tablet will help them start making better choices. They can also learn how to make a kitchen garden and grow organic food.
- Amrita CREATE, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham has trained and certified 1,087 tribal youth and adults in the Wayanad, Idukki, and Attapadi districts of Kerala in Digital Literacy under the Digital India program. 92% of the tribal beneficiaries passed an external exam conducted by agovernment agency NIELIT. This revolutionary program took computer literacy to tribal communities, who would otherwise not have the opportunity to learn basic computing skills, have an email account or browse the internet. Beneficiaries also learned basic financial literacy with online banking and how to gain access to educational resources and government schemes. The beneficiaries include tribal’s in remote tribal settlements, in tribal schools, girls who had dropped out of the school system and received intervention at Mahila Shikshan Kendras, and girls from a Nirbhaya Hostel, who have been rescued from human trafficking or high-risk circumstances. Human trafficking is a big social evil which is plaguing Kerala as well. Statistics shown is Table 2.2 highlights that Kerala has one of the highest numbers in India in cases relating to Human Trafficking.
Awareness in Computer Concepts
- The Awareness in Computer Concepts (ACC) is an entry level course to learn how to operate computers and use the internet like accessing e-Governance applications, bill payment, online banking, personal e-mail and educational sites teaching health and social awareness. The tribal will also get the opportunity to learn basic word processing. ACC is an initiative of DeitY, Ministry of Communications and IT and NIELIT (National Instituted of Electronics and Information Technology), all under the Government of India. On completion of the course, examinations will be conducted and ACC course completion certificates will be issued to the candidates on successful completion of their training.
- The objectives of the Amrita e-Literacy and Awareness program is to spread computer literacy, and social and health awareness among the scheduled tribes, who are generally unable to avail themselves of the benefits of e-literacy. The training is provided on tablet computers and includes Awareness in Computer Concepts (ACC) and Health Awareness.
- The Social and Health Awareness activities included videos and apps on the tablet that provide education on issues such as drug and alcohol addiction, not washing hands, spitting in public places, dangers of open defecation, advantages of boiling water and benefits of healthy food habits.