Effectiveness of technological interventions for education and information services in rural South Asia
Faheem Hussain, Carnegie Mellon University, United States
Carnegie Mellon University . Awarded
In the first part of this research, the feasibility of supplementing standard of inservice teacher training (ISTT) for paraprofessional teachers in BRAC's (an NGO in Bangladesh) non-formal primary education system is examined. The present print-based ISTT format is analyzed. Then, to overcome some of the disadvantages of the present system, a range of technology based enhancements is considered in light of local technological infrastructure, regulatory environment, human resources and a literature overview of related international experiences. These options are then compared with respect to cost, multiple qualitative dimensions and relative educational effectiveness. Audio based options (radio and audio cassettes) are found to be most suitable for improving BRAC's present ISTT' s quality.
In the second part, we examine the sustainability of Community Radio (CR) as a tool towards achieving the overall development in the South Asian region. A cross-country comparison of CR in areas including people's participation, regulatory scenarios, human resource development, technology usage trends, financial practices etc. shows a wide variety of CR applications and challenges. An in-depth analysis of financial data and practices of several Nepalese CR stations (rural, urban, and semi-urban) alongside regulatory and anecdotal references from India and Bangladesh shows potential viability through advertising and other mechanisms. Even with an advertisement cap of 5 minutes per hour, every station shows the potential of achieving financial sustainability by selling a fraction of the allotted ad time (7%-46%). Stochastic cost modeling of real world CR data show the trend of increased cost for content development is a trade-off for expanding the listener base and transmission time.
In the third part, we introduce a framework to examine the relative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different information and communications technologies to deliver a range of social services in rural Bangladesh. It focuses particularly on major sectors like agriculture, education, disaster response and healthcare. Expert elicitation (using both local and international group of experts) survey on ICT effectiveness by service domains shows localization as the key determining factor for any technological intervention. CR appears as the dominant option among the considered ICTs. Human intervention has been found to be crucial in both low (20%) and medium-high (60%) literacy populations. Literacy doesn't seem to significantly affect the relative effectiveness of Information Centers with Internet connection over Print and TV based options. In addition, an extensive techno-economic model for the various ICTs and stochastic evaluation of potential penetrations of the ICTs (reach) has also found CR to be the most cost-effective option.
Hussain, F. Effectiveness of technological interventions for education and information services in rural South Asia. Ph.D. thesis, Carnegie Mellon University.
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