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Digital Bangladesh: Modernizing Literacy using Technology

Modern day literacy is defined as not only having the ability to write and read,  but also interpret and assess the world around us. While verbal literacy develops from a young age, not many get the opportunity for a quality education. With the emerging trend of using technologies and media to enhance learning and teaching methods, institutions from a number of countries are trying to adopt it within their teacher training systems and within their schools. JAAGO Foundation, founded in Bangladesh, is an example of an organization that has modernized literacy using technology by launching an ‘digital school’ model and collaborating with the government for their Access to Information (a2i) programme.

Bangladesh has come a long way in literacy by efficiently responding to the Basic Literacy Project and by incorporating technology within the education sector. The Bangladesh literacy rate has risen significantly in the past decade with a whopping 72.76%, according to the latest data from UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). The rate is increasing as the  present government is adopting multifaceted programs and it is one of the major reasons that UN Committee for Development Policy (CPD) has promoted Bangladesh to the ‘Developing Country’ status. To realize the plan for Digital Bangladesh, many institutions in the education sector have adopted  information technology to engage the attention of students through visual representation of sounds, concepts, pictures alongside interactive activities. One such organization is JAAGO Foundation.

JAAGO introduced an “Digital School” model to reduce the gap through unique use of ICT. In 2017, UNESCO had acknowledged the “Digital School” model for innovative use of information and communications technology (ICT) in the field of Education. The model entails a class of Digital School being conducted by connecting a teacher from the Teacher’s Center, which is located in Dhaka, to a classroom, located in a hard to reach area, using a video conferencing technology. These classes are supervised by two teachers who are physically present  in the classroom end of the rural areas and one online teacher, teaching from Bangladesh’s capital city- Dhaka. The online teachers deliver the lecture followed by an interactive session with the student in every class. The school end teachers assist the children during class work and help maintain a disciplined classroom environment. JAAGO believes that quality education is one of the strongest keys to unlock an individual’s mind liberating him/her from the confinement of ignorance.

The government is already using this “Digital School” infrastructure, with the help of JAAGO Foundation, for their Moheskhali Digital Island project to teach English at “Digital Island Moheskhali” to 9000 students. If this breakthrough technology is adapted in the future by universities and colleges for experts to conduct lessons, the literacy rate and skill development of citizens will accelerate significantly.

JAAGO has also partnered with the Bangladesh government on their project A2i, to develop content under an e-learning platform called Muktopaath. These videos and lessons accessible and available for capacity development of individuals who seek certified e-learning courses in Bangladesh.

For any child to become literate, enter the society and build a career as a proper and productive individual, the need for quality education is a vital step. Access to just any kind of education will not suffice and there needs to be an upkeep with the global trends. In that event,  the use of technology for literacy is becoming imperative globally. With the world revolutionizing owing to breakthrough technologies in human interaction, the necessity for child literacy is paramount.