Vol. II No.


February 2004

The first monthly magazine on ICT4D

IT Education
Information for development www.i4donline.net

Initiatives among Mumbai Muslims

Integrating the role of teachers

ICT in higher education

Mapping the Neighbourhood
An alternate learning experience

ISSN 0972 - 804X






IT Education

Initiatives among Mumbai Muslims ...................................... 8 Rehana Ghadially and Farida Umrani
Mapping the Neighbourhood

An alternate learning experience .......................................... 14 Rumi Mallick, Anuradha Dhar and Dr. Satyaprakash
Changing Paradigms

Map India 2004 ................................................................... 39

Exam results through the Internet ....................................... 18 Neeta Verma, Sonal Kalra

News ..................................................................................... 6
Book Review

The hole-in-the-wall ............................................................ 22 Sugata Mitra
Integrating role of teachers

Geo-informatics in higher education ................................... 25 Seema M Parihar

Transforming e-Knowledge: A revolution in the sharing of knowledge ........................................................................... 37 Madan Mohan Rao What’s on ............................................................................ 41
Et Cetera

Information for development .............................................. 29 Karl Harmsen

Games people play ............................................................... 42

Published and printed by Ravi Gupta on behalf of Centre for Spatial Database Management and Solutions (CSDMS) G-4 Sector 39, NOIDA, UP, 201 301, India. © CSDMS, 2003. All rights reserved.

Information for development www.i4donline.net

Advisory Board
M P Narayanan, Chairman i4d Amitabha Pande Department of Science and Technology, Government of India Chin Saik Yoon Southbound Publications, Malaysia Ichiro Tambo OECD, France Karl Harmsen Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific, India Kenneth Keniston Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA Mohammed Yunus Grameen Bank Bangladesh Walter Fust Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Switzerland Wijayananda Jayaweera UNESCO, France

Editorial Board
Akhtar Badshah, Digital Partners Fredrick Noronha, Bytesforall Madan Mohan Rao, Consultant Editor Ravi Gupta Assistant Editor Digbijoy Bhowmik Senior Research Associate Manish Kumar Research Associate Anuradha Dhar, Gautam Navin

Group Directors
Maneesh Prasad, Sanjay Kumar i4d G-4 Sector 39, NOIDA, UP, 201 301, India. Phone +91 120 250 2180-87 Fax +91 120 250 0060 Email info@i4donline.net Web www.i4donline.net Singapore Office 25 International Business Park, #4-103F, German Centre, Singapore - 609916 Phone +65-65627983 Fax +65-656227984 Printed at Yashi Media Works Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi, India Designed by TSA GraphicFX www.tsafx.com

i4d does not necessarily subscribe to the views expressed in this publication. All views expressed in this magazine are those of the contributors. i4d is not responsible or accountable for any loss incurred directly or indirectly as a result of the information provided. © Centre for Spatial Database Management and Solutions, 2003

ICT in education – a paradigm shift A recent advertisement of a new line of computer processors caught my attention. The bottomline of the advertisement illustrated how the processor could help a child do better at school. For a while, I wondered as to why a company, which had spent billions of dollars in developing the processor, would find something as trivial as school homework to promote the product, when it had corporate entities to sell it to. And then it came in a flash. As of this day, no one would refer to literacy as the three R’s (Reading, wRiting and aRithmatic) anymore – there is a fourth element that is probably as trivial as the pencil and the eraser. It is the computeR – so very much taken for granted that it would be hard to imagine a system of education without it. But then again, computers and the Internet do not alone comprise ICT – and the fact that the majority of students and teachers in developing nations are bereft of these ICTs raises doubts towards as to what actually ICT does. The media has played a significant role in imparting non-normative education, right from the days of Captain Kangaroo in the West to our own Gyan Darshan in India. But like most media, it follows the one-sizefits-all approach – specially packaged and customized content is difficult and expensive to produce. This is where the Internet comes in as the big equalizer – the interchange for both content and ideas, and scalable to the level of its user. While Internet based learning has been the onus of most emergent educational establishments, lower end educational systems are also using repackaged content from the Internet – a first of sorts. The proliferation of the Internet in the education system has also resulted in new experiments being conducted in the art of communicating knowledge. Research on school students aged between 10 and 15, has established that a pure verbal medium could ensure only about 40% retention of knowledge a week after imparting the same. However, when the same content was imparted using verbal and illustrative combination, and then using ICT, retention levels rose to 63% and 85% respectively! The teaching segment of society is almost unanimous that ICT will never quite replace the teacher. Normative methods still rule the roost on account of social acceptability – an online degree is still not at par with one that comes from contact-based and classroom based courseware. However, be it instructional methodology, educational administration or value addition by skill impartment, ICT has made its presence felt – and it is hoped that it will soon be accepted as a tool for effective instruction.

Ravi Gupta ravi.gupta@i4donline.net

February 2004 | www.i4donline.net


Microsoft in human rights row
Technology sold by Microsoft to the Chinese government has been used by Beijing to censor the internet, and resulted in the jailing of its political opponents. An Amnesty International report has cited Microsoft among a clutch of leading computer firms heavily criticised for helping to fuel 'a dramatic rise in the number of people detained or sentenced for internet-related offences'. The human rights group has slated Bill Gates's company for an 'inadequate response' to escalating abuses in China. 'We don't believe this is appropriate or responsible,' said Mark Allison, an Amnesty International researcher who wrote the report. '[Microsoft] should be more concerned about human rights abuses and should be using its influence to lift restrictions on freedom of expression and get people out of prison. It is worrying that they don't seem to have raised these issues.

SchoolNet in South East Asia
The South East Asian ICT Advocacy and Planning Workshop for Policy Makers and National ICT Coordinators (15 December 2003) provided the foundation for implementing the launching of the project. It is through the commitment and support of officials from the Ministries of Education that successful achievement of the goals and objectives set forth in the project will be possible. Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR and Viet Nam committed to pilot testing the project for three years. The project focuses on south-south cooperation, using the full range of ICTs and partnerships to enhance education. National SchoolNets will also be developed to support the specific educational needs of each country.

highly welcomed. Bridging the digital divide in developing countries is highly desirable, but in order to be effective much more is needed than setting up computer centers in remote areas. For the amount of money to be spent, simply setting up ICT centers will require high capital costs and would have insignificant long term effects. Costs will include real estate purchase or rental, equipment purchase and recurring administrative costs for technical and administrative staff. There is little proof that such centers can lead to a significant rise in computer or internet literacy or that they can ever become sustainable. Instead a major annual cost will have to be born by the host countries long after UNDP and Mr. Gate's company leave town.

Microsoft, UNDP join hands
Computer giant Microsoft has signed a one billion dollar agreement with UNDP. This five-year plan is aimed at bridging the digital divide in developing countries, starting with Egypt, Morocco and Mozambique. While long overdue, the move is

Kufuor inaugurates Burma Camp Computer Centre
President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana called for collaboration between the Burma Camp Computer Centre and the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in Information and Communication Technology to explore new ways of designing training programmes. President Kufuor made the call when he unveiled the plague to inaugurate the three point three (3.3) billion cedis Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Burma Camp Computer centre at Burma Camp in Accra. The Ministry of Defence initiated the Computer Centre in June 2001 to promote computer literacy and education in the Ghana Armed Forces. The Centre will house 135 computers with resource persons to train the soldiers. The Centre also has an Internet café and provides a convenient environment for ancillary services, such as the Burma Camp branches of the Ghana Commercial Bank and the State Insurance Company, a pharmacy, a bookshop and a cafeteria.

Thirteen languages speak with one voice at WSF
The Media Center at World Social Forum 2004, equipped with a complete network lab of 120 computers and 40 lap-top connections was maintained open and functional 24 hrs for the entire forum with free softweare. This is the first time in WSF history, that media members were allowed access to the facilities at the Center 24 hrs a day. The challenges were present every day of this world forum, although no official complaints: the dedicated effort of fifty Free Software Foundation (FSF) volunteers and members, with great enthusiasm and considerable knowledge helped in all technical aspects to make this first-time event a reality. Keep in mind this is a youth revolution, since most of the FSF volunteers are younger than 21. They all showed the world that we do not need restrictions and privatization of systems of information, that knowledge and human communications are truly free and democratic.

Mobiles in Baghdad
Denied many modern luxuries under Saddam Hussein, Baghdad's consumers welcomed the arrival of cell phone service amidst grumbles about the high fees charged by the city's new cell phone monopoly. Iraqna began distributing cell phones to consumers Saturday. Many had put their names on the company's waiting list two months ago after the U.S.-led coalition gave the Egyptian-backed com-


i4d | February 2004

pany a two-year contract to run a cell phone network in central Iraq. The capital has limited fixed-line phone service. But because demand far outstripped the available lines, many residents have relied on expensive and finicky satellite phones. Cellphones appear ready to join once-forbidden satellite dishes as new symbols of freedom and affluence in post-Saddam Iraq. In the dictator's day, cell phones were "only for the police," said architect Qussay Riyad, 43, as he picked up a phone.

Open Source to aid ailing doctors
Open source software could revolutionize medical care in developing countries. A group of open source evangelists are looking to share Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (Vista), created by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, with developing countries. The Veterans system is used in 170 hospitals and 600 clinics to keep track of thousands of Vietnam vets. Open source software could help hospitals save money as well as provide better treatment for patients. "You could have a complete hospital information system available for free," said Joseph Dal Molin, a director of WorldVista, a non-profit corporation that aims to make affordable healthcare information technology available worldwide. Within medical care, a unified computer system is optimal, but for developing countries the cost of such a system can be draining. Open source software can be tricky to implement and few in developing countries have the expertise in this area. "I admit that turning Vista into a reliable computer system that could easily be used in different cultures and languages was a challenge," says Molin.

India, an emerging Linux hub
At the Linux Asia 2004 conference, which the organisers claim is the first of its kind in Asia, the focus is on use of Linux in enterprises, e-governance, education and society. "Our software developers will have a great opportunity in the area of embedded software, where Linux is emerging as the software platform of choice," said Mr Inder Singh, CEO of LynuxWorks Inc. Experts say that Linux would be the software that would help bridge the digital divide while offering a huge opportunity for Indian software developers.

Tunisia pledges openness for second WSIS
The government of Tunisia has assured civil society organisations that they will be allowed to participate in the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, to take place next year. According to Habib Mansour, Tunisia’s representative to the WSIS, accredited groups will be welcome to participate, including “those that enjoy criticising” the government of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. These statements removed doubts among nongovernmental organisations and other members of civil society about the atmosphere of freedom that will prevail at the UN sponsored Summit, slated for November 16-18, 2005. At that second-phase gathering, delegates are to continue deliberations on fair access to information and communications technology, which had started in December 2003 at Geneva.

cording to the London based rights group Amnesty International. There are now at least 54 people who have been imprisoned for emailing, setting up websites or exchanging pro-democracy messages online – a 60% increase from a year ago, the group said in its latest report on the repression of Internet users by the Chinese authorities. In addition, an unknown number of people remained in detention for disseminating information over the Internet about the spread of the SARS virus. Many of the individuals cited in the report have been denied due process of law and some have been tortured or ill treated in custody, says Amnesty. The report detailed a 25% expansion in Internet access in China with the number of users rising from 59 million in December 2002, to almost 80 million by the end of 2003.

throughout the state capital, Jaipur, and the surrounding countryside. The rickshaw drivers, numbering around 200, are largely drawn from those at the margins of society - the disabled and women.

Pakistan’s ICT for social initiatives
The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) launched an ambitious three-year program to build a modern, knowledge-based society promoting cooperation in scientific research among Islamic member states, with a special thrust on promoting tolerance. The ISESCO was set up by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Morocco in May 1980 as an international organization specializing in the fields of education, science and culture. The ISESCO has 51 member states from the Islamic world. The ambitious threeyear action plan for 2004-2006, adopted by the Eighth General Conference in Iran’s capital, Teheran last month, will focus on the development of systems of scientific, technological and vocational education and training. For daily news on ICT4D log on to www.i4donline.net

Rickshaws to connect India's poor
Shyam Telecom, which operates in the state of Rajasthan, has opted to take its phones to the people rather than wait for them to come to it. The company has equipped a fleet of rickshaws with a mobile phone. Drivers pedal these mobile payphones

China curbing freedom on the Net?
There has been a dramatic rise in the number of people detained or sentenced for Internet-related offences in China, acFebruary 2004 | www.i4donline.net



Initiatives among Mumbai Muslims
The marginalization of the Muslim minority from the mainstream development is well known. As IT and its role in growth and globalization are established, this may not only further marginalize Muslims from the national mainstream but also threaten their place in world development.
The role of new technologies and their potential to contribute to economic growth and human development has been debated at various national and international forums. Speaking of equity and social transformation, the marginalization of the Muslim minority from the mainstream development is well known. As IT and its Rehana Ghadially role in growth and globalization are estabProfessor lished, this may not only further marginrehana@hss.iitb.ac.in alize Muslims from the national mainstream but also threaten their place Farida Umrani in world development. PhD Scholar farida@iitb.ac.in Like the ‘digital divide’, the NorthIIT, Mumbai South divide has been widely discussed in academic circles. In recent times, the divide within a society, especially across geographic location (rural/urban), class, and gender have received inordinate media and academic attention. A society is far more heterogeneous and characterized by divides besides these three. In India, other social structural dimensions worth a mention are caste, ethnicity, religion, language and state. These digital divides deserve our attention and await documentation. Another lacuna in the IT and development literature is the lack of focus on computer access and learning in urban areas. It is assumed that things are well there with the result attention directed to making IT available to villagers. This is not to say that IT development in rural areas is unimportant – it is to illustrate that the urban centres warrant scrutiny as well. Studies document government initiatives – state and centre – and NGOs thrust in IT education; what is left undocumented are the community cum government initiatives. Ethnic groups within the Muslim community have responded to modern technology in diverse ways. The religious leadership of the Daudi Bohra has harnessed information and communication technologies to serve traditional purposes and set itself as a role model for embracing ICT for its people. The ownership of personal computers among the rich of this sect is 14.5% on par with Japan. The Memons on the other hand do not have a single computer in their jamatkhana. Secondly, in the bustling city of Mumbai, Muslim sects such as the Aga Khanis, Ishana Asharis, the Bohras, Memons, Konkani, etc, populate the area from Crawford Market to Byculla Station. This heterogeneity is compounded by diversity in education, class and language. In this stretch of seven bus stops there are no world-class computer training institutions such as APTECH, NIIT, or SSI. The assumption that all is well in urban centres was challenged through a survey of women trainees enrolled for a “Women’s Special” basic course at a world class IT educational institution. Results from Mumbai city showed that only 3% were Muslim women. Given this state of affairs, the role of other players, in this field, if any, needs to be brought to light. The paper highlights some community and government cum community IT education initiatives addressed to the Muslims and describes the nature of the beneficiaries. Besides, it critically reviews these initiatives, share some observations and provide policy recommendations. For this purpose the senior author surveyed the geographical locality mentioned above and spent approximately twenty-two hours at various places where education was imparted. She collected pamphlets, brochures and spoke to the centre heads. In addition, information about the current batch of the beneficiaries was gathered from the application forms to provide a demographic profile of the beneficiaries. This entire activity has been described in three sections – the first describes the initiatives; the second discusses the nature of the beneficiaries and the third section offers critique and makes policy recommendations.
i4d | February 2004


Nature of initiatives
A total of four initiatives were identified. These include a minority related Union Government scheme, efforts of a Muslim educational trust, a local mohalla committee and a cyber cafe. Information, wherever available, on their location, academic program, infrastructure, personnel, services offered and future plans is also provided. National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) The NCPUL was constituted as an autonomous organization on 1st April, 1996 under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. It was set up with the objective of promoting the Urdu language. Secondly, it aims to make available in the Urdu language knowledge of scientific and technological development and ideas evolved in the modern context. Three schemes in operation are a one-year course titled Diploma in Computer Applications and Multilingual DTP, Arabic-Urdu Calligraphy Training and Madrasa Modernization Scheme. The first scheme is describe in detail. The computerized Arabic-Urdu Calligraphy Training Scheme is implemented at more than hundred calligraphy and graphic design training centres set up in 20 states and 59 districts, with a centre each in Ranchi and Bangalore exclusively for girls. The objective is to equip students with the latest methodologies and these centres have produced more than 5000 experts to date. In Mumbai there is one calligraphy center located in the premises of the Anjuman Islam High School and two more are in the pipeline – one of which is at Ballard Pier and the other at Kandivali. The Madrasa Modernization Scheme has enabled approximately 11,000 poor Muslim students from various parts of the country to obtain diplomas. This scheme has yet to take off in Mumbai. The one-year course “Diploma in Computer Applications and Multilingual DTP” is designed to promote of computer education at the grass root level of the Urdu speaking population. At par with the Department of Electronics Accredition of Computer Courses (DOEACC) ‘O’ level basic course, the content is enriched with programming techniques, database applications; accounting packages, web designing, Urdu and Hindi desktop publishing. The objective of this course is to produce medium level IT employable professionals such as DTP, data entry and accounting operators and visual designers. Reference material is provided in English language for each of these modules. In all, there are more than 150 computer centres across 22 states of which 16 are accredited. Of the 9,000 students who have enrolled for the courses from different parts of the country, almost 50% are girls. While this course is targetted at high school pass individuals between 17 to 35 years preference is given to those with higher qualifications in science subjects. They have to pass a written test followed by an interview conducted by a selection committee. Working knowledge of Urdu language and script is necessary as they have to work on Urdu software. The trainees are expected to complete a NCPUL offered one-year diploma in Urdu language through distance education. For the computer course, they are required to pay a monthly fee of Rs. 500 if they
February 2004 | www.i4donline.net

It is assumed that things are well in the cities, with attention directed to making IT available to villagers. However, urban centres warrant scrutiny as well
are residing in a state capital and Rs. 250 for those in other places. Besides, an additional amount of Rs. 300 is charged for the language diploma. In Mumbai, there are five NCPUL centres of which four are located in Muslim concentrated areas, one borders on a Muslim mohalla and one is in a suburb densely populated by Muslims. The Madni Computer Academy located in Byculla near the mohalla and which the senior author visited is the first centre of its kind and has been in operation since past five years. The centre has 15 computers out of which 12 were in operating condition. The ambience is pleasant with an airconditioner and cushioned chairs for the students. There is also a white board to be used for theory classes. Internet access is limited to the teaching of the module. The centre has a prescribed 80 seats for the course, but has only 51 students in the July 2003- June 2004 batch. The centre head commented that the enrolment has gone down in recent years due to the opening of private centres, which do not require knowledge of Urdu language. At present, there are two male and two female trainers and one male system administrator. The centre offers a variety of services to its trainees. The toppers of the batch are absorbed as trainers at the centre and a few others are assisted in finding placement at community-managed schools/ training centres. The centre started English language classes this year to increase the competitiveness of its students. During and after completion of course, on a prior booking basis students are encouraged to come to the centre for practice. The centre plans to introduce advanced courses like web designing and hardware to cater to the demand of the com-


puter savvy. It has also provisioned funds to purchase additional infrastructure. Anjuman-I-Islam Computer Training Centres (AI) The Muslims of Mumbai established the Anjuman-I-Islam on February 21, 1874 with the objective of equipping Muslims with modern education while safeguarding their cultural values. It is the largest minority educational institute in the country and has more than seventy educational institutions under its fold. The various institutions include engineering and medical degree colleges, science, commerce and liberal arts colleges, junior colleges, polytechnics, vocational training centres, research institutes and hostels. Of the 70,000 students studying under Anjuman institutions about 20,000 are girls. The trust runs three computer-training centres housed in the premises of Anjuman-I-Islam managed colleges. Two are in South Mumbai while the third is in a central suburb at Vashi. The Homai Peerbhoy centre located in Anjuman-I-Islam campus was established in the year 2000 under the extension and continuing education program scheme of M.H. Saboo Siddik Polytechnic. The centre offers ten certificate courses of between one to three months duration with fees ranging from Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 4,500. It also offers six diploma courses with duration between six months and two years and fees ranging between Rs.6, 000 to Rs.20, 000. Reference material in English is provided for each of these courses. The medium of instruction is English, though Urdu is used for explanation to facilitate better understanding. The centre is airconditioned with a pleasant ambience and well cushioned chairs. Besides the nine computers all in operating condition, there is a scanner and two printers- DeskJet and laser. The ratio of two students to one computer is the norm and for practical sessions, the trainer gives demonstration to group of four or five students on one personal computer. The personnel include 15 trainers, a public relation personnel and a centre head; all of them are males. The centre offers its students services similar to that extended by NCPUL. The added advantage here is that the coordinator of the scheme and the centre head maintains networking with companies run by members of the community and others to facilitate student placement. Mohalla Committee (MC) After the 1992-’93 riots following demolition of Babri Masjid, the former police commissioner of Mumbai Julio Rebeiro along with activist Sushobha Barve started the Mohalla Ekta Committee Movement. The objective was confidence building among the minorities and computer classes were set up to bring the people and police together. Initially, there were two centres, one at Dongri, which is active and another at Nagpada, which has been converted to a career centre. The Imamwada Mohalla Committee Computer Centre at Dongri offers a two month long basic computer skills course which includes MS Office 2000, Word, Excel, Power Point, Internet and E-mail. Initially, this education was offered free of cost, later a sum of Rs. 300/- of which Rs. 150/- was refunded at the conclusion of the course was introduced. At present, a non-refundable fee of Rs. 300 is charged. The classes are held between 8.00 a.m. and 8.00 p.m.

with girls preferring the afternoon period. Flyers are distributed to give popularity to the course. The personnel from the police stations frequent the center, to learn computer skills and interact with the trainees. Discussions on communal harmony are held after the classes or during the felicitation of students who have successfully completed the course. There are 15 computers of which 11 are operational and one deskjet printer. The centre is on the ground floor of an Urdu medium municipal school. At present, there are two male trainers and there has been no demand for a female trainer from the students or their guardians. The medium of instruction is English, though Urdu and Hindi are used while explaining concepts to the students. No reference material is provided to the students. The centre does not offer assistance in securing placements for its trainees or any other service comparable to the NCPUL and AI centres. Cybercafes cum training Cybercafes have mushroomed across India. In the Muslim mohallas of Mumbai too, one sees a smattering of these cafes. There is variation across the different ethnic enclaves, with only one Cybercafe in the Memon mohalla, a dozen in the Bohra mohalla and the Khoja populated Pala Gali. These centres often double as training centres to impart basic education. The Al-Burhani Cybercafe at Nagpada, owned and managed by an individual from the Bohra community, offers a course, which includes Windows, Excel, Power Point and Internet at a cost of Rs. 250/-. Besides this, training in the Tally accounting package costs Rs. 750/-. The centre houses eight computers, placed in cubicles. The café as a training centre operates like private tutorials. Usually a single student is taught, but if there are more students they are taught together. The medium of instruction is attuned to the demand of the student, so also are the timings. The cafe employs a trainer to teach these computer skills. No attempt is made to popularize training at the café, as it is not its core activity.

Profile of the beneficiaries
In the following paragraphs is described the demographic profile—gender, age, educational qualification, occupational status and proximity to the centre— of the beneficiaries at three institutions. The intake forms of the applicants enrolled in the NCPUL run one-year diploma course (n*= 50) along with those
i4d | February 2004


enrolled in the basic skills program at Anjuman-Islam (n=61) and Mohalla Committee (n=56) were studied for the purpose. Of a total sample of 167, 48.50% (n= 81) were males and 51.50% (n=86) were females. The equal representation of Muslim girls in the sample challenges society’s stereotype of Muslim women. This can be explained by two reasons; one, Muslim families prefer to send their daughters to community managed institutions. Second, women seek certificate courses that cover basic operating skills, web designing and desktop publishing whereas males prefer diplomas that equip them with higher skills like hardware and networking. These explanations are drawn from comments of the centre heads. It is interesting to note that lack of female trainers at two of the centers has not deterred female enrolment. Young women are eager to familiarize themselves with the latest technology and join the modern sector of the economy. They see in it a possibility of working from home. This comes as no surprise as a survey showed that the top work aspiration of Muslim mothers for their daughters was computer related. It would be worth studying female representation at advanced courses and how they see themselves placed in the IT world of work. As far as age and occupational status are concerned, the majority of the beneficiaries were young students. Their average age was 22.64 years (range = 41; 14-55) with 89.83% (n=150) in the age group 29 and below. A small percentage were in their 30s (2.99%, n=5), 40s (4.19%, n=7) or 50s (2.99%, n=5). The majority were students (80.24%, n=134), followed by the employed (16.77%, n=28) and homemakers (2.99%, n=5). The overrepresentation of students comes as no surprise as IT is identified with the young and educated. Secondly, it can be partly explained by

location of one centre in the vicinity of community-managed colleges and special arrangements to adjust centre class timings to the college schedule. This makes it convenient for students to pursue computer education along with their regular studies. For the employed and homemakers, cybercafes offer more flexibility in terms of timing and course content. As one cybercafe owner remarked, “Not many students come to us for training. Instead we have more shop-keepers and homemakers.” The educational qualification of the trainees ranged from senior secondary (31.14%; n= 52) and higher secondary (41.32%, n= 69), to graduation (23.95%, n=40) and post graduation (3.59%, n=6). Data about medium of instruction was available for 106 beneficiaries. Of these 45.28% (n=48) are educated in English medium and the rest are drawn from vernacular medium, mainly Urdu. Despite the additional demand on them, lack of competency in English is not perceived as a deterrent to acquiring computer skills. Besides, the centres’ attempt to improve the beneficiaries command over the English acts as a boost to face this challenge. As far as the socio-economic background of the beneficiaries is concerned, data from 84 forms were available. Of





Pie charts (right) Profile of sampled students/beneficiaries (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Distribution by gender Distribution by age Distribution by occupation Distribution by educational qualifications Time spent per session training


February 2004 | www.i4donline.net


A quick assessment of impacts
Initiatives in the sub-urban/ still-urbanising/ non-urban realms
The National Council for promotion of Urdu language (NCPUL) has 30 (28.57%) out of 105 centers in rural and semi-urban areas example Koshambi in Varanasi, Kamptee in Maharashtra. As far as Anjuman Islam and Mohalla Committee run computer centers are concerned, these are operative only in Mumbai.

Social and economic multiplier(s) generated by the programs
Having a computer literate member encourages others in the family to learn computers (Umrani & Ghadially, 2003). Similar results were echoed by our present survey of forty- three beneficiaries ( twenty-one who had completed the course and twenty-two who were enrolled in the course) where a majority of them (91%) had encouraged their family/ friends/ neighbors to become computer literate This facilitates penetration of computer education in the community. Three-fourths of the trainees (70%) were keen on taking an advance level computer course. As far as the economic multipliers are concerned, assistance is offered in job placement by the centers. For example, the center head at the Anjuman Islam center coordinates with the Muslim business houses for this purpose. He remarked, “Our students have found jobs at Allana House in India and some found work in Dubai. Aamir was working as a peon in Anjuman Islam school, the head of the Anjuman-I-Islam Trust extended him financial assistance to complete our course in Networking. Today he is working in a multi national firm.” Our survey reveals that, from amongst the beneficiaries who completed the computer course, the males were involved in jobs like computer operator (18%) or have joined family business (27%). For the female beneficiaries, the major economic empowerment comes mainly from employment in education related fields. Few (18%) are absorbed as trainers with salaries ranging from 2,500 to 6,000. 36% give computer tuitions to schools students. For both male and female students, simultaneous pursuit of two kinds of education, college and IT, assists them in job search and boosts their confidence when approaching the job market. Center heads are aware of the job market related to BPOs/ITES. But no systematic effort is made to tap or prepare students to enter this sector. However, they are making a beginning in this area. For example, the Anjuman Islam Center had organized a seminar on Jobs in Medical Transcription and plan to conduct similar seminar on jobs at call centers. This center is also running English language and personality development classes- one session each week. No such effort has been made by other institutes/ centers. As far as students’ views on these are concerned, half of them (21/ 43; 49%) were aware of jobs in BPO/ ITES but a very small percentage (12%) had applied in this sector. It may be noted that most of the beneficiaries were still pursuing their college studies; hence a clear picture will emerge later.

Development of sustainable translingual software/ICT practices
NCPUL offers Urdu DTP as a part of the one-year diploma course. At present, they are using the Urdu language software developed by a private firm – Concept software based in Delhi. However, NCPUL has given a project to Center for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Pune to develop this software which is more advanced, customized to the needs of the council and economical in the long run. At other institutes, the usual English software is used.

Increase in PC ownership/ SME development
The survey revealed that one-fourth (10/43; 23%) owned a computer at home while another half ( 25/ 43; 58%) plan to purchase one.There were a few instances where individuals applied their computer knowledge to improve their business. For example, Shazia Khan, a LIC agent said “Now I maintain all the policy record of my clients on computer”. Another beneficiary, Sameer Malwakar said “I have joined my uncle’s office and help him maintain accounts on the computer”.


i4d | February 2004

these 72.62% (n=61) belonged to lower income group, 23.81% (n=20) to the middle-income group and 3.57% (n=3) to the upper income group. The sample is drawn predominantly from the weaker sections of the community because of subsidized rates. For example, a subsidized basic computer skills course at leading IT education institution costs anywhere from Rs. 500 to 800 whereas a similar course at the Mohalla Committee centre costs Rs. 300. Similarly, a one-year diploma course costs Rs.30, 000/at NIIT while a comparable course at the Anjuman Islam centre costs Rs. 12,000 though the former assures job placement. Even world-class institutions run subsidized courses and offer scholarships. Their location in the geographical area mentioned above could attract and benefit the economically weak to get a branded education. Besides the middle and upper class youth would benefit if these institutes were more conveniently located. Regarding proximity of the centre, 39.52% (n=66) of the trainees were located within a 30 minute walk from the centre. For the economically disadvantaged, cost and convenient location are two major attractions to these community-based institutes. It is the established reputation of Anjuman Islam as an educational trust that attracts trainees from relatively distant places.

• To increase their competitiveness in the IT job market the beneficiaries have requested comprehensive package that includes English proficiency and personality development.

We make the following recommendations to facilitate penetration of computer education among urban Muslims of India: • Government, NGOs, community and private initiatives are needed to promote computer education among the poor and the marginalized in the urban centres. One fifth of Indians are extremely poor, and about half of them are Muslims. • Systematic surveys are needed on the state of IT education among minority groups to get insight into the nature of the digital divide in all its complexity. • The urban scenario favours students bypassing other sections of the community. Young adults, the middle aged, the illiterate and less educated, homemakers, petty shopkeepers and the employed need to be integrated in the information age. What barriers operate on this section of the urban population and what factors facilitate adoption is worthy of scholarly attention. Increased access and hands on exposure would encourage them to become computer literate. One way of achieving this is to set up computers in places frequented by them such as mosques, madrasas, jamatkhanas, shrines, etc. This is drawn from the unsupervised approach to promote mass computer literacy, which emphasizes access through open, public internet kiosks to target disadvantaged learners. n = sample size

Critique and observations
Looking at the initiatives and profile of the beneficiaries the following observations and critique are offered: • The initiatives do not promote IT for IT sake, but link it with other considerations like promotion of Urdu, communal harmony or part of a wider educational initiative. This may undermine the importance of computer education in its own right. • These courses are not sufficiently publicized. In cases where newspaper advertisements are inserted, they are in Urdu papers, thus limiting awareness to the Urdu speaking population. This overlooks Muslims with no Urdu language skills. • The centres equate basic computer education with skills in Microsoft-Windows. Open software like Linux that are likely to be more beneficial in the long run due to low cost and higher security is not considered. • The initiatives cater to the young students. The divide across age/education/occupation is bound to get worse and needs to be addressed. For instance, the various sects of Mumbai Muslims are petty traders and shop-keepers and by one count 53.4 % of urban Muslims are self-employed. Training them becomes relevant as Patrick Dixon, Chairman of Global Change Ltd. speaking of the future scenario at the ‘The Spirit of Success’ a seminar organized by the Economic Times’ Corporate Dossier and Federal Express, said that small businesses and multinationals will be driving the economy of the future. If small businessmen in India harness the Internet’s potential, in five years the country would see the birth of a million entrepreneurs selling their wares to the global market through the Internet. • The three initiatives enjoy national or local recognition but lack the prestige of world-class institutions. One center head said “these are charitable endeavours and not managed professionally. This has implications for the beneficiaries’ employment”.
February 2004 | www.i4donline.net

• • • • Blank, J. (2001) “Mullahs on the Mainframe”, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago Ghadially, R. (1996) “On their Own Initiative: Changing Lives of Bohra Muslim Women”, Manushi, No.96. Jaju, S. (2003) “Administration in the Digital Age”, i4d, 1 (2), 27-30. Mitra, S. (2000) “Minimally Invasive Education for Mass Computer Literacy” at http://www.niitholeinthewall.com/ status.htm Noronha, F. (2003) “Computers to Schools”, I4d, 1 (2), 31-32. Razaack, A. and Gomber (2003) “No White Collar Jobs For Me” from A Case Study of Empowerment of Muslims (Report). National Council of Applied Economic Research. (cited in The Indian Express, September, 14 ) Siddiqi, M. N. (1997) “Muslim Minorities in the Twenty First Century: A Case Study of the Indian Muslims”, 3 (2), Encounter’s Magazine, Leicester, UK at http://islamic-finance.net/islamiceconomics/eco4/eco4-5.html Times News Network (2003) “Futurist Uncorks Spirit of Success”, The Times of India, December, 15. Umrani, F. and Ghadially, R. (2003) “Empowering Women through ICT Education: Facilitating Computer Education”, Gender, Technology and Development, 7(3), 359-377.

• •

8. •




An alternate learning experience
Except the lone community kiosk in rural India there are very few instances of knowledge dissemination through IT. Knowledge creation by the community through IT is still a dream.
The major goal of education is the acqui- connected to their community, particularly to their school. sition of basic academic and social skills, Knowledge gained through education should foster in each inwhich would permit progression to further dividual a stronger sense of responsibility and increase awareness education, training or employment. Today in each individual of the world around her/him. Education should education is limited to fixed syllabus, rigid not only improve attitudes toward learning and improve basic timetables and permanent classroom exer- academic skills but also encourage the development of better, cises. The instructor instructs and the stu- more productive social skills; so as to improve communication dent passively listens. Where as most with peers and adults. Rumi Mallick children have a fresh and magic ways of Hence, a productive ongoing relationship is required between Sr Research Associate seeing the world, the present formal edu- the community and the schools, which will not only strengthen rumi@csdms.org cation system provides no scope for the stu- the communities but also benefit policymakers, educators, and Anuradha Dhar dents to express their creative self or vent the general public who seek to improve the education system. Research Associate their imaginative spirit. Students are simanuradha@csdms.org ply passive recipients of handed down Educational technology Satyaprakash, PhD knowledge with absolutely no participation Educational technology is widely recognized as an essential part Project Manager in knowledge creation. Again educational of education in the 21st century. Technology plays a key role in satya@csdms.org outcomes, measured CSDMS solely by the performance of students in tests, have quite often remained the same. While many schools specify high performance goals for all students, unfortunately, measured performance often falls short of expectations. A characteristic of the present education system is that it has very little public involvement or support. The present system provides no scope for the community to support and be involved in the education process or address issues of common interest. There is very little interaction or dialogue between the schools and the community at large. As a result, school goals rarely interpret into the educational goals of the community. Academic skills learned in schools are not able to meet the community needs. Education should help citizens feel more Students mapping with PDA and GPS


i4d | February 2004

Students learning to use PDA and GPS

Villagers participating in mapping

helping student achieve higher quality education in order to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. Today technology is being used as a tool to level the educational playing field. Blaise Pascal, philosopher and mathematician said, “Words differently arranged have different meanings, and meanings differently arranged have a different effect.” This expression today stands true for technology. Technologies differently used have diverse effects. With so many technologies to choose from, it is the usage, which makes a difference. The way a technology is put to use gives it a new dimension, and unique perspective. And therefore, technology is not only technology but has more importantly become a ‘tool’-specifically those concerning with information and communication i.e. ‘ICT’. In India, computers have entered the classrooms. The impact of computers is getting more and more noticed especially in smaller and remote parts of India. However the use of computer in most of the schools is still limited to the fixed syllabus and rigid timelines. Again, there is an overwhelming digital gap in the education segment. The urban schools have adopted newer paraphernalia like the Internet but, the rural schools have just been introduced to computers. Except the lone community kiosk in rural India, there are very few instances of knowledge dissemination through IT. Knowledge creation by the community through IT is still a dream. However all is not lost. There is a great potential and the ‘ICT have-nots’ can transform into ‘ICT-haves’, where the community with school children as the torchbearers can change from passive helpless recipients to active information and knowledge creators. Use of ICT for education can not only increase the students fluency with technology but also give them new roles to in information process, hence providing leadership for the community.

The approach is community centric and the emphasis is on community driven knowledge production as the essence of sustainable development. In fact, community mapping has today become a central part of the emerging paradigm of participatory learning, community empowerment and sustainable planning. Community mapping initially helps to identify the different spaces used and occupied by the community, and then provides a visual representation of those spaces (a most effective way of communicating/interpreting those spaces to/for the others) and in the process links information to place. Thus, understanding what is happening in the communities (through the community maps) can help in decision making and consensus building which can translate into policy design for community development.

Mapping the Neighbourhood: A case study in Almora
One such community mapping initiative involving school children is a project called ‘Mapping the Neighbourhood’, sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The Hawalbag development block has been selected within the Almora district of Uttaranchal state for the implementation of the project. The project has attempted to facilitate community learning through neighbourhood maps that are grounded in ecological and social narrative with school children as the spearhead of knowledge creation. The project has aimed at bringing high-end technology to the rudimentary level of the village community. School children from rural and urban areas have been initiated to use indigenously developed geographic information systems (GIS) software running on a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) coupled with Global Positioning System (GPS). The project has excited the students in scientific and technological innovations. They have become channels for the dissemination of scientific and technological knowledge. The focus is not just technology but also its innovative use for mapping the neighbourhood and its resources. This would build their professional capacity. The maps prepared through community-friendly-technology by the school children can then be fed into the ongoing planning and development process.

Community mapping
Mapping helps in relating to the territories and terrain, the spaces and places of our lives. Maps have immense spatial power as they reflect the culture and links personal knowledge to community learning and planning. Community mapping has been used as a tool for community learning and planning for sustainability.
February 2004 | www.i4donline.net


The students learn by doing and since the process is a not a part of the general classroom exercise, they learn to contribute in an innovative manner. Thus knowledge gained through ‘doing’ and practical experience is not only more exciting and memorable but also more valuable with long-term impact. Through this practical experience of creating maps of their neighbourhood, students would not only experience learning in a different environment but would also contribute positively to the community by generating database for the community which can be used for developmental purposes. They learn about the relationship between the community and the environment and also learn to conserve resources and improve the quality of life.

by experts and advocates, the students exchange ideas on issues of common concern. In the same way, ordinary citizen from all sections of the community has been involved in open discussions about an issue of importance to them. After the conclusion of the discussion or study, results can be shared with the community, and action ideas may be considered and developed in an “action forum.” The results of the forums can then be shared with local leaders. In addition, community members who have attended a forum may often decide to continue to work together to try to solve problems in their community. Thus neighbourhood maps created by the students with community assistance can help the community to make informed decisions about the best policies and most appropriate programs for the areas.

Students and teachers


The students of most of the government schools in rural areas were found Problem Interaction non-responsive and hesitant in the Discussions identification with all beginning of the project. However as with local bodies the project proceeded and technology Technology demonstration community was introduced, the students became very inquisitive and excited. Most of Data collection and mapping the rural students involved in our project knew very little about the computers. Urban school students were more open and had in fact far more Neighbourhood Information System knowledge about the computers than their rural counterparts. The best part of it all was that they were all ready to Invaluable local information repository learn. This was enough for us to start and introduce the new technology. The students, who were exposed to The process of Neighbourhood Mapping being followed in Almora new technologies, which they had neiThis neighbourhood mapping process not only involves gen- ther heard nor used before, received the exercise enthusiastically. erating community maps but also involves deliberative discus- They were thrilled to see their own school and its surroundings sions as a framework for solving problems. With enhanced on maps in a computer. The use of ICT brought a new facet in awareness about the community, the students are provided a the learning process. ground where they can • understand the complexities of issues their community faces; Conclusion • openly share their diverse perspectives and concerns; and The use of ICT as an alternate form of education in rural and • identify solutions to problems urban areas has demonstrated that this form of education can have a positive affect on the community at large, leading toDiscussion forums are an integral part of neighbourhood map- wards community development. Innovative use of technoloping. The students discuss, from their personal experiences, is- gy can change the way development takes place and ensures sues that concern their locality and community. They proceed that the issues of the general public are addressed. Taking the to examine multiple views and perspectives. In the end they un- children as the ‘agents of change’, this project has tried to derstand the complexities of the issue and come to an informed evolve an alternate form of education as well as developmenopinion. Rather than responding to presentations or proposals tal process.

Read this article online at

i4d | February 2004

Editorial guidelines
i4d contains articles and features on the theme of “ICT for development” and related issues. Authors are requested to follow the following guidelines while sending their articles to i4d. a. Articles should not exceed 3,000 words. For book/ website/ conference reviews, the word limit is 1000. Longer articles will be considered in exceptional cases. b. Articles/ reviews can be sent through email as an attachment or through post, typed in Times New Roman, 12 point. c. Relevant figures/ tables/ photographs should be sent. Hard copies of submitted photographs should be of high quality in a recommended size of 5 inches by 7 inches. Soft copies of imagery should be scanned at 300dpi at a minimum width of 4 inches. d. Passport size photographs and brief biodata of the author(s) must be enclosed with the article. e. For book reviews, please mention the title, name of the author/s, publisher/s, year of publication, price and number of pages and a photograph of the cover. Books on i4d related themes published from the year 2000 onwards are preferable. f. In case of conference/ workshop/ seminar reviews, please mention the theme, venue, date, and name of the organizer. Please send photographs of the conference/workshop/ seminar. The conference held in the past two months of the forthcoming issue will be preferred. g. The Editor reserves the right to reject, edit and adjust articles in order to conform to the magazine’s format. All correspondence should be addressed to: The Editor, i4d G-4, Sector-39, Noida, India Tel +91-120-2502180 to 87 Fax +91-120-2500060 Email info@i4donline.net
Information for development www.i4donline.net

i4d is published 12 times a year. By subscribing, you ensure that you will receive your copy on time, attract up to 30% discount and help support the development of the ICT community.

now and save!
Duration (Year) 1 2 3 12 24 36 Issues News stand Price Rs. 1200 2400 3600 Subscription Rs. 1080 2040 2520 10% (Rs. 120) 15% (Rs. 360) 30% (Rs. 1080) Saving Subscription US$ US$100 US$160 US$200

I/We would like to subscribe for




First name ...................................... Last name ................................... Designation profession .......................... Organisation ....................... Mailing address ...................................... City ...................................... Postal code .................................... Country ....................................... Tel (o) ........................ Tel (r) ......................... Fax .............................. Email ............................................... Website ....................................... Note Payments for mailed subscriptions are only accepted vide cheque or demand draft. Please find enclosed my/our cash/cheque/demand draft numbered ....................................................... dated ............................................ for Rs. ........................................... in favour of CSDMS - i4d a/c payable at New Delhi.

Please use photocopies of this form as required.

i4d G-4 Sector 39, Noida 201 301, India Tel +91 120 250 2180 to 87 Fax +91 120 250 0060 Email info@i4donline.net



Exam results through the Internet
In the decades spanning 60’s and 70’s in the 20th century, exam results, especially those of the State School Boards meant, students and parents spending sleepless nights waiting for the early morning arrival of the ‘Gazette’ carrying the result. With the change in the pattern of Education Boards all over the country, the concepts Neeta Verma of +2 results and significant increase in the Senior Technical entrance exams for various professional Director courses came into fore, not only enhancneeta@hub.nic.in ing the number and magnitude of examiSonal Kalra nations but also bringing tough Editor, Informatics competition in the academic scenario. Till sonal@hub.nic.in a few years back, it was a common sight to National Informatics see the students thronging notice boards Centre trying to find their roll number in the list of successful candidates. The emergence of Internet has seemed to transform the above scenario as it has made it possible for students to check their Exam Result in the comfort and safety of their own homes with the ‘moment’, just a mouse click away… The practice of using the World Wide Web as a medium to publish examination results is not new, especially in countries with a high rate of Internet usage. The concept picked up in India during the past 4-5 years with the increased proliferation of Web and its reach into the Indian homes and Cyber cafes. The organization behind the vast exercise of publishing the various exam results on the Internet in India is National Informatics Centre (NIC), a part of the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology. Through its nationwide infrastructure present in all States, Union Territories (UTs) and Districts of India, NIC has been publishing and disseminating the results of several academic and recruitment examinations through the Internet every year. pear for these examinations every year and wait for the results with baited breath. The results of the examinations are prepared, compiled and declared by the respective boards by sending the detailed mark lists of the students to the respective schools. For the past four to five years, these school results and many others including entrance examinations for professional courses are being simultaneously released on the Internet as soon as it is ready on the exam results web portal (http://results.nic.in) developed for this purpose by NIC.

The process
The entire process of publishing results on the World Wide Web comprises a number of steps and stages. Based on a thorough research and its IT expertise, NIC has acquired the requisite know-how and prepared a generic software for publishing results which has been made available to all the NIC centres across India with appropriate guidelines to use/ customise the software as per varying requirements of different examination agencies. Exam Results being a sensitive issue on which the future and career of millions hinges, it is imperative to ensure that the information is absolutely accurate and reaches the intended target audience with minimum effort and delay. As a first step, the NIC centres in various states and UTs, in consultation with the concerned State Education Board, customise the software in terms of information requirement, lay-out, number/type of reports to be generated, etc. The result data, once prepared in the digital form by the respective Board is then transported in the appropriate format on to the results servers being maintained by NIC. All this invariably involves a sound infrastructure set-up geared to meet the huge anticipated traffic, especially during peak hours and also having appropriate back-up and contingency measures. NIC has established ICT infrastructure comprising a series of state-of-the-art dedicated web and database servers along with latest applications and performance tuned network devices for this purpose. Important announcements, both prior to the declaration of the result and upon its launch on the Internet, are posted on the web portal informing students, who can then access their results using a simple browser based interface by entering their roll number at the requisite place. The seemingly simple exercise takes a lot of hard work, technical co-ordination and seamless planning in the background to meet the ever increasing expectations of the examination boards as well as aspiring candidates.
i4d | February 2004

Current scenario
In the education system currently prevailing in India, there are State Education Boards in various States /UTs apart from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian Council of School Education (ICSE) at the All India Level. These Education Boards conduct examinations at the level of matriculation (class 10th) and + 2 (class 12th). Some state boards also conduct exams at the level of class 8th. Millions of students ap-


Additional delivery channels
Realising the present status of Internet access in India and the need to make this information reach even the remotest corners of the Country, the exam results are being disseminated using multiple channels so that more and more students can access them with minimal time and effort. Therefore, besides the World Wide Web, the results are also being made available through IVRS, SMS and Email. • IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System) In IVRS, the caller dials a given telephone number and the computer plays the part of an operator giving out the information requested, in recorded or synthesized voice. The server is configured to accept calls with the help of dedicated CTI (computer telephony interface) software and hardware. The calls can be placed from any standard telephone instrument. A large number of students access their results using this channel. • Short Message Service The Short Message Service (SMS) is the technology to send and receive short text messages from one mobile phone to another mobile phone. SMS based technology is not only cost effective but extremely efficient too. Considering the high density of cell phone users in India, various results are now being provided to the students through the SMS on the mobile phones. The users have to type a specified message code followed by the Roll Number and send the message to a designated number to obtain the results. • E-mail The anxious students are also able to receive their results in their individual mailboxes, for which they had to preregister with the Results web portal. Apart from this, complete school wise results are also being sent to the various schools through email on pre registration.

Success Indicators
The examination results declared by NIC on its various servers over the past few years have received a large number of hits from anxious students, teachers, parents, school authorities and other interested stakeholders. In 2003 itself, a whooping 26.7 million hits were received on the website hosting the Central Board of Secondary Education Results. While 3,30,000 marksheets were emailed into the individual students’ mailboxes, 3,80,000 and 2,10,000 results were disseminated through IVRS and SMS respectively. Within a few moments of the declarations of Results, hits were seen flowing in from all over the country (including the remotest corners through the cyber cafes/ community centres) as well as from other parts of the world.

declaring Exam Results over the Net has done more to promote the Internet awareness and usage than most other conventional promotion strategies. The sensitivity of the issue and the anxiety factor associated with the very concept of Exam Results made the exercise popular even in areas known to be having very low Internet penetration. Even in the case of North Eastern States marred by adverse terrain and climatic conditions, students were seen thronging the CIC Centres set-up by the Department of Information Technology (http://www.cic.nic.in) anxiously awaiting their marksheet to appear on the computer screen. Reports from States like Uttar Pradesh indicated that students were ecstatic on receiving the marksheets at the same time as declaration of the Results, something which took many days earlier since the marksheets used to arrive by Post. This also meant that the students did not have to wait any longer to apply for admissions into Colleges for further studies. Indirect beneficiaries of the whole exercise turned out to be the Cyber Café owners as their business got a tremendous boost whenever the Results were declared on the Net. Considering the fact that average ownership of Home PCs in India is still quite low, students were seen waiting at the cyber cafes for their turn to check their results. This has again resulted in a sharp increase in Internet usage as Cyber Café Managers report that many students who had visited a cyber café for the first time to check their exam results eventually ended up becoming regular net surfers. Encouraged by the success of this initiative, many Institutions/Universities/Boards have enhanced the level and type of usage of ICT in the ambit of their total operations and at the same time, the familiarity and trust level of various stakeholders (officials, students, teachers, parents etc) in technology has significantly gone up. Some of the Boards are now delivering the Admit Cards to the students through the Net. The Counselling for admissions after the AIEEE-2003 (All India Engineering/ Pharmacy/Architecture Entrance Exam) was carried out online and students can also submit the application forms for the next year through the website. With a large number of exam related activities coming into the online arena, we are witnessing a paradigm shift and the future is likely to herald a wider utilization of ICT applications in the education sector.

The Technological advancements and progress in the field of Information and Communication Technologies has come to change the very way we lead our lives. The whole concept of
Exam results web portal: www.results.nic.in

February 2004 | www.i4donline.net



The hole-in-the-wall
Access to state-of-the-art PCs to several thousand children in urban and rural India was provided. The computers were placed outdoors, usually mounted on walls and, hence, often referred to as “hole-in-the-wall”.
The experiments were initiated at Kalkaji, New Delhi, by NIIT Limited, Indian software and training multinational, through its Center for Research in Cognitive Systems (CRCS). They were later continued by CRCS and through a company, Hole-in-the-Wall Education Limited (HIWEL), set up in 2001 for this Sugata Mitra purpose. HIWEL is a joint venture comR&D Head pany between NIIT Limited and the InNIIT ternational Finance Corporation, the sugatam@niit.com industrial financing arm of the World Bank. Several projects have been initiated since then and include the following: • The Shivpuri (1999) experiment- one computer in the state of Madhya Pradesh, funded by NIIT Limited • The Madantusi experiment (2000)- one computer in the state of Uttar Pradesh, funded by Dr. Urvashi Sahni and NIIT Limited. • The Madangir project (2000)- 30 computers in six locations in Delhi funded by the Government of Delhi and NIIT Limited. • The Sindhudurg project (2001- 10 computers in five locations in the state of Maharashtra, funded by the ICICI bank and NIIT Limited. • The IFC project (2002)- a plan for 66 computers in 22 locations spread throughout India, of which 33 computers in 11 locations are currently functional, funded by the IFC and NIIT Limited. • The Alexandria project (2003)- a plan for 90 computers in 30 locations spread throughout Alexandria, Egypt. The first kiosk is scheduled to be opened on October 12, 2003. The project is funded by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. • The Cambodia project (2003)- a plan for 10 computers in 5 locations in Cambodia. A gift from the Prime Minister of India to the Cambodian government. The project is funded by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Government of India. All projects, except in Shivpuri, are continuing (September, 2003). The 75 computers installed in India so far are used by an estimated 7,500 children. Groups of 6 to 13 year old children do not need to be “taught” how to use computers. In experiments conducted in India since 1999, as listed above, it has been shown that children can selfinstruct themselves to operate computers. Their ability to do so seems to be independent of their: • Educational background • Literacy levels in the English language or any other language • Social or economic level • Ethnicity and place of origin, i.e., city, town or village • Gender • Genetic background • Geographic location • Intelligence

What do they learn?
An estimated 100 children can learn to do most or all of the following tasks in approximately three months, using the “holein-wall” arrangement with a single PC: • All windows operational functions, such as click, drag, open, close, resize, minimize, menus, navigation etc. • Draw and paint pictures on the computer • Load and save files • Play games
i4d | February 2004


• • • • • • •

Run educational and other programs Play music and video, view photos and pictures Browse and surf the Internet, if a connection is available Set up e-mail accounts Send and receive e-mail Chat on the Internet Do simple troubleshooting, for example, if the speakers are not working •· Download and play streaming media • Download games In addition to the above task achievement, local teachers and field observers often note that the children demonstrate improvements in: • School examinations, particularly in subjects that deal with computing skills • English vocabulary and usage • Concentration, attention span and problem solving • Working together and self-regulation However, it is not known yet, if these latter effects are universal and evident in all children.

(“when you right click on a hand shaped cursor, it changes to the hourglass shape for a while and a new page comes up”). • They memorise entire procedures for doing something, for example, how to open a painting program and retrieve a saved picture. They teach each other shorter procedures for doing the same thing, whenever one of them finds a new, shorter, procedure. • The group divides itself into the “knows” and the “know nots”, much as they did into “haves” and “have nots” in the past. However, they realise that a child that knows will part with that knowledge in return for friendship and exchange as opposed to ownership of physical things where they could use force to get what they did not have. • A stage is reached when no further discoveries are made and

Facing page Kalkaji, New Delhi. The hole-in-the-wall, 1999. Below • Madangir, New Delhi, 2000 • Village Kalse, Sindhudurg, Maharashtra 2001 • Village Kalludevanahalli, Karnataka, 2002

A frequently voiced concern
It is important to mention here that no instances of pornographic material access among these target groups, ie, children aged 13 and below was observed. However, adults, if allowed to use the facility are likely to access such material.

How does it work?
Learning process in a Minimally Invasive Environment (MIE) Certain common observations from the experiments reported above, suggest the following learning process when children self-instruct each other in computer usage: • One child explores randomly in the user interface, others watch until an accidental discovery is made. For example, when they find that the cursor changes to a hand shape at certain places on the screen. • Several children repeat the discovery for themselves by requesting the first child to let them do so. • While in step 2, one or more children make more accidental or incidental discoveries. • All the children repeat all the discoveries made and, in the process, make more discoveries and start to create a vocabulary to describe their experience. • The vocabulary encourages them to perceive generalisations
February 2004 | www.i4donline.net


the children occupy themselves with practising what they have already learned. At this point intervention is required to introduce a new “seed” discovery (“did you know that computers can play music? Here let me play a song for you”). Usually, a spiral of discoveries follow and another self-instructional cycle begins. In order for the above instructional objectives to be met, it is important that: • The computer should be in an outdoor, public, and safe location. Children, and often their parents, are apprehensive of enclosed spaces such as closed rooms or “clubs”. Locating computers indoors, even inside a school, is associated with regimentation, control, “studying” and other negatives associated with formal schooling. Locating a computer in a school playground, on the other hand, is ideal. • Children should use the computer in heterogeneous groups. Since the MIE process depends on exploration and discovery, working in groups is essential. Collaborative constructivism is the main paradigm of MIE. Children teach each other very effectively and are also effective at self-regulating the process. That is how over 100 children are able to use one computer. • There should be no adult intervention or supervision. Adults should not use the kiosk. All activity should be monitored remotely to ensure that the kiosk is being used for the right purpose. • PC functioning and Internet connectivity should be reliable. Based on the above observations, a set of guidelines have been developed that enables educators to set up their own MIE kiosk facilities. These include: • General instructions • Site selection • Architectural plans • Purchases required including proprietary pointing and remote sensing hardware and software • Electrical installation • A portal to help children navigate to sites and applications • Downloadable utilities • Downloadable games • Educational tests and remote sensing data analysis tools • Legal and safety related issues Based on the experience and data gathered over the last four years, it can be argued that such “playground” access points should be a part of every primary school. Where primary schools are not available, such facilities could provide even more vital “emergency” educational inputs. MIE for children through pub-

lic Internet kiosks should form an integral part of primary education in the 21st century. It has the potential to not only close the “digital divide” rapidly, but also to unlock the creative potential for self-development of children that eminent educationists have sought to do for over a century.

• Children and the Internet: An experiment with minimally invasive education in India, S. Mitra and V. Rana, CSI Communications, pg. 12, June 1999, India (1999). Minimally Invasive Education For Mass Computer Literacy, Sugata Mitra, presented at the CRIDALA 2000 conference in Hong Kong, June 21-25, 2000. Children and the Internet: New Paradigms for Development in the 21st Century, Keynote address at the Asian Science and Technology Conference in the year 2000, Tokyo, June 6, Japan (2000). Children and the Internet: Experiments with minimally invasive education in India, Sugata Mitra and Vivek Rana, The British Journal of Educational Technology, 32,2,pp 221-232 (2001) Minimally Invasive Education: A progress report on the “Hole-inthe-wall” experiments, S. Mitra, The British Journal of Educational Technology,34, 3, pp367-371 (2003) Minimally Invasive Education, pedagogy for development in a connected world, S. Mitra, Invited talk at the International conference on Science and Mathematics Education, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt (2003) Improving English pronunciation – an automated instructional approach, S. Mitra, J. Tooley, P. Inamdar and P. Dixon, Information Technology and International Development, 1(1) pp741-83, MIT Press (2003)

Village Gadharwan, Jammu and Kashmir, 2003


i4d | February 2004




Geo-informatics in higher education
Education in Geo-informatics has undergone remarkable development with the introduction of a number of related courses at graduate and postgraduate level in India. By 2004 one may even find it being named as at least one of the many papers in different undergraduate colleges teaching Geography, Geology, Planning or othSeema M Parihar er Geo-Sciences. However, the curriculum Reader in Geography leaves something to be desired particularly Kirori Mal College in the relatively non-professional colleges. New Delhi In many cases, the lack of required infraparihars@vsnl.com structure, combined with partially trained teachers, indicates that the curriculum is still at a nascent stage. Introduction of information and communication technology (ICT) can provide solutions with inputs from both within and outside. Execution of ICT requires new competencies of faculty members. The burden of integrating e-learning lies mainly on the shoulders of the teachers, therefore, any planned process should take into account the capabilities and limitations of the teachers and should be directed as steps and manner that suit each teacher. Teachers can get more and more creative in integrating all possible interaction as the experience with the course evolves and as the overall experience of the college teacher evolves. Undoubtedly, digital learning resources have the power, if developed and deployed appropriately, to significantly enhance the learning experience in Geo-informatics. Teachers will, however, always be needed. teaches and an opinion on how it should be taught. A teacher usually has some teaching material he had already accumulated, prepared and used. Different branches have different terminology, different learning objectives, different emphasizes, etc. For example in remote sensing evaluating the patterns emerging from spectral signature can be one learning objective, while in GIS – thematic linkages and query analysis is important learning objectives. If dealt appropriately, these can be readily augmented in designing reusable learning objects. Nevertheless, ready availability of technology in institute of higher education may not necessarily propel ICT integration in traditional academic set-up. This is despite the fact that in June 2001, Kirori Mal College became the first institute where successful on-line admissions process was completed in India. Despite this the academic dimension is almost missing. Although it made statements about the needs to promote the use of ICT on a fitness for purpose basis, it did not provide any clear direction or states how ICT should be used. For that matter, up to now the institutional teaching and learning strategy had said little in depth about the potential for exploitation of ICT. What emerges is a fact that, the solutions may target measures revolving around faculty with Technology and Students integrated around it. But in doing so, in traditional higher education there exists certain bottlenecks, which underlie even after the availability of the required technology. They are common for any discipline. The identified bottlenecks in the introduction of ICT in traditional academic set-up are: • teachers have to make a move to new education, but they lack time; • teachers fear that ICT will dislocate them; • teachers are unsure of the security provisions for their study material, and • perceived unreliability of networked services and local computing services. The reasons to have a stated policy for on-line learning developments revolving around teachers emerges from a fact that they are the major spearhead of anchoring learning ships to the shores. The policy should therefore aim at: • making faculty more accessible to students with all types of study needs, • increasing the potential for innovative forms of study, thus improving the quality of our offering through geovisualization

ICT and teaching faculty in higher education
On a college campus there are constant reminders that knowledge acquisition is the main focus. In that sense the campus of an institution of higher education may be viewed as a “safe haven”. Higher education focuses on how to maintain the “trusting environment” image where students can be stimulated to acquire knowledge on certain subjects, evaluate their level of learning, and in the process enhance their own value proposition through existing faculty. Therefore, somewhere ICT have to create surrounding environment trustworthy enough to build confidence to fall in the category of ‘sure learning’. In ignoring this, the crevice between conflicting agendas of University and techno-industry will widen. However, it may be basically assumed that a higher education teacher already has a viewpoint on the subject matter s/he
February 2004 | www.i4donline.net


• providing flexibility of study mode and giving students of all type an extra skill by increasing their exposure to the spatial datasets which otherwise may not be readily available to them • remaining competitive because increased exchange of study material will nurture quick updates especially relevant in fast expanding spatial data infrastructure • The sharing and dissemination of good practices is popular with staff developers in western academic institutes. However, it is important to remember that what is a good practice in one situation may not be for another. This is particularly true with respect to the use of ICT to support teaching and learning where the success of an approach can be very context specific. In disseminating ICT, the approach should shift from a complex technology approach to simple technology approach. The over-emphasis of service providers on the complex technology, is a turn off to most staff who want simple ideas and ideally, simple technologies to help them deliver the pedagogic model that they are comfortable with. This is not to say that technology should drive the pedagogic approach but rather, the technology developers (who, maybe, are from outside India) should have faith in existing faculty to use any new technological expertise sensibly, to facilitate and improve student learning.

Faculty’s reaction to ICT
Evaluation data were collected from the faculty members with an open ended questionnaire and at times informal discussions and chats. The sample comprises the lecturers, readers and professors teaching in University of Delhi. Based on the comments and administrators experiences, following observations are worth mentioning: • For the most part, teachers possessed basic computer skills. Unlike the scenario a few years ago, the initial resistance to computers had gone down. • Initially, the teachers were primarily concerned with their own comfort levels in adopting the new technology (self concern). Having acquired competence in this area, their focus shifted to implementation (task concern). Having gone through these two stages, their concern moved on to how the innovations could help their students to learn. • The negative impact of unreliable networked systems also emerges as a problem in effecting the integration of learning technology as depicted in previous writings. • The faculty only wishes to be introduced to the platform and at least initially was not interested in further training. The interest is in the newness and not in real implementation. • Faculty who have been introduced to the platform and who are interested in training, are mainly concerned about the performance or the instrumental use of the platform and about the management of the platforms (students) they expected (task concerned). • Even after crossing time hurdle, insufficient follow–up support at local level defers use. • Most faculty members seem to adhere to a teacher centered vision on teaching and learning in an academic set-up. • Many teachers feared that the ICT would dislocate them.

Thus, before actual adoption of e-learning the mindset deters its augmentation. However, history teaches us just the opposite. The new forms tend to add to rather than dislocate: video or DVD has not replaced cinema, T.V has not displaced radio and neither books have been replaced by Internet. Over expectations deterred few teachers. This was consequent of sheer hype generated by new medium with too many colorful demos, just as it happened in the bursting of nineties dot.com start ups which rapidly came to be seen as up-starts without a strong foundation. So slow and steady ushering of ICT through blending learning may increase users. Many teachers fear that the privacy of their study material is at stake. Due to sharing proposition many of them fear its use. The incentives however may check this. Variation in success rate of colleges and schools in ushering ICT emerges from a fact that the approach of implementation is different. Whereas in most schools and even in private or trust run academic institutes of higher education, there is top-bottom approach with compulsory binding for faculty to use it. In most autonomous colleges there is a freedom for teachers to use it. With respect to the design of the learning environment created in the modules, assignments and discussions among participants created opportunities to express doubts and uncertainties. For many teachers it was a relief to observe that faculty members other than themselves share similar experiences and questions.

Incremental processes
For an effective role of a teacher in a traditional educational setup, one envisages a process that enables a teacher to stick to his conceptions of the subject matter and to the way he believes the subject matter should be taught. Following the basic guidelines of digital learning, a teacher may be provided with open and flexible facilities to put his course on the web. In addition various facilities to share and negotiate possible tags with other teachers from same specialization and the technical team (may be from outside) be provided as an incentive. In digital learning, this is important to maintain the interest of a traditional teacher. The incremental process includes three different processes: one for an individual teacher, a second for a group of teachers teaching similar topics such as teaching GIS to varied audiences and a third the whole group of the college teachers or the faculty of or any other institute of higher education. A technical team supports all of these incremental processes. It is assumed that a teacher gradually improves his course by adding content, interaction facilities by interaction with the learning material or interaction among students, etc., through reuse of his learning materials and maybe even learning materials of his colleagues. The group of teachers of similar courses incrementally, with the help of the technical group, establishes a dictionary of metadata tags that enable sharing and reuse of learning materials. The reusable learning objects created by faculty members can thus become academic outputs just like printed books written by them.
i4d | February 2004


As for the third process, the college gradually establishes norms and procedures for developing e-Learning within the college, which enables reusability, collaboration among teachers and some standard interaction facilities for students with creation of Central Support System (CCS). Creation of Central Support System has many advantages. The main advantages for the teachers, if they augment digital learning in teaching geoinformatics through CCS are: • Teachers can concentrate on content without worrying about style and formatting. • Teachers can reuse learning materials. These materials can be their own before or during the processes creating an online course, and can also be learning materials of other teachers. • Content modules can be used in other contexts as in related courses for different skill levels. • Automatic generation of Indexes, summaries and glossaries. • Evolvement of a community of practice.

The sharing and dissemination of good practices is popular. However, it is important to remember that what is a good practice in one situation may not be for another
attain conceptual change.

Competencies required
The ultimate aim of augmenting ICT in traditional classrooms is to enable reliable teaching –learning environment. Such use requires faculty members to have two main competencies: • to be able to use the e-learning platform instrumentally, and • to be able to reflect systematically upon one’s own educational practice. The first competency requires that the faculty member be aware of the platform’s different functionalities. This implies that the user can anticipate how the digital learning environment will appear to the learner and how it will change over time, depending on how faculty can put limits on certain functionalities. The second competency is more complicated mainly because the process encompasses several other competencies. Faculty members need insight into the processes of teaching and learning. These vary between institutions. The teacher must also be able to design different educational learning environment.

Design principles
To improve the functions and functionalities of the e-learning platform, maybe indigenously developed or purchased from outside like Blackboard and Web communication technology, design principles must include two way solutions: • one to provoke conceptual change in the Faculty’s mind-set during training • second to take into account the participant Faculty’s stages of concern In order to provoke conceptual change in the participants during implementation it is important to have planned training sessions, which may include: • digital learning environment in the form of model or e-learning platform offered to faculty users to distinguish different components of learning environment and their interdependency. This will enable them to analyze their own teaching practice with other participants and thus, will confront them with other conceptions and practices. • Integrate the faculty’s teaching practice into the training by sharing it as a case study with related group. It will allow participants to confront their conceptions to their own actual practice and hopefully creative actual practice will add to what is learned during training session. • Elaborate the global scenario in today’s education concept with emphasis on wide knowledge base accumulating daily and readily available too crossing the borders. It offers the faculty an example of an alternative or even better teaching conception than what they adhere to. • Integrate first realizations of faculty’s learning to the training programme, thus enacting as stimulants to continue the use of e-learning platform. In order to take into account the participants’ concern one can identify next principles. The learning strategies should include the teachers’ requirements to enable the success rate: • As teachers prefer to learn and receive support ‘just in time’, the `just in time support’ becomes mandatory for the success in Higher education teaching faculty.

Changing faculty’s conception
A fundamental gap between the initial and desired situations in the teaching–learning environment emerges from faculty conceptions. To bridge this gap it is important to address the participant’s inherent teaching attitudes. Changing conceptions however is not an easy thing to do . There are four critical elements in Ho’s model that can guide the conceptual change: • self awareness of one’s teaching conception • confrontation between one’s own conception and practices and between one’s own conceptions and conception of the others. • exposure to better, alternative conceptions • commitment building and refreezing Before faculty members will adopt a new conception, it has to be intelligible, plausible and fruitful. This would imply that there is an emotional element involved as well. The faculty’s interaction with new technology illustrates that teachers only evolve from one stage of concern to another only if the previous questions or doubts regarding self or task are answered and visually demonstrated. Solutions to these concerns are necessary in order to
February 2004 | www.i4donline.net


• As teachers prefer to learn at their own speed and in their own surroundings, some flexible learning modules be prepared by the experts for teaching faculty. • In order to be able to respond ‘just in time’ when faculty members move from one stage of concern to another, individual support should be available at any time and on request. • Also, some shared material and links be made available on the platform to enable immediate support. This may be in the form of maps, imageries, graphs, tables, symbols, etc. • As teachers are used to community feeling, creating and maintaining lively online communities becomes important.

Technology”, Educause Quarterly, 25, 2, 22-28. Butler, J., (1997), Which is more Frustrating : achieving Institutional Change or Herding Cats? Active Learning, 6, 1-3. Hohnbaum, C., and S. Grasset (2002) Creating New Learning Model to Avoid Skill Gaps and to Fulfill the Future Needs of the Knowledge Society, the New Educational Benefits of ICT in Higher Education, Rotterdam, 2-4 September 2002. Tillema, H.H. (2000) “Belief Change towards self –directed learning in student-teachers : Immersion in practice of reflection on action”, Teaching and Teacher Education , 16 (5-6), 575-591. Gilbert, S.W (2000) A New Vision Worth Working Toward – Connected Education and Collaborative Change (WWW Document) URL http://www.tiltgroup.org/gilbert / NewVwwt2000-2-14-00.htm (Visited 2003, Feb,01) Ho, A.S.P. (2000) A Conceptual Change Approach to Staff Development : A model for programa design, The International Journal for Academic Development, 5 (1) , 30-41. Ibid. Hangreaves, A.L. Earl & S. Moore (2001) Learning to Change : Teaching Beyond Subjects and Standards, San Francisco : Jossey Bass. Hammond, N., et.al (1992) Blocks to the Effective Use of IT in Higher Education, Compuers and Education, 18,2, 155-162. Bennett,R., (2001) “Lecturers’ Attitudes towards New Teaching Methods”, The International Journal of Management Education, (LTSN Buisiness, Management and Accountancy Centre) 2, 1,42-58. Daniel, J.S. (1998) Mega Universities and Knowledge Media, London: Kogan Page. Laga, E.S. and J. Ellen (2001) Characterstics of Support Initiative to Stimulate Professional Development on ICT in J. Price , et.al., eds., Proceedings of SITE 2001, Mar 5-10, 2001, 692-697, Norfolk, V.A. :L Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. Bates, A.W.., (1997) Restructuring the University for Technological Change, Paper presented to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 18-20 June, London. Available at: http:// bates.cstudies.ubc.ca/ Korthagen, F.A.J. & Kessels, J.P.A.M (1999) “Linking Theory and Practice: Changing Pedagogy of Teacher Eduation”, Education Researcher, 28 (4), 4-17.

Teaching and learning is a process, not a problem. Therefore all solutions in learning for higher education in Geoinformatics need to consider the teaching-learning process and not just preparation of stand-alone reusable learning objects. A balanced and appropriate approach is required. One where there is no single answer, but a whole pack of them based on individual faculty’s mind-set. Successful education of geo-informatics will involve multiple forms of teaching and learning in order to engage, stimulate and extend the learner. Teaching-learning resources should be created to support teaching and learning rather than replace them. The e-learning resources need to be as generic and as reusable as possible across the broad educational landscape and must be versatile enough to accomodate different levels and styles of teaching and learning. Disability issues and technological constraints must be considered. To achieve last aim, emergent metadata and interoperability issues had to be addressed. Further, denying the right dose of faculty’s involvement with visual incentives can slowdown the process. Certainly, for long-term integration of ICT in enhancing GIS Instructional Approaches pivotal role of teaching faculty cannot be ignored especially if academics enhancement is an agenda and not otherwise.

Parihar, S.M. (2001) Higher Education in Spatial Information Industry: A Case for Promoting Mutual Interest, URL http:// www.gisdevelopment.net/education/papers/edpa0014pf.htm (Visited 7/5/ 2003). pp 6-7 Butler, D.L. and M. Selbom., (2002), “Barriers to Adopting

Editorial calendar of i4d
Issue March April May June Theme ICT and health Wireless communication ICT for the poor Local language content Submission of articles 15 March, 2004 30 March, 2004 30 April, 2004 15 May, 2004

Please submit articles to info@i4donline.net. Editorial guidelines are available online at www.i4donline.net


i4d | February 2004


Information for development
When talking about information for development it may be useful to first outline what we are talking about
When talking about information for development it may be useful to first outline what we are talking about. The notion ‘inKarl Harmsen formation’ has (at least) two aspects: the Director, CSSTE-AP content of the information, that is, what India sort of information are we talking about, karl@harmsen.net and the delivery mechanism, including the target audience, the technology used and the sustainability of the operation. The notion ‘development’ has, of course, a range of aspects, including the development strategy, the policy and socio-economic environment, the institutional environment and governance, and the delivery mechanism, including target systems, target audience, and the actors and institutions involved in the developmental process. one would need information on natural resources and socio-economic parameters, such as income and income distribution, language, caste, class, and the role of gender, whereas the target audience may be district-level planning officers or extension agents, or farmers organizations. It is important to note that one should not only define what comprises the system, but also what is not part of it and how the system interacts with the environment. In figure 1, the system is represented by a rectangle, and the area outside the rectangle is the environment. Once the field has been defined, one has to determine where a particular system under consideration is located in the broadly defined field. In the case of a country, one can make use of the World Bank Indicators, the UNDP Human Development Reports, reports of State Planning Commissions, or reports of other organizations that work at the national level. In the case of a particular rural area, one would need information on the status of natural resources and agricultural systems, education and health, socio-economics, including physical and knowledge infrastructure, access to input and output markets, availability of rural credit, income distribution, class or caste, ethnic parameters, language, culture, the role of gender and many other pa-

Strategic analysis
In order to produce a development strategy one needs to define the system one is talking about, identify subsystems relevant to the analysis, perform strength-weakness-opportunity-threat (SWOT) analyses for each of those subsystems (or ‘segments’) and environments, define the situation one would like to reach at some stage in the future, and then design a ‘roadmap’ for implementing the strategy. Although it is not the intention of this paper to elaborate extensively on the notion of ‘strategic analysis’, I will briefly discuss the stages of such an analysis, as it may be relevant to actors involved in the developmental process. The first stage of a strategic analysis is to define what one is talking about. This may be an entire country or region, in which case the analysis obviously would be very complex, or it may be a rural area somewhere in South Asia, in which case the analysis may be less complex, although not necessarily very much so. In the case of a country or region, one would need information on an aggregate or macro-economic level and one would probably address policy makers at the national level as the primary target audience. In the case of a rural area somewhere in South Asia,
February 2004 | www.i4donline.net


rameters. On the basis of a suitable segmentation, and an analysis by segment, one can determine where a particular subsystem is located in the broadly defined set of rural systems. In figure 2 the subsystem under consideration is represented by an open dot within the relevant set of systems. Of course, a dot in a rectangle is a rather poor representation of the outcome of a complex analysis, but in analogy with the concept of Figure 1 What are we talking about? ‘phase space’ in physics, N coordinates would determine one point in a N-dimensional space. For example, 2 coordinates (x and y) determine one point in a 2-dimensional space, and three coordinates (x, y and z) determine one point in a 3-dimensional space, and so on. Once the position of a specific system in a set of systems has been determined, one would have to define the developmental objectives: what does one want to achieve and when? In the case of a country one of such objectives may be to reach ‘developed country’ status by a certain time (e.g., 2020). One measure for such a status is the per capita Gross Figure 2 Where are we? Segmentation. Analysis by National Income segment. Portfolio picture. (GNI per capita) of a country, according to the methodology used by the World Bank. Although significant as a parameter, GNI per capita does not explicitly measure literacy, access to health services and sanitary facilities, the role of gender, etc. One may wish to take the Human Development Index, used by UNDP, as another parameter. Also, there may be country-specific national indicators one would wish to use. In the case of a particular rural area, one may define targets of income and income distribution, agricultural production and/or diversification, conservation of natural resources, literacy, health, infrastructure, or gender equality. Essential elements in this process are the strategic segmentation and the SWOT analysis by segment, that is, for each of the segments one has to determine what the strengths and weaknesses are of the segment under consideration, and, based on this, what the opportunities and threats are that are posed by the environment. For example, in India one may feel that the IT sector is very strong, because of the availability of a highly qualified, skilled and low-cost labor force (strength) but that most of the activities in the IT sector are in the production and service areas, rather than in the design and development of software and systems (weakness). The globalization and outsourcing of IT activities (including call centers, etc.) to achieve reduction in cost by multinational corporations may be perceived as an opportu-

nity, but the increasing competition from other Asian countries, the state of the global economy and the ageing and overstretched infrastructure in the country may pose threats. Similarly, a specific rural area may have good soils, ample water resources and skilled labor (strengths), but may have limited access to rural credit facilities, and input and output markets (weaknesses). There may be rural development schemes, which could help the area to gain access to credit and markets (opportunity), but the area may be far away from urban centers and thus not able to compete with rural areas closer to such centers (threat). The definition, by segment, of the developmental objectives, again defines one point in the N-dimensional space referred to earlier. This point is indicated in figure 3 by an open star. The next step would be to develop a strategy to reach the specified goals within a certain timeframe. Such a strategy should specify the roles of all actors Figure 3 Where do we want to go? SWOT analysis involved in the by segment. Portfolio picture. process, specify a clear time path and contain quantifiable indicators (‘milestones’) against which the progress can be measured (figure 4). Unless we have such a ‘roadmap’, we cannot implement our strategy. Unfortunately, some development strategies do not come much further than colorful reports on the desks of the planning agencies. An important step in the implementation of a development strategy is the question of change. A country or a specific rural area have an existing infrastructure and are involved in a developmental process, irrespective of the plans we put on the table. The question therefore is where we are goFigure 4 How do we get there? Analysis by segment. ing if we keep doImplementation plan: actors, time path and ing what we are milestones. Portfolio picture. doing. Do we reach the objectives we (or the stakeholders involved in the process) have set within a given timeframe or not? That is, where do we go if we do not change course? This is indicated in figure 5 by the solid arrow. In this particular case we do not reach our target if we keep doing what we are doing. This is not an unexpected outcome, as one would not normally go through an elaborate process of strategic planning if one would be very pleased with the way things are going. Normally one embarks on a strategic planning if one fears that targets might not be reached, objectives are not clear, or if there is no explicit strategy at all. Hence, the implementation of a development strategy will often require changes in the way people act and things are being done. As most people tend
i4d | February 2004


to be reluctant with regard to change, the successful implementation of a development strategy requires the involvement and commitment of all actors and institutions involved in the process. This involvement should not start at the end of the process, when the strategy has already been defined, but at the beginning, when the position of a subsystem or segment in the wider field is examined and when the developFigure 5 Where do we go if we do not change course? mental goals are being defined. That is, the implementation of a strategy for development is (or should be) an iterative and participatory process. Often this is not the case and this may well be the single most important cause for the failure of many development projects. Hence, the important issue in the implementation of a development strategy is one of change, and in most cases actors or institutions involved would have to refocus their activities. The refocusing of activities is an iterative process that continues until the objectives are fully achieved (figure 6). This is also an important point. In some development projects it appears that once the course is set, there is no regular monitoring and feedback Figure 6 Do we want that? No? Then change course! on the achievements, and within a short time one may be off course. Hence, the implementation process requires the definition of ‘milestones’ and the regular monitoring of progress made. Results should be discussed regularly with all actors involved and corrective measures should be taken if necessary. Another aspect is the funding of a developmental process: in many cases funding dries up half way the process, thus threatening the continuity of the effort. Development plans therefore need initial funding by governments or other donors and sound business plans to ensure the continuity of the operation. In summary, the objective of a strategic analysis is to develop and implement a sector-wise strategy for sustainable, integrated and equitable development of urban and rural areas, involving the private sector, the government, the academia and NGO’s. Specific aims could be sustained economic growth, poverty alleviation, achieving social emancipation of women and backward sectors of the society, conservation of natural resources and the environment, and others. The issue of ‘information for development’ should be an integral part of a strategic analysis. Without access to (or the provision of ) relevant and adequate information, a development project is unlikely to succeed. Hence, information is an essential
February 2004 | www.i4donline.net

component of any developmental process and should be an integral part of the planning of such processes. Information should be needs driven, accessible to all social strata, in all relevant languages, and in an economically sustainable fashion.

Strategic segmentation: An example
Strategic segmentation is an important part of a strategic analysis. One has to differentiate between systems and identify their essential components. If the object of analysis is a country or a state (province), four systems or segments may be distinguished: Urban Systems, Urban Fringe/Slum Systems, High-Input Agricultural Systems, and Low-Input Agricultural Systems (see figure 7). Of course, one could think of other forms of segmentation and the four systems referred to are still defined at a fairly high level of abstraction, but they represent recognizable entities in the geographical space and have some relevance with regard to the provision of information for development. Urban systems refer to the cities where most of the private sector driven economic development takes place. Urban systems are connected with each other and with the outside world (arrow in figure 7). They interact strongly with high-input agricultural systems, as they depend on them for their food supply. At the same time, they provide inputs for these systems, including knowledge and information. Urban systems have highly developed information infrastructures: written 3 media, telephones, radio, TV, satellite 2 1 communications and 4 Internet connectivity. Of course, ‘urban systems’ could be further differentiated, for examFigure 7 ple, in cities with more and cities with less than, say, one million people. The information needs of these systems would include: e-governance, job opportunities, availability of products, services and markets, including housing, health and education, global markets, travel, immigration and visa procedures, global educational and job opportunities, and access to Internet for information, chatting, music, fashion, movies, etc. Urban fringe or slum systems are the areas surrounding cities where the urban poor assemble and where most of the rural poor that migrate to the cities end up. Generally, infrastructure, and access to health, education, housing and sanitation are poor. Interaction with the prosperous urban systems is largely limited to the provision of cheap, unskilled labor. Interaction with the more prosperous high-input agricultural systems is also quite limited, as the purchasing power of the peri-urban poor is limited. Many of the people in the urban fringe systems depend on government schemes and subsidies for their livelihood. The information needs of these systems would include: e-governance, housing, sanitation, drinking water, health, education and other community services, subsidies, projects and schemes of the Government and NGO’s, and job opportunities.


High-input agricultural systems are generally producing for rural or urban markets. They need access to credit, transportation, and input and output markets. Farms are relatively large and are often located on the better soils, have access to (irrigation) water, use improved crop varieties, fertilizers and biocides, as well as fossil fuels for their agricultural machinery. In addition, they often use local labor during planting and harvest. They interact strongly with urban systems, but their interaction with urban fringe systems and low-input agricultural systems is largely limited to the use of contractual or daily labor and the provision of food at subsidized prices. The information needs of these systems would include: e-governance, agriculture and extension services, weather forecasts, input and output markets, transportation, credit facilities, subsidies, prices, off-farm job opportunities, education and health (tele-)services, and Internet connectivity. Low-input agricultural systems still make up the largest part of the rural space in most low-income countries in Asia. They are basically subsistence systems and often located on the more marginal lands in relatively remote areas, have no access to irrigation water, other than supplementary irrigation for vegetable crops, and use little, if any, inputs in agriculture, other than landraces, organic manures and their own labor. Infrastructure is generally poor and access to health, education, information and other services is limited. Interaction with other systems is limited to the provision of labor and some products, such as fruits, forest products, herbs, and products of home or cottage industries, such as baskets, handlooms, and others. There is a need for off-farm labor opportunities and there would be scope for establishing small-scale industries, provided infrastructure, accessibility and connectivity can be improved. The information needs of these systems would include: e-governance, agriculture, crops, varieties, control of pests and diseases, agro-forestry, rural development schemes, e.g., soil and water conservation, or in situ biodiversity conservation, off-farm job opportunities, education, health- and sanitation-services and access to safe drinking water, and disaster management: where to go, what to do. The information needs are only given as examples, and are not intended to be comprehensive nor necessarily listed in order of priority. They are meant to illustrate that the information needs differ between systems: poor people do not need information on the NY Stock Exchange or car loans, whereas the high-income sections of the society would not be (or less) interested in rural development schemes or community services.

an increasing (urban) population. Increases in food production have to come from increases in productivity per unit arable land rather than from expansion of the arable land area. The problem of low availability of arable land is compounded by increasing land degradation, through salinization and/or alkalinization of irrigated land, soil pollution, soil erosion and nutrient mining, and is further compounded by the loss of biodiversity, disrupting natural ecosystems, and the exhaustion of groundwater resources and deterioration of their quality.

The trends in the availability of land resources are also rather disturbing. In India, arable land resources decreased from 0.35 hectare per capita in 1960 to 0.16 hectare per capita in 2000. If this trend continues, these numbers would be 0.108 hectare per capita in 2020 and 0.073 hectare per capita in 2040. Of course,

Strategic segmentation: Trends in time and space
In order to identify threats and opportunities one should first try to assess the trends in the development of the system under consideration. Two examples of such trends are given below: available land resources and urbanization. Per capita available arable land is low in South (SA) and East Asia (EA), in the range of 0.11-0.16 hectares. This is much lower than the available land resources in the high-income countries (H) and also well below the world average (W). The implication is that there is an enormous pressure on the land, in order to feed

extrapolation of an historic trend is questionable, and population growth, the major factor in the declining per capita arable land resources may well decrease, thus slowing down the expected decline. On the other hand, loss of arable land due to urban expansion, infra-structural needs and other factors may well increase. Therefore, the conclusion seems to be justified that per capita arable land resources will decline significantly over the next decades, while the demand for food will be increasing. This will put increasing pressure on the available land resources and India can only keep feeding its growing population if the productivity of the existing arable land is increased significantly. What
i4d | February 2004


applies to India, applies to many other countries in the region, notably China, where arable land resources are already at a low of about 0.11 hectare per capita. Another trend is the increasing urbanization. At present, most of the population in Asia is still living in the rural areas and urbanization is below the world average and far below the level of urbanization in the high-income countries. However, urbanization in Asia has increased significantly over the past two decades and this trend may be expected to continue in the future, driven by rural poverty and the growth of urban economies. This trend will necessitate the creation of job opportunities in the urban centers and put further pressure on the land resources available for agricultural production.

Asia is not visible at all, and East Asia appears as a tiny little bar. Both regions are also below the world average. Poverty remains the main problem of the region and poverty alleviation should probably be the major objective of government policies for decades to come. Even though economic growth in many countries in Asia is impressive, in the range of 5-10% per annum, the overall effect of this on poverty may still be fairly limited. One reason

Socio-Economic and policy environment
The Asian region is highly complex and Asian countries cover a wide range of developmental stages, ranging from very poor to highly developed, and with widely different degrees of access to natural and human resources. Asia as a whole has a tremendous potential and is likely to be the economic powerhouse of the future. However, in the present situation there are still serious constraints to socio-economic development, which have to be overcome in order to realize the potential of the region. These constraints range from poverty and ignorance, and unresolved conflicts that result in high military expenditures in the region, to deterioration of limited natural resources and regularly occurring natural disasters. A few of these constraints will be briefly discussed in the following sections. However one should be clear that this listing is by no means complete nor does it even necessarily cover the most important issues. GNI per capita: Poverty One issue that is no doubt important is the prevailing poverty in the region. In a number of countries, tremendous economic progress has been made over the past decades. However, in many countries, poverty, illiteracy and ignorance still persist. South Asia alone has more absolute poor (people living on less than the equivalent of 1 US$ a day) than all of Africa. When the GNI per capita of the high-income countries is plotted on the same scale as that of South and East Asia, South
February 2004 | www.i4donline.net

for this is that much of the economic growth is concentrated in the larger urban areas and has little effect on the rural poor, and another reason is the logic that 10 times a small number is still a small number. For example, if India would double its GNI per capita in 10 years, this would result in a GNI per capita of the order of 900 US$ per capita. No doubt, this would be a commendable achievement, and much needed by the country, but 900 US$ is still a fairly low GNI per capita, also in view of the fact that other countries are also likely to increase their GNI per capita and their economic competitiveness during the same period. Hence, India would still be at the lower end of the economic spectrum, even though a doubling of the GNI per capita may be expected to have a significant positive effect on the Indian society. The problem of low GNI per capita in the region is further compounded by unequal income distributions in many Asian countries. Although this phenomenon, of course, is not limited to Asia, it appears that some of the poorer Asian countries have more unequal distributions than, for example, high-income coun-


tries in Europe. This implies that the gap between rich and poor tends to be higher, in relative terms, in some of the poorer Asian countries than in the higher-income countries in the region (e.g., Japan has a notably ‘flatter’ income distribution). This implies that the equitable distribution of economic growth (income) among the different strata of the population is a major issue. It may be noted here that it is difficult to see how such differences in GNI per capita in the world (and within countries) could be sustainable in the long run. It would seem that high-income countries would have to urgently address the issue of poverty and unequal distribution of wealth between countries. Similarly, developing countries would have to address the issue of unequal income distributions. In my view it is unlikely that the persistence of such gross inequities in the world could, in the long run, generate a stable and peaceful world (free of ‘terrorism’). Current revenue and government spending Other issues relevant to development strategies are the revenue collection by national governments, and the way government budgets are spent. Current revenues are low (less than half ) in Asia as compared to the high-income countries and the world average. the World Bank uses the concept of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) (e.g., The World Bank, 2002, 2003a). For example, in a country like India, the purchasing power of 1 US$ is about 5.2 times higher than in the USA. However, the PPP factor tends to decline quite steeply with increasing GNI per capita. This is illustrated in the figure below, where the PPP factors of Asian countries are plotted against GNI per capita. The decrease in the PPP factor implies that the ‘advantage’ of a high PPP factor, that is, a relatively high purchasing power of the US$ in a low-income country, is quickly dissipated if the per capita income increases, reflecting an increased cost of living as a corollary of economic growth. The decrease in PPP does not only affect real economic growth in terms of purchasing power, it also poses problems to sections of the society that are lagging in economic growth, such as low-input agricultural systems.

In other words, in the region with the highest number of absolute poor in the world, where poverty alleviation is (or should be) the highest priority, government budgets are less than half the world average, in terms of % of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The high payments for interest on domestic and international loans, and the high military expenses, due to unresolved ethnic conflicts or disputes between countries, compound this problem. In summary, low-income countries in Asia not only face poverty and unequal income distributions, but also low current revenues and high expenditures for servicing of debts and military expenditures. As a result, government budgets for alleviating poverty are relatively low and probably much lower than required to solve the problem of poverty within a reasonable timeframe. Hence, alleviating poverty in the world is a global issue, and not just a national concern Purchasing power parity It is a well-known fact that 1 US$ has a higher purchasing power in low-income countries than in the USA. To account for this,

The notion of PPP implies that a country like India, with a GNI per capita of 450 US$ in 2000, would have a much higher per capita income in terms of purchasing power: 2340 PPP$ per capita. However, what applies to India also applies to other countries. Hence, whereas India is no. 159/60 in the US$ ranking, between Zimbabwe and Guinea, it is no. 153 in the PPP$ ranking, still in between Zimbabwe (which has moved up a few places) and Guinea. Of course, these data relate to the year 2000 and do not, among others, reflect the recent economic problems being faced by Zimbabwe, but they illustrate a trend.
i4d | February 2004


oped-country’ status, defined in economic terms (i.e., high-income status). However, in terms of social and other parameters relevant to the well-being of the population, much progress could be made if the development strategy is sharply focused on those parameters.

Institutions and governance
Economic growth There appears to be some mysticism regarding the issue of PPP when calculating economic growth. In some calculations, the GNI in PPP dollars is taken as the basis for calculating economic growth. This logic would imply, however, that if a country had reached the same level of income as the USA, that the PPP factor would still be, say, 5 or more. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the case. When the GNI per capita increases, the PPP factor decreases. For example, in a country like Japan, the PPP factor is actually smaller than 1, reflecting the fact that 1 US$ has a lower purchasing power in Japan than in the USA. If we take India as an example, and assume for simplicity that the rest of the world would be at zero GNI per capita growth during the rest of this century, whereas India’s GNI per capita would grow at 5% per year, then it would take some 62 years for India to reach high-income or developed country status, i.e., a It has been argued that developing countries need good governance and appropriate institutions in order to realize balanced and sustained socio-economic development. ‘Good governance’ refers to a situation of democracy, appropriate institutions, social justice, transparent procedures, respect for human rights, the absence of corruption, and related factors. The issue of corruption is yet another aspect that needs attention. As there are few objective measures of ‘good governance’, the ‘Corruption Perceptions Index’ (CPI) may be taken as a proxy for good governance. The CPI appears to be one of the few international measures for ‘good governance’ currently available. Clearly, this indicator is far from being perfect, as it is based on ‘perceptions’, but it shows consistent trends over the years and allows for a comparison across countries. If the data are plotted against the logarithm of GNI per capita for the Asian countries in the survey (in 2002), the following picture emerges.

GNI per capita of 9,266 US$ in 1999 (The World Bank, 2002). The GNI per capita in PPP$ would then be 20,152 $ per capita. If India’s GNI per capita would grow at 10% per year under the same conditions, then it would take about 32 years to reach this level. Unfortunately, even an assumption of a sustained growth in GNI per capita of 5% per year in real terms already seems to be fairly optimistic, as the population keeps growing (currently at slightly less than 2% per year in India) and the economies of the high-income countries also keep growing. The figure below illustrates that the PPP factor decreases when the GNI per capita increases: in relative terms the difference between US$ and PPP$ is largest in the lower range, in absolute terms the difference is larger in the middle range. Hence, it may be concluded that it is likely to take several decades before a country like India would have reached ‘develFebruary 2004 | www.i4donline.net

The relation between CPI and GNI per capita suggests that real economic progress would not be possible without reforming the governance system and rooting out corruption. Although there may be no direct causal link between CPI and GNI per capita, the fact that all of the low-income countries have low CPI scores and that none of the high-income countries have low CPI scores seems to point at a significant relationship. In this connection it may be noted that a global survey of 30,487 people in 44 countries (Transparency International, 2003) showed that people tend to be most concerned about corruption in political parties (29.7%), followed by the judiciary (13.7%) and the police (11.5%). Another outcome was that 42.1% of the people believe that corruption will get worse, 27.1% that it will remain the same, and 20% that it will decrease (10.8% had no opinion). For India, these numbers were 74.3% (worse), 13.6% (same), 7.9% (less) and 4.1% (no opin-


ion). These perceptions are not very encouraging and underline that issues of corruption and good governance need urgent attention.

Information and technology
As most of the larger urban centers in Asia seem to be wellconnected, the scope for information technology might well be in the smaller urban centers and the high-input agricultural systems, where people would be able to pay for information services. In the urban fringe and the low-input agricultural systems there, it is expected that there would be less scope for information technology, because of the prevailing poverty and other priorities, such as social equity and emancipation, education, health, housing, sanitation, drinking water, physical infrastructure and job opportunities. Also, the need here might be more for written media, telephone, radio or TV, rather than for Internet connectivity. Nevertheless, information services such as e-governance (e.g., cadastral maps linked to land records) could be important if they are part of development schemes supported by long-term government funding. In general, it will be a challenging task to develop sustainable delivery mechanisms for information in remote rural areas, because of the prevailing poverty, illiteracy, lack of infrastructure (e.g., electricity), high cost of maintenance of information technology, the need to provide information in local languages, problems of class, caste and gender, etc. Also one may be required to overcome resistance to change in order to reach the poorest sections of the society, e.g., the ruling sections of the rural society may not be very keen on empowering the poorer sections and provide them with information and education aimed at improving their socio-economic conditions. In addition, providing information would only be useful if such an effort would be linked to sustained funding and an appropriate institutional environment. Finally it should be noted that any technology is only a tool, which in itself does not have the capacity to solve any problem. IT will do nothing, unless people make intelligent use of the technology as an integrated part of the implementation of a strategy aimed at equitable, integrated and sustainable development, supported by appropriate institutions. Or, to quote Mark Malloch Brown: “Indeed, the belief that there is a technological silver bullet that can solve illiteracy, ill health or economic failure reflects scant understanding of real poverty”.

eration include poverty alleviation and equitable income distribution, increasing government revenues and decreasing defense spending, and the establishment of good governance and appropriate institutions. Poverty alleviation will require strong government involvement and commitment, as well as collaboration and coordination between development agencies. Technology is not the limiting factor in the developmental process. Lack of development strategies, commitment of government agencies, a non-conducive policy environment, poor governance, lack of appropriate institutions or human factors are more likely to be limiting. IT can play an important role in the developmental process. To quote James D. Wolfensohn from the World Bank, 2002: “Eradicating poverty is the greatest challenge of our age, and the greatest weapon we have to fight poverty is knowledge”. References
Abdul Kalam, A.P.J., with Y.S. Rajan, 1998. India 2020. A Vision for the New Millennium. Penguin Books India Ltd., New Delhi. Chaudhuri, Malay K., and Arindam Chaudhuri, 2003. The Great Indian Dream. MacMillan India Ltd., Delhi. Chossudovsky, Michel, 1997. The Globalisation of Poverty : Impacts of IMF and World Bank Reforms. Other India Press, Goa. Harmsen, K., 2003. Exploring compatibilities: Geoinformatics in South and East Asia. GIS Development 7(2): 19-24. Keniston, Kenneth, 2003. IT for the common man: Lessons from India. i4d 1(1): 4-13. McQuarrie, Donald A., 2003. Statistical Mechanics. Viva Books Pvt Ltd, New Delhi. Planning Commission, Government of India, 2003. India’s Five Year Plans. Complete Documents. First Five Year Plan (1961-56) to Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-2007). Academic Foundation, New Delhi. The World Bank, 2002. World Development Indicators 2002. The World Bank, Washington. The World Bank, 2003a. World Development Indicators 2003. The World Bank, Washington. The World Bank, 2003b. World Development Report 2003. Sustainable Development in a Dynamic World. Transforming Institutions, Growth, and Quality of Life. The World Bank, Washington. The World Bank, 2003c. World Development Report 2004. Making Services Work for Poor People. The World Bank, Washington. Transparency International, 1995-2003. Corruption Perceptions Index. Transparency International, 2003. Global Corruption Barometer Survey. UNDP, 2001. Human Development Report 2001. Making Technologies Work for Human Development. UNDP, New York. UNDP, 2002. Human Development Report 2002. Deepening Democracy in a Fragmented World. UNDP, New York.

For the successful implementation of IT one needs a clear and transparent development strategy, implemented in a governance, institutional and policy environment conducive to change and socio-economic development. Issues that require special consid-

Want to contribute to i4d?

Send your articles to info@i4donline.net
(please read our Editorial Guidelines on page17)


i4d | February 2004

Book review

Transforming e-Knowledge: A revolution in the sharing of knowledge
Donald Norris is the president of USbased Strategic Initiatives Inc., and also author of “Transforming Higher Education” and “E-business in Education.” Jon Mason is the assistant director of IMS Australia. Paul Lefrere is director of networking and partnerships at the Centre for Educational Technology Interoperability Standards at the University of Wales and British Open University. The material is divided into seven chapters, covering issues like knowledge futures, evolution of e-learning modules and standards, Web services infrastructure, professional communities of practice, and recommendations for policymakers. New technology environments — particularly the Internet, Intranet and wireless media — are transforming the very way knowledge is experienced and transformed, triggering off a cascading cycle of reinvention of education (e.g. just-in-time learning) and organisational collaboration (e.g. tradecraft knowledge mobilisation via handheld devices). As content and processes becomes unbundled and new audiences of consumers, co-creators and validators emerge, new business models and opportunities open up for content aggregators, professional associations, educational institutes and knowledge professionals. Within enterprises, the original concept of knowledge management has evolved to broader notions of knowledge ecology, knowledge experiences, knowledge habitats and knowledge marketplaces. “Over time, the strategic importance of fusing e-learning and knowledge management will become clear to policy makers and practitioners alike,” the authors predict.

By Donald Norris, Jon Mason and Paul Lefrere 2003 Society for College and University Planning (www.scup.org), Michigan 164 pages “Transforming e-Knowledge” is an informative analysis of the evolving standards and cross-sectoral synergies in e-learning, digital content publishing and organisational knowledge management, along with associated business models, capacity-building issues and leadership imperatives. The rich online companion (www.transformingeknowledge.info) includes a searchable glossary, bibliography, case studies, and other resources. The book is sponsored by an Education.au, SCT, WebCT, Knowledge Media and Mobilearn.
February 2004 | www.i4donline.net

New information and communication technologies have created much more than digitised content — they are spawning new business models and strategies for knowledge interchange in ways never before possible, transforming value chains into “value webs,” and creating learning objects which can be unbundled from traditional environments. Visualisation tools, knowledge blogs (“klogs”), P2P collaboration tools, and semantic searches are interesting developments on this front. Today’s vertical channels for e-content include book publishers, learning management systems (e.g. WebCT, Blackboard, Click2Learn, Outstart), universities, trade associations and professional societies. These will be affected by the activities of standards and consortia like the IMS Global Learning Consortium, Dublin Core, ebXML and ODRL. Pioneering examples of e-knowledge in action include pervasive computing approaches in healthcare for elder patients. Professional societies like the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists have a knowledge portal, which offers digitised journal content, email news alerts, and online communities of practice for lifelong learning. University alliances such as e-Universities Worldwide are developing a common technical platform for e-learning, course certification and branding. Industry-wide sharing is also emerging, as with the German manufacturing industry’s communities of practice partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute. Notable e-knowledge examples on the e-government front include Michigan.gov’s citizen portal and inter-departmental communities, UK’s e-Envoy knowledge communities and Australia’s National Office of the Information Economy. The University of Wisconsin offers portal-centric graduate learning, customised forms of learning and assessment (“e-pedagogy”), personal intelligent agents, lifelong access to a body of knowledge, greater involvement in professional societies, and fusion of internship experiences with formal learning. The Monterrey Tech System (ITESM) offers connected learning services to ten different countries in Latin America. Blending learning centres leverage the clicks-and-bricks model for


bringing educational services to developing countries in Asia, with local ICT-enabled centres acting as local learning gateways. Nippon Roche employees consider themselves to be knowledge and learning activists, have their compensation tied to sharing of insights, and sell non-proprietary knowledge to medical schools. The Knowledge Content Exchange is a meta-marketplace of e-knowledge for all kinds of experts and learners. The IEEE Computer Society offers e-knowledge marketplaces, blended learning, perpetual knowledge refreshment and certification programs. “Most persons in knowledge-rich enterprises will discover significant roles as both providers and consumers of e-knowledge,” say the authors. Organisations active in standards and meta-data for e-content, learner objects and workflow specification include MERLOT, Open Knowledge Initiative, Learning Federation, Learning Objects Network, Global Knowledge Economics Council, HR-XML Consortium, IMS Global Learning Consortium, Open Knowledge Initiative, Workflow Management Coalition and the Web services movement. The authors predict that horizontal e-knowledge marketplaces (e.g. SMETE, XanEdu) will achieve high market penetration by the end of the decade. “Internet culture drives the e-knowledge industry,” according to the authors; this includes academic, entrepreneurial, communitarian and big-business cultures. “Communities of practice will become reorganised as the predominant organisational form in the e-Knowledge Economy. They will be the epicentre of autonomic learning and the development of individual and organisational capabilities,” the authors predict. Enterprise KM will be driven by “experience gateways” which can bypass knowledge silos and legacy IT systems. Communities of practice will seamlessly link to business processes. “The goal is to reinvent the conversational space of the enterprise,” the authors advise. Enterprises will have to reinvent their knowledge ecosystems, including infrastructure and cultures. The challenge will be to migrate from improvement to incremental

The book is also peppered with lots of interesting and useful quotes. Consider;

To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day — Lao Tzu The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it — Marc Weiser It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change — Charles Darwin Knowledge is experience. All else is information — Albert Einstein It may make more sense to talk of a company’s distributed capabilities instead of core capabilities — Mohanbir Sawhney and Deval Parikh Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand — Confucius Knowledge is not a thing that can be managed like physical assets, but a human and organisational capacity produced by collaborative relationships that can be nurtured and inspired — George Por Education in the 21st century will be about who can DO what, not who KNOWS what — Roger Schank Vision is the art of seeing things invisible — Jonathan Swift The future is like heaven. Everybody exalts it, but nobody wants to go there now — James Baldwin Any technology gradually creates a totally new human environment — Marshall McLuhan Changes in academic culture and university programs will be driven by the demand side (students, alums, employers, marketplace realities) and not from institutional supply-siders (professors, administrators) — Martin Irvine Companies spent the 20th century creating and managing efficiencies. They must spend the 21st century creating and managing experiences — C.K. Prahalad and V. Ramaswamy

innovation to radical innovation. Challenges will arise in overcoming the digital divide (e.g. between digital natives and digital immigrants), moving beyond digitising and Webifying, and creating new vocabularies and standards (technical, legal, financial). “Competency and capacity development is a top enterprise priority. Major human resource challenges arise in creating enterprises that are e-knowledge savvy,” the authors observe. Towards the end, the authors’ recommend a mix of “revolutionary vision and expeditionary action,” a blend of “structured and autonomic learning,” a migration towards “fused” (as opposed to

distinct from work) learning, and a shift from “tinkering” towards active transformation. The use of storytelling, benchmarking of e-knowledge practices, nurturing of knowledge flows, and information/collaboration models driven by portals will become important in the enterprise context.

Madanmohan Rao IT consultant madan@inomy.com
i4d | February 2004


28 - 30 J ANUARY 2004, N EW D ELHI

Map India 2004
nical sessions, each designed and conducted by domain specialists and experts. While most of them were from India, several overseas delegates also participated, representing 46 countries of the world. Map India 2004 had a large Canadian delegation with government and industry representation. It reinstated the emerging Indo-Canadian strong ties in the domain of geospatial sciences and services. The conference witnessed the august presence of His Excellency Ms Lucie Edwards the High Commissioner of Canada and Mr Gar Knutson, the honourable Canadian Minister of State for New and Emerging Markets. As a token support, the Canadian High Commission hosted a warm reception for the delegates. The inaugural session was presided over by Dr. M. P. Narayanan, President of Centre for Spatial Database Management and Solutions (CSDMS), Dr Prithvish Nag, Surveyor General of India, Kiran Karnik, President, National Association of Software Companies (NASSCOM) and Ravi Gupta, Director, CSDMS. The surprise of the session was a small film that opened the occasion. The film depicted the ‘Mapping the Neighbourhood’ project of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, where children are mapping and addressing local issues and developing on their own database for decision-making. Dr. Narayanan’s welcome address touched upon the significance of the conference. He emphasized ‘geospatial democracy’ and interpreted it to be not only about the right to information but also about the freedom of expression and dissemination. This was followed by a noteworthy inaugural address by Kiran Karnik.

The NASSCOM president admitted that geospatial sciences in NASSCOM’s realm fall under ‘IT enabled services’ which may not be the right connotation to the discipline. He said that about 100 billion USD export is attributed to this industry. He pointed out that government has been slow in many respects in the geospatial domain. Dr Nag followed with a keynote address after the lamp lighting ceremony. He discussed the initiatives of the Survey of India and the government in easing access to data for general public. The occasion ended with a vote of thanks by Ravi Gupta.

Plenary sessions
Geospatial Democracy Kiran Karnik chaired this plenary that had three important talks by Amitabha Pande, Joint Secretary, DST, Ms Preetha Pulusani, President, Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions and Xavier Lopez, Director, Spatial Technologies, Oracle Inc. The speech by Mr. Pande went into the depths of the words ‘democracy’ and ‘people’. It took up ‘state’ as an apparatus of dominance that subverts or dominates many aspects of democracy. He delved into the history of the development of an overdeveloped state in India. He went into various domains of putting democracy and the state against each other and pointing towards a situation where ‘market’ might be an emerging solution – ‘market’ that represents the people, the users and the commercial interests. The focus of his speech was his interpretation of the conference theme - “To strengthen the people by giving shape and life to facts about physical space on this earth”. He ended with pointers that depict the status of National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) in India and the Map Policy on the anvil. Preetha Pulusani talked with a wider realm taking up cases from across the world. Cases of spatial data infrastructures (SDIs) being developed at various stages and levels. She mentioned cases of South Africa, UK, Philippines, India, Spain and New Zealand. Xavier Lopez spoke on an alternative note. He raised the question – what is geospatial democracy not about? He elaborated that it is not about releasing secret data and not about holding spatial data assets hostage to cost recovery policies. Rather it is about the use of spatial data to

The recently completed Map India 2004 was the largest and the 7th Annual International Conference and Exhibition in India, in the field of geographic information technologies like GIS, GPS, Aerial Photography and Remote Sensing. Responding to the needs of the industry, the research community and every individual’s right to geospatial information, Map India 2004 provided a platform for the convergence, sharing and use of technologies and experiences. The conference proved that people from India and the region have come to realize the need of geospatial technologies in their daily life. The three-day event, held on 28th – 30th January 2004 at Taj Palace Hotel, Delhi, was jointly organized by the Centre for Spatial Database Management and Solutions (CSDMS), GIS Development and Survey of India, Government of India.

In comprehension of the emerging truth that democracy in contemporary times need to acknowledge the concept of Information Democracy, Map India 2004 had a vital and bold theme of ‘Geospatial Democracy’. Over 1,200 delegates attended the 3day conference and were witness to important deliberations and discourses on the theme and many other seminars and techFebruary 2004 | www.i4donline.net


advance a nation’s academic, scientific, environmental and economic policies. He took up to emerging market trends that need to be looked upon before understanding geospatial democracy. He referred to US policies on information and also explained the case of Ordnance Survey, UK. Mr. Karnik summed up the session interestingly. He put across the ideas of Mr. Pande against Mr. Lopez, where the former hinted at enabling the market to realise geospatial democracy while the later talked of the government’s crucial role needed. Changing Roles of National Mapping Organisations This plenary had an important backdrop that addressed organizations in their core to relate to geospatial democracy. Four important presentations were made by Vanessa Lawrence, Director General and Chief Executive, Ordnance Survey, UK; Dr. Prithvish Nag, KK Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, Rolta India Ltd.; and Bob O’Neil, Acting Director General, Canada Center for Remote Sensing, Natural Resources, Canada. The session was chaired by Madhukar Gupta, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Mines, Government of India. The key pointers that emerged were that geographic information producing organizations in this region of the world have concentrated on data generation, storage and maintenance, often neglecting distribution aspects. Security concerns definitely work over data dissemination issues, but instances where organizations curtail data dissemination to avoid dilution of value of these datasets are not alien. There is a need to re-think the roles, mandates and mechanisms of functioning of every National Mapping Organisation. The presentation by the Surveyor General was well received and elaborated on various aspects of the premier mapping organization’s present quest for change on every front. People First This plenary was chaired by Amitabha Pande. It had two important presentations by Dr RR Navalgund, Director of the National Remote Sensing Agency, India and Dr. David J. Maguire, Direc-

tor of Products, ESRI. Dr. Navalgund spoke on the evolution, growth and status of Indian Remote Sensing initiatives and programme that has altered over time to be now more people-centric from being technology-centric. Dr Maguire touched the basics and pointed out on aspects that people cannot be put first without initiatives and dedicated efforts. He spoke on coordination, Spatial Data Infrastructures and aspects to providing people with the right tools that the science has to offer. Keynote Session: Technology Trends The session was chaired by P Venkatram, Advisor, Jlets Technologies. The session was well attended with stimulating discourses. The three speakers spoke of emerging technologies. Brad Skelton, Vice President, Leica Geosystems discussed photogrammetry, aerial photography, LIDAR and Remote Sensing. He went into the basics of each first, putting one against the other and also briefly touching upon their evolution. He summed up with the statements that imageries and any survey generates data. The amount of data generated has increased over the years. The need today is of centralised data warehouses and systems that can handle massive amount of data. John Allen, Director, BAE Systems talked on technologies involved with photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. He emphasized the difference between satellite imagery and these subjects as technologies. The last presentation by Mr. Dhirendra Khurana from HP India emphasized on aspects of precision, exactness, durability and cost effective ways of production – all subject domains of HP.

The 750 sq m exhibition, was a huge success with 36 national and international organizations representing the government, the academia and the commercial private sectors displaying their services and products. The exhibition was coupled with technology shows, sponsored dinners, events and networking time periods. The exhibition attracted over 3000 visitors.

Dr M P Narayanan, chaired the valedictory session. Other panellists included Prof. Y K Alagh, Former Union Minister and Member of Parliament, Government of India, Dr. Milan Konecny, President, International Cartographic Association (ICA) and Mr Ravi Gupta. The sessions raised crucial pointers for every stakeholder present. Professor Alagh spoke on the economic significance of spatial and non-spatial data for the nation in terms of its generation, maintenance and use. He touched on the positive aspects and existing strengths in the country in this domain. He also spoke of the realities that come forth as hindrances in the opening up and widening of information access. Dr Milan added an international perspective, drawing examples from his country Czech Republic and ICA. He emphasized expertise sharing, cooperation in data generation and defining the path to realization of geospatial democracy The session ended with a brief and informative presentation by Ravi Gupta, about the basic statistics of Map India 2004 in comparison to the earlier years. He also presided over the award giving ceremony before inviting Dr Narayanan to close the conference. Awards were presented to best student and technical papers presented during the sessions, in addition to a best poster and exhibits. Map India 2004 was able to provide a platform to share the needs, the supply, the latest developments and the concerns in the field of Geo-informatics It initiated discussions on ‘geographic information’ as a policy issue as well as a subject and in the process left significant pointers for it to evolve as mandated guidelines.
Ayon Tarafdar, Assistant Editor GIS Development, ayon@gisdevelopment.net

Sessions and meets
Eighteen technical sessions took place in six halls during the event. The sessions provided speakers with the opportunity to present papers on varied fields of technical and social applications. The event also covered two seminars on Infrastructure Development and Educational and Curriculum Development. There were two user meets – one of which was amongst the users of the National Resource Development and Management System, Government of India and another amongst the alumni of ITC Netherlands.


i4d | February 2004

What’s on
Canada 15-17 March, 2004 International Conference on Educational Multimedia Québec City

09-12 August, 2004 Joint Conference: 4th International Conference of Asian Federation of Information Technology in Agriculture Bangkok

26-27 February, 2004 Workshop on ICT for Poverty Alleviation in India Ahmedabad

09-12 August, 2004 World Congress on Computers in Agriculture and Natural Resources Bangkok

06-10 June,2004 Sharing Indigenous Wisdom Wisconsin

11-12 March 2004 3rd Regional Meeting of One World South Asia Partners New Delhi

United Kingdom 28-29 January,2004 Learning Technologies 2004 Olympia 2,London
www.learningtechnologies.co.uk/conference/ conference.cfm

Egypt 03-08 May, 2004 ITU Telecom Africa 2004 Cairo

16-17 March 2004 Reaching the Unreached with ICTs A UNESCO and Datamation Foundation National Workshop New Delhi

05-07-April, 2004 Networked Learning 2004 England

Germany 18-24 March,2004 CeBIT Hannover

24-26 March, 2004 EuroIndia2004 New Delhi

United States 29 February - 03 March, 2004 Innovations 2004 California

Ghana 04-06 May,2004 AITEC Ghana Accra

Kenya 16-18 March, 2004 Kenya National ICT Convention Nairobi

23-26 May, 2004 2004 Information Resources Management Association International Conference New Orleans, Louisiana

Greece 19-21 May, 2004 World Congress on IT 2004 Athens

New Zealand 04-08 July, 2004 3rd PAN Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning Dunedin

India 19-23 February, 2004 Fourth Annual Baramati Initaitive on ICT and Development Baramati, Maharastra

06-10 June,2004 Sharing Indigenous Wisdom: An International Dialogue on Sustainable Development Wisconsin

Thailand 01 March, 2004 Sixth Regional Interagency Working Group on ICT Bangkok

24-26 February, 2004 microfinance India 2008 New Delhi

21-25 July,2004 International Conference on Education and Information Systems: Technologies and Applications EISTA 2004 Orlando, Florida, USA

05 June - 05 August, 2004 Education ICT 2004 Bangkok

24-27 February, 2004 International Conference on Digital Libraries – Knowledge creation, preservation, access and management New Delhi
February 2004 | www.i4donline.net

01-03 July, 2004 The 13th Annual AMIC conference, on Media, ICTs and Development Bangkok

Get your event listed here. www.i4donline.net/events


Games people play
Communicating basic ICT skills to children requires considerable innovation and effort on the part of the teacher. Here are a few examples of exercises that have been followed in several schools of UK. Contributed by several dedicated teachers and educators, these exercises are both fun as well as easily replicable as non-normative and emulative teaching methods.
Name of Activity Age Range 5 - 11 Description



Making Web Pages

Clear guidance and advice for those wishing to start making web sites. Particularly useful for anyone thinking about setting up a new school web site. Explains how to teach children about different genre, while using computers (and particularly the Internet). Contains loads of ideas and guidance relating to Word Processing, Using Email, Searching the Internet and Making Web Pages. Fun activity which lets children use a roamer or other similar control equipment A simple ICT activity to use with younger children at the start of the school year. Contributed by Pennie Coren. A very useful worksheet giving instructions and inspiration in relation to making calligrams using WordArt. Use MS Publisher to develop children’s knowledge of tessellation of different shapes. Also includes an excellent interactive worksheet in Publisher format. Let children use computers to make lots of great personalised postcards (real and electronic).

Genre Net

5 - 11

Morris the Martian

5 - 11

KS1 Colouring Activity



7 - 11


7 - 11

Make Your Own Postcards

7 - 11

Source: http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/ict/contents.htm


i4d | February 2004

Introducing a full-featured yet easy to use GIS software that integrates image processing, digitization and analysis

• • • •

Satellite image processing Digital map data creation Data analysis using maps Statistical analysis

Jlets Technologies Pvt Ltd
G17 Sector 39 Noida, UP 201303 India Email info@jtmaps.com Web www.jtmaps.com Phone +91 120 257 0715/716, 3092308 Fax +91 120 257 0715

EuroIndia2004 Co-operation Forum on

Information & Communication Technologies
New Delhi, 24th – 26th March, 2004

EuroIndia2004, the first Euro-Indian ICT cooperation Forum organised by the Euopean Commission with the support of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the participation of the Government of India (Ministry of Information Technology & Communications and the Department of Science & Technology), Nasscom and MAIT, this unique three-day international event will bring you closer to the European ICT player as never before. Indian RTD and Academia will encounter European Enterprises, Research & Academia to discuss co-operation and develop joint RTD projects for Research & Technology Development that are now eligible for institutional funding by the European Union. India is presently a key partner for Europe and this event can contribute effectively to your organisation’s business strategy with a diverse programme of numerous opportunities for participants featuring: • • • • Exhibition presenting Products and Technologies from Europe, showcasing organisations, accessible to all delegates and visitors Conference and Technical Workshops to create strategic alliances One to one meetings with prospective partners Presentation opportunities for individual organisations

Participation is FREE of charge. But places are limited so register today at www.euroindia2004.org, and explore all the benefits that this Forum brings to your doorstep. We look forward to seeing you in Delhi, 24th – 26th March 2004.