Thursday, August 5


Dr. R. A. Mashelkar (Secretary DSIR & Director General, CSIR ) writes for Press Information Bureau : MAKING TECHNOLOGIES WORK FOR THE POOR. Here I take the exceprt related to the Computer Based Functional Literacy program
The great doyen of Indian IT industry, Shri F.C Kohli believes that this can be done through his recent breakthrough. He has developed a unique Computer-based Functional Literacy (CBFL) method. It is based on the theories of cognition, language and communication. In this method, the scripted graphic patterns, icons and images are recognized through a combination of auditory and visual experiences by using computers. The method emphasizes on learning words rather than alphabets.

Based on this method, Shri Kohli's team has developed innovative methodologies using IT and computers to build a reading capability among the adult illiterates. This experiment was first conducted in Medak village near Hyderabad. Without a trained teacher, the women started reading the newspaper in Telugu in 8 to 10 weeks. Thereafter, his team has carried out more experiments in 5 States and in 5 languages. So far, 40,000 people have been made literate in these pilot experiments.

The team ran these lessons on Intel 486s and the earlier versions of Pentium PCs modified to display multimedia. There are around 200 million of such PCs in the world that are obsolete and discarded. They can be made available free of cost. By using these PCs, the cost of making one person literate would be less than Rs.100.

How does one set up a telephone exchange in a village in the Rajasthan desert in India, where temperatures that go beyond 50 C and the sand storms create unmanageable dusty conditions. It was Centre for Development of Telecommunications (C-DOT) in India that designed the rural exchanges, which could withstand these aggressive conditions.