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Anthropological Perspective on Democratizing Education through Mobile Phones in India:A Qualitative Study in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh, India


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1 Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India
     

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Education is often seen as the key agency in development and poverty reduction. Two powerful trends are shaping the future of India's economic growth and cultural fabric, firstly the increased demand for quality education and secondly, the rise of mobile technology. In a country of 1.2 billion people, 54% are currently below 25 years of age and in need of K-12 schooling and higher education and as many as 47 million people will enter workforce by 2020, according to the India Brand Equity Foundation. India's illiteracy rate has dropped from 35% to 26% between 2001 and 2011 while the higher education sector is expected to grow at 18% until 2020. Despite these advances, however, much work remains to ensure greater access to higher quality education. This paper investigates the accessibility and attractiveness of different types of ICT applications in education, with special focus on mobile phones applications. Mobile device has arguable impacted India in ways unlikely by any other technology by its penetration to almost entire segment of society. Over 865 million people have mobile phones compared to 80 million personal computers (PC's) in India. The aim of this study is to scrutinise the process in which ICT-supported methods for learning can be introduced, used and disseminated through mobile education. The study was undertaken in Dharamshala town of Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh on students in age group 13-18, studying in 9th to 12th standard in government school. The study attempts to analyse the role of mobile phones in lives of students in present day context, the extent and kind of use. Also, what is their perception of mobile as a method of learning? Interesting findings came out of the study including a huge difference in gender preferences and the perceptions of use among students that can be crucial in policy formation.

Keywords

ICT in Education, Mobile Learning.
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  • Anthropological Perspective on Democratizing Education through Mobile Phones in India:A Qualitative Study in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh, India

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Authors

Avanee Khatri
Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India
A. K. Sinha
Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India
Sahil Bansal
Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India

Abstract


Education is often seen as the key agency in development and poverty reduction. Two powerful trends are shaping the future of India's economic growth and cultural fabric, firstly the increased demand for quality education and secondly, the rise of mobile technology. In a country of 1.2 billion people, 54% are currently below 25 years of age and in need of K-12 schooling and higher education and as many as 47 million people will enter workforce by 2020, according to the India Brand Equity Foundation. India's illiteracy rate has dropped from 35% to 26% between 2001 and 2011 while the higher education sector is expected to grow at 18% until 2020. Despite these advances, however, much work remains to ensure greater access to higher quality education. This paper investigates the accessibility and attractiveness of different types of ICT applications in education, with special focus on mobile phones applications. Mobile device has arguable impacted India in ways unlikely by any other technology by its penetration to almost entire segment of society. Over 865 million people have mobile phones compared to 80 million personal computers (PC's) in India. The aim of this study is to scrutinise the process in which ICT-supported methods for learning can be introduced, used and disseminated through mobile education. The study was undertaken in Dharamshala town of Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh on students in age group 13-18, studying in 9th to 12th standard in government school. The study attempts to analyse the role of mobile phones in lives of students in present day context, the extent and kind of use. Also, what is their perception of mobile as a method of learning? Interesting findings came out of the study including a huge difference in gender preferences and the perceptions of use among students that can be crucial in policy formation.

Keywords


ICT in Education, Mobile Learning.