What we are doing in this project work?
Informal discussions with rural community leaders and youth have revealed that they are eager to establish ICT facilities in their villages and to share in the fruits of global changes in the field of education, technology and socio economic development.The E village concept has been developed as a response to some of the issues. E village programs are launched by chosen schools with the help of the Ministry of Education. The Secondary Education Modernization Project (SEMP) developed the idea of establishing E villages in selected schools. The Batuwangala Evillage Project realizes that the changes envisaged through the E Village concept take time and careful planning.
Current needs of students and the community, available infrastructure, socio-economic conditions of the community etc need to be taken into account when planning a project of this nature. Our overall mission is to reduce the inequality in accessing ICT services and technology for sustainable development between urban and rural communities. We would like to define sustainable development in line with current thinking as ‘meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ Thus, we are conscious of the fact that ICT and technology is but a tool to improve human welfare and wellbeing.
Human welfare and wellbeing are constituted of other factors such as the environment, fair economic systems, the self determination of individuals and communities and strong community and family relationships.
Issues to be Addressed
The issues that we have identified below describe the context within which the E Village project functions.
* Language barriers:
To access ICT and new technology a working knowledge of English is necessary. Thus, improving English literacy has to be part of this project. At the same time, changes are taking place within the sector with the use of vernacular languages which also need to be considered and strengthened.Not only English and ICT,But also Tamil,mathematics,And Science.We don’t believe that teaching ICTs will oars the children to the banks,or will be a filled one with knowledge.What we believe is ICT is a tool.we transform the thinking in to a state where they can manipulate tools for self,and sustain development.
* Literacy difficulties
Sri Lanka boasts of high literacy rates; however, the level of literacy in language and mathematics, technology that is required for making use of ICT and technology is not present among most people who would be considered literate. This is due to disparities in the quality of education with many rural children deprived of accessing quality language, technology, science and math skills due to inadequate trained teachers. Batuwangala school for example has been struggling without science or math teachers for many years.
* Inadequate communication and transport facilities.
Infrastructure is a pre requisite for ICT accessibility. For instance, the school does not have a telephone connection. The internet connection that came with the E Village project is slow and frequently disrupted.On the other hand accessing speedy connections for internet is still a dream.Some times the technology is cost full and what we can reach is less.Roads,Public transport systems has to be up lift.It is still one have to travel more than 3 hours from Galle to Batuwangala.Utilities have to be developed.As an example we may consider roads,Hospitals,etc still to be come forward.Still the above mentioned are not done.
* Limited livelihood options
Most people in the area are dependent on the tea plantations for their livelihood. Many own small plots of land on which they grow tea and sell to the big factories dotting the area. Fluctuations in the industry affect people’s livelihoods directly as the prices for bought leaf are market driven and change constantly. The environment is also a huge factor; droughts or floods can change the conditions drastically in the area. This has an impact on education as families cannot afford to pay the extras demanded of additional classes, equipment or even transport for children to participate in educational activities.
It times of economic hardship families will not priorities ICT if it means an additional economic burden.
The link between the Batuwangala E Village and the Batuwangala Public School
The E Village project is located in the computer laboratory of the Batuwangala Nawodya Maha Vidyalaya. The computer laboratory was set up by the SEMP project with the intention of improving ICT and English skills among the student population. Classes are conducted in the computer laboratory for the students. Alternative and innovative methods are used to encourage children to improve their English skills. The emphasis is on application; thus students are encouraged to speak and write. Usage of emails and internet is one means through which this is encouraged. Teachers are encouraged to use the laboratory to teach other subjects as well by developing interactive lesson materials, power point and other computer based methods.
The Sri Lankan education system is often criticized for using outdated teaching material and lagging behind in science and technology education. Strengthening the computer laboratory could be one of the most beneficial ways of addressing this problem.
Potential benefits to the community from the E Village.
* Promote cooperation and networking among local CBOs.
Although several Community Based Organizations (CBOs) exist in the Batuwangala village they are rather weak due to poor communication and organizational capacity. However, CBOs are an integral part of village life and often play a role in everyday lives of people as well as during major events in the community. The E village concept could initiate networking among the different CBOs in order to share resources and also improve communication between each other.
02.Strengthen local livelihood strategies.
Agriculture and tea are the main sources of livelihood in the area. The E village could be a source of information to the community that would enable them to gain access to useful information such as current market prices, new technology and to developments in the sector. Lack of information and knowledge is one of the main reasons why agriculture small holders are dis empowered and lack the capacity to negotiate better terms and conditions. The E Village could be a means by which this issue is addressed.
* Creating career opportunities for youth
Youth unemployment is a pressing problem in Sri Lanka, particularly among rural youth. The E Village presents an opportunity for introducing youth to potential career and job opportunities in a range of areas. Our intention is not to merely train youth in ICT and send them off to seek jobs outside, but also to encourage youth to use ICT and technology to generate opportunities and to initiate activities within the community as well. For example, there are many services that are needed within the area if ICT accessibility in rural areas is to be truly a reality; the E village could be the source of skilled personnel for such services to be initiated and developed.
* The process………………..
After the idea is passed to the people,Senior students will be working with the workshops with the villagers.How ever the main concept with the evillage is to improve the ICT and English Of all students.So here comes the impotence of SEMP.The project gave us A computer lab with the internet connection which made us stronger than other schools in the area.Hon.Minister Piyasena Gamage also helped us to grant this lab.Now all the activities of Batuwangala evillage is condut at the computer laboratory of Batuwangala Nawodya maha Vidyalaya. Using this lab and the above mentioned resources we have now built some students.So using them We will be conducting workshops.
Our approach to English will be different kind than current government schools conduct.In side the evillage we will be use English practically in side the class room.The current lessons are some what different even from one day to another.Children may talk about ten sentences using English language for one day.Then gradually they may start to speak along.Motivation towards using mails and internet is also another way of molding their English language.
competent students may use to show out how to improve the English.Computer literacy may not be given also chalk and talk method.Live classrooms will be organized to over come the rejection from the students.Interactive materials,Desktop sharing teaching will improve their computer literacy.
Sinharaja rain forest is next to us.We hope to invite all the inland and overseas students to join with us and experiment with us.As the sinharaja is a grate resource we tend to reserve the fragile habitat while using it maximum for our he well being of our children.Over seas Universities may contact us using our contacts for arranging necessary arrangements.
Students may allow to use internet to create their blogs.Via this it is planed grant not only the publicity or to increase the number of web pages come under our brand.But to up hold the mass knowledge bringing this kind of activities.Even using email and chatting will also consider in the same manner.It is strictly noticed that each and every internet connected activities will be monitored bay the evillage CEO himself and will take care.
Recourse personals will be gathered to the village.Here inland resource personals will be always searched for consultancy.How ever the E mentors and People who pay their attention on volunteer services will be gathered by the web site to correct children when they make mistakes with English language and ICT activities.
By doing all the above mentioned activities we deeply believe that the ICT and English Knowledge will be uphold.Language proficiency and ICT proficiency inside the village will be more common and people will use ICT.