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Key projects

Tata Computer-based Functional Literacy Programme
Launched in February 2000 in the Beeramguda village in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh, this ground-breaking project seeks to combat illiteracy with a new approach to learning, using multimedia and flashcards to fortify the learning experience. The lessons focus on reading, are tailored to fit different languages and even dialects, and are based on the theories of cognition, language and communication. A typical class has between 15 and 20 people and is held in the evening hours. While early in the project most of the instructors were retired teachers, many of the classes are now conducted by those made literate by the project.

Today the CBFL project is operational in more than 1,000 centres in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, and it has helped more than 20,000 people learn the most basic of the three Rs: reading. More centres are in the process of being set up, which means that many more of India's uneducated will have a shot at a better life. Tamil, Marathi, Hindi and Bengali versions of the programme are all now operating under the programme. Tata claims that if implemented properly, the project can make 90 per cent of India literate in three to five years.

ASHA 2005
With a mission to educate illiterate adults by using Devnagri script in computers and also to train rural youths in computer applications in the most backward villages of Nagrota Surian block of Himachal, ASHA-2005 was launched in mid-year 2002. A joint initiate between the Science Awareness Trust (SAT) and the State Govt. of Himachal Pradesh, ASHA-2005 aims to train 2,100 people in areas of health, social welfare and environment, as well as educating 15,000 Illiterate adults in three years. Three successful camps have been held to date. SAT has invited officials of the district administration and other departments to create a platform for discussing and solving of problems of the area.

With the enthusiastic endorsement and support of the Government, the Internet Village Centre fosters the knowledge-based economic development of a rural village in China. The centre serves as both a software development centre and a business services centre, showcasing ICT developments ranging from IT facilities to Internet businesses to distance employment opportunities.

ICT Application for Non-formal Education Programmes
In attempting to respond to the needs in the region, UNESCO’s Asia-Pacific Programme of Education for All (APPEAL) has supported member states in systematizing the non-formal education curriculum, training personnel and developing learning materials. Since the late 1990s, APPEAL has also has been promoting the concept of Community Learning Centres for generating grassroots based interest and participation in literacy, basic education and continuing education activities for disadvantaged people. To respond more effectively to the diverse learning needs among and within member states, the project ICT Application for Non-formal Education Programmes takes advantage of the power of ICT to contribute to promote EFA and encourage the application of alternative strategies to APPEAL activities. Using the potential of ICT, the project is also exploring more effective use and delivery of existing resources and develop new resources to widen access to and improve the relevance and quality of learning.

Same Language Subtitling on TV for Mass Literacy
Neo-literates watch songs on television subconsciously follow the text and sing along, so strengthening their reading skills as they enjoy the music. Same-language subtitling has been shown to strengthen grapheme-phoneme associations, which are weak in ‘early literate people’. Research in classroom, village and state levels has since consistently shown that reading ability improves steadily as a result of viewing film and folksong-based content with the addition of SLS. The project would be straightforward replicate, both in India with different languages, and worldwide.

ICTs for the Promotion of Literacy, especially in E-9 Countries 
This project focuses on two main activities: 1) Studies in relevant E-9 countries to identify best practices in ICT-assisted literacy (studies are currently underway in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico and Pakistan) and 2) Support for the development of ICT-based literacy materials and mobilization of partners for implementation in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan in the three E-9 countries in South Asia: Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The main goal is to strengthen cooperation and networking among the E-9 countries in harnessing ICTs to promote literacy.