Policy briefs

The emergent information or network society context  offers a range of opportunities for women and girls to enhance their participation across economic, socio-cultural and public-political realms of life, as well as the scope for enhancing their individual freedoms. The Post-2015 Agenda therefore, both in terms of goals and related targets and indicators, has to promote and measure women's participation in the information society and their access to and effective use of the Internet and ICTs.

The work of public institutions leads to continuous creation of knowledge, but such knowledge often remains with specific individuals or institutions. This policy brief argues for sharing of such individual knowledge across the institution, and sharing of institutional knowledge across the domain through the use of publicly available ICTs. It also argues for and outlines an organisational policy on ICTs, besides providing a list of public (Free and Open Source) software resources for common organisational use.

IT for Change has been working in the area of ICTs and education, at the levels of research, capacity building and demonstration projects. Based on our work, this note explores ways in which ICTs could be used as an integral part of the education system and its processes to promote teacher professional development. The digital medium has the capacity to allow local knowledge construction and supporting text, audio and video learning materials development. Hence its potential for revolutionising teaching learning needs to be explored. However, in order to be successful, this exploration needs to be firmly grounded in both educational aims/philosophies and in educational contexts, and anchored by educationists.

This paper discusses the background, strategies, outcomes, challenges and learnings of Kishori Chitrapata, a project of IT for Change that addresses the learning needs of out-of-school adolescent girls through innovative uses of ICTs such as video, radio and computing technology.

India is known as an IT powerhouse but still has the largest number of poor people in any country in the world. India’s experience with policies for digital inclusion may thus offer some useful lessons for other developing countries. This policy brief looks at a range of initiatives in India including the ambitious Common Service Centres (CSCs) scheme of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). It looks at the challenges faced by the scheme in ensuring the delivery of development services in a socially inclusive manner using this infrastructure.

The Department of Public Instruction, Government of Karnataka and Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, have initiated a public software based ICT education programme imed at all the high schools of the state. This entire programme, including the classroom training, has been outsourced. However, preliminary implementation suggests that vendors are finding it challenging to impart an ICT based education in the selected schools.

A number of state education departments in India are launching computer learning programmes in schools. The predominant model for this programme is to outsource the entire program to vendors. However a few states like Kerala have successfully in-sourced this program, by building in-house capacities to conduct this programme. This paper discusses outsourced versus integrated models in this area, drawing from our research in two states of India.

IT for Change (ITfC) submitted a solicited paper on the role of Common Services Centres (CSCs) to the e-governance division of the Department of Information Technology of the Government of India. The paper briefly examines the CSC model of employing ICTs for community development, wherein one telecentre is being set up in every 6 villages around the country in a public private partnership (PPP) model.

Computer learning programmes in schools (CLPS) in India have largely failed to achieve their goals of positively impacting learning processes and outcomes in schools. Implemented usually through 'PPP' (Public Private Partnership) models, these programmes have been treated largely as  silos. Schools and teachers have not seen  computer learning as an integral part of education, and the overall education processes, which has compromised their ownership over, and engagement with the programme.

This paper was contributed for a report prepared for the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UN GAID) Global Forum on Access and Connectivity in least developed countries and small islands developing states in Asia/Pacific and innovative financing mechanisms for ICTD, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 18-20 May 2008. This paper explores the meanings of women's empowerment and gender equality in the information society, looking at the opportunity for progressive change and critically unpacking the ICTD discourse on gender and development.