ICONECS Session on
‘E-Content in Localisation and Inclusion’
October 17, 2008
By Gaurang Sharma
Technology cannot claim to have solved its purpose if it is unable to reach the local level and include as many in its fold as it can. Therefore, it has to break barriers which block its path of reaching out to as many as possible.
There are many who are working towards the goal of making technology accessible to as many. Such efforts were presented at the ICONECS session on e content in localisation and inclusion during Manthan Awards, and the challenges in the field of technology’s spread for development were discussed. Various contries are involved in this process.
One such effort is being made by Afghanistan Computer Science Association, which is developing Sea Monkey in Pashto language as a community effort for quite some time. The website is pashtotracks.com. In Afghanistan, localization of windows XP and office XP 2005 is being done and the organisation is helping in availing ICT services to all Afghans. ICT will help in pushing Afghanistan towards becoming a developed economy. Localisation has become a priority for the government and e-governance initiatives and ICT in school curriculum are under way.
In Sri Lanka, a country where Singhala is the most popular language, followed by Tamil, efforts are directed towards dispensing education to physically handicap through recorded cassettes. Similarly, there is desire to make e content accessible to everyone. The presentation by Dais, Sri Lanka, showed what efforts are being made in this direction. Computer training is conducted for college students. Software called sicrona has been developed. This software helps in producing content in Singhala language.
In India, Lipikaar is an organization that has set an example by trying to make e content available to many sections. This website is creating e-content in languages other than English because there are large populations that do not understand English. There are more than 2000 dialects and more than 40 million Internet users in India. There are various methods of creating e-content in local languages.
Even the concept of donation has been given a new meaning in India through technology by giveindia.org. Started seven years back, it is an online platform for any person who wants to donate for a social cause. 50000 donors have already donated for social cause under this website.
These endeavours make us realize the energy with which ICT tools are trying to build bridges to overcome the digital divide. We need so many efforts in this direction. It is highly recommended that in a country like ours, with large percentage of uneducated population and such cultural and ethnic diversity, organisations and bodies try to break the barriers which prevent proliferation of technology.