Community Radio for Education
December 2010

Community Radio for Education

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Radio technology was developed in late nineteenth century and was used more often in early twentieth century. It has been a tool that is capable of delivering information to widespread geographic regions and is cost effective

Radio is a cost-effective and has greater learning effect than textbooks or teacher education. Some of the educational advantages of using radio include improvement in quality and relevance, low cost and increase accessibility. The challenges that it presents include lack of dual interaction, lack of clarification, interruptions in transmissions, fixed pace for all and lack of space for reflection on content being taught. Radio is supportive of providing remedial tutorials; providing updates; presenting material in a manner that children can identify with emotions and outlook of the protagonist; and providing an alternate to TV programmes.
 
Community Radio

Mainstream media is very vast and its approach is very generic and not suited to local needs of the people. Community radio's are yet another tool which is used by the local communities who are the creators and disseminators of the information required by the local community. They produce and centre the information/ discussions on local issues. For running community radio training is provided to children/ adults and can be executed easily. It supports children to speak their mind, in line with Convention on the Rights of the Child. Community radio propagates not only knowledge but also sense of responsibility and morality amongst children. In December 2002, the Government of India approved a policy for the grant of licenses for setting up of Community Radio Stations to well established education institutions including the IITs and the IIMs. Later the government also included other civil societies such as NGOs and voluntary 'non-profit' organizations.  Government has also prescribed principals and guidelines for setting up the community radio such as three years of compulsory experience of the non profit organisation in providing service to local community; including only those programmes for broadcast that are relevant to the educational development, social and cultural needs of the community; the civil society must be registered under societies' act or other relevant act. Government of India showed its keenness to open 4000 community radio 2008 stations.

At present, All India Radio forms first tier; private FM form the second tier; and community radio forms that third tier. It is a form of empowerment given to the operators – that is community people at it aids them to voice their needs, desires and intentions. It involves community participation and ownership. It helps them to get education and entertainment in their own language and based on their manner of living, at low cost. In hands of children, it can help them give opportunity to be the decision makers and responsible for their act and gain an understanding that they can make a difference. According to W Jayaweera, Director, Communication Development, UNESCO, Community Radio is not just about broadcast content; it is mostly about the process of community engagement. Community radio is about social skills, business skills, creativity, IT skills, local democracy, hard to reach groups, involvement of women and young people and involvement of hundreds of volunteers. Community Radio is about harnessing the tremendous potentials media can offer to engage people and change their lives. It is about ordinary people having a stake in the vast broadcasting landscape and becoming responsible and accountable citizens.

Media literacy comprises of demanding accountability from media. It implies understanding the process of transmitting information. It activates community members to participate and own the content they need and spread

Media Literacy

Community Media Centers are the places where opportunities for operating media tools such as community radio are available. Such initiatives encourage the understanding of usage and effects of media over a community. It implies engagement of the local community people, giving them a stake in the dissemination of knowledge. Media literacy comprises of demanding accountability from media. It implies understanding the process of transmitting information. It activates community members to participate and own the content they need and spread. Awareness about media and its potential is another component of literacy. Government formulated policy at different times. In December 2002, the policy was formulated and revamped in 2006 with only difference being that initially only reputed educational institutes were allowed to operate community radio's while lately, NGOs, CSOs of good repute have been allowed to operate on the same.

For spreading awareness, workshops are being conducted to train not only adults but also children. Making a good Community Radio
Station involves participation of community with only guidance from the external world. Its infrastructure involves a space and a building making a studio with transmission facilities. It involves regular recruitment of different people from community, who are trained to use the transmitter equipment and content that is being developed.

Maintenance of studio and equipment used is of importance in order to avoid breakdown of transmissions, which is equal responsibility of each person in the community. Community Radio Forum and government agencies come forward to provide license and funds to provide for CRS. Any help from outside the community should be limited to provide for the hardware and training related to daily operations but not recurring expenses such as honorarium.

According to provisions for the license, the programmes being broadcasted have to be preserved for six months for scrutiny at later stage. The CSR cannot be monitored from one place, however, violation of rules implies penalty for the community to pay. Free expression is a right that community enjoys but rules are to be followed by all. Even FM channels are not allowed to broadcast news and current affairs, whereas private TV channels are allowed to do so. Furthermore, community radio technology is based on inexpensive technology comprising of equipment supported by CR policy and UNESCO.

Radio as a Potential ICT Tool

Often it is said that multi-media help teachers and education system to go beyond talk and chalk method to impart knowledge in most suitable way. So the issues that rise alongside use of multi media are

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