Over 212 girl students of arts and science colleges of Kerala and 40 college teachers were trained in ICT and New Media under a joint programme of SPACE and Kerala Women's Development Corporation (KSWDC) organised from January to March 2012. The workshops aimed to empower girl students in the use of ICTs by creating awareness on the potential of new media and by building their skills in using the web.
A earlier study conducted by SPACE had brought to light serious disparity between girl and boy students of arts and science colleges in their awareness and use of web media. While peer learning and social interaction help boys to develop a better understanding of the web, girls are at a disadvantage because the formal education they depend on does not provide them this knowledge. It was to address this gender divide in the ICT arena that SPACE initiated the programme for college girls with the support of KSWDC.
The workshops were held in the northern districts of Kasargod, Malappuram and Wayanad, which are among the educationally backward districts of Kerala. Three arts and science colleges were chosen from each district and a three day workshop was held for its girls students on campus. An assessment conducted before the workshop had shown that the girls were slightly apprehensive about participating in the workshop because their knowledge of computer and/or web was minimal and whether it would be a useful for them. The first day of the workshop addressed these fears through simple presentations how the web works, how it becomes useful and important in this new age. Through brief assignments, the girls learnt how to use email, share and edit documents online, search for information on the net, how to store and retrieve information and to enable Malayalam in computers. They were introduced to useful websites on the net, plugins and addons for search engines. The third day of the workshop focused on content building using content management system.
A post training assessment showed a marked difference in the attitude of the participants with the students expressing delight over how the workshop had changed their whole perspective about the computer and the web, as it made them confident of being able to meaningfully link it to their lives now.
Separate workshops were held for college teachers in each of the three districts which focused on giving them insight into the various opportunities thrown open by the web and on building their skills in using new media.
Nehru Arts and Science College,Kanhangad,Kasargod.
EKNM Govt College,Nileshwaram,Kasargod.
Amal College of Advanced Studies,Nilambur,Malappuram.
MES Ponnani College,Ponnani,Malappuram.
NMSM Govt College,Kalpetta,Wayanad.
Govt Colege Manandavady,Mananthavady,Wayanad.