Applicant's Wikimedia username. If one is not provided, then the applicant's name will be provided for community review.
- Arnab Mandal
- Field Study on the Use of Bengali (বাংলা) Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Tools for School and Higher Education in India
Entity Receiving Funds
Provide the name of the individual or organization that would receive the funds.
- Arnab Mandal
Description of the proposed project, including aims and approach. Be sure to clearly state the problem, why it is important, why previous approaches (if any) have been insufficient, and your methods to address it.
- Bengali is the sixth most spoken language in the world, and second most spoken language in India which has more than 100 million native speakers. Today when digital education has become synonymous with mainstream education because of Covid-19 pandemic, importance of open educational resources and free knowledge has grown manifold as non-access or non-affordability of quality materials and tools can leave millions behind and push in abject poverty. For a developing country like India, government schools are still de-facto place of learning even though of late there is a trend of mushrooming private schools and plethora of Ed-Tech companies that want to capitalize on the vast pool of learners ranging from school and college students to job seekers.
In this context, Bengali Wikimedia tools have a great role to play to provide useful information and quality contents completely “free of cost” to millions of people from BoP. While lack of device and internet are known infrastructural barriers, it cannot be denied that there is significant progress in penetration of ICT devices (e.g. smartphones) and internet access. Today, even a government-aided remote school in rural hinterland has internet and computer lab. But the ground reality suggests that the potential of Bengali Wikimedia tools is far from being unleashed due to several factors including lack of guidance from teachers.
Research inquiry of the proposed work is about the current use (magnitude and ways), adoption barriers and gaps of Bengali Wikipedia and other Wikimedia tools in India. In 2012, a small online survey on engagement with Bengali Wikipedia was conducted with only 1100 completed responses. India’s share was only 16% of the submitted response. Thus, it is quite inadequate to draw any significant conclusion, especially in today’s pandemic context. We propose to conduct a robust field study using scientific social research methods with at least 3000 sample size (i.e. drawn from West Bengal, Delhi, Tripura, Assam and Andaman & Nicobar). Target group in the proposed research will be students from schools, colleges and universities where medium of instruction is Bengali. In addition, a few focus group discussions with school teachers and college lecturers will also be conducted. It is expected that this research will press on the need for encouraging use of Bengali Wikimedia tools at a mass-scale and also come up with some interesting “stories of impact” which would otherwise be not known.
Approximate amount requested in USD.
Briefly describe what you expect to spend money on (specific budgets and details are not necessary at this time).
- Honorarium: USD 25000
- Benefits: USD 4000 (To be given to all research participants e.g. respondents, schools, colleges)
- Equipment: USD 4000
- Software: USD 1000
- Field Travel: USD 8000 (For survey data collection, FGDs, and research monitoring by Principal and Co-principal Investigators)
- Event: USD 5000 (To be held after the research for findings dissemination)
- Stationery and Printing: USD 1000
- Open Access Publishing: USD 2000
TOTAL: USD 50000
Address the impact and relevance to the Wikimedia projects, including the degree to which the research will address the 2030 Wikimedia Strategic Direction and/or support the work of Wikimedia user groups, affiliates, and developer communities. If your work relates to knowledge gaps, please directly relate it to the knowledge gaps taxonomy.
- Proposed work has high relevance with Knowledge Equity as people from poor and lower-middle class strata in a developing country like India will be subject of a research that would understand gaps and access-barriers for greater adoption of Bengali Wikimedia tools. Since the work will largely focus on school, college and university education, it has strong connections with at least 4 strategies of the movement - Improve User Experience, Coordinate Across Stakeholders, Identify Topics for Impact, and Innovate in Free Knowledge. Research insights will be very useful for the Wikimedia community (including developers and product designers), to enhance Wikimedia tools in Bengali which globally has nearly 300 million speakers.
Plans for dissemination.
- Research report will be written in a simple language so that not only academicians but also others (such as, journalists, policy makers, management consultants, teachers and social development professionals) can find it interesting to read. It will be available for open access as per the policies of Wikimedia Foundation. We also plan to organize an events in Kolkata and Delhi to disseminate the research findings, and also to encourage greater adoption of Bengali Wikimedia tools.
Prior contributions to related academic and/or research projects and/or the Wikimedia and free culture communities. If you do not have prior experience, please explain your planned contributions.
- Arnab is a polymath who has researched on various topics such as Education, Skill Development, Health, Climate Change, etc. He has been a UNESCO global panel member on Digital Education and has co-authored a UNESCO report titled as “Exploring the Potential of Digital Technology in Achieving Quality Education”. Narottam is a modern thinker of Bengali language & literature; and he holds a PhD in Bengali. He has several research publications in reputed journals. He teaches at Delhi University as an Asst. Professor (guest). He has stronghold in rural Bengal as well as in academic circle. Both can play pivotal in Wikimedia movement because of their intellectual acumen, knowledge about on-the-ground realities, and strong network in South Asia.
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