Thursday, March 19, 2015

Community Radio for Community Learning

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India organized the fifth Community Radio Sammelan from 16-18 March, 2015 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi in association with OneWorld Foundation India. I had an opportunity to lead a breakout session on ‘Community Radio for Community Learning’; where about 50 operational community radio stations participated and shared their views. Five community radios enumerated the methodology on the programme ‘Radio Mathematics’, a project funded by the NCSTC, DST, Govt. of India. The stations utilize different formats, including story telling, drama, quiz to make the programme on mathematics for their learners. For innovative programming in the series, Radio JU got a national award in the last Sammelan. Pariyar CR, Shyamla Vaani, Alwar ki Awaz, IIT Kanpur are a few stations, who have been producing programmes to provide knowledge on mathematics to the community members. Some stations also developed hundreds of episodes on the series ‘Science for Women’. It is appropriate to mention here that in India, out of 179 operational community radio stations, the maximum stations are based in educational institutions. Hence, these stations have also a mandate to deliver educational programmes through their radio stations. On the contrary, a few stations are adopting the Community Learning Programme (CLP) method developed by the Commonwealth of Learning for providing non-formal learning opportunities to the community members. Waqt ki Awaz, Apna Radio, Gurgaon ki Awaz, Alfaz-e-Mewat are among the stations, who have been producing learning programmes using the CLP method. An organization involved in CLP training, Maraa also provided their inputs in the session.
While moderating the session, it was observed, majority of stations believe that providing knowledge to the community members is a responsibility of a community radio. I had the same feeling, when I was the station manager of the first community radio of the northeastern region of India for about four years. But, what should be the role of a community radio in community learning? Should community radio play a role of a teacher in the community? I sincerely believe, no. Community radio should be a platform of co-learning, not the top-down model of knowledge dissemination.
The group provided a few significant dictums on three areas of community learning- objective, content and the methodology. While discussing on the objectives of community learning, the group has suggested that a CR station should identify the gaps and the needs of the community. The station should also have the self-realization, what a CR station can do and can't do. Other objectives should be of co-learning within the community, evaluation of learning, reverse learning, participatory dialogue, localized nature, behaviour change approach, use of cost effective and sustainable model. The group believes that the area of learning should decide by the community, not by the community radio. The community should be involved not only in identifying areas, but also in the stages of planning, designing and delivery of the programmes. A member highlighted the fact that all the stations are some extent involved in programming on education and health. However,, they may create some learning programmes beyond these two. Regarding the methodology of the learning programmes, the group focused on the use of local language, local culture and talent, needs of the community, interesting and engaging content, follow up with learners etc.

The group finalized a set of recommendations for the community radio stations while producing the programmes on community learning- need for the current learning programmes to be local and move beyond the awareness/ instructional mode to a more dialogue oriented form of learning; need to connect national or state government programmes or schemes (like sanitation, maternal health) with the local needs for which community radios can be a potential tool using various learning models and need for proper capacity building of the stations in the domain of participative learning tools through existing/ adapted courses and hands on workshops etc. The final recommendations and the details of the discussion will be included in the proceeding of the Sammelan. It is indeed an important area for the community radio station. (Photo credit: Alfaz-e-Mewat).

Cite this article as-

Dutta, A. (2015, March 19). Community Radio for Community Learning. Community Communications.

Dutta, Ankuran. "Community Radio for Community Learning." Community Communications, 19 Mar. 2015, Accessed ..........

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