Promoting Literacy Via TV

Posted on: 11/01/2010

A professor in Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) noticed this and worked to transform this into a tool for promoting literacy levels among children and adults. And, it has worked.

Professor Brij Kothari’s research on Same Language Subtitles (SLS) showed how Bollywood music programmes on DD like Rangoli, Chitrahaar and Chitrageet helped bridge the gap between the education system and potential readers. The study shows how exposure to SLS more than doubled the percentage of children who became good readers and halved the number of children who remained illiterate.

Kothari said, “The idea occurred to me when I was watching a Spanish film with friends as a PhD student at the Cornell University in New York. The subtitles were in English and we discussed that if the subtitles were in Spanish it would have helped me learn the language faster. Soon after I finished the course and came to IIM-A, I started working on this project.”

The pilot test of the research was done in Gujarat when a controlled experiment with primary schoolchildren from disadvantaged backgrounds, by creating SLS content for an existing weekly 30-minute programme of Gujarati film songs — Chitrageet. “Gujarat became the first site in the world where SLS was implemented expressly to promote mass literacy in the first language,” said Kothari.


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