|Institution:||University of Oslo|
|Full text PDF:||http://urn.nb.no/URN:NBN:no-37137
The major aim of the study was to explore the role of ICT intervention in the BRAC community learning centers (CLCs) in bridging the digital divide for rural youth in Bangladesh. It focused on understanding how the ICT intervention helped in improving the living condition of the rural youth. It further attempted to find out the opportunities and challenges youth experienced regarding the ICT intervention. The study adopted a qualitative research approach. A semi-structured interview was conducted with total twenty nine people. The theoretical framework of the study was based on Bourdieu’s theory of practice and cultural reproduction. The findings show that ICT training helped significantly in improving the psychological status of the rural youth as they felt an increased level of self-confidence and self-esteem after receiving the training. All of the young people were motivated for the training as they believed that ICT skills would extend their chances of getting a good job. The use of computer and the Internet by the rural youth were very limited. They used Internet mainly for collecting necessary information such as class schedule, exam schedule and exam results. Very few of them used Internet for using Facebook, sending e-mail, reading newspapers, downloading songs and searching jobs online. The young people taught younger siblings and friends some ICT skills. They helped neighbours and relatives in fixing minor computer related problems and gathering necessary information from the Internet. The families and communities were supportive about the ICT training for the youth. But the families of the young girls were less supportive regarding the ICT training. The youth could not enjoy autonomy in using computer and the Internet in the CLCs because of several technical problems such as inadequate computer and Internet provision, slow computers and load shedding. It is clear that the ICT intervention in the BRAC CLCs plays a significant role by offering ICT access and training provision for the rural youth and thus addresses the digital divide to some extent. But there is long way to go to help the youth improve their living condition by using ICT. Moreover, the ICT intervention has created a new level of digital divide in the communities. The ICT training program is designed for educated youth only. The illiterate and less educated people cannot enrol in the program and they cannot achieve the ICT skills.