| 5 important questions
How to achieve this?
The first condition for obtaining literacy is establishing a basis of communication. Communication can only be achieved when there is some kind of language which is common to the communicating persons. So if we want children to become literate, then, the first thing they must learn is one or more languages that enable them to communicate with literate people by conversing, reading and writing. Undoubtedly English is nowadays the most dominant common language in the world and it is certain that this leading position will increase rapidly with the rise of the Internet. Proficiency in English will give the children access to the Internet which is an invaluable source of information and at the same time a medium for communication with people all over the world.
Thus it is our first aim to teach children English. However, this does not mean that we underestimate the importance of learning national and regional languages for obtaining literacy and maintaining communication on national and regional level. In a later stage, when we have finalized and tested our English program, it is our ambition to expand it and also use it to tutor the children in their national and regional languages as well. Experience and research shows that children are capable of learning three languages simultaneously if teaching begins early enough.
There are two major obstacles to teaching the poorest and most disadvantaged children in developing countries, particularly tribal children. The first is that there are no facilities such as school buildings, books, boards, pencils etc. The second is that there are too few teachers or no teachers at all. This problem is often neglected in discussions about this subject but is perhaps even more important than the first. Not only are teachers not available but even if they are, their abilities are lacking. Their knowledge is hardly greater than that of the children they are teaching. Using modern electronic devices and methods is an attempt on our part to overcome both obstacles.
We are confident that the use of multimedia devices connected to the Internet during the early stages of language learning will fill the gap left by a lack of educational facilities. We are also confident that our multimedia programs will make teachers unnecessary. Rather, the programs which will enable the children to teach themselves. The only supervision required is that the devices are used by the children in an organized way and that they are well maintained. The supervisors do not need to be literate themselves. By ensuring children are able to learn English independently of teachers, the project aims to remove an important obstacle facing disadvantaged youth.