28 May 2011

Library and Cyber Cafe

Project update!

I have done some observations and interviews at the TCV and I've found some amazing things! For example, today I spoke to the headmaster for the high school but I wasn't able to get permission to observe classrooms yet. Instead, I found the library! It exceeded all my expectations--there were at least ten computers around the perimeter of the room, and the librarian informed me that they have free internet access for students for an hour after school and for four hours on Sundays. During school hours they have E Granary, a program that allows students to conduct research offline. The library was exactly what I needed, and I have a feeling that I'll be spending a fair amount of time there over the next ten weeks.

After speaking to the librarian I went to the cyber cafe on campus. The internet there is available to students after school and on weekends and holidays. The cost is 5 rupees for 5-10 minutes, 10 rupees for 10-30 minutes, and 15 rupees for 30-60 minutes (which, when compared to the 30 rupees/minute cost in McLeod, is a great deal). I asked the employee if the students have Facebook profiles, and he told me that virtually every student has a Facebook profile, but I'm not sure if he meant all of the TCV students or all of the students who frequent the cyber cafe. I asked him what students most often do in the cyber cafe, and he said that they chat on Facebook or on Yahoo messenger. He also told me that they check their email accounts--frequently gmail--and said that a few students maintain blogs. I had to leave before the students came, but I am sure I'll be spending time in the cyber cafe, too.

The limited internet in the library and the 15 rs/hr charge for the cyber cafe are the result of the expense of maintaining an internet connection. I realized, though, that because students will have to pay for their time in the cyber cafe they'll use the internet for shorter time periods. Therefore, more of the 2,000 students will have access to the limited number of computers.

The survey is still pending. The TCV goes on summer break for 1.5 weeks beginning next Wednesday, and I'm hoping to have the survey ready to go by the time they return. Transportation to the school is still an issue, though I think I have a solid way of getting back to McLeod. Altogether I think the project is going well!

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