A great deal of our work starts off with rigorous demand side research; knowing what, how and why users engage with digital technologies provides us with a solid evidence-base to make our policy recommendations. For example, the nationally representative data that we had collected through our AfterAccess surveys in six Asian countries, provided us with a solid evidence base to argue for various policy changes as soon as the pandemic hit. https://lirneasia.net/AfterAccess-COVID19. But going forward with current projects getting off the ground, and in the midst of designing new ones, we’ve had to think about what the pandemic, lockdowns, social distancing, etc.
The reality of online learning / e-learning in the Asian Global South is far from ideal, even in Sri Lanka, which is classed as an upper middle-income country by the World Bank and, as the AfterAccess data has shown, has high level of mobile phone ownership. AfterAccess also shows us that internet use was still less than half the population by the start of 2019, and most of the internet use was through smartphones. In Sri Lanka, where schools have been shut down from mid-March, ways of ensuring continuity of education for all are being examined. In this context, two key pieces of data from the AfterAccess nationally representative surveys become important: 1. 34% of Sri Lankan households that contain children (18 or below) had some type of internet connection by the start of 2019 (this includes connections via mobile phones, dongles, fiber connections, etc.
Presented by Ayesha Zainudeen and Tharaka Amarasinghe at 3rd EDUCATION POLICY DIALOGUE hosted by the Education Forum Sri Lanka on the 16th of May 2020.
ICT access and use by Persons with Disabilities (PWD) in Sri Lanka
Presented by Helani Galpaya, Ayesha Zainudeen and Tharaka Amarasinghe on 22 May 2019 in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Presented by Helani Galpaya, Ayesha Zainudeen and Tharaka Amarasinghe on 5 November 2018 in Colombo, Sri Lanka