One of the outstanding potential of ICTs is their ability to bridge the divides in a much rapid and emphatic manner as compared to several traditional techniques e.g. for literacy reduction the traditional teaching methods are pretty time consuming and resource intensive whereas ICTs exploit the multimedia and similar aids for reducing the human learning cycle. As a case study few innovative steps taken by NGOs, multinationals and social entrepreneurs of India are presented.

Khabar Lahariya is a weekly Bundeli language newspaper, written, edited, illustrated, produced and marketed entirely by women in the rural Chritrakoot and Banda districts of Uttar Pradesh… The paper has a print run of around 4000 copies, and a readership of over 25,000. It is sold for Rs. 2 a copy in over 400 villages in both districts.’ The newspaper is playing commendable role in domain of female literacy. ‘Waves in hinterland‘ by farah naqvi covers the story of this newspaper in detail. The initiative won UNESCO’s literacy award in 2009

Nonprofit, Planet Read, has adopted an innovative approach to combating illiteracy: Using ‘same language subtitles’ on film songs as a way to teach viewers how to read (capitalizing the Indian public’s craze for Bollywood). Conceived in 1996 at IIM Ahmadabad, SLS program reaches about 200 million plus viewers across 8 different song programs in 8 different languages. The program has a great potential for replication in similar societies and thereby has been commended at Clinton Global Initiative.

Recent publication by UNESCO “Education for All – Global monitoring report 2011” (accessible here p71 ) states that

PlanetRead, provides same-language subtitling for film songs broadcast on television, potentially reaching  hundreds of millions. A randomized evaluation covering 13,000 people from 2002 to 2007 showed a considerable impact. Among children enrolled in school, 56% of those who had watched the subtitled show at least thirty minutes a week for five years had become fluent readers, as opposed to 24% of those who had not watched it. Among illiterate adults, 12% of those watching the show became fluent readers, as opposed to 3% of those not watching it (Kothari, 2008).

Apart from local NGOs other organizations like UNESCO have also come up with simplistic projects which are contributing towards the literacy in rural areas such as Tamil Nadu. Whereas projects like Akshaya, implemented in Kerala, has extended the concept of literacy to 100% e-literacy.