Posted on: January 31, 2013
Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies’ Librarian Danappa Pattar is earning accolades following the publication of a paper he co-authored in an international journal, the “Journal of Agriculture and Food Information”, published by Taylor and Francis. Titled “Information Literacy Among the Rural Community in an Economically Backward Region of Karnataka State, India” the paper highlights communication problems hindering agricultural productivity and holding back rural people from escaping poverty.
In an interview following the publication, he expanded on various points raised; noting that many rural people do not know about plans introduced by the state or central government, as there is a communication gap between them and agriculture officers. He believes this is because officers are not visiting the villages physically and interacting with the rural communities. “NGOs, political leaders and Gram Panchayat officers should work hard together to implement the government programmes properly and they have to train the rural communities,” he said. “Officers should visit the agriculture communities, build relationships and advise rural people, instead of simply advertising on TV and radio. Political leaders should show interest in helping the rural communities, instead of only visiting at election time.”
Mr. Pattar believes that the government should establish and strengthen extension training centers, develop rural infrastructure for transporting agricultural products to the nearby cities, organise training courses and workshops for rural communities, and upgrade libraries so that they include a good collection of books, journals and newspapers. In turn, libraries should ensure that they fulfill their role in rural communities by subscribing to agriculture journals, books and textbooks for the rural students and providing free internet facilities.
Further steps the government could take to boost literacy among rural people would be to raise public awareness of the importance of oral and written language in all its forms; foster an enjoyment of reading among children and young people, and cultivate and sustain a quality teacher workforce within a framework of strong school leadership. He also believes that there is a need to raise public awareness of the role the family, community, education system, libraries and other bodies can play in promoting successful literacy.
Educated rural youth also could also play a role, he said, by serving as “information gatekeepers” in villages.
“The youth have the ability to learn, so they can easily understand new technologies,” he said. “The youngsters who are literate can acquire the required information by reading newspapers, journals, books and other resources. They can serve as information gatekeepers in villages by helping rural communities and farmers. Many unemployed youths in villages are migrating to cities to search for jobs. Instead, they can start cottage or small-scale industries and organise co-operative farming in the rural areas by utilising the government plans and obtaining financial help from banks.”
Now in his fourth year at KIAMS, Pattar said he is proud to be working at the institute and is grateful for the inspiration and support from his friends and colleagues there.
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