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25 Nov 2010 - 16 Jan 2020
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BBC Janala receives Tech Award for educational innovation
Bangladesh
BBC Janala has been awarded the prestigious Microsoft Education Award at the 2010 Tech Awards in Silicon Valley, California.
The project, which is part of the English in Action initiative, beat over 1,000 other nominations to become one of the final five chosen for an award.
The Tech Awards celebrate the power of technology to address global challenges in the environment, economic development, education, equality and health.
"BBC Janala’s genius is it uses the existing cellular network to provide people with educational content rather than waiting for what we have in the developed world.”
BBC Janala impressed judges with its use of mobile technology to reach some of the poorest people in the country, offering a simple and affordable way to learn.
Launched 12 months ago by the BBC World Service Trust, BBC Janala provides daily three minute audio lessons via mobile phone to the 84% of the country who want improve their English language skills in order to get a better job and access the global economy.
At a cost of just 50 paisa (half a pence) per minute, the lessons are available to those living on less than £2 a day. Over 50 million mobile phones are currently in use in Bangladesh.
The service has proved to be immensely popular, having received more than 3.5 million calls to date.
"We are humbled by their passion for education and we salute their contributions"
The tenth annual Tech Awards took place in San Jose, California on November 6th 2010.
Explaining BBC Janala’s achievement, Stuart Gannes, from the Tech Awards jury and former Director of Stanford University’s Digital Vision Program said: “For years people have been trying to work out how to bridge the digital divide and use PCs to teach people in the developing world. This was a challenge with a lack of available computers and connectivity to data networks.But while we were trying to duplicate our solution the world got connected via mobile phones.
"BBC Janala’s genius is it uses the existing cellular network to provide people with educational content rather than waiting for what we have in the developed world.”
Sara Chamberlain, Head of Interactive for the BBC World Service Trust, said: “In Bangladesh, we have seen how technology – in particular mobile - can provide quality and affordable education to many millions of ordinary people, even if they are living on a few dollars a day.
"We hope BBC Janala can offer insight into how similar services can be established around the developing world.
BBC Janala is part of English in Action, a major initiative launched to raise the language skills of 25 million people in Bangladesh by 2017. It is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development.
BBC Janala on Asia Today - video
BBC Janala
Our work in Bangladesh
Television drama and game show teach families English
Voices: Sara Chamberlain on BBC Janala
BBC Janala project overview
Our work in Bangladesh
External links
The Tech Awards
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