The research study ‘Digital Kids Asia-Pacific Project (DKAP)’ was conducted in Bangladesh by the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) of the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Institute of School Violence Prevention (ISVP) of the Ewha Womans University (Seoul, Republic of Korea) and with support by UNESCO.
The overall objectives of the regional research study included:
- Contribute to creating an evidence-base on children’s actual attitudes towards, behaviors with, competency levels of, and the overall use of ICT both within and outside of the educational context in the Asia-Pacific by obtaining and comparatively analyzing quantitative and qualitative data from four countries.
- Establish an evidence-based understanding of children’s safe, effective and responsible use of ICT in the Asia-Pacific by developing and validating a framework that measures children’s attitudes towards and behaviors with ICT, their ICT competency levels, as well as the use of ICT within an educational context.
The research was conducted in five domains – (i) Digital Literacy; (ii) Digital Safety & Resilience; (iii) Digital Participation and Agency; (iv) Digital Emotional Intelligence; and (v) Creativity & Innovation – and was expected to broaden the evidence base and understanding of ICT practices, attitudes, and behaviors of children aged 15 years.
Based on the conceptual research framework, data collection instruments were developed and research methodologies agreed upon. The Institute of School Violence Prevention and UNESCO provided technical advice on research methodologies, data disaggregation criteria, and the required sample size in order to get statistically significant results. In Bangladesh, the research was conducted at 20 secondary schools at which data was collected from 1,052 male and female students from diverse urban and rural areas.
Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with children, parents and teachers collected qualitative data on roles and attitudes of children, parents, and teachers as well as on patterns, prospects, and challenges of ICT practices among children.
Findings of the research are presented in this report according to the conceptual research framework and research questionnaire. Findings are gender disaggregated and some sections specify urban-rural differences. Research findings do not specify age-related information as all participating students were 15 years of age.
Socio-economic conditions and educational levels of parents were considered for behavioral variations of children with regard to access to digital devices, their attitude towards them, and their usage behavior. Differences between male and female have been visible and are discussed in detail in this report.
Key findings of the research in Bangladesh
- Parents and teachers are concerned about the safety and security of their children. While parents and teachers are concerned about security issues of both boys and girls, they consider girls to be most at risk of being sexually harassed. At the same time, parents and teachers have expressed their concerns that due to the fact that boys use computers and the Internet in public places often away from the supervision of their parents, they are afraid that boys could be subject to bullying or involved in anti-social violent activities.
- Student’s ICT competencies and skills are appreciated but are mostly not utilized or leveraged for academic purposes. While students’ access to and capability of using latest digital devices is quite high with 80% of respondents knowing how to use latest digital devices, around 50% of interviewed students use computer software to complete learning tasks at school. 69% of interviewed students use digital devices in order to search for information and applications they need.
- When students are exposed to unwanted, violent, or disturbing files or websites (e.g. pornography website or violent media) the majority of students (78%) immediately close the page, delete the file, or scroll away. 62% block the webpage or website and 49% of students use a program that prevents something similar from happening again. Around 50% of interviewed students discuss the issue with a friend and around 40% consult their parents.
- Students’ information literacy skills require strengthening. In the research study 30% of students strongly agreed that they assess the relevance of digital information when completing learning tasks at school, while 38% agreed only somewhat to the statement. 31% of students expressed that they can clearly and 35% expressed that they can somehow separate reliable from unreliable information when searching for digital information.
Key recommendations from the research in Bangladesh
- There is a strong need to equip schools with adequate ICT facilities. Given the important role of schools as places providing universal access to ICT for children and adolescents, schools needs to become ICT hubs that provide student with access to computers and the Internet. Considering that most schools ban the use of smartphones at schools, learning institutions should ensure that an adequate number of computers and high speed Internet, as well as electricity are available at all times.
- In order to ensure that teachers have adequate digital skills, it is essential to strengthen teachers’ digital capacity through training. The preparation of a framework of ICT Competency Standards for Teachers (ICT-CST) would be an important milestone towards preparing teachers to be able to provide appropriate digital skills training and guidance to students.
- Evidence, research findings, and recommendations from the DKAP project shall be mainstreamed and scaled up in line with SDG4 targets. The Secondary Education Development Programme (SEDP) is the most suitable vehicle for the mainstreaming and scaling up of findings and recommendations by incorporating them into the students’ and teachers’ training curricula.