February 2004

IT Education : Initiatives among Mumbai Muslims

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The role of new technologies and their potential to contribute to economic growth and human development has been debated at various national and international forums. Speaking of equity and social transformation, the marginalization of the Muslim minority from the mainstream development is well known. As IT and its role in growth and globalization are established, this may not only further marginalize Muslims from the national mainstream but also threaten their place in world development.

Like the 'digital divide', the North-South divide has been widely discussed in academic circles. In recent times, the divide within a society, especially across geographic location (rural/urban), class, and gender have received inordinate media and academic attention. A society is far more heterogeneous and characterized by divides besides these three. In India, other social structural dimensions worth a mention are caste, ethnicity, religion, language and state. These digital divides deserve our attention and await documentation. Another lacuna in the IT and development literature is the lack of focus on computer access and learning in urban areas. It is assumed that things are well there with the result attention directed to making IT available to villagers. This is not to say that IT development in rural areas is unimportant

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