SITE/Satellite Instructional Television Experiment: Overview

SITE/Satellite Instructional Television Experiment: Overview

Question: Satellite Instructional Television Experiment marks India’s first attempt to use technology for education. SITE is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month. Provide an overview of this educational technology initiative.

- Satellite Instructional Television Experiment marks India’s first attempt to apply technology in the field of education

- This initiative was launched 4 decades ago

- SITE was launched 40 years ago in August

- US developed technology for powerful direct broadcasting satellite through a large 9 metre antenna operating in space like an umbrella

- SITE marks the intersection of Indian requirements with American technology

- This marked the first India-US partnership in space technology

- SITE employed the use of NASA’s first direct broadcasting satellite for beaming television programmes to rural areas which are remote and inaccessible

- Antennae measuring 3 m were used for receiving the signals

- During the 1970s, when this programme was launched TV was rare in urban India

- As part of the SITE programme, television sets for educational purposes were established in schools and panchayat centres in 6 states-Bihar, Odisha,MP, AP, Rajasthan and Karnataka in 2400 villages here

- The selected villages included some in Odisha where there was no electricity so automobile batteries were used for powering the television

- SITE pioneered school and adult education besides organising a training programme for around 50,000 school teachers

- SITE was also linked to Kheda Communication project, the first Indian rural community project

- SITE is the epitome of ISRO’s commitment to application oriented perspective whereby technology is employed for real time problem solving

- SITE used an international satellite but its hardware was made in India

- The SITE experiment provided educational content in 4 different regional languages

- SITE was also introduced as an experiment to provide inputs for operational systems and proved helpful for the Indian National Satellite System/INSAT programme

- Year long experiment was conducted to assess impact and studies by social scientists and communication experts yielded a set of important insights

- These assessed the impact of the site and also the communication needs of the students and viewers

- SITE followed Krishi Darshan, an agricultural programme which was broadcast in 80 villages close to Delhi on a single TV station in the nation

- SITE tested the validity of using direct television services in remote areas culminating in an operational system

Impact Evaluation by SITE led to the following conclusions:

- Community television sets can be maintained in remote parts of the country with the availability of 90% electricity

- Community viewing is feasible with audience sizes of 80 to 100

- Viewers preferred instructional rather than entertainment programmes

- Gains were made in areas of nutrition, health and hygiene

- Communication effects gap is narrowed through the use of community television

- Television was preferred to radio and most teachers preferred SITE for training

Facts and Stats

- 4 Hour Daily rural instructional programmes were telecast through SITE
This marks the first major experiment using satcom for communication experiments

- Rural development oriented programmes as well as primary school teachers training programmes were telecast via SITE
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