Digital Literacy in Rural Bangladesh: Survey 2019

To assess the digital literacy among the rural citizens of Bangladesh with a special focus on their capacity to access public services offered digitally, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) conducted the first-ever nationwide, comprehensive survey titled ‘Digital Literacy and Access to Public Services’ in rural Bangladesh in 2019. It is a cross-sectional (snapshot) survey involving 6,500 households and is nationally representative at the divisional level. To holistically measure the digital literacy of an entire household, the survey interviews took the form of a mini-focus group discussion (FGD), in which all household members were present. The household members selected the most digitally able person (MDAP) within that household, who answered all questions related to digital literacy. Additionally, two hands-on tests were included to assess the ability of the digitally competent members of the household – internet browsing ability, and visual icon identification ability. With multiple proxies for digital access and skills of individuals, the DLit_BIGD 1.0 index was constructed. The study found that more than half of the rural population has no familiarity with the internet. Three-quarters of the surveyed households had no to low digital access, while 77% of rural households were found to have no to low digital skills. Only two out of 6,500 HHs in rural Bangladesh have a DLI score of one (1.0). The study indicates the overall low level of digital literacy in rural Bangladesh and tells us that most rural HHs in Bangladesh are not at all prepared for the digital age that we are entering.

Authors: Jahan, Nusrat; Matin, Maria; Zahan, Iffat; Islam, Md. Saiful
Type: Policy Brief
Year: 2020