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 Tuesday, March 24, 2015

“Kenyan ISP AccessKenya Group has announced its commitment to support the use of technology in the delivery of education in the country. AccessKenya’s Deputy Chief Executive, Kris Senanu, said the firm will provide technology resources and financial support to aid in the growth and adoption of information communication technologies in classrooms for secondary and primary schools.

Senanu was speaking at a media briefing after the firm inked two agreements with inABLE Kenya and Computers for Schools Kenya (CFSK), where the company will provide Kes 6 million to support the ‘Assistive Technology Labs” project by inABLE Kenya;  and  Kes 1.2 million for the ‘Enhancing ICT use in Schools’ initiative by CFSK.

´Our vision is to see the inclusion of the education sector in the advancements being experienced in the local and regional ICT space. As the bedrock for intellect and talent development, we aim e help the education sector – especially the marginalized and vulnerable in our society – to realize their potential in relation to the use of technology,´ said Senanu.

He said AccessKenya will provide broadband internet and related technology support to bring online six public primary and secondary schools that cater to people who are blind and have low vision over the next 12 months.

These include Likoni Primary school for the blind in Mombasa; St Francis Primary school for the blind in Kapenguria; and St. Oda Primary school for the blind in Siaya. Others include Kibos primary and secondary schools for the blind in Kisumu and St. Lucy Secondary School for the blind in Meru county.

AccessKenya already provides free broadband internet services to the Thika Primary and Secondary Schools for the Blind in Thika, as well as St. Lucy’s Primary School for the Blind in meru. In total the project will benefit upwards of 1700 students.

´As we work to sustain our five operating ‘Assistive Technology labs’, and replicate the program at four other schools for people who are blind in Kenya, our partnership with AccessKenya is a critical lifeline that is essential to the success of our computer literacy program and a tremendous resource for our promising students,´ said Tim Kajume, inABLE Kenya, board representative.

The agreement with CFSK will see AccessKenya finance up to four workshops this year to train more than 200 principals and ICT teachers from public secondary schools in new teaching and education delivery technologies.

´ICT is penetrating at a high rate especially in secondary schools which is the exit point to higher education, employment and business. The principals and teachers being managers of the education process, therefore need to be well equipped with relevant modern ICT tools for proper integration of technology into schools´, Said Dr. Tom Musili, Executive Director of CFSK.“

(Source: GAATES)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 11:21:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The workshop aims to assist the visually impaired with benefitting from advanced technologies

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), hosted today a special workshop dedicated to empower and train the visually impaired at its Dubai office. The workshop, organized by the UAE mGovernment Centre of Digital Innovation (CoDI) aims to empower the visually impaired and train them to benefit from a full range of advanced technologies which will better facilitate their life and help them cope with the working environment thus boost their independence so that they take charge of their everyday life.

In the presence of over 40 visually impaired attendees, the workshop's rich agenda included various presentations in addition to interactive discussions on the services offered by mGovernment Centre of Digital Innovation (CoDI) and how to use them in addition to the registration in the smart platform of the training program and how to enroll in training programs by e-learning techniques. The training was moderated by Fatima Rumaithi, trainer at CoDI and she's herself one of the visually impaired who have excelled in her career for over 10 years, relying on Arabic and English language solutions that help visually impaired to use all programs.

´This workshop comes as part of our social responsibility program directed towards raising awareness and highlighting the importance of empowering citizens of the United Arab Emirates and supporting their efforts to overcome various challenges and take charge of their lives. This move is one of the initiatives aimed to introduce smart learning methods and smart services and applications and explore the various ways to use them in this area,´ said H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri, TRA Director General.

´This workshop falls within the framework of several initiatives launched by the Authority to empower people with special needs and enable them to contribute to the ongoing development efforts taking place in the UAE in all areas and requires mobilizing all national capabilities in all fields,´ H.E added.

The workshop was organized in collaboration with Emirates association of the Visually Impaired in Sharjah, with participation from many entities including ´Al Ain Center of Care and Rehabilitation for people with special needs´, UAE University, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Environment and water, Hamdan University, Special Education Support Center in Fujairah, General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, and Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care. The event witnessed remarkable and interactive participation by the attendees who have shown significant interest in using smart technologies presented during the workshop.“

(Source: Zawya)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 11:05:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Nigeria’s Federal Ministry has connected 1.4 million students across 27 federal universities in the country to internet, according to reports from Vanguard Nigeria.

Dr. Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s Communication and Technology Minister said the development is owed to collaborations between her Ministry, the country’s Ministry of Education and the World Bank’s STEP-B project in the deployment of fibre-optics cables to universities, medical colleges and the Nigerian Research and Education Network, NG-REN.

These developments are reportedly being executed under the Connect Nigeria initiative, and has also equipped 1,552 secondary schools with ICT and has exposed an estimated 1.5 million secondary students to basic ICT.

The Ministry also plans to float public access venues, PAVs, aimed at providing shared access to ICT facilities in underserved and unserved locations to various other demographics.“

(Source: Techcabal)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 10:48:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“The federal government has been called upon to make Information and Communications Technology (ICT) a compulsory study across primary and secondary schools in Nigeria, following the global adoption of ICT studies in schools.

A Lagos-based ICT expert, Mr. Temitope Ogunsemo, who gave the advice at a technology workshop in Lagos, said the call became necessary as a result of the impact that ICT is creating in various sectors of global economies.

At the workshop tagged: 'Creating the Future Workforce in a 21st Century Classroom', Ogunsemo explained that it was necessary to make ICT compulsory in schools for better knowledge in order to address some technicalities that will give Nigeria an edge in the global technology space, especially as the internet has made the world flat by providing easy access to information.

Ogunsemo, who is also the Managing Director of Krystal Digital Limited, a networks solutions firm, said students with ICT knowledge would assist to develop the nation, making use of their experience and advancement in technology.

The workshop, which was organised for information technology teachers in the South-west, was in collaboration with Microsoft Nigeria. He advised that secondary school students should be encouraged using ICT in communicating, teaching and learning in classrooms.

´These will facilitate their learning skills, knowledge and experience in information technology. This is a global world, therefore, there will be need for the youths to meet with global trend,´ Ogunsemo said.

He also stressed the need for the federal government to ensure that the use of ICT facilities is compulsory in schools for teaching and learning, noting that in spite of its potential in the development of IT education, not many schools in the country had extensively adopted ICT facilities for teaching and learning.

´Education has been greatly influenced by ICT, which has undoubtedly affected teaching, learning, and research. Its full adoption in Nigerian schools will have a positive impact on teaching, learning and research´ Ogunsemo said, adding that recent research had proven that ICT has great benefits and high potential to improve the quality of education at all levels.

He further explained that ICT has the potential to accelerate, enrich and deepen skills to motivate and engage students and to help relate school experience to work practices.

According to him, improved quality of education is essential for the creation of effective human capital in any country.

´The need for ICT in the Nigerian educational system cannot be overemphasised. In this technology-driven age, everyone requires ICT competence to survive,´ he said. He said plans were underway between his firm and federal government schools in the South-west to partner in building ICT infrastructure to enhance the students teaching and learning ability.

He explained that his firm has been carrying out training workshops for schools in the South-west and has trained several IT teachers from federal government schools, to enhance their knowledge with modern technology know-how.“

(Source: This Day Live)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 10:45:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 16, 2015



“The Vodafone Foundation has unveiled a portable "Instant Classroom" that it hopes will give 15,000 child refugees across Africa access to tablet-based education.

The digital school in a box, which has been unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, can be set up in 20 minutes and can be used in classrooms where there is no electricity. The Foundation has partnered with UNHCR to bring the Instant Classroom to 12 schools in Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over the next 12 months.

Each Instant Classroom is shipped in a secure and robust case that weighs 52kg and comes equipped with a laptop, 25 tablets pre-loaded with educational software, a projector, a speaker and a hotspot modem with 3G connectivity. The Classroom can be charged as a single unit from one power source in 6-8 hours, after which it can be used in a for an entire day without access to electricity.

The ongoing partnership between the Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR has already seen the benefits of tablet-based education in refugee camps. Through the Instant Network Schools programme it used tablets donated by Huawei to provide educational experiences to 18,000 pupils in the Dadaab refugee settlement in Kenya. The tablet-based lessons have proved so popular that attendance rates has improved by 15 percent on average.

It has always been the Foundation's approach to bring holistic solutions that include power, connectivity and devices into refugee camp schools. The box, however, is being introduced to help increase the reach of the programme and to make deployment faster and more efficient, the Vodafone Foundation's Oisin Walton explains to WIRED.co.uk.

´We can't with the current programme meet all the needs in the refugee camps,´ he says. ´We'd like to expand the programme and we're looking into this but we cannot reach all the schools in the camp at the moment so to support that the box means that you can actually bring all the equipment into a classroom where we haven't fitted internet and power.´

The Vodafone Foundation started working in its first school in October 2013 and has been working on the box since last summer. It took about six months to design the box and source the equipment and the first prototype was delivered in December 2014. ´But I would say it is based on 18 months work in refugee camps,´ says Walton.
As well as improving attendance rates, Vodafone and UNHCR's efforts to introduce technology into classrooms has encouraged children attending school not to turn up late, as if they do they are not allowed to use the tablets, he adds. ´It's amazing to see the impact and the excitement -- particularly in Dadaab.´

Not only are people keen to use the technology, but they are fully aware of the fact that the skills they are learning will open up more opportunities to them. ´When you're stuck in the camp, your opportunity to create a business or to be able to work aligns with your potential to work with technology,´ says Walton.

The plan now, he adds ´is to deploy 12 of these kits in the next twelve months in Congo (DRC), Kenya and Tanzania.´ All of the kits will go to new schools and the 15,000 new students the Vodafone Foundation will serve as a result should bring the total number of children benefitting from the programme to close to 45,000.

Over the coming months the Vodafone Foundation will also be putting more emphasis on content and training, says Walton. ´We have the technology now -- we need to create that link between the technology and the human factor, which are the teachers and what they're actually teaching on the ground, and that takes some time.´"

(Source: WIRED.co.uk.)

Monday, March 16, 2015 10:32:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, March 14, 2015

“THE PINK CLOUD INITIATIVE
May 19-21, 2015 in Milan, Italy
During EXPO 2015

Microsoft Italy and Friendship Ambassadors Foundation invite female students/ professionals (age 18-24) to a special initiative called The Pink Cloud, which aims to encourage young women to undertake STEM studies and to inspire professional STEM careers.

Microsoft Italy will be providing full scholarships to qualified candidates, to attend and take part in The Pink Cloud Initiative, in Milan, Italy.

More about The Pink Cloud: The Pink Cloud is a special initiative developed by Microsoft, aimed at closing the gender gap in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in order to create a society based on gender-equal opportunities.

This is the third year of Pink Cloud; the 2015 theme is ´Science & Technology: Food for the Mind, Energy for the Future´. After successes in Florence 2013 and Rome 2014, The 2015 Pink Cloud will be held in Milan, which will be "at the center of the world" this year, thanks to EXPO Milan.
Apply via email. Only a LIMITED number of grants available.

Application Process:
Applications are accepted until April 13, 2015.“

More details

Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:57:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“On March 8, the world will be celebrating International Women’s Day to honor the social, economic, and political achievements of women across the globe. The official United Nations theme for this event is ´Empowering Women - Empowering Humanity: Picture It!´

This year’s celebration will highlight the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago that sets the agenda for realizing women's rights. While there have been many achievements since then, many serious gaps remain. This is the time to uphold women's achievements, recognize challenges, and focus greater attention on women's rights and gender equality to mobilize all people to do their part. The Beijing Platform for Action focuses on 12 critical areas of concern, and envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination.

Telecentre Foundation (TCF) invites the members of the global telecentre community to join in the celebration by hosting local events that highlight and empower women and girls in communities. Add your event to our Events section and post some photos or videos so we can help you bring them to a global audience. Feel free to tag us on Facebook and Twitter too!

Additionally, you may join the conversation online by following the hashtag #IWD2015 on Twitter, or participate in the Facebook Live Q&A with UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson on gender equality taking place on Sunday, March 8, at 5pm GMT.

For more info about IWD2015, watch the video of UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as she calls on all countries to ´step it up´ for gender equality.“

(Source: TCF)

Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:24:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Airtel Kenya has connected Koinange Primary School in Nakuru County to the internet for free.

This is part of Airtel's initiative through the Internet for Schools program that seeks to provide data connectivity to schools across the country in an effort to support Kenya's education system.

Over 1200 Koinange Primary School students join thousands of students across the country who continues to benefit from free Internet connectivity from Airtel. The program offers the students free access to the Internet, allowing them to learn better and do more to be successful in life.

The event was graced by Nakuru County Governor Hon. Kinuthia Mbugua who acknowledged Airtel's commitment to the development of education in the county and across the country. ´On behalf of Nakuru County, I would like to thank Airtel for this initiative that complements the government efforts to develop the education sector. This is a clear testimony that the company cares about the community and strives to make a positive change,´ added Hon.

On his part, Airtel Kenya CEO Adil El Youssefi said, ´Airtel has chosen to invest in the development of education in the country through the provision of free access to the internet for students and living the Airtel spirit in the community.We believe that the students of Koinange Primary school will be proud to join this free information super highway for their own individual success and that of their communities.´

Last week, Airtel connected students in Cheptais high school (Bungoma County), Achego girls’ secondary school, St. Patrick’s Oduwa School and God Abuoro secondary school (Kisumu County), New Horizon College and Tadhib academy (Kilifi County) and Redeem Gospel Church- Mother’s Care Academy in Huruma, Nairobi County.

Airtel has so far connected over 60 schools across the country impacting over 50,000 students to date, with a plan to connect at least 1 million students to the internet.“

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:10:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Globecomm announced today that it has donated desktop computers to a school in the Tanzanian village of Selela to aid the mission of the Tanzanian Support Foundation to help small communities become more self-sufficient in education, healthcare, hygiene and clean water. A total of 14 computers, which were last used for e-welfare support for military operations in Afghanistan, and associated equipment will reach the school in 2015. The Foundation has also contracted with an organization called Viafrica to provide installation, maintenance and training for teachers and students.

The efforts of Globecomm and the Tanzania Suppport Foundation are matched by the Montessori Lyceum Flevoland (MLF), a secondary school in Almere, Netherlands. A workgroup of teachers and students from the school, calling itself ´Project S,´ has raised money and purchased teaching materials to improve education at the Selela school. A student group led by two teachers will travel to Selela in 2015 to give the Tanzanian students computer lessons and familarize them with the technology.

´Globecomm is lucky to have these enthusiastic and knowledgeable partners,´ said Globecomm CEO Keith Hall. Technology is our business and we are proud to donate the equipment to such a good cause. The Foundation and Project S will make sure that the gift of technology delivers on its potential.´

Globecomm was introduced to the Foundation by one of the company's employees, system engineer Tristan Linnenbank, who is based at Globecomm Europe in the Netherlands.

´Our school is grateful for the donation of Globecomm,´ said Kitty Kill, communications manager for the Montessori Lyceum Flevoland and a member of Project S.´ With the donation of the computers and other devices, the students of our school will be able to help the students in Selela get connected with the world.

Together we have been able to make the students in this small African village more self-supportive. We teach our own students awareness and to take care of the environment. Using pre-used computers is an excellent form of recycling and sustainability.´”

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:03:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 05, 2015

“Parents ‘want kids taught digital skills’ More three quarters of Australian parents think that digital skills and computer programming should be integrated into school curriculums, says the AIIA.

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has published a Digital Skills and Careers Report, in collaboration with National ICT Australia (NICTA) and the Australia Computer Society (ACS). The research was conducted by Newspoll.

The research, undertaken in late 2014, found that 61% of Australian parents believe it is important that children learn how to design, build or program computer applications. Less than 30% of respondents thought that the current school curriculum is adequate in preparing children with the skills they need for the future.
´The research reinforces concerns regarding the deficit in the national school curriculum,´ said AIIA CEO Suzanne Campbell. ´This is playing itself out in Australia’s comparative under performance across science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) capabilities.

´With youth unemployment and underemployment at high levels it is not surprising that Australian parents are concerned about the future employment opportunities of their school aged children,´ she said.

´The research found that 95% of parents would support their child’s decision to pursue a digital career. ´In the next ten years, as more content becomes digitised and processes automated, more jobs will require digital skills, and technology will become an even bigger part of our homes and workplaces.

´This is not just an issue for the future,´ said Campbell. ´As recently as last week it was reported that the IT industry has led the Australian jobs market with the largest proportion of new job ads – some 10.7% of total Seek new job advertisements in 2014. In fact the industry now represents the largest employment advertising classification – with the sector predicted to grow further in 2015.

´This digitisation is setting the scene for fundamental transformations in our economy. It is important that young people not only know how to use technology, but also how it works, and can be used to develop innovative new content and applications.

´The Newspoll research is consistent with work also released by the AiGroup this month, which highlights that STEM skills are increasingly important to the Australian workforce and competitiveness,´ Campbell said. Digital gender-equality advocate, AIIA Board member and recently appointed co-chair of the national Digital Careers program, Marie Johnson, has emphasised the role of ICT and digital technology as a major driver of employment in Australia.

´Digital technologies create high value and well paid jobs in all sectors of the economy such as mining, finance and retailing industries, as well as in the ICT industry itself,´ said Johnson. ´Australia’s ICT market is the fifth largest in the Asia Pacific region and the 14th largest in the world. Over the last ten years, it created more than 100,000 new jobs.

While national employment levels have risen by around 14% over the past decade, ICT professionals have seen a growth of nearly 50% over the same period. Technology-related jobs are projected to expand for years to come, making it an important source of employment growth for the future. ´To meet the challenges of the global digital economy Australia must be prepared to invest – in building digital technology capability and more generally the STEM skills essential to the jobs of the future´ said Johnson.“

(Source: ITWire)

Thursday, March 05, 2015 11:59:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Despite the phenomenal growth of mobile technology, too many girls and women are still missing out on the opportunities it can deliver, especially in education. The need to bridge this gap is the key message of the 2015 edition of Mobile Learning Week, opened by UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova and UN Women’s Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris today.

´Education is a human rights imperative – it is a development imperative – it is a security imperative,´ stated Irina Bokova in her opening address. ´This is why we must ensure every girl and boy can go to school, receive the right learning and contribute fully to society. Across the globe, this is not happening […] Girls and women are hit hardest.´

´Mobile technology can be an enabler of education. Mobile technology can offer learning where there are no books, no classrooms, even no teachers. This is especially important for women and girls who drop out of school and need second chances,´ said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

The International Telecommunications Union, describes mobile phones as the “most pervasive and rapidly adopted technology in history”. Of the seven billion people on Earth, over six billion now have access to a working mobile device. This means that mobile technology is now common in areas where women are underserved and educational opportunities are limited. Yet too many still do not have access.

´There is still a persistent gender gap in access to mobile technology.´ said keynote speaker Cherie Blair, founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. “Research shows that a woman in a low or middle income country is 21 per cent less likely than a man to own a mobile phone. In Africa, women are 23 per cent less likely than a man to own a mobile. In the Middle East the figure is 24 per cent and in South Asia, 37 per cent. The reasons women cite for not owning a mobile phone include the costs of handsets and data plans, lack of need and fear of not being able to master the technology.´

Mobile Learning Week provides a platform for highlighting these gaps, exchanging an sharing ideas of how they can be bridged and showcasing what works. The programme includes 80 workshops to build the capacity of mobile learning practitioners. It also includes a Policy Forum for government representatives to discuss ideas for mainstreaming and scaling up successful mobile learning interventions to promote gender equality in education, and to discuss the role of mobile technology as the international community develops new goals for education and development.

Participants include experts, policy-makers and private sector leaders from more than 70 countries. The members of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which meets at UNESCO on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 February, will participate in the Policy Forum.“

Further details

Thursday, March 05, 2015 11:55:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Mobile phones, tablets and e-readers with broadband connectivity could prove to be the long-sought answer in the global effort to bring high-quality, multidisciplinary education to people everywhere, especially the world’s poorest or most isolated communities, according to the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which held its 11th meeting at UNESCO headquarters in Paris today.

A report by the Commission’s Working Group on Education, led by UNESCO, indicated that, worldwide, over 60 million primary-school age children do not currently attend school; almost half that number never will. The situation worsens as children get older, with over 70 million not enrolled in secondary school. And while classroom computers can help, lack of resources remains critical. If an average of eight children share each classroom computer in OECD nations, in Africa teachers can struggle to share each computer among 150 or more pupils. But with increasingly sophisticated mobile devices now packing more computing power than the famed ‘supercomputers’ of the late 1990s, the Commission believes broadband-connected personal wireless devices could be the solution.

ITU figures show that mobile broadband is the fastest growing technology in human history. The number of mobile phone subscriptions now exceeds the world’s total population of around seven billion, and active mobile broadband subscriptions exceed 2.1 billion – three times higher than the 700 million wireline broadband connections worldwide.

Even more encouragingly, most of this progress has taken place in the developing world, which has accounted for 90% of global net additions for mobile cellular and 82% of global net additions of new Internet users since early 2010.

´Every day, everywhere, women and men are inventing new ways to use broadband, mobile telephones and computers to be empowered, more autonomous and free,´ said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. ´We need to tap this inventiveness to improve education, especially for girls and women. But we have a long way to go. Two thirds of illiterate adults are women, and two thirds of the world’s out-of-school primary-age children are girls. This is a huge injustice, and a gap that we must fill. The continued expansion of broadband combined with technology can help us make giant strides towards this.´

Established in 2010, the Broadband Commission is a top-level advocacy body which focuses on strategies to make broadband more available and affordable worldwide. It is chaired by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helú, with ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova as co-Vice Chairs. As the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals fast approaches, Commissioners are now focusing on ensuring broadband is recognized as a fundamental pillar of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which will be agreed at the forthcoming Sustainable Development Summit in New Year in September.

Today’s meeting of the Commission was held in conjunction with UNESCO’s flagship ICT education-focused event, Mobile Learning Week (MLW), co-organized this year with sister agency UN Women. Broadband Commissioners participating in the MLW High-level Policy Forum of ´Leveraging technology to empower women and girls´ took advantage of the opportunity to interact with Ministers of Education and senior representatives of international organizations on the uses of mobile broadband for education.

´Education is one of the most powerful uses to which broadband connectivity can be put,´ said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. ´For the first time in history, mobile broadband gives us the chance to truly bring education to all, regardless of a person’s geographical location, linguistic and cultural frameworks, or ready access to infrastructure like schools and transport. Education will drive entrepreneurship, especially among the young – which is why we must strive harder to get affordable broadband networks in place which can deliver educational opportunities to children and adults,´ he said.

Speaking at the opening of the Commission session earlier today, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda stressed that broadband should be regarded as a basic utility, like water and electricity. ´In Rwanda, investing in ICTs has been indispensable to the attainment of our development goals. Broadband enables business and social entrepreneurs to find ways to offer world class education at low cost, to populations that have never had access. These centres of knowledge already exist, but in order for developing countries and isolated communities, to access and use them productively, they will need faster, more reliable, and more affordable Internet. The same principle extends to government more widely, particularly in delivering essential services. Broadband technology can enhance public administration efficiency and accountability to citizens, no matter where they live.´

President Kagame was joined by co-Chair Carlos Slim Helú, who asked Commissioners to consider whether the power of ICTs was being sufficiently exploited in today’s school environments. ´Broadband and ICTs are now available in many schools around the world – but are we seeing a concrete impact in the quality of education? We need to be sure that the potential of broadband for education is fully leveraged so that successful initiatives, such as new online course platforms, and many valuable education and training contents, become quickly available to people worldwide. Technology should be used for inclusion, and we should make vigorous efforts to ensure this.´

The Broadband Commission first tackled the key issue of education in 2013 through a special Working Group on Education, led by UNESCO. At the morning session of the Commission earlier today, important reports emerging from ITU’s m-Powering Development and Smart Sustainable Development Model Initiatives were also presented to the group. The m-Powering Development Initiative report, developed by a multi-stakeholder Advisory Board led by ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), finds that technological innovations and initiatives that use mobile phones can potentially bring exponential benefits to entire communities and make a valuable contribution to the global development agenda. The report by the Smart Sustainable Development Model Initiative, also led by BDT, focuses on the link between ICT for Development (ICT4D) with ICT for Disaster Management (ICT4DM) and their role in sustainable development processes.

The key findings of the Broadband Commission’s Working Group on Education can be downloaded here. An Executive Summary of the report can be found here, and the full report is available here. “

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, March 05, 2015 11:39:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“IICD’s TeachTab and LearnTab project in Malawi has been nominated for the Computable Awards 2015 in the category of ‘ICT project of the year’. The announcement has been made shortly after the first study into the project’s effects on teachers and students was completed.

The nominations for the Computable Awards, regarded as the most important ICT Awards in the Netherlands, are selected based on the projects' success, innovation, sustainability and/or scalability.

Click here to read the official announcement and all about the nomination in the article 'IICD digitaliseert Afrikaans onderwijs' (in Dutch).

The TeachTab and LearnTab

IICD has developed and introduced the TeachTabs and LearnTabs in primary schools in Malawi to overcome the challenges of overcrowded and under-resourced classrooms.

These portable, low energy and affordable solutions are developed by IICD to be used in developing contexts. Their interactive capabilities enable teachers and students to interact in a more collaborative learning environment. They also provide teachers with access to digital educational materials. Teachers receive training in how to use the tablets to design and present content, as well as in the maintenance of the devices.

The TeachTab acts partially as a server, able to share information with and monitor the LearnTabs, and giving the teacher control over the whole classroom. The TeachTab also allows the teacher to interact with and prompt questions to the whole classroom at once using the interactive whiteboard functionality.

IICD has been nominated next to TalentQuest/Ready 4 work, LARS, PulseOn and MijnSchool, out of 49 contestants. The Computable Awards are considered the most important ICT Awards in the Netherlands. The selected projects are brought forward by readers of Computable Magazine based on the projects' success, innovation, sustainability and/or scalability. You can vote for IICD's project as of 27 April 2015 on the website www.computableawards.nl

Initial results of the TeachTab and LearnTab project after three months of implementation.

A study into the first effects and perceptions of the teachers participating in the project shows promising results:

 • teachers are more motivated and experienced lower levels of workload after using the TeachTabs;
 • children’s motivation to learn and learning performance have increased after using the LearnTabs;
 • parents are more supportive and actively involved in school activities.

Before using the tablets, 56% of the teachers indicated that they never used a computer before.“

(Source: IICD)

Thursday, March 05, 2015 11:12:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 26, 2015

“Cisco Systems has opened its 5th Cisco Academy in Botswana, with online curricula, virtual learning tools, instruction support as well as teacher training and professional development opportunities.

Gratitude Kudyachete, Cisco's Regional support Centre Manager explained that Cisco was willing to do business with Botswana so as to impart more techno-savvy solutions to local problems. ´It is against such a background that, we are witnessing the Cisco Academy programme being expanded in Botswana. Cisco Systems, a US-based Corporation, arguably the biggest Network and Communications equipment and solutions vendor, conceived the Cisco Academy programme to share its abundant intellectual capital in Computer Networking. It started in 1997 in high schools but now finds itself anchored in secondary and post-secondary schools, colleges, universities, and community-based organizations in more than 165 countries.´

Kudyachete said the programme is essentially philanthropic and besides being used in continuing education for professionals, its major focus is the disadvantaged communities who may not access or use ICT owing to costs, lack of accessibility and infrastructure among other factors.

He added that the Cisco Academy programme has found itself being employed in prisons, institutions offor the disabled including the deaf, and slum areas.
He observed that if only Botswana was to improve her ICT status, the country would be a force to reckon with. ´Besides the great initiatives, some of the challenges evident in the Botswana ICT landscape are; low ICT use, high cost of ICT services, low IT literacy rate, unemployment of IT graduates and low Network Readiness. In the Cisco Academy, we believe that Botswana needs a multi-pronged approach to the challenges that it is facing.´

The Cisco Academy programme helps address some of these challenges as it offers the following benefits: free curricula embedded with technology tools for teaching and learning, wide curricula – with courses from basic PC maintenance, entry level networking to advanced networking. Rich practical component – at the core of the Programme is the emphasis on laboratory practices with real equipment to give sough-after practical skills, Discounted equipment – Equipment is discounted at 75% making it affordable to many educational institutions. Alignment with industry certifications – makes the students even more marketable as they will have global attestation to their achievements. Flexibility in academic programmes- Besides running as standalone programme for professionals in industry, the programme can be tightly integrated in higher education in engineering, computer science, information systems, and related fields´

´Botswana will now have five Cisco Academies, which we hope will all be active by end of first quarter this year. The only active academy has been the University of Botswana from which about 2500 students have been trained since 2008 and for us this figure is too low, we need more throughput, we need more academies,´ he implored.

On the issue of Botswana Accountancy College roping in the services of Cisco, Kudyachete said the Cisco Academy programme is there to service and add impetus to the current initiatives within BAC and those at national level.

´The Centre has been aptly called BAC ICT Skills Centre – to address the ICT Skills challenge which is akin to fighting a moving target; BAC will be able to enhance the marketability of their end product- the student who will be able to slot in into the job market right from graduation. BAC will be able to use the Cisco academy for its own professional development of staff members so that they are always abreast of developments in networking and internet technologies. It will also empower some students to be entrepreneurs who will generate jobs. BAC can partner with other ICT players and expand the service portfolio of your community access centres; indeed the programme can be used for a variety of community engagement programmes.´

According to president Jammeh of Gambia – ´no nation can record meaningful growth without embracing ICT. ICT empowers one to do what they want to do, As BAC and as a nation you have as one of those tools the Cisco Networking academy.´"

(Source: Biztech)

Thursday, February 26, 2015 11:25:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Premier mobile service provider Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM) has donated  K2.8 million to the Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha) to help set up a disability inclusive environment at Kalambo Primary School in Lilongwe’s Area 25.

The money will be used to transform the school’s environment into an inclusive one for children with disabilities.

Speaking during the cheque presentation ceremony in Blantyre, TNM’s Head of Marketing Sobhuza Ngwenya said the mobile operator is committed to ensuring that children with disabilities access quality education and become self-reliant.

´lt is TNM’s belief that every child despite their physical condition must be given opportunity to access education. Inclusive education as advocated by MACOHA is one key approach to achieve self-reliance for people with disabilities,´ said Ngwenya.

Ngwenya said the donation was in response to request by Macoha during the 2014 MACOHA flag week held under the theme ´inclusiveness is the key to education of children with disabilities´.

´TNM believes that to attain an inclusive society and have people with disabilities that are self-reliant; there is need for inclusiveness to start from children with disabilities being included in the classrooms which should eventually ensure their participation in social economic activities,´ he said.

He appealed to teachers to show love and compassion to children with disabilities so that they feel not to being left out.

´While our donation goes towards the infrastructure and equipment, let me also appeal to the special needs teachers to go out their way to show love and compassion to the physically challenged children to ensure they remain in school,´ said TNM’s Head of Marketing.

In his remarks MACOHA acting executive director Peter Ngomwa described TNM’s donation as timely since the institution is still in fundraising for the same initiatives.

´During the flag week, Macoha sought to raise funds to rehabilitate five primary schools in Lilongwe into disability inclusive facilities and this donation from TNM will really have great impact in our interventions´ said.

The donation will cater for building ramps and rehabilitation of doors, buying assistive devices such as wheelchairs, clutches and hearing aids.

TNM also sponsors 20 visually challenged girls with their secondary school education needs through an NGO, Hope for the Blind.“

(Source: GAATES)

Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:48:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“Here’s a bit of good news from Telecentre Foundation (TCF) -- we’re bringing our Entrepreneurship and ICTs course directly to communities across the globe!

TCF, through its training arm Telecentre Academy (TCA), is launching a new opportunity for telecentres, libraries and other ICT access points to transform their centers into training outlets for innovation and entrepreneurship. Under this new program, TCA will make its ´Introduction to Entrepreneurship and ICTs´ course available to all interested centers so that they can locally and regularly offer it to their respective communities either online or on site. They will also be granted access to other training options, technology, as well as support in the delivery of other training services.

By joining this initiative, telecentres, libraries and other ICT access points that will register as partner centers will be able to expand their impact and relevance to the communities they serve. They will also gain exclusive access to content and certification that will help create new opportunities for both the center and the community.

By launching this program, TCF seeks to increase impact by making the course, which comes in English and Spanish versions, readily available to as many people in as many countries as possible. TCF hopes to accomplish this by tapping different centers worldwide to serve as training delivery channels.

Interested parties must fill out this form before February 28, 2015. For more information about the program, click here.

Join us in creating new opportunities for communities worldwide through entrepreneurial initiatives!“

(Source: TCF)

Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:40:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 19, 2015


"Children should be taught ´digital literacy´ as a core skill alongside maths and English, a report by a House of Lords committee says. Computer technology brings ´huge opportunities for the UK, but also significant risks´, the Lords Digital Skills Committee warns.

The internet should be viewed as a utility service, alongside water and electricity, it says. But without action, the UK may fall behind in the new digital era.

'Ambitious approach'
The reports says:
  • No child should leave school without basic digital literacy
  • Universities should ensure all graduates are ´digitally competent´
  • Apprenticeships should have a greater emphasis on digital skills

The committee calls for action to give teachers in England the confidence and skills to deliver the new computing curriculum, otherwise ´inconsistent teacher training" risks letting pupils down.

In particular, a ´paucity´ of women in digital careers and in science, technology, engineering and mathematics generally risks holding back UK competitiveness, the report says.

´Girls have to be engaged earlier and across all education levels´ and the perception of these jobs as ´male-oriented´ must be addressed, it adds. The report says 35% of current jobs in the UK could be automated within 20 years.

It urges an ambitious approach to secure the UK's digital economy, with the government acting as the "conductor of the orchestra", focusing on business and education.
´We are at a tipping point,´ it says.

´Digital businesses can locate anywhere in the world, and if we fail to provide the right conditions for them to flourish in the UK, we will become a branch economy, much less prosperous and influential than we could be.´

A digital divide persists in the UK, with some six million citizens never having used the internet and 9.5 million lacking adequate digital skills, partly because they have been ´poorly served at school´, the report warns.

In particular, it says, a shortage of medium and high-level digital skills ´needs immediate attention´ if the UK is to remain globally competitive. It urges action at all levels of the ´talent pipeline - primary, secondary, further and higher education´.

'Wake-up call'

Baroness Morgan of Huyton, who chairs the committee, called the report a ´wake-up call" to whomever forms the next government. Its recommendations would entail a ´radical rethink´ of education for people of all ages, said Lady Morgan, the former chairwoman of Ofsted. She said: ´From an early age, we need to give digital literacy as much importance as numeracy and literacy.

´While we welcome the introduction of the computing curriculum, we are concerned about the ability of teachers to deliver it - with more than half of our IT teachers not having a post-A-level qualification relevant to IT.

´At the higher education level, there is an urgent need for industry input, so that graduates are learning job-relevant digital skills.´

Lady Morgan also said it was unacceptable that some urban areas still lacked mobile or broadband coverage.

'Options limited'

Valerie Thompson, chief executive of the e-Learning Foundation, particularly welcomed the report's emphasis on the need to ensure all children had access to the internet. "Digital skills are an enabler across the curriculum, but there are real issues of access for poorer children," she said.

Too many families did not have the internet at home, said Ms Thompson. ´And if your mum and dad are not comfortable with the internet, the options for you to be a comfortable internet user when you leave school are limited.´

Ms Thompson said schools needed more resources for computers and broadband to allow students online access for every subject.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said it was vital to ensure young people had the skills and knowledge to ´secure jobs in our country's burgeoning tech industry´. She said: ´To achieve that, we have redesigned our national curriculum to be the world leader in computing, meaning young people in England will start learning the basics of coding from age five.

´We have also provided £3.6m to make sure teachers have the confidence and knowledge to teach this new curriculum and are engaging leading technology companies to support schools in delivering it.´"

(Source: BBC News)

Thursday, February 19, 2015 11:26:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“There is a digital divide between nations-between the developed and developing nations and between the developing and underdeveloped nations of the world, and within a nation there is a divide between the urban and rural areas. This divide exists between the urban or city dwellers, and dwellers of rural communities, and there also exists a divide between the corporate world and the academia hence over 90 percent of fresh graduates find it difficult to blend with the digital demands of the corporate class when they graduate.

As part of its deliberate digital inclusion policy to address digital divides across a broad spectrum of the society generally and the school system in particular, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently took digital dividends to some institutions of higher learning in the country.

The commission through the Advanced Digital Awareness Programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI) has been able to empower several of these higher institutions with the donation of digital centres, computer laboratories fitted with laptops and internet connectivity and generating sets. Secondary schools benefited through the Digital Awareness Programme (DAP). DAP ensures that teachers are empowered first to pass knowledge to the students. DAP promotes hands-on digital empowerment by creating an environment where students have direct knowledge of usage of computers and ICTs in support of their studies.

Some of the schools that benefitted from the digital dividends include the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti; The Polytechnic, Ibadan; Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo; Federal Polytechnic Nekede; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; University of Benin; Government Junior Secondary School, Jabi, Abuja; Katsina State College, Katsina and Government Secondary School Dan Musa, Katsina State.

Making these donations to the benefiting schools, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah, explained that the commission identified the gap in ICT services early enough and opted to cushion these needs by taking services, equipment and infrastructure to these centres of learning.

At the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Juwah represented by the director of policy competition and economic analysis department, Ms Josephine Amuwa, said the commission was out to put smiles on the faces of students and the school system.

He said one of the core functions of the NCC was the implementation of programmes and plans that promote the development of the communications industry, adding in order to achieve this, the NCC had implemented several capacity building initiatives to enhance the knowledge base of the participants in the telecoms industry in the countrya. Some of these initiatives include the establishment of the Digital Bridge Institute in 2004 in order to contribute to the creation of knowledge-based information society in Africa, through human resource capacity building in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

He said the commission in 2005 also established the NCC library for use of researchers and undergraduate students of various tertiary institutions across the country, adding the commission started the ADAPTI programme in Ekiti State University, which falls within the South West region, because it had not benefitted from the national books donation initiative of the commission since its inception.

Flagging off the ADAPTI project in The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Oyo State, where 110 laptops were commissioned, Juwah represented by the NCC zonal coordinator in Ibadan, Mr. Banji Ojo, said the commission was striving to bridge the digital divide in the academia through the provision of computers to equip the lecturers and also to improve the skills of the students. He said the institution was among the 52 beneficiaries of the project, adding more than 222 institutions of higher learning across the country had so far benefitted from ADAPTI since it began in 2008.

He said: ´The key objectives of these programmes is to prepare the nation for a digital tomorrow and equip the youth with the necessary skills to tap into the potentials of the digital age and in the case of ADAPTI, it is aimed at improving the resource persons in the process of impacting knowledge, and we, at the commission, are committed to assisting the nation in the quest for ICT penetration through ADAPTI.´

A statement by NCC’s director of public affairs, Mr Tony Ojobo, said the programmes were designed to address the digital information knowledge gap in the country especially among the teeming youthful population.

The statement read in part: ´The strategy in this programme is to expose schools and colleges to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) awareness, usage and application by facilitating access to ICT tools.

Under the project, selected institutions of learning spread across the country are equipped with computer laboratories fully installed with internet facilities and their teachers exposed to ICT training in order to equip them to teach their students.

´By the last count, the DAP Project has supported 229 secondary schools across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory with the provision of twenty one (21) desktop computers, Local Area Network, printers, scanners, VSAT dish and deployment of one year bandwidth subscription for Internet access. These facilities are complemented with standby generators and a special accommodation built for that purpose, thus aggregating everything into a fully kitted computer laboratory. The programme also entails human capacity building and managerial training for key personnel in charge of the centres from the beneficiary institutions.´“

(Source: Leadirship Newspaper)

Thursday, February 19, 2015 9:06:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“UNICEF and Bharti Airtel have entered a partnership agreement to expand their collaboration across 17 countries in Africa. The partnership aims at improving Africa's population access to health and education-related information whilst pushing forward various innovative projects supported by UNICEF.

The agreement allows UNICEF to tap into Airtel's mobile services to make health, education and youth-focused content available to Airtel customers across the 17 African countries. Through improved connectivity, more Africans will have free access to mobile applications and services developed by UNICEF, such as eduTrac, mTrac and U-report.

Speaking on the partnership, Christian de Faria, Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa commented;´Airtel is committed to providing innovative solutions that overcome access and quality challenges around the delivery of services. Our partnership with UNICEF provides an opportunity to deploy mHealth innovations that can support healthcare systems and provide helpful education-related information.´

The partnership covers 17 countries in Africa – in Eastern and Southern Africa: Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia; and in West and Central Africa: Burkina Faso, Chad, DRC, Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

´Access to information is a basic human right, and is fundamental to UNICEF's innovation agenda,´ said Sharad Sapara, Director of UNICEF's Innovation Centre based in Nairobi. ´Without access to information children and young people are stifled and cannot make the right decisions on matters concerning them. By improving connectivity, this partnership has the potential to empower millions of African children and youth with information and opportunities to help them become agents of change in their societies.´“

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, February 19, 2015 9:01:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 12, 2015


“A group of leading ICT For Education Development (ICT4ED) organisations have formed an alliance with the aim of improving Ghana's education programme. One of its first actions has been to conduct a landmark research study.

The Connect for Change Education Ghana Alliance (C4C–EGA) brings together six education partners under the C4C Education programme supported by IICD and Edukans in Ghana to provide a common platform for knowledge sharing. This will help inform and shape new initiatives, policies and projects in this field. This move also signals a shift away from a mixture of individual ICT projects towards a more effective education programme with joint objectives. C4C-EGA also enables its members to contribute and benefit from peer reviews and avoid mistakes related to project duplication, which can lead to an inefficient use of resources.

Already, the alliance has collaborated on the realisation of a multi-level research study into the ´Availability and Use of ICT in Teaching and Learning´ that outlines the current education environment in Ghana and identifies priority areas for improvement. Due to wide reach of C4C-EGA members, the large scope of the study was able to sample a total of 640 schools located across four regions of Ghana; namely the Volta, Northern, Upper West and Upper East regions.

The study specifically sought to determine the availability of ICT tools in basic schools, explore the use of these tools, identify gaps in the implementation of the policy and recommend measures to improve the use of ICT in basic schools, among others. The research used participatory and consultative methodology, which involved the use of techniques like checklist, in-depth interviews and discussions.

A number of the evidence-based recommendations will outline the alliances priorities moving forward. Topics include: provision of computers in schools; facilitation of collaboration between the government and civil society; ICT-relevant physical infrastructure and capacity building in ICT for teachers and education managers. Contributions from a mixture of stakeholders ensure that the outcomes of the research accurately reflect the reality in Ghanaian schools in order to spur on effective changes to policy.

The C4C–EGA officially launched on 23rd January 2015, yet its members conceived the alliance at a much earlier date. During a 2013 ICT4D Learning workshop, the implementing partners of Connect4Change - Savana Signatures, Ibis Ghana, Peps-c, Presbyterian Education Unit and Women and Development Projects (WADEP) - unanimously agreed to form the C4C – EGA. The Ghana Information Network for Knowledge Sharing (GINKS) was later coopted into the Alliance because of their experience in knowledge sharing activities.“

(Source: IICD)

Thursday, February 12, 2015 4:58:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Congo Brazzaville’s Université Marien Ngouabi (UMNG) lecturers and researchers have received one computer each last week as part of the stock of 650 computers donated by the Perspectives d’Avenir Foundation.

The foundation is chaired by Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, the son of Congo Brazzaville President Denis Sassou Nguesso and a Member of Parliament.

´There are no words to describe the joy of all the recipients. This equipment is of a critical importance for their work,´ UMNG vice-chancellor Armand Moyikoua said at the handover ceremony in the capital Brazzaville.

Every lecturer, from the oldest in grade to the new recruits, now have a laptop, which will enable them improve their teaching and research methods, Moyikoua said, adding that the donation put the university to the path of modernism.

The university has also received another valuable gift from Congo Telecom: the connection of the institution to the country’s fibre optic network to empower its internet connection.

The university also said that Wifi zones were about to be set up in and around UMNG premises.

Teaching staff and researchers in many sub-Saharan African institutions of higher learning lack everything from computers to landline telephones, offices and cars.

So, the Perspective d’Avenir Foundation’s donation has come as a surprise and a lifeline for UMNG teaching staff whose working conditions appear not to have considerably improved in the past two decades.

This prompted the vice-chancellor to say: ´You wrote a page of history on the 43-year history of the Marien Ngouabi University.

State-funded UMNG was established in December 1971 on the ashes of Université deBrazzaville, but was renamed Université Marien Ngouabi in July 1977 to honour the country’s late president who was assassinated in the same year.“

(Source:  Biztech Africa)

Thursday, February 12, 2015 4:52:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“About 200 graduates will be conferred with internships across government ICT Departments tomorrow during the launch of The Presidential Digital Talent Program (PDTP). The launch had been earlier on scheduled for February 3 but later postponed to February 10.

The launch of the program comes after the government through the Ministry of ICT requested all qualified students to apply for the programme since December 12, 2014 to January 9, 2015.

The programme aims to provide internship opportunities to fresh university graduates in readying them to be the Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry leaders and experts in the future.

The Presidential Digital Talent Program was initiated last year by the Ministry of ICT and is being implemented by ICT Authority (ICTA) through a private and public partnership (PPP) arrangement. The program is one of the key initiatives and project spelled out in the ICT Masterplan and a key deliverable for the jubilee government and the Vision 2030 Social and Economic strategic pillars. The program will run for the next 3 years.

The program is one of the key initiatives and project spelt out in the ICT Master plan and a key deliverable for the Jubilee government and the Vision 2030 Social and Economic strategic pillars.

This Public Private Partnership Programme includes local companies, multinational and public sector players. The Internship programme targets qualified ICT graduates. The Interns in government will serve on a variety of roles.
The programme also aims to provide a training ground to fresh university graduates in readying them to be the industry leaders and experts in the future.

With a mission to build the next generation of globally competitive ICT, leadership and technology talent that will transform Kenya through world-class service delivery to the citizens, the programme also looks at engaging citizenry through innovative and sustainable ICT skill development.

The programme also has a focus on ensuring that the Government has ICT competencies with requisite competencies to design, procure, implement and manage a sound ICT structure for effective service delivery. It will also ensure that the government has ICT culture transformation that treats ICT as a business in support of government service delivery objective and still provide a training ground for ICT professionals in the future and offer an affordable labour pool of freshly qualified individuals.

The programme is set to take a span of five years, which will be reviewed after 3 years. The initial pilot targets 200 interns for a period of 12 months. It is expected that the numbers will scale up as the initiative progresses in successive years to cater for County Governments.

Once implemented the programme will transform not only how ICT is managed in the government but also have a full impact in the entire economy in the long term, improve service delivery through effective use of ICT in government, create a pipeline of youths with desirable value and core competencies that will facilitate rapid economic and social change, increase youth employment and increase the GDP and have economic impact.“

(Source: CIO East Africa)

Thursday, February 12, 2015 4:47:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Government of Rwanda and the International Computer Driving License (ICDL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding recently aimed at advancing digital literacy in Rwanda.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister of Youth and ICT Jean Philbert Nsengimana said, ´The MoU will fast track Rwanda’s Digital Literacy training and certification program for Government employees, teachers, students and the general population´.

ICDL programme will facilitate the translation of the Equal Skills introductory workbook-based programme to Kinyarwanda in order to address computer skills in the general population, especially in areas where English literacy is less developed. The potential to develop audio and/or audio visual support resources will be examined by the Parties. ´The partnership will go a long way in capacity building and increasing productivity, noting that the government and the private sector lose a lot because of the low productivity of employees,´ Nsengimana said.

He said: ´This opportunity provides Rwanda with a new beginning to raise the standards. There are so many places in the country where IT is taught but so far there has not been a national standard of ICT literacy. It is important that they not only acquire skills but they have accredited certification.´

Proposals for digital literacy capacity building will be developed with a focus on employability skills, targeting high school and university graduates, those in rural areas, and those in the Small and Medium Entrepreneur (SME) sector.

ICDL programme will be implemented in the Ministry of Youth and ICT and other ministries and government institutions.

ICDL certification programmes have been delivered to over 12million people, in 41 languages, in across 148 countries through a network of over 24,000 test centers.
Rwanda with the help of its President H.E Paul Kagame has come very far in developing its ICT sector which is contributing to the development of the country.

Recently, in Lagos Nigeria, Rwanda’s Minister of MYICT Nsengimana received the continental social mediaaward in the category of Government/Public Sector for the annual Social Media Awards Africa (SMAA).

This is an initiative poised to recognise and reward excellence, creativity and impact in the use of social media tools and platforms by individuals and organisations.

The event brought together social media influencers, experts, enthusiasts and policy makers that would explore and forge new developmental paths for Africa.
In a statement, Nsengimana said MYICT embraced the use of social media through all networks to disseminate information; and it has become such an essential tool of communication that is essential avenue to receiving feedback from the stakeholders.

The Social Media Awards Africa is an annual gathering of business leaders, social media experts and influencers, development experts and other relevant stakeholders who are positioned to promote development in Africa through digital and social media exploration.“

(Source: East African Business Week)

Thursday, February 12, 2015 4:23:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Massify Internet to generate equity, promote peace and Internet to improve education were some of the topics discussed during the meeting between President Santos and Mark Zuckeberg, CEO of Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and President of Facebook, praised the results of the massification of Internet in Colombia and the leadership of the national government for making more Colombians access to knowledge.

Zuckerberg met with President Juan Manuel Santos to arrange an alliance that will allow free Internet access via Facebook to over 8 million users of low-end phones.

´With US President, Barack Obama, we agreed a partnership in education and technology and link a group of businessmen from both countries,´ said President Santos. ´This linkage of our country to internet.org, project sponsored by Facebook to give access to millions of poor people in the world, is already a reality in Colombia,´ said the President Santos.

During the roundtable discussion, President Santos said that one of the priorities of the Government is to expand Internet as a tool to reduce poverty and create jobs. ´Four years ago we began the greatest revolution of our digital ecosystem and increased investment in technology in the country's history which has allowed us today to achieve 98% of municipalities connected to high speed Internet.´

Mark Zuckerberg said meanwhile that Colombia advances in ICT, spoke of the challenge of making the communications infrastructure to be efficient and motivating content creation. He highlighted the many possibilities of strengthening education leveraging Internet. He said that today is unimaginable a school without computer and Internet. ´If you give people the tools is much that can be done, but you must work in culture.´

President Santos and CEO of Facebook stressed the importance of ICT for peace and equality.

´There are a lot of reasons why people do not have Internet in the world and what we are going to do in Facebook is to break these barriers to access, the first is the physical condition. Once people have connectivity they do not know what to do in Internet. That is why we give free access to internet.org here in Colombia, accessing to contents of Facebook, Wikipedia, agribusiness, health, education is a way to generate equality,´ Zuckerberg said.

When President Santos asked how to make education for the peace through Facebook, Mark Zuckeberg said: ´the first thing is to give people connectivity tools to create communication. I think that conflicts occur because there is no understanding. The better communication can help solve problems. If we talk about how to use social networks, I think you President has done a great job in managing the networks and this demonstrates that you communicate with people where you are.´ "

(Source: MINTIC)

Thursday, February 12, 2015 4:18:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 05, 2015

“Intel recently released a new report entitled, ´MakeHers: Engaging Girls and Women in Technology through Making, Creating and Inventing´ . The report includes concrete data that indicates that girls and women involved with ´making,´ designing and creating things with electronic tools may build stronger interest and skills in computer science and engineering. The report also assesses the role of girls and women in the ´maker movement´, a growing wave of tech-inspired, do-it-yourself innovation.

Intel supports the maker movement to encourage innovation – whether it takes place in a classroom, a lab or a workshop in a home or garage – and introduce young makers to computer science and engineering in revolutionary and innovative ways beyond the traditional classroom setting.

The report was created in consultation with experts including the Girl Scouts and Maker Education and it aims to increase access to and interest in computer science and engineering, especially among girls and women and underrepresented minorities, where there remains a significant gap.

The report finds that ´making´ can help girls and women learn new content and technologies and provide an avenue for them to engage in scientific and engineering problems that align with their interests. It can bring ideas to life, spur creativity and personal growth. The study outlines a set of recommendations and call to action to use ´maker´ activities to broaden participation in computer science and engineering.

Through the report, Intel has identified several key recommendations for parents, educators, policymakers and other stakeholders to engage girls and women in making:
Build more girls- and women-inclusive maker environments in public places.

Design maker spaces that enable open-ended investigation of projects meaningful to girls and women. Develop initiatives that give girls more access to makers their own age and female mentors. Align making activities, such as coding and making hardware, with current trends and personal interests to attract girls.

In the Asia Pacific and Japan region, Intel supports the maker movement through Maker Faires, Hackathons, innovation contests, curricula and lab development, and workshops with over 40 events across the region in 2014.“

(Source: Intel Asia Pacific CSR Journal)

Thursday, February 05, 2015 10:50:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“UNESCO supported Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) and Kenya National Libraries Services (KNLS) to organize a national workshop to enhance ICT and e-literacy skills of national librarians from 7 to 10 December 2014 in Nakuru, Kenya.

The training attracted participation of 30 librarians from 29 public libraries that currently provide public access to computers and Internet in Kenya. It aimed at enhancing public librarians’ information and communications technologies (ICT) and e-literacy skills, in order to make better use of ICT for new public library services to meet community needs.

The training also aimed at helping support delivery of the Millennium Development Goals by enabling public librarians to use ICT in new services that meet community needs in development areas such as agriculture, education, health, culture, social inclusion and e-literacy.

During the training Ms Ramune Petuchovaite, Manager of the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) stated that ´ICT’s role in accelerating development is now widely recognized in Africa and that governments are speeding up the roll-out of ICT infrastructure and equipment to aid this developments. With these developments, it is important that public libraries be included in national ICT policies and strategies.´

´To date, only 29 out of 60 libraries are adequately equipped with ICT infrastructure in Kenya. There is, therefore, an undoubted need for both library staff and our clients to upgrade their ICT skills to be able to better utilize the resources that we currently have in place,´ said Mr Richard Atuti, Director of the Kenya National Library Service.
This training adapted courses and training methods currently being tested in Ghana and Uganda by EIFL to fit the Kenyan context and supported a broader Kenya National Library Service initiative of engaging partners in transforming libraries across the country into ICT hubs.

This capacity building initiative falls within the framework of UNESCO, supporting adoption of ICT in public libraries and also enabling the creation of new services for users in Kenya.

Kenya National Library Service is a statutory body established to develop, equip, manage and maintain national and public library services, to promote information literacy and reading, and to enhance stakeholder participation in development of libraries in Kenya, while EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) advances community development by enabling public libraries to implement innovative ideas that use technology to improve people’s lives and livelihoods.“

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, February 05, 2015 10:46:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 23, 2014
“THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION is considering helping schools fully exploit the opportunities offered by advances in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the country to improve the quality of education.

The Minister for Education, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, said on Wednesday that though ICT was among the priorities in the education sector, the existing infrastructure is yet to be fully exploited.

He was speaking at a provincial consultative meeting on education in Nyanza District.

The meeting brought together officials from the Ministry of Education, local leaders, head teachers, parents’ representatives and education officers at the local levels from across the Southern Province.

Lwakabamba told participants that his ministry was considering helping schools, including those in rural areas, to access and benefit from existing ICT infrastructure and services such as the fibre optic cable and the recently rolled out 4G internet to help improve the quality of education.

Last month, Rwanda launched the hi-speed 4th Generation Long-Term Evolution (4G-LTE) internet network, the fastest wireless communication on high-speed data for mobile phones, computers and other devices.

´For some time now we have been talking about the use of ICTs in education but we have not reached the desired level, mostly because we have not taken advantage of latest developments in the ICT field,´ Lwakabamba told The New Times shortly after the meeting.

´We want to go to a step further.´

He said a number of schools have been helped to acquire computers while the government invested billions of francs in rolling out optic cables throughout the country and bringing 4G internet.

“How does all that benefit education?” he asked.

The ministry is also hoping that a recent government deal with POSITIVO BGH, a South American multinational firm, to set up a computer-manufacturing factory in Kigali will enable schools, students and teachers to easily access affordable computers.

The company’s plant in Kigali is set to start production in March next year. It will be manufacturing about 700,000 units per year, according to officials. Lwakabamba said the government was committed to buying at least 150,000 computer units from the plant annually, and that schools are among the institutions that will benefit from the scheme.

´We are putting up a master plan to exploit the existing facilities and then put content onto them (computers). We are starting to develop content [that can be loaded on computers and other gadgets] for the new curriculum and then students can teach themselves to make education system more student-centred than using only teachers teaching with a blackboard,´ Lwakabamba said.

´The factory is adding value to what we had before; they will produce fairly affordable computers which our students and teachers can use.´He added: ´Our students will be able to access information even beyond what they have [from their teachers]. With digital content, students can learn by themselves [and] if they can’t understand something they can get more explanations by clicking a button.

´If they click another button they can also get a video of a professor teaching them on that topic that they don’t understand.´”

(Source: The New Times)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 3:05:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“2,000 youth from across Rwanda are gathering at the third edition of the National YouthConnekt Convention from 17th-19th December in Kigali and they are participating in the national dialogue (Umushyikirano).

The convention has been organized by the Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT) and the National Youth Council (NYC) in collaboration with various stakeholders under the theme ´Together – Accountable – Big Think.´
 
Through YouthConnekt, Rwanda’s young people, who make up more than 60% of the active labour force, have understood that they are the largest contributors to national development, given not only their number but also their energy, innovation, creativity and passion.

At the first two conventions, the participants expressed the wish to participate and contribute meaningfully to the national dialogue so that their views are fully taken into account in the national development agenda. At the conventions, attendees also made a number of commitments, which have been achieved in the last two years.
The Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana stressed that ´YouthConnekt Convention establishes a platform for Rwanda’s young people at home and abroad to showcase their potential and contribute to building their country.´

Minister Nsengimana added that ´As we evaluate the achievements made through the previous performance contracts, we should also come together to shape the future that we want… We can shape our future and that of our nation. It’s for this reason that I challenge us to play a part in building the nation.´

This year’s convention brings together 2,000 young people including entrepreneurs and professionals, Indangamirwa, innovators, artists, students, and young people living with disabilities. Attendees of the convention will follow and participate in Umushyikirano (the National Dialogue Council) live from Petit Stade in Remera, Kigali. Participants will also showcase their initiatives and innovations that are positively impacting society and reiterate their role in national development.

The inaugural YouthConnekt Convention took place in 2012, establishing a platform for Rwanda’s young people at home and abroad to showcase their potential and contribute to building their country.“

(Source:  MYICT)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 3:01:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"´Nothing can replace a good teacher. Today, teaching in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) means being confronted with a number of challenges. On the job training provides practical and educational solutions to enable teachers to offer a better quality of education.´

These words were spoken by Irina Bokova at the official launch of the programme ‘Strengthening national capacity for training on the job in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’ on 16 December 2014.

The launch was held in the presence of the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and Introduction to the New Citizenship, Mr. Maker Mwangu Famba, and the China Chargé d’Affaires in the DRC.

Funded by the People's Republic of China, this flagship project, already launched in Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia and Namibia, will be deployed in eight African countries to improve the quality of education.

Welcoming this new cooperation, the Director-General said that ´ICTs are revolutionizing teaching practices. We can use them to improve access and quality of teacher training allowing teachers to be followed, to communicate and to share best practices. This project embodies the determination of UNESCO to support the development of the Congolese education system and it pays particular attention to rural education, where teachers are often isolated, without support.´

The project includes the development and online publication of educational materials, training on how to use new technical tools and equipment purchases.

´I welcome this innovative project. This is a new model of South-South cooperation that complements the strategic partnership between the DRC and China in the field of education,´ said the China Chargé d’Affaires, adding that he hoped other partners, including private partners would join this initiative.

Highlighting the need to develop the teaching profession in the DRC, the Minister of Education has called for ´mobilization for teachers to improve their training, their status and their social condition.´

The Democratic Republic of Congo has some 600,000 teachers, a figure increased over 40% since 2007. The primary and secondary school enrollment rates are rising steadily, but the challenges remain immense in this vast country, where 3.5 million of children are still out of school.“

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 2:55:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“We are excited to announce that we have expanded the Facebook Fellowship Award to cover two years!
The Fellowship Program is open to full-time PhD students (domestic and international) enrolled during the current academic year and studying computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, system architecture, or a related area.

Each Facebook Fellowship includes several benefits:
- Tuition and fees will be paid for the academic year(s)
- $37,000 yearly grant
- Paid visit to Facebook HQ to present your research
- Opportunity for paid internship

Required application materials:
- Research Summary
  1-2 page research summary, which clearly identifies the area of focus and applicability of anticipated research to Facebook.
- Resume or CV
- Two email contacts for a letter of recommendation:
  1.Advisor
  2.Professional reference (can be from academia or industry)

Application Deadline
Applications open on Monday, October 20, 2014 at 6:00pm
Completed applications are due by Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 8:59am
(Applications may be saved and edited up until application deadline)

Facebook Fellowship Rules
Read the Terms and Conditions for the Facebook Fellowship program“

(Source: OFA)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 2:41:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 15, 2014
“Ericsson today announced the launch of its global education initiative 'Connect to Learn' in India. Connect To Learn implements information and communications technology (ICT) in schools in resource poor settings, to ensure that children, no matter where they live, have access to learning resources and a quality education. In line with the vision of a complete 21st Century education for everyone, the program provides an opportunity for youth to access learning resources that were previously unavailable to them.

As a part of the program, Ericsson in association with three leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India - Plan International (India Chapter), Smile Foundation and Pratham Education Foundation has launched projects for periods of one to three years, that make a positive impact on the lives of underprivileged students and urban youth in different parts of the country. Each partner brings a specific contribution to the success of the initiative.

In terms of creating employment opportunities for underprivileged youth, Ericsson has partnered with Smile Foundation to offer job-oriented skills and placement assistance to underprivileged youth in Delhi/National Capital Region (NCR) and Mumbai. This program will impart training in basic computers and retail sales management skills, along with proficiency in spoken and written English through 20 centres to be set in Delhi/NCR and Mumbai. The curriculum also includes sessions on personal development, career counselling and placement support.

Recognizing an important link between limited mobility of women and girls and accessing progressive learning opportunities, the project with Plan India focuses on ensuring increased access to opportunities for self-development for 15000 girls in the 15 - 25 age group. Ericsson will establish 12 Networked Learning Centres in Delhi as knowledge hubs for girls, in association with Plan India.

As a part of the third project, Ericsson will collaborate with Pratham Education Foundation to establish Learning Excellence Program (LEP) in about 15 schools in the villages of Gurgaon. The LEP provides need based support to Government Schools by targeting children who lag behind in their learning levels.

Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility (CR), Ericsson said, "As we move closer to the Networked Society, we see mobile broadband emerging as a powerful tool, offering the opportunity to connect even the remotest villages.

´Connect to Learn has been successful in bringing the benefits of connectivity to students and schools worldwide. With more than 1 billion people in India, the potential to contribute to improved access to education is enormous. Through the formation of initiatives like Connect To Learn, we demonstrate that public-private partnerships are key to developing sustainable solutions that can make a major impact in education through technology.´

Chris Houghton, Head of Region, Ericsson India said, ´ICT has immense potential to offer learning opportunities and also have positive impact on a country's economic growth. With the three partners, we are creating a unique Connect to Learn ecosystem in India which will make a difference in the lives of thousands of underprivileged children and youth by creating an environment that is conducive to their overall growth and development.´

'Connect To Learn' is a global education initiative of Ericsson, the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Millennium Promise that leverages the power of ICT to enable access to high-quality education for students everywhere. The initiative is based on the use of connectivity to implement low-cost and user-friendly ICT solutions for schools through mobile broadband and cloud computing.

This gives students and teachers access to world-class information and educational resources, and the ability to connect schools to other schools around the world to foster collaborative learning, cross-cultural understanding and global awareness.“

(Source: Ericcson)

Monday, December 15, 2014 3:55:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The eighteen winners of the contest entitled ´What I want to be when I grow up and why´, held in all provinces of the country, launched this year by the Ministries of Science and Technology and education, were presented Thursday during a award and diplomas distribution ceremony.



Felix Adão Gaspar, from the first cycle school of the secondary school ´Manguxi´ of Bie province, won the national competition, while Loydiana Luís Gonga and Geovana Fausto Gomes from the primary schools of Luanda and Malange got the second and third places respectively.

The ceremony was attended by the Ministers of Education and Science and Technology, namely Pinda Simão and Maria Candida Teixeira and guests.“

(Source: Angola Press)

Monday, December 15, 2014 3:28:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Intel has completed the training of 400 women under its recently launched "Intel She Will Connect programme". The training conducted at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in Nairobi, targeted women drawn from The League of Kenyan Women Voters, and was done in collaboration with the Ministry of Devolution and Planning.

The League of Kenyan Women voters is a non-partisan member organization that aims at  providing a forum through which women can take part in national decision making processes and in leadership. It also acts as a medium where women can freely exchange views and ideas with the aim of encouraging their participation in leadership irrespective of their background and political orientation.

The Intel She Will Connect program was launched in Africa in 2014. In Kenya, the programme aims to train 2,000 young women in digital literacy skills by the end of the year through Pasha Centres in a number of counties. It is already live at 35 Pasha Centres in 27 counties.

Commenting at the training, Dr. Mark Matunga, Corporate Affairs Group Manager Intel East Africa said, ´Despite women doing 60 percent of the world's work and producing 50 percent of the world's food, they only make 10 percent of the world's income and own 1 percent of  the world's assets. Additionally, women reinvest 90 percent of their income to their communities. At Intel, we believe empowering Kenyan women through improved technology access will in turn spur economic growth for Kenya as a whole. We are aiming to provide skills and resources needed to empower women to get and stay online safely.´

For the She Will Connect programme in Kenya, Intel is collaborating with the Kenya ICT Authority, The Rockefeller Foundation, USAID, Safari Connect and The Youth Banner - a Pasha Business Development Consultant for the ICT Authority. At the end of the training, the women and the girls will have a chance to start their own businesses or be employed.

Speaking at the event, Anne Waiguru, Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning said,´ Through the Gender Mainstreaming Pillar in Vision 2030, the government aims to ensure the needs and interest of each gender, including women, men, girls and boys are addressed in all government policies, plans and programmes. As you may be aware, Kenya's budget preparation process now includes the use of Internet for contribution. The government is also in the process of rolling out the eCitizen programme, which brings government services to the reach of each citizen.´

´It is therefore important for every citizen in the country, especially the women and the youth, to equally have access to ICT tools and knowledge. ICT can play the important role of bridging the traditional gender gap. I'd like to commend private sector players like Intel, who have taken up the challenge of ensuring that women can benefit from the access provided by technology to take part in Kenya's development process,´ added Waiguru.

The Intel She Will Connect programme has a goal of reaching 5 million women and reducing the gender gap by 50 percent in the sub-Saharan region. The programme comes against the backdrop of the Women and the Web report released by Intel last year revealing the enormous Internet gender gap in the developing world and the social and economic benefits of securing Internet access for women.

The report examined women’s access to and use of the Internet in low and middle income countries and found that, on average, nearly 25 per cent fewer women than men are online in developing countries. This represents 200 million fewer women than men online today. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the size of the gap is 43 per cent— the largest across all the regions in the study.“

(Source: CIO East Africa)

Monday, December 15, 2014 3:23:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The IDA Lab on Wheels, a first roving bus that houses engaging and experiential technology to travel to schools islandwide

Primary school students now have a new and fun way to learn tech. Known as the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) Lab on Wheels; this mobile platform houses technology that is fun to learn, experiential and engaging. The IDA Lab on Wheels is retrofitted from a 40-seater bus that will house different activities such as coding a game in an hour, programming a robot, tinkering with a gadget and learning how electronics work. It will reach out to 80 primary schools and 16,000 students over the next two years.

Launched today by Minister for Communications and Information, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim at Vivocity, the IDA Lab on Wheels is a collaboration between the Government and the Industry. As we envision building Singapore into the world’s first Smart Nation, one with the fuller use of technology to live, work and play; our future generation is important in making an impact and contributing to this vision. The aim of the IDA Lab on Wheels is to ignite people and the young’s passion for tech via its engaging and experiential learning experience. The larger goal is to encourage the youth to pursue tech as part of their school curriculum or career. This in turn, helps build local tech talent for Singapore. Following the launch, in addition to schools, the mobile platform will reach out to the community. This is to ensure that everyone including the community is part of the beneficiaries of this educational and experiential mobile platform. They will be able to be engaged, excited by tech and leverage it to enhance their lifestyle and development.

The launch today saw many big and small tech industry players such as Dell, Autodesk, Asus and so on come forward to show their support to nurture and cultivate tech talent by participating in the bus’ development. Even students were involved in the co-creation of the bus.

Early this year, IDA held a design competition for the look and feel of the bus’ exterior. Three winning designs were selected and prizes were given out by Minister Yaacob Ibrahim. Singapore Management University clinched first prize, with Victoria Junior College coming in second, and Anglo-Chinese School coming in third. SMU’s winning design is featured on the skin of the IDA Lab on Wheels. Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman of IDA said, ´We are really proud of the efforts from different parties such as the Government, Industry players and especially students who have come together in the development of IDA Lab on Wheels. It is a good starting point to groom and grow Singapore talent for the future by seeding interest in tech at a young age. I encourage more industry players and people to come forward to visit and contribute to the development of the bus.´”

(Source: IDA)

Monday, December 15, 2014 3:18:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 09, 2014
"The Pacific Disability Forum has used international day of persons with disabilities to promote the impact and benefits of ICT in improving the well being and inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development.

Australia Head of Mission Margaret Twomey has highlighted the need to support people with disabilities in terms of technology and plans that were put in place to assist the initiative .
The Pacific Disability Forum believes governments should invest in resources that will assist persons with disabilities.

´Government should have disability inclusive, disability fran tory policies .Should invest the right kind of resources to support the participation with disabilities so really the government at the end of the day has a lot to do and can do to ensure that disabilities enjoy the quality of life that they should have.´

The Fiji Special Education teachers Association believes teachers should provided with resources that will assist people with disabilities to handle technologies."

(Source: FBC)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 11:43:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“The Government is designing a strategic plan that will make it possible for the education sector to adopt Information and Communication Technology as a primary enabler of access to education.

The Minister for Education, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, said Rwandans need to take bold steps including the acquisition of computers by teachers to avail digital content and help promote self learning.

´It is imperative for Rwandans to be equipped with 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and innovation, among others,´ the minister said.

The minister was speaking at a retreat for education stakeholders in Rubavu District yesterday.

The retreat started on Tuesday and is expected to close today.

The strategic plan will reportedly be designed to indicate how ICT in education strategy will be rolled out across the country.

Other partners involved in the development of the strategy include Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Intel Corporation as a strategic advisor.

Intel Corporation is one of the world's largest Semiconductor manufacturers.

The retreat aimed at evaluating strategies to infuse ICTs at all levels of the education system to enable self learning and improve the quality of education.

Participants also discussed measures aimed at ensuring that all education institutions and schools are connected to the internet and have access to digital libraries.

The plan is also expected to create requirements and standards for digital content while developing locally relevant interactive multimedia content in partnership with publishers and the private sector.

Under the strategic plan, all university faculties will be required to produce and run their courses online and students will be given loans to buy computers to facilitate their learning.

The Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, said his ministry plans to exploit the opportunities presented by technologies to transform the education sector.

´We are doing this because we are at a time when the country is moving into a knowledge based economy. We think the level at which ICT supports the education sector needs to increase,´ Nsengimana said.

The retreat follows a three-day conference in Kigali on innovation in education and ICT dubbed; ´Innovation Africa 2014´ where participants explored ways of increasing ICT's role in education.“

(Source: All Africa)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 11:40:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"Dimension Data, the US$6 billion ICT solutions and services provider, has announced that 45 learners have graduated today from its innovative Saturday School Programme.

The Dimension Data Saturday School initiative is a two-year programme that benefits 100 grade 11 and 12 pupils from 21 public high schools in Gauteng every year. Learners attend mathematics, physical science, life sciences, English, computer studies and life skills classes every Saturday.

´Our objective with the Saturday School is to produce high-calibre learners who will go on to achieve their ambitions in whatever sphere of life or business they choose. We give them the tools to be able to take the next step in their life through a good Matric pass. I have no doubt this class will continue in the footsteps of their predecessors and do exceptionally well in the 2014 Matric exams. We are very excited about what the future holds for these bright young minds,´ says Zellah Fuphe, Executive, Strategic Relations at Dimension Data Middle East and Africa.

Learners are accepted into the programme in grade 11, following a stringent selection process based on merit, academic performance, communication skills, attitude and leadership potential.

In addition to working through the formal syllabus, the learners receive leadership, entrepreneurship and social skills training, all aimed at preparing them for challenges beyond Matric. Grade 12 learners participate in the company's career day initiative, where they are exposed to the various career opportunities available at Dimension Data and to the broader ICT industry. They are also provided with an opportunity to be mentored by senior company executives who specialise in the career interest they have selected. The Saturday School initiative also includes the Winter School Programme for the Matric learners in preparation for their end-of-year exams.

Established 20 years ago with just 11 pupils, the Dimension Data Saturday School has consistently achieved a 100% pass rate and has assisted hundreds of learners to achieve their dreams. Last year's graduating class (the class of 2013) achieved 95% university entrance and 93 distinctions among 45 learners.

The Saturday School is based at Dimension Data's Bryanston head office and tuition is provided by subject experts and qualified educators, as well as Dimension Data employee volunteers.“

Source: Dimensio Data)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 11:35:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



The TechGirls Mentorship initiative in Rwanda has created a platform where female role models and successful individuals in the STEM industry have come together as mentors for young female TVET graduates.

GIZ and Tech Women launched TechGirls Mentorship initiative to equip female students from Technical universities with professional guidance of vastly experienced mentors and at the same time providing an opportunity to implement the acquired knowledge and skills directly within the enterprise.

Today, Rwanda is very well known for initiatives and policies that empower girls and women. It is the first country in the world whose national parliament contains the highest rate of women representatives, i.e 64% as per 2013 report.

Hence, women in Rwanda are no longer considered mothers and wives only but also as leaders who actively contribute in political matters that shape the nation. In spite of all these efforts to fill the gender gap in the leadership positions, some sectors are still left behind in the race towards gender balance.

The STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) industry in particular, is still predominantly represented by men. This is due to various reasons, some of which are; Lack of an early exposure to some of the aspects of the STEM field beyond Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, lack of female role models in the STEM fields and the STEM field is mostly portrayed by society as a hard to pursue field, which is better left to the male counterparts.

As an attempt to close the gap, the ICT Chamber with the support of Eco-Emploi Program of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) has initiated a female ICT mentorship program “TechGirls” to tackle the previously mentioned reasons through exposure to the real world of STEM industry. This initiative is envisioned to encourage young girls from TVET and high technical schools to pursue courses in the STEM fields with confidence and passion rather than doubt and low self-esteem.

Senior leader and mentor - guides a less experienced one - junior and mentee. The process through which a mentor is supporting their mentee in providing them with practical advices, exchanges, psychological support relevant to their career and professional development is called mentoring.

The aim of this innovative approach is to provide mentees with professional guidance of vastly experienced mentors and at the same time providing an opportunity to implement the acquired knowledge and skills directly within the enterprise.

Through partnership with local companies and institutions in the Tech industry, 10 female students from SOS High Technical School have been given an opportunity to share the daily experience of female mentors from Rwanda Development Board (RDB), TIGO, Airtel, Rwanda Information and Communication Technology Association (RICTA) and Axiom Networks Rwanda for 3 weeks starting from November 11 to December 4, 2014.“

(Source: MYICT Rwanda)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 11:09:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“TechWomen Rwanda has urged corporate companies to support girls who are pursuing science and information and communication technology (ICT)-related courses to help sharpen skills and become competitive.
Angel Bisamaza, an ICT expert and an alumnus of the TechWomen Rwanda mentorship programme, said this would also help close the gap between men and women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Bisamaza was speaking at the launch of a two-week mentorship programme with Airtel Rwanda aimed at helping the young girls get the expertise they need to take on technology as a career or enterprise business.

TechWomen is an organisation which aims at encouraging more women in Rwanda to take on careers in the in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It is an initiative of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The two-week programme by Airtel Rwanda will benefit two young women, Vanessa Umugwaneza, a second year business and ICT at Mount Kenya University and Naila Kirezi, a student of economics at University of Kigali, who will be attached to the telecom firm’s department that deals in the fields of information technology and network.

Denise Umunyana, the Airtel head of corporate communications and social responsibility, said the mentorship programme was not only about Airtel sharing its rich knowledge and expertise with the youth, but more about creating skilled and experienced workforce for Rwanda.“

(Source: The New Times)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 10:28:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“Airtel Rwanda has kicked off a two-week mentorship programme in partnership with TechWomen Rwanda, an organisation that aims to encourage more women in Rwanda to take on careers in the fields of Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is a professional mentorship and exchange programme developed in response to US President Barrack Obama’s efforts to strengthen relations between the United States with the Middle East and Africa.

Commenting on the programme, Airtel Head of Corporate Communications and CSR, Ms Denise Umunyana said, ´Technology increasingly becomes central to all our day-to-day operations and we believe it is important to have more and more ladies taking part in this field.´ She added: ´Two young ladies have been selected to take part in a mentorship programme with Airtel Rwanda and our focus will be in the fields of Information Technology and Network. This mentorship programme is not only about Airtel sharing its rich knowledge and expertise with the youth but more about ensuring a trained and well experienced workforce for future Rwanda.´

Speaking on behalf of TechWomen Rwanda, Ms Angel Bisamaza, one of the alumni said, ´We are more than grateful to partner with Airtel Rwanda in this mentorship programme that will help the young girls get the necessary expertise they need in order for them to take on technology as a career or enterprise business. This is one step close in closing the gap between men and women in the fields of Science, Technology Engineering & Mathematics.´ In her concluding remarks, Ms Umunyana said: ´We are pleased to take these girls on and mentor them. This programme also currently aligns with our social responsibility focus which is to empower youth in the field of Mathematics and Technology. We shall continue to engage in youth initiatives such as this and more because we believe that the youth today will be the future tomorrow.´

(Source: CIO East Africa)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 10:13:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“AS part of efforts to improve access to quality education in Nigeria, The Education Partnership Centre (TEP Centre), has announced the establishment of the Centre for Education Innovations (CEI) in Nigeria.

The CEI is an initiative of Results for Development Institute (R4D), and relies on a broad network of regional partners and collaborators. With its establishment in Nigeria, the country joins a global network of CEI hubs located in East Africa, South Africa and India.

TEP Centre on the other hand is Nigeria’s pioneer education partnership consultancy, specialising in the design, implementation, support and evaluation of multi-sectorial partnership programmes in education.

The CEI has already commenced examining emerging innovative models within the education space that hold promise for the country’s poor since it has been identified that across sub-Saharan Africa, one of the key challenges to attaining key goals of access, quality and equity in education is the limited participation of the non-state sector in the funding, provision and management of education.

The CEI initiative is a non-profit DFID-funded initiative to improve access to education in developing countries using innovative programmes targeted at the poor. To achieve this goal, the programme will identify, analyze and connect non-state innovative programmes that improve the quality and affordability of education in Nigeria.

There are significant gaps in global understanding of the benefits of such programmes. These gaps therefore, are due to the lack of systematic and easy-to-access information about such programmes around the world.

According to TEP Centre’s Managing Director, Dr. Mo Adefeso-Olateju, ´The programme aims to support policy makers, funders, and programme implementers in their efforts to improve and better harness the potentials of the non-state sector to achieve educational goals. Featured on the CEI global website are 511 innovative models from around the world, and counting. Of these, 31 are from Nigeria, having been profiled by TEP Centre, and already attracting global interest.´

Across the country and in sun-Saharan African countries, the professional competence to design and structure meaningful education partnerships have been found to be severely lacking. This is the gap that TEP Centre’s exceptionally talented team consistently fills, resulting in TEP Centre serving as a regional pioneer in the emerging field of education partnership.

Services offered by TEP Centre include research instrument development, quantitative and qualitative research, strategic, planning, programmes design and adaptation, policy planning, monitoring and evaluation, project management and scaling-up advisory.

 An affiliate of the Expandnet network, TEP Centre serves a broad range of education sector stakeholders including policy makers, corporate organizations and foundations, development agencies, donor-funded and assisted programmes, civil society organisations, philanthropic organisations and educational institutions.

 The facility has also offered support to programmes funded, assisted or managed by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), World Bank, MacArthur Foundation, and Results for Development Institute (R4D), Ford Foundation, Dalberg, the Lagos State Government and Oando Foundation.

TEP Centre is also the local learning partner for the international donor consortium, Partnership to Strengthen, Implementation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE), and working in partnership with Results for Development Institute (R4D) Washington DC. “

(Source: The Guardian)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 9:56:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 08, 2014
Young social entrepreneurs to participate in accelerator programme at
ITU Telecom World in Doha and win seed funding

ITU Telecom has announced the winners of its fourth annual Young Innovators’ Competition. Open to young social entrepreneurs between ages 18 and 30 from around the world, the competition sought innovative digital solutions with positive social impact to four challenges, focusing on developmental issues and technologies. The winners will be heading to ITU Telecom World 2014, the leading networking, solutions showcasing and knowledge-sharing event for the global ICT community in Doha, Qatar, 7-11 December.

From over 822 entries for four Challenges from 99 countries worldwide, submitted on a dedicated platform powered by Crowdicity, eight start-ups and concepts were selected on the basis of social impact and potential for business success:

Challenge 1 on Local Digital Content with Challenge Partner Ooredoo

·    TeleMuseum – Lorna Okeng, Uganda:  online virtual museum preserving and digitalizing African local content, oral traditions, and culture in cinema
·    Incept – Safouan Ben Jha, Tunisia: interactive, multilingual augmented reality app for museums and historic sites

Challenge 2 on Open Source Technologies for Disaster Management

·    Social Media Coordination (SoMeC) – Hemant Purohit, India: web app to identify social media influencers and improve disaster response coordination
·    NAJI – Your Mobile Is Your Saviour – Sahar Pakseresht, Iran: app and bracelet using body sensor networks to locate people missing in natural disasters

Challenge 3 on Smart Cities & Climate Change with Challenge Partner WHO

·    Making Sense of Sensor Technology – Vratul Kumar, India: wireless smart sensor technology applied to waste disposal networks
·    Matti – Jeisson Díaz, Colombia: GPS-based social app to raise awareness on recycling and climate change

Challenge 4 on the Internet of Things with Challenge Partner IEEE IoT Initiative

·    Unplugged – Marvin Arnold, USA: developing a secure decentralized information exchange platform to rival the Internet
·    CONNECTED ECO – Fatoumata Kebe, France/Mali: solar-powered sensor providing real-time analysis of soil conditions and irrigation needs

At ITU Telecom World 2014 in Doha, the Young Innovators Competition winners will take part in an accelerator programme to take their projects to the next level via one-on-one sessions with start-up mentors and business experts, hands-on workshop training and peer mentoring from the winners of the 2013 competition. Based on their performance during the Young Innovators Pitching Session, each winner will be awarded up to USD 10,000 for start-ups and USD 5,000 for concepts.

In addition, the competition winners will have space in a dedicated pavilion on the show floor, the InnovationSpace, where they will have the opportunity to display their work alongside other social innovations by former winners and a community of global inventors, and where they will host two thematic days during ITU Telecom World 2014:

Young Influencers Day – 7 December


In collaboration with the Doha Hub of the Global Shapers Community, a World Economic Forum initiative, the ITU Telecom World Young Innovators Programme will gather young influencers from across the region along with young entrepreneurs to explore the potential of ICT in mitigating global challenges, and discuss ´What are the Driving Forces for Innovation and Social Change´. All young people interested in joining the inter-active panel discussions are welcome to attend.

Start-up Day – 9 December


The day is dedicated to start-ups, entrepreneurs and discussions on taking one’s project to the next level, organized in partnership with ictQATAR Digital Incubation Centre. The focus of the day will be on financing and investment, including a session on how to reach out to investors and what to be aware of when doing so. By bringing together guest innovators and their start-ups from all over the world, this day demonstrates the Young Innovators Programme’s commitment to the power of collaboration and knowledge-sharing in changing the future for the better.

´These bright young minds have found creative technological solutions to developmental challenges both in their communities and in the wider world,´ said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “The innovative social start-ups, winners of the competition, as well as alumni from previous years, are an inspiration to all delegates, guests and participants in ITU Telecom World. Their resolve to improve their community and enthusiasm to spread the idealism of their ventures is truly impressive.´

ITU Secretary-General elect Houlin Zhao added: ´Expanding the spotlight from winners of the competition to promising local and regional start-ups, touching base with young thought- and business leaders through partner programmes, reinforces ITU Telecom World as a key platform for interaction, not only for the current big players in the ICT sector, but also for the new and emerging disruptive leaders of tomorrow.´

For further information on the Young Innovators Programme and Competition, please see http://telecomworld.itu.int/take-part/young-innovators/.”

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Monday, December 08, 2014 10:19:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"Global Report: Community, Mentorship, Parent Engagement Are Crucial to Girls' Participation in Making

A new global report produced by Intel Corporation indicates that girls and women involved with ´making,´ designing and creating things with electronic tools, may build stronger interest and skills in computer science and engineering – which could potentially reduce the growing gender gap in these fields.

With 16 million makers in the United States alone, the maker movement – a wave of tech-inspired, do-it-yourself innovation – is extensive and rapidly expanding. Unfortunately, so is the gender gap in computer science and engineering graduates. Intel's report, ´MakeHers: Engaging Girls and Women in Technology through Making, Creating and Inventing,´ explores how maker activities can serve as a gateway to computer science and engineering for girls and women, and it identifies ways to better engage girls and women in making in order to increase female representation in these fields.

´Intel believes that making brings ideas to life and spurs innovation, and we want to ensure that girls and women take part in this movement,´ said Aysegul Ildeniz, vice president of the New Devices Group and general manager of Strategy and Business Development at Intel. ´This report provides key insights on how to better engage girls and women in computer science and engineering and help them access opportunities to invent and create the future.´

The ´MakeHers´ report, created in consultation with experts including the Girl Scouts* and the Maker Education Initiative*, reflects Intel's commitment to increase access to and interest in computer science and engineering, especially among girls, women and underrepresented minorities.

´With its groundbreaking new report, Intel is demonstrating how the maker movement has helped turn a generation of tech-savvy girls – nearly all of whom grew up in the digital age – into the leaders and entrepreneurs of the economy of tomorrow,´ said Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA.

Key global findings1 from Intel's ´MakeHers´ report include:

In the U.S., Making Is Already Popular with Tweens and Teens – Both Girls and Boys

  • Girls and boys in the United States are equally likely to be ´tech makers´: 1 in 4 tweens and teens have made things with technology during the past year, and 7 in 10 would like to learn to make something with electronics.
Making and Inventing Provides Multiple Entry Points to Engage and Interest Girls and Women in Computer Science and Engineering
  • Girls and women who make, design and create things with electronic tools may build stronger interest and skills in computer science and engineering.
  • Female makers come to making through multiple pathways that include arts, design, crafting and textiles.
  • Making can help girls and women learn new content and technologies and provide an avenue for them to engage in scientific and engineering problems that align with their interests.
Girls and Women Face Constraints to Participating in Making
Female and male makers face similar challenges to making, such as lack of money, information and access to tools and materials. However, female makers experience additional challenges:
  • 1 in 3 female makers say lack of mentorship is a challenge.
  • 1 in 6 have been excluded from making because of their gender.
  • 1 in 6 face cultural biases about the appropriateness of women in making.
  • 1 in 14 don't feel safe going to the places where maker activities are held.

Key Recommendations to Engage Girls and Women in Making
  • Build more girls- and women-inclusive maker environments in public places, such as libraries and schools.
  • Design makerspaces that enable open-ended investigation of projects meaningful to girls and women.
  • Develop initiatives that give girls more access to makers their own age and female mentors.
  • Encourage parents to "embrace the mess" and engage in making with their children.
  • Align making activities, such as coding and making hardware, with current trends and personal interests to attract girls.
  • Include facilitators in makerspaces to create a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for girls and women.
The report's findings were drawn from three online surveys2 conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Intel. Intel also conducted interviews with leading U.S. experts on STEM, girls and STEM, and the maker movement, as well as interviews and participant observation in makerspaces in the United States.

Intel supports the maker movement to encourage innovation and introduce young makers to computer science and engineering beyond the traditional classroom setting. In October 2013, Intel announced a large-scale donation of 50,000 Intel® Galileo development boards to universities worldwide. Intel is also a founding sponsor of the Maker Education Initiative along with Maker Media*, Pixar* and Cognizant*, and its Start Making!* program, which aims to build creative confidence and excitement with children for STEM education.

Intel also sponsors several global initiatives focused on education and women, such as the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network and the Intel Global Girls and Women Initiative. More information about the report findings and Intel's work with the maker community can be found at www.intel.com/newsroom/makers and on Twitter.“

(Source: Intel Newsroom)

Monday, December 08, 2014 10:08:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Despite setbacks, Ethiopia’s tech economy has been making strides, luring entrepreneurs from throughout Africa and gaining international recognition.

This is due to a mix of increased government support for ICT development and the establishment of start-up incubators and hubs that are creating an ideal landscape for the tech industry to grow.


Now home to 1,000 members, incubator iceaddis  is the first of its kind in Ethiopia, describing itself as: ´Collaborative work spaces where aspiring young entrepreneurs, ICT driven individuals, techies, youth and creative individuals can come together to receive business and life skill training, prototyping, technology transfer and enhance their productivity and, ultimately, form viable and sustainable business plans for the future.´

Easily drawing comparisons to other tech hubs in the region, like Nairobi’s iHub  – which now has over 16,000 members – or Uganda’s Hive Colab , iceaddis grew organically, starting with small events and workshops.

According to iceaddis member Markos Lemma, in Ethiopia ´there is high potential for techies to develop applications and technical solutions.´

Adam Abate, founder of Apposit, an information technology services company, attributes this potential to the benefits of exploiting a largely untapped market.

´Infrastructure is expanding at a rapid rate, and the most obvious opportunity in Ethiopia is that there’s still very little here,´ he said.

´Any business you can think of, you can start.´
As Internet access slowly grows in this country of nearly 90 million, a tech boom seems likely. Right now, a mere 1% of Ethiopians have access to the Internet ― even a small increase in that number would create many more opportunities for entrepreneurs.

The Ethiopian government is also investing in ICT. Last year, the government announced plans for a $250 million technology park called Ethio ICT . So far, more than 12 local and international companies have booked space, including China’s ZTE and Techno Mobile and Security Innovation Network (SINET), both of whom will establish their own ICT incubation centres.

The Ministry of Communication & Information Technology states that its aims for establishing the ICT park in Ethiopia are ´to foster the growth of the ICT sector in the country by providing a conducive environment for businesses to develop ICT-supported indigenous business entrepreneurs and to provide employment opportunities for Ethiopians.´

The education sector is also embracing tech. Today, teachers in 75 schools throughout Ethiopia use video technology to record their lessons and evaluate and discuss them with other teachers.

´On the latest videos I can see that because of this, my teaching skills have improved,´ says a teacher from Gafat Primary School in North-Central Ethiopia.

In 10 schools without electricity, solar panels are being used to run the computers and charge the cameras teachers use to evaluate their lessons.

Such innovative thinking isn’t a surprise considering how seriously Ethiopia treats education. The country is one of the few in Africa on track to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of providing universal access to primary education. Many new school buildings have been built over the past few years and there are no fees for primary and secondary schooling. Enrolment has jumped as a result.

Those who graduate into the tech world will find plenty of markets to explore. ´The middle class is increasing, the market is growing,´ Markos Lemma, co-founder of iceaddis, told the BBC.

´There are a lot of opportunities for techies in Ethiopia.´“

(Source: eLearning Africa)

Monday, December 08, 2014 10:06:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"Digify, the Google and IAB SA-backed three-month digital bootcamp run by youth agency Livity Africa, is calling talented 18-to-25-year-olds to apply for its January 2015 intake.

Commencing in Johannesburg in mid-January 2015, 15 young people will join the successful initiative which has seen graduates start their careers in some of the country's top digital agencies including Native VML and Retroviral.

Livity Africa Managing Director Gavin Weale says: ´What is really unique about this bootcamp is our strong links with leaders in the digital industry. Not only is Google funding the initiative, they provide Google experts to ensure the young people receive up-to-date training with Search, AdWords, Analytics and YouTube and as well as running campaigns on other social media networks.´

´In addition to gaining technical skills, our Digifyers work closely with brands and agencies to develop campaigns for real live briefs. In the last two cohorts, they have developed campaign ideas for brands like Red Bull, Kit Kat, Nescafé, MTN, Nandos and Mountain Dew,´ says Weale.

Skilled individuals to sustain South Africa's fast digital growth

Google South Africa Country Marketing Manager Elizma Nolte says: ´We are delighted to continue supporting Digify as part of a local initiative to grow digital talent in South Africa. We have been impressed with the talent emerging from Digify, and initiatives like these are of utmost importance in making sure we have skilled individuals to sustain South Africa's fast digital growth.´

Weale adds, ´As an industry, we need to fill a gap of at least a quarter of the current workforce (IT Web, 2011). Digify aims to place all graduates in paid entry level jobs or internships in the digital industry with the first round of cohorts placed in agencies like Native VML, Retroviral, FoxP2, Casson Media, Aqua Agency and iClinic.´

´Our current cohort of graduates will be available for paid internships or roles from mid-December 2014, so get in touch if you are looking for next generation talent,´ says Weale.

Tumelo Popela graduated from Digify in May and has gone on to work for Native VML. ´Thanks to Digify, I got to learn a great deal and ended up working for the agency I've always dreamt of. I have one of the most talented and inspiring managers who has helped me transition into my career. Digify is a wonderful programme for people who want to get into the digital space but need a head start. I'm really glad I joined Digify,´ says Popela.

For more information and to apply for Digify, visit http://livemag.co.za/now-taking-applications-round-three-digify/. Applications close Sunday, 30 November and you must be available to start mid-January 2015.

If you are an agency, brand or organisation who would like to place Digify graduates in your company, provide an innovative speaker for our weekly industry talks or submit a real live brief for our talented young team to respond to, please contact Hlengiwe Simelane at hlengiwe@livityafrica.com  or 011 028 7487."

(Source: Bizcommunity)

Monday, December 08, 2014 10:01:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"With support from Google, NCWIT launches EngageCSEdu, an online collection of open course computer science (CS) materials for CS educators to better engage their students, especially underrepresented groups.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) today announced the launch of EngageCSEdu (www.engage-csedu.org ), supported by Google. EngageCSEdu encourages the development of more inclusive learning environments in introductory CS courses by helping faculty to easily share their most effective retention practices.

EngageCSEdu offers thousands of projects, homework assignments, and other course materials that are searchable by computer science knowledge area, programming language, and more. All course materials are developed by faculty members nationwide and evaluated for quality by an interdisciplinary team of computer scientists, learning scientists, and diversity experts.

´EngageCSEdu takes the guesswork out of finding best practices for ensuring introductory CS students receive an engaging education,´ said NCWIT CEO and Co-founder Lucy Sanders. ´Thanks to Google’s generous support, we’re offering a platform for educators to exchange peer-reviewed materials that encourage CS students to persist in the major, leading to a more diverse workforce to create products and services more representative of a broad U.S. population.´

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates 1.2 million computing-related job openings by the year 2022. However, at current college graduation rates in computing, only 39% of these jobs can be filled by U.S. computing undergraduates. (www.ncwit.org/scorecard)

´NCWIT and Google recognize EngageCSEdu as a viable way to help a broader set of students complete their computer science degrees,´ said Google Director of Education and University Relations Maggie Johnson.
For every new submission by a faculty member to EngageCSEdu, Google will donate $50 (up to $100,000) towards maintaining NCWIT’s online tool.“

(Source: NCWIT)

Monday, December 08, 2014 9:52:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“The Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre – W.TEC recently celebrated International Day of the Girl Child. This is an international observance day declared by the United Nations in 2012 to promote girls’ human rights and highlight gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys.



To celebrate the 2014 Day, W.TEC partnered with Intel, Oracle, iDEA Hub, KraveX and Bella Naija to organize the 1-day celebration, which took place on Saturday, October 11 at the iDEA Hub.

The celebration was intended to highlight women’s achievements in the area of information technology and to serve as a forum to inspire and encourage girls to consider studies and careers in the growing field of ICTs.

Exciting features of the day included fun technology tutorials, live technology demos, inspiring talks and a mini-hackathon.

Leading women in technology who shared their career journeys in technology, as well as the impact of technology on their lives, included: Olasimbo Olatoregun (Intel), Folake Oyekanmi (Intel), Folake Adeniyi-Adeleye (Oracle), Ihuoma Okoroafor (Oracle) and Terae Onyeje (KraveX).

Fifty – two girls between the ages of 10 and 17 were in attendance and participated in learning sessions on digital animation and blogging (for girls with more limited technology backgrounds) and the hackathon (open to girls with more advanced technology skills). At the end of the event, the girls presented their projects to the audience.

Prizes were awarded to the developers of the best projects under the Scratch Programming, Mobile Application Development and Blogging categories:

AWARDS

A) Mobile Application Development

1st Place: Iyimide Martins
2nd Place: Dolapo Nurudeen

B) Scratch Programming

1st Place: Monsurat ….
2nd Place: Oluwanifesimi Oso & Mercy Oyeyipo
3rd Place: Hannah ….. & Marion Okoh Ogbeide

C) Blogging

1st Place: Muyibat …. & Oyinloluwa Adepiti
2nd Place: Feranmi ….
3rd Place: Hope Phillip

D) Newcomers to Technology Award (Given to girls, who despite their limited technology experience, created some inspiring blogging projects).

Chidinma Ogbuagu, Ayomide Ojo, Arinola Lesi, Anjolaoluwa Adegbola, Ndifreke Solomon Akpan, Abigail George, Eniola Taiwo, Chisom Cephas, Chioma Ezubelu, Iyanaoluwa Aje, Susan Uko & Mary Emelieze.

Intel, Oracle, KraveX, iDEA Hub and Bella Naija all supported this initiative as part of their interest in encouraging more women and girls to become technology users and developers. Intel is currently running the She Will Connect campaign, which is designed to expand digital literacy skills among young women in developing countries.

The girls were invited to join W.TEC’s Technology Club for Girls – year-long workshops to build-up their technology skills – which is supported by WeTech, Intel and Oracle.“

(Source: W.TEC)

Monday, December 08, 2014 9:47:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“Telecentre Academy will be introducing the Entrepreneurship and ICT course to three Latin American countries namely Colombia, Chile, and Ecuador starting November.

It will be recalled that earlier this year, TCA launched two pilot batches of the course ´Women, Entrepreneurship and ICTs": the first one in Spanish in June, and the second one in English in July.

See here the Video testimonial of participants of the Entrepreneurship and ICTs pilot course:
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iHyanNKZyg)

The upcoming launch of the course in the three identified Latin American countries is being carried out in coordination with local organizations namely Colnodo, CDI Chile, and Fundapi. For Colombia and Chile, the trainers will be former participants of the concluded pilot edition of the course.

According to TCA Program Manager Ana Agudo, the Academy is looking to expand the coverage of the course to make it applicable to youth as well, not just to women, and it is constantly on the lookout for new partners who will play the role of TCA agents that will implement and offer the course in their respective countries.

How to Become a TCA Agent

For organizations that are interested in becoming TCA agents, below is a summary of the steps involved:
·    Signification of interest via email to TCA team 
·    Agreement on partnership scope and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
·    Training of TCA agent's staff for local delivery of training
·    Customization of the course if deemed necessary
·    Delivery of the course through TCA's online learning platform

For questions pertaining to TCA courses and becoming a TCA agent, contact the TCA team.“

(Futher details)



Monday, December 08, 2014 9:41:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“The tenth edition of eLearning Africa will take place on May 20 – 22, 2015, at the African Union Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In 2006, the inaugural event also took place in Ethiopia, and Rebecca Stromeyer, founder of the event, recently reflected on the impact that ten years of eLearning Africa has had on the ICT-enhanced learning sector in Africa:

´During its ten-year history, the conference has led to an explosion of new ideas, new projects, new agreements and new partnerships,´ she revealed. ´It has brought the leading experts on learning, development and technology to take part in our discussions and it has shown the world the ambition and wisdom of Africa. It has created a new understanding of what Africans can achieve and a belief that, working together, sharing our knowledge, making the most of the great opportunity that education and technology offer us, we will change the world.´

eLearning Africa 2015 will showcase the stories, experiences, research, thinking and expertise that make up the complex but thrilling picture of ICT for development, education and training in Africa today, under the overall theme of Enriching Tomorrow. Potential speakers are invited to submit a proposal (deadline 15.01.2015) and contribute their perspective to the largest gathering of eLearning and ICT supported education and training professionals in Africa.

The conference themes and proposal submission form can be found on the eLearning Africa website.“

(Source: eLearning)

Monday, December 08, 2014 9:28:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 07, 2014
"The Ministry of Science and Technology will run Thursday in southern Huila province a programme under the motto ´a trip around the world of science, technology and innovation´.

The two-day socio-culture activity will help the students in the local six schools choose the areas of their future professions.

According to a note from the Ministry delivered Angop Wednesday in Lubango, the activity will cover the local schools. The initiative is intended to raise awareness among young people, in particular, about the need to engage in scientific study. Similar programme has taken place in the 17 provinces."

(Source: Angola Press)

Friday, November 07, 2014 11:36:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 03, 2014
“The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) today announced that Apple, Bank of America, Bloomberg, Google, Microsoft, Microsoft Research, Palantir, Qualcomm, Symantec, and Venmo are supporting NCWIT’s outreach efforts (hosting events and networking opportunities) at the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing in Phoenix, Arizona from October 8-10, 2014. Sponsored events include:

NCWIT Academic Alliance Reception (sponsored by Microsoft Research): Representatives from current and prospective members of NCWIT’s Academic Alliance, comprised of hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide, will gather to network and compare approaches for implementing institutional change for their post-secondary computing programs. Microsoft Research sponsors the NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund, which provides up to $10,000 for implementation of initiatives focused on recruiting or retaining women in computing degree programs. NCWIT is currently accepting proposals through November 2, 2014. (www.ncwit.org/seedfund)

NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing Networking Meet-ups (separate meet-ups sponsored by Apple, Bank of America, Palantir, and Qualcomm): Executives will meet with Aspirations Award recipients to discuss career opportunities and offer tips for successful technology job searches. The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing is a multi-tiered award competition (with recognition at national and local levels) open to any U.S. high school woman with computing aspirations. NCWIT is currently accepting applications through November 2, 2014. (www.bit.ly/AiCHSAward)

NCWIT Affiliate Award for Aspirations in Computing Breakfast (sponsored by Microsoft): Microsoft, sponsor of the Aspirations Award at the local level, will recognize Aspirations Affiliate Award Coordinators for their extraordinary voluntary contributions, making it possible to serve all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands with the Aspirations Award program. 

NCWIT Student Seed Fund Lunch (sponsored by Symantec): Executives will hear from several student winners of the NCWIT Student Seed Fund, sponsored by Symantec. The Student Seed Fund provides $1,000 to student-run programs and initiatives that promote increased participation of women in higher education computing programs. NCWIT is currently accepting proposals through October 26, 2014. (www.ncwit.org/studentseedfund)

NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Reunion Dinner (sponsored by Bloomberg): Aspirations in Computing Community members will reunite and catch up on educational and work experiences since their recognitions. Bloomberg sponsors the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Community, a peer network of technical young women connected to hundreds of NCWIT corporate, academic, and non-profit organizations nationwide.

EngageCSEdu Demo Sessions (sponsored by Google): Representatives will provide interactive demos of EngageCSEdu, a website containing a dynamic collection of high-quality, open course materials for introductory computer science courses contributed by faculty from across the country. (www.ncwit.org/engagecsedu)
Sit With Me Photo Booth (sponsored by Venmo): Attendees are invited to take a stand for women in technology by getting their photo taken in the iconic Red Chair of Sit With Me – a national advocacy campaign that provides a gathering place for all people to acknowledge the valuable contributions of women in computing. (www.sitwithme.org)

Additional events include: meet-ups and receptions for current and prospective members of NCWIT’s Affinity Group, Entrepreneurial, and Workforce Alliances, as well as NCWIT Pacesetters. Visit www.ncwit.org/NCWITatGHC for more information about NCWIT’s participation at the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing.´Organizations acting together make a far better impact on expanding diversity in computing than a person or an organization acting alone, said NCWIT CEO and Co-founder Lucy Sanders. ´It’s motivating to see representatives from multiple disciplines and industries come together in support of these promising technical young women.´

NCWIT is also pleased to announce that Chief Strategy and Growth Officer Ruthe Farmer will be honored at the conference with the 2014 Social Impact ABIE Award during the opening plenary session on Wednesday, October 8, 2014. (http://bit.ly/ghcRuthe)

´It is such an honor to be recognized by the Grace Hopper community with this award,´said Farmer. ´The Aspirations in Computing program has built an incredible, national network for technical young women, and we are excited to see the impact this incredibly connected group will have on the tech industry.´

The Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing is produced by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology and is presented in partnership with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). ”

More Information

Monday, November 03, 2014 11:10:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“TWO tertiary institutions in Abia state namely the State Polytechnic and College of Health Sciences and Management Technology and a secondary school - National High School, Azumini in Ukwa East LGA joined some others across the country to benefit from programmes introduced by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The programmes include the Advanced Digital Access Programme For Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI), which aimed to bridge the digital divide existing in the academia with the provision of Computers and other ICT facilities to equip the lecturers and other experts with technology skills to enrich the quality of teaching and research.

The second programme is the ‘Wireless Cloud’, which is a complimentary package comprising of laptops with Wireless Internet Facilities.

The third Programe tagged, ´Digital Awareness Programe (DAP)´ is for the benefit of secondary schools with the objectives of preparing the nation for a digital tomorrow and equipping the youth with necessary skills to tap into the potentials of the digital age.

Speaking at the official commissioning of ADAPTI at the Abia State Polytechnic and College of Health Sciences and Management Sciences at different times recently, NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Dr. Eugene Juwah said that since the introduction of ADAPTI in year 2008, more that 297 institutions of higher learning in Nigeria have so benefited from it. Juwah, who was represented by the member representing the South East zone in the NCC Board Dr. Mike Onyia, also said that in addition to ADAPTI, the NCC introduced the ‘Wireless Cloud’, which according to him, is a complimentary package comprising of laptops with Wireless Internet Facilities adding that another 144 institutions including some that already had ADAPTI, have also benefited from the Wireless Cloud, ´this is because the ICT facilities are equipped with e-learning suites that are able to guarantee extensive learning´.

He said that the DAP has the objectives of preparing the nation for a digital tomorrow and equipping the youth with necessary skills to tap into the potentials of the digital age are being effected.”

(Source: The Guardian)

Monday, November 03, 2014 11:00:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Inaugural GEM-TECH Awards bring winners from around the world to Busan, Korea to highlight the transformative power of ICTs

Seven outstanding individuals and organizations leading pioneering projects and advocacy linked to harnessing the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to boost gender empowerment were honoured this morning as recipients of the first-ever GEM-TECH Awards.

The awards were conferred by ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré before some 2,500 delegates at a special ceremony in the morning Plenary session of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference currently taking place in Busan, Republic of Korea. The event was introduced by leading Korean TV personality Jie-ae Sohn, a journalist with 25 years’ experience as a correspondent for some of the world’s leading media channels.

Co-organized with UN Women, the GEM-TECH Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of organizations and individuals in the area of gender equality and mainstreaming through information and communication technology (ICT). The launch of the awards in June of this year prompted over 360 nominations from over 70 countries around the world. The awards were open to leading women and men, as well as organizations working in the field of ICT and gender.

The seven GEM-TECH winners are:

Category 1: applications, content, production capacities and skills for women’s social and political empowerment and links with sustainable development
Winner: UNESCO’s Women in Africa’s History e-Learning project Africa

Category 2: ICT applications, content, production capacities and skills for women’s economic empowerment and poverty reduction
Winner: iMerit Technology, India

Category 3: Promoting Women in the ICT sector – initiatives to attract, retain and promote women in the ICT sector and into decision-making roles (public/private sector)
Winner: BCS Chartered Institute for IT United Kingdom

Category 4: Enabling girls to become ICT creators – initiatives aimed at providing girls with the opportunity to become not just active users, but creators of ICTs and content
Winner: Research Center for Feminist Action (CIPAF) Dominican Republic

Category 5: Closing the ICT gender gap, ensuring ICT accessibility for women, such as digital literacy training and ensuring affordable and meaningful access to ICTs by women.
Winner: Telecentre.org Foundation Philippines

Category 6: Efforts to reduce online threats and to build women’s confidence and security in the use of ICTs
Winner: Association for Progressive Communications (APC) South Africa

Category 7: ICT and broadband strategies, policies and frameworks that promote women’s digital empowerment
Winner: Federal Ministry of Communication Technology Nigeria

The awards were sponsored by Gold Partners the Sultanate of Oman, the Republic of Rwanda, the Swiss Confederation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Silver Partners Cisco Systems and Facebook.

Congratulating the seven winners out of a field of 37 finalists, ITU’s Dr Touré praised the exceptionally high quality of nominations, and stressed that much still needs to be done to leverage the full power of ICTs to improve the lives of women and men.

´It is almost 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – so where do we stand today with reference to Gender Equality and Mainstreaming?´ asked Dr Touré, who pointed to a ‘gender digital divide’ that is particularly worrying in the developing world. ´ITU estimates that some 200 million fewer women are online compared to men. Women are coming online later, and more slowly. Without remedial action, it is estimated that the internet gender gap could grow to 350 million within three or four years. Equality in access to broadband is not only an issue of right and wrong; it also makes commercial and economic sense,´ he said.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said ´We need all of you to join our efforts, so that these inspiring GEM-TECH winners and others working at the forefront of digital inclusion are leading a turning point for women’s digital empowerment through technology.´

This morning’s ceremony also recognized six GEM-TECH ‘Global Achievers’ – organizations and individuals recognized for exceptional long-term commitment to furthering the issue of ICT and gender. They are: Alcatel-Lucent’s StrongHer initiative; Cisco Systems’ Distinguished Consulting Engineer, Monique Morrow; Academy Award winning actor and advocate Geena Davis; GSMA’s Connected Women programme; Intel Corporation’s Director of Social Impact, Renee Wittemyer, and former Serbian Minister of Communications and State Secretary for Digital Agenda, Jasna Matić.

The award ceremony was followed later in the day by a lunchtime GEM-TECH High Level Dialogue, where winners and partners had the opportunity to showcase their projects and initiatives, and where other experts from industry, civil society and government joined a stimulating debate on the topic of ‘Gender and ICTs: why gender equality matters and where do we stand today?’, moderated by Korea’s Jie-ae Sohn. The GEM-TECH HLD can be viewed on archived webcast in seven languages at: www.itu.int/pp14/webcast.

The day’s ICT and gender-related activities will wrap up this evening with an exclusive gala dinner event held at Nurimaru APEC House on Busan’s Dongbaekseon Island.“

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Monday, November 03, 2014 10:57:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“´With 2000 innovators from 48 countries entering in its first three years; IPA 2015 takes investment in unleashing and supporting sustainable African led innovation past half a million USD

The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) is calling on all African innovators to submit their entries for the fourth edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) competition. The IPA is presented annually, enabling and encouraging African pioneers to develop creative ideas and techniques to overcome some of the challenges faced by the continent and support sustainable development.

´At the African Innovation Foundation we are passionate about Africa and its potential, that we firmly believe will be led by empowering a new generation of African innovators and entrepreneurs. But we also recognise that this new generation needs the resources and the opportunities to realise their ambition,´ said AIF and IPA founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais. ´IPA provides a platform to encourage and harness these entrepreneurial skills in order to help improve the lives of Africans and to help realise untapped potential. The prize is also a great way of unleashing creativity and promoting growth within the African continent.´

The IPA is becoming integral to facilitating ground-breaking thinking, creativity and driving awareness to the outstanding work being done in Africa by Africans. IPA 2013 winner, AgriProtein went on to raise $11 million to build its first two commercial farms in Cape Town.

´Africa needs meaningful investment to alleviate poverty and provide inclusive prosperity. To achieve this, we need to be able to provide environments that promote quality investment for the people and reduce risks. Forums like the IPA are necessary to make the most of the continent's investment,´ said AgriProtein spokesperson, David Drew.
All innovations are evaluated based on the following criteria: originality, marketability, scalability, social impact and Scientific/technical aspects. The best submission will be awarded a grand prize of USD 100 000.  The second prize of USD 25 000 will be awarded to an innovator with an innovation which has the best commercial and business potential. An additional award is a special prize granted to the innovator whose innovation has the best social impact in the community.

The IPA encourages entries in five key categories: Agriculture and Agribusiness, Environment, Energy and Water, Health and Wellbeing, ICT applications, and Manufacturing and Services Industries.

Recognising home grown innovative ingenuity, the prize contributes to increased funding of start-ups, adoption of new and emerging technologies and accelerated growth of the private sector. With ever changing economic and social environments, it is critical that proposed solutions tackle issues affecting African lives, and that they are effective and are different from the existing ones.

IPA 2014 named Dr Nicolaas Duneas and Mr Nuno Pires from South Africa the winners of the grand Prize and received USD 100’000 for their Altis Osteogenic Bone Matrix (Altis OBM TM), the first injectable porcine derived BMP medical device in the world — an innovative product for the treatment of bone injuries and voids through the use of a regenerative biological implant.

The IPA also beckons all investors, governments and other stakeholders interested in evaluating, investing and maximising the continent’s resources to participate in this innovative and empowering initiative and make a significant change through generous contributions that will accelerate the Africa’s economic growth.

The deadline for submitting applications for IPA 2015 is 31 October 2014 at 24h00 GMT. For more information on competition categories, conditions of entry, and submission details, please visit: http://innovationprizeforafrica.org/. ”

(Source: IPA)

Monday, November 03, 2014 10:49:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) and CCI Learning have announced a partnership to provide innovative learning experiences that promote 21st century business, technology and communications skills among Canadian youth.

Through their partnership, ICTC and CCI Learning have identified industry certification ´crosswalks´ within Canada’s Focus on Information Technology (FIT) program. Developed by the ICTC, with top educational specialists and ICT employers, FIT is a nationally-recognized certificate program promoting digital literacy to advance youth skills development, experiential learning and development of effective learning resources for students and teachers. It provides secondary school students with valuable course pathways fostering ICT skills development.

´To identify these crosswalks, we conducted a thorough analysis of learning outcomes within ICTC's FIT certification paths, comparing them to skill sets required for leading IT industry certifications. In many cases, FIT learning outcomes almost completely matched with certification objectives such as those within CompTIA Strata and the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Software Development certification” said Malcolm Knox, CCI Learning President and CEO. ´Many provinces already include the same learning outcomes as the ICTC FIT certification paths.´
´Providing secondary school students with a clear and compelling pathway to further ICT training is a critical part of addressing technology skills shortages´ said Namir Anani, ICTC President and CEO. ´Our partnership with CCI Learning will be a model for achieving this for similar agreements across the country.´
Schools choosing to integrate these systems will provide triple recognition to graduates through national, provincial and industry level certifications. Students can graduate with multiple industry level certifications in addition to their current certification programs, bolstering chances for career success.

CCI Learning and ICTC’s FIT Certification Industry Crosswalk provides the most effective education solution. It ensures Canada’s success in the global digital economy by investing in technology education that is tangible and applicable to the labour market.“

Further details

Monday, November 03, 2014 6:30:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 21, 2014
“UNESCO organized an intensive high-level Workshop on Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to significantly enhance the quality and access to higher education for thousands of Nigerian and African students. The Workshop was held in Lagos, Nigeria, from 10 to 11 September 2014 and attended by 30 senior faculty members of NOUN.

The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is an Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institution, the first of its kind in the West African sub-region. The University at present has 54 Centres spread across the country. It is Nigeria's largest tertiary institution with over 150,000 enrolled students.

The Workshop at NOUN is part of the African component of the Globalizing OpenupEd Project, which aims to empower key national higher education institutions to offer courses with full open licenses (OERs), and to transform them into Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are defined as any type of educational materials in the public domain, or released with an open license allowing free use, adaptation, and distribution. They present educational institutions with a strategic opportunity to increase the quality of educational materials.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are characterized as free-of-cost, openly-accessible, online courses which can support ‘massive’ numbers of students.

By transforming OER courses into MOOCs that can be accessed free-of-cost and easily via mobile phones, NOUN hopes to ‘massively’ increase the number of enrolments from Nigeria, Africa and internationally.

OpenupEd is the world’s first MOOC Initiative that offers learners several unique innovations:

1.courses are to be made immediately/progressively available as OERs with at least CC BY SA licenses;
2.the University partners will offer full recognition and additional credit for fees;
3.some courses are to offer cohort-independence.

The Project is led by Abel Caine, UNESCO Programme Specialist in OERs, and Professor Fred Mulder, UNESCO OER Chair.

With support from the European Commission, UNESCO is globalizing OpenupEd in Africa working with the Africa Council for Distance Education (ACDE), and in Asia working with the Asian Association for Open Universities (AAOU).

The Workshop was facilitated by Dr Robert Schuwer of the Open University of the Netherlands. Using extensive OER and MOOC models, the delegates identified 10 pilot courses to be updated and offered with the Creative Commons Attribution (BY) ShareAlike (SA) license. A new course on the History of NOUN will be the pilot MOOC.

Abel Caine, from UNESCO, was very pleased with the Workshop, ´NOUN is one of the very few universities worldwide to freely share their intellectual wealth with a Portal of all their courses. They are now extending this gift with open licenses to allow other universities to freely and legally use the NOUN materials.´

NOUN extended a great honour to the UNESCO Team allowing Mr Caine and Professor Fred Mulder to present the NOUN Senate comprising of over 100 academics on Tuesday 10 September.

The Workshop was extensively promoted by local media including the Nigeria Guardian newspaper and Nigeria TV with many comments on Twitter and shared photos.
The medium-term goal is to launch the Africa OpenupEd Initiative with at least 3 African universities offering fully open-licensed MOOCs by the seminal World Education Forum in Incheon, South Korea, in May 2015.”

Further details

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:43:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“On Thursday 16th of October, Fundi Bots, a Ugandan robotics company that equips students and developers with robotics skills trained over 20 learners from the University of Rwanda as well as developers at the kLab innovation space.

And Solomon King, the founder of Fundi Bots, explains what it is all about: ´The thing about robotics is it is one discipline, but there are a million sub-disciplines in it. I keep telling the trainees that when they’ve finished their first robot, they’ve learnt about electronics, they learnt about logical thinking, they’ve learnt about programming, mechanics, biology and popular science. And that is the main target of this training among all our works.´

The training lasted a full day running from 9am to 4pm and students learnt a range of skills ranging from the core of electronics and arduino programming to programming machines to move and navigate around.

Mark Musasizi, a developer, says the training availed developers with skills that are timely for the development of Rwanda into a regional ICT hub.

´We can’t lean on only knowledge that we get from school. We must source knowledge elsewhere and be a significant part of ICT development in the country that has set up the entire necessary infrastructure for us. What we are learning is technology in developed countries and we need to bring it home and apply it,´ he remarks.

Fundi Bots is a nonprofit organization which builds spaces where passionate young people can learn, grow and experiment with machines, gadgets and technology they would not otherwise have access to. Places where curiosity is fostered rather than feared, where failure is embraced as part of a learning process, and where ideas, however crazy, are heard and explored without bias or prejudice.

Fundi Bots works with private enterprises, nongovernmental organizations, academia and other talented and interested parties to create environments where social, commercial and local solutions can be found for Ugandan problems.

Fundi Bots is currently operating in Uganda but hopes to extend more training activities to Rwanda and move to about five African countries before the end of next year.

(Source: The New Times)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:36:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and the Chief Executive Officer of Alcatel Lucent, Michel Combes, today signed a cooperation agreement designed to promote gender equality.

The agreement, signed at UNESCO’s Headquarters, aims to increase the representation and participation of women in professional life through partnerships with universities, social networks and corporations.

´We are very happy to establish a partnership with a cutting-edge technology company like Alcatel Lucent that has a strong grassroots base, especially in the area of our global priority: gender equality,´ said the Director-General. ´Throughout my travels, I have seen girls and women take leadership. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize sends a wonderful message that education matters and that grassroots level activism makes a difference.´

´Gender diversity is close to our heart, and empowering women with digital technologies is an important part of our work,” said Michel Combes. ´Societies have not encouraged girls to pursue scientific and engineering careers, and we have embarked on many actions in this area, including through m-learning. We are proud to have a strong grassroots movement, created by employees for employees, with a membership of over 1,000 in 50 countries.´

Over two years, the partners will draw on the model provided by StrongHer, a social network created by Alcatel Lucent to improve the participation of women in the group’s decision making process.

UNESCO and Alcatel Lucent have been working together for a long time in the Broadband Commission, notably in the working group on gender.

Since its creation, UNESCO has been at the forefront of efforts to promote the rights of women and their empowerment. In 2008, gender equality became one of the Organization’s two global priorities."

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:32:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Civil war has caused a teacher shortage in Sudan, but that hasn’t stopped a group of teenagers from wanting to learn or an inspiring foreign teacher from joining the class to teach students how to teach themselves via development of their own learning app.

The classrooms are busy in Khartoum. Class sizes frequently exceed 60 students and they are getting bigger. Many students are entering class after fleeing from civil war, poverty and famine in South Sudan or from the from tribal conflicts in Darfur. Learning in a Sudanese classroom is not easy, but it can made more manageable it seems, with clever deployment of technology.

A foreign teacher from Australia teaching at Comboni College had an ambitious idea on how to improve the education situation in the school by tasking students to learn how to teach themselves by developing a smartphone application. The project has encouraged students to think retrospectively. It’s an exercise in revision, requiring them to think about everything they have ever learnt about learning English and then putting it into a format that other students can learn from.

The application is being built with an online app building platform, there is no coding involved. Their contribution to the app is purely content.

One of the students, Tijwok, said helping develop the application had made him more happy. ´At first I did not know what this special project was about, Teacher Tim just said it was a special project, it involved mobile phones and it would make me famous. I am happy it is helping me and my classmates improve English.´

Teacher Tim was more emphatic, ´I just wanted to use my powers for good and improve the lives of some kids in Sudan.´A donation to the project can be made here.

99 Tablets are currently running a crowd funding campaign to supply tablet computers to the school so that students can start learning from the app that they helped create. 99tablets.org aim to start a global education revolution in the developing world by putting tablet computers in front of students who need them the most.”

(Source: IT News Africa)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:23:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"Ericsson has today announced the launch of the sixth annual Innovation Awards, a competition in which university students are given the opportunity to be drivers of fundamental change in society.

The theme of the 2015 competition is ´The Future of Learning´ - how can we make learning accessible for all? What do we need when lifelong learning becomes necessary for everyone? What are the new tools and methodologies when learning becomes an online activity and it happens more and more away from school buildings?

In Ericsson's vision of the Networked Society, technology fundamentally transforms the ways we organize our lives, businesses and societies. But only recently has the connectivity and computational power once reserved for industrial applications become intensely personal - embedded not just into our mobile devices and cloud software, but into our everyday expressions, interactions, relationships and desires. The result is an unprecedented capacity for individual empowerment and innovation.

Empowered by technology, students and progressive teachers are catalysts for fundamental change. New skills and the passion for constant learning are becoming increasingly important. A new ecosystem is emerging that is greatly impacting, and in some cases redefining, established systems and institutions.

We hope and expect many good ideas about the future of learning from students around the world. The winners will receive a prize 25 000 EUR, with the runners-up receiving 10 000 EUR and 5 000 EUR going to the third-placed team.

All semi finalists and finalists will also be given the opportunity to an interview for internship or permanent employment at Ericsson.

The competition is open to team of two to four people, and Ericsson recommends a combination of technology and business students in the team. To apply and register to the competition visit www.ericsson.com/innovationawards

Last year's winner in the student category was Team WorkMode from South Africa for their collaboration."

(Source: Ericsson)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:19:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“UNESCO has entered into its first-ever partnership with a private company based in sub-Saharan Africa. The Funds-In-Trust agreement between Airtel Gabon and UNESCO will support Train My Generation: Gabon 5000, a three-year project to provide scientific and entrepreneurial training through ICT to thousands of young people in Gabon, plus deliver new skills to secondary school teachers.

The mobile company will provide $4.3 million for the project, which will be implemented by UNESCO. It will start with the establishment of ten Cyber Centres equipped with servers and computers at schools in Libreville, Port Gentil, Oyem, Franceville, Bitam and Lambaréné.

At the signing ceremony in Paris, the Director-General of UNESCO welcomed the partnership with Airtel, pointing out the potential of such cooperation with African corporations. ´The African Private sector is extremely dynamic and I am very proud today to sign UNESCO’s first partnership with a company based in Sub-Saharan Africa,´ stated Irina Bokova.

Olivier Herve Njapoum, the Director-General of Airtel Gabon, added that his company was convinced that the youth of Africa will contribute to the development of the continent if they are provided with good training. ´Through this partnership, Airtel wishes to benefit from the expertise of one of the most important organizations of the United Nations System […], UNESCO, whose programmes in Africa contribute to the promotion of innovation based on knowledge technologies,´ he said.

The Ambassador of Gabon, Gisèle Marie Hortense Ossakedjombo-Ngoua Memiaghe, welcomed the partnership with enthusiasm, invoking ´studies that prove that there is a cause and effect link between the development of telecommunications and economic development.´

5,000 young people, aged 18 to 35, will receive basic ICT training during the first phase of the project, which will also provide training in online teaching to 100 secondary education science teachers. The teachers will use their skills to provide online educational support to 15,000 secondary school students preparing their end of school exams. But because the platform used for educational support will be easily accessible, scholastic support is expected to reach a far greater number of students.

Smaller groups will be taught how to develop applications for mobile phones, operate cyber cafés and set up cooperative maintenance centres, through the Train My Generation: Gabon 5000 project.”

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:11:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 16, 2014


"Universal primary education (UPE) will remain a distant dream for millions of children living in countries without enough teachers in classrooms. Current discussions of the post-2015 development agenda include a target to bolster the supply and training of teachers as part of efforts to ensure that every child is in school and learning. To help formulate and monitor this type of target, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) produces an annual set of projections concerning the supply of and demand for primary teachers at the global and national levels. According to the latest data, more than 27 million teachers will need to be recruited to ensure every child’s right to a primary education by 2030.

This eAtlas features a wide range of UIS projections and indicators about teachers, based on results of the Institute’s annual survey involving more than 200 countries and territories and partnerships with organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat."

Further details

Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:37:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"Ericsson, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and Millennium Promise further enhance education access for young girls through ICT solutions. Connect To Learn goals are being achieved by improving the access to and quality of education by connecting students globally through mobility, broadband and cloud solutions. As of June 2014, over 40,000 students have received access to quality educational resources enabled by the cloud-based ICT solution deployed in their schools and new deployments are underway.

Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson, says: ´As we approach the United Nations International Day of the Girl, we recognize the positive impact education can have on a girl's life, on her family and community. That is why we will continue to provide technology solutions as well as the expertise of our employees to create lasting change in communities all around the world.´

In Myanmar, Connect To Learn is launching in more than 40 schools with partners under the UK government's Girls' Education Challenge. Up to 600 scholarships will also be provided to marginalized girls, enabling them to stay in school and complete their secondary education. The deployments are supported by mobile operator Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) and will benefit 14,000 students/girls. Jan Wassenius, Head of Ericsson in Myanmar, says: ´We are pleased to work with our customer, MPT and other partners to help bring Connect to Learn to Myanmar. Greater access to education and to connectivity will indeed provide more study and employment opportunities for these students, and we are honored to be a part of this undertaking.´

In Ghana, Connect To Learn is launching its' ICT program in the Millennium Village in Northern Ghana SADA region with mobile operator Tigo, which will be benefiting over 7,000 students, in four secondary schools. This will build upon Connect To Learn's girls scholarship program, which was launched in SADA in 2012.

Roshi Motman, CEO for Tigo Ghana, says: ´Girls in the 21st century need to be provided with innovative learning experiences and quality education. ICT offers them the opportunity to bring their personal ambitions and passions together and make meaningful contributions to society by developing cutting-edge innovative solutions. Tigo Ghana is excited to partner with Ericsson on the Connect to Learn program and hope several girls will be empowered to stay ahead in digital literacy. We believe the adoption of digital lifestyles foster appropriate productivity skills and opportunities in ICT offer economic freedom and independence for women to work from anywhere including remote locations and across industries.´

In Sri Lanka, the Connect to Learn program creates a partnership between Ericsson, Mobitel, Open University of Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth of Learning that aims to bring ICT and computer literacy education to teenage girls in farming communities in Sri Lanka, empowering and equipping them with the ICT skills required to pursue tertiary studies and employment opportunities. The ICT solution deployed will give students and teachers access to the most modern educational tools and resources, and the ability to connect to other schools around the world to foster collaborative learning, cross-cultural understanding and global awareness.

Currently, Connect To Learn gives access to quality educational resources enabled by the cloud-based ICT solution deployed in their schools. These students attend secondary schools in Millennium Villages in Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Malawi and Rwanda. Connect To Learn is also deployed in schools in Ghana, Cape Verde, Djibouti, India, China, Buhtan, Chile and Brazil. The ICT in education report identifies challenges in providing ICT-based education and, underlining possible solutions, the study offers a universal framework for measuring Interventions in schools."

(Source: Ericsson)

Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:33:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 09, 2014


“UNESCO Chair Program, Women, Science and Technology in Latin America.

The research was performed under the Program for Promotion of low-carbon development and social cohesion, executed by ECLAC in conjunction with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ).

The purpose of this research is to understand the rationality of the public and private policies to promote the IT industry, in particular the SSI, and verify whether they  incorporate and support the gender equality and / or encourage the participation of women. It also proposes to determine how symbolically is constructed this group of women from the companies, which problems they have to face and what solutions they propose to overcome and contrast these discourses and interventions with the experiences, visions and demands of women leaders in the SSI sector. For this, they surveyed and analyzed policies, programs and best practices in Europe, and later compared these practices with the stage of completion and the particularities of these existing instruments in Latin America and the Caribbean, delving into the cases of Argentina, Costa Rica and Colombia.”

Access the publication here

(Source: FLASCO Argentina)

Thursday, October 09, 2014 9:58:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Close to 60% of women in Senegal are illiterate, according to UNESCO figures. Successive administrations of Senegal – from Senghor to Diouf via Wade and now Macky Sall – have long wondered how in heaven’s name they can reverse this sad state of affairs, and help these unfortunate women regain their dignity.

However, the Gods of technology have heard Mariam Thiam’s prayers and have responded. Thiam (40), mother of five and involved in a polygamous marriage, has lived to tell the tale of being able to now read – though gradually – the SMSes coming through her cellphone thanks to the National Literacy Programme for Youth and Adults Based on ICTs (PNEBJA-TIC in its French acronym).

The programme, launched in 2013, aimed at enrolling and training more than 14000 people, the Senegalese government said.

Despite this modest success, Senegal’s ICT-packed literacy projects face serious funding problems as the government only allocates 1% of the education budget to this programme, whereas experts recommend at least 3%.

This led the United Nations to give a helping hand to ensure that a big portion of women and girls like Thiam become literate and improved their lives. It is in this spirit that UNESCO launched an ICT-based project called PAJEF, which is a two-year Literacy Progamme for Women and Girls aiming at training 40000 women and girls from 15 to 55-year-old to read and write.

UNESCO Dakar said the programme offers quality literacy through the use of Internet, TV, mobile phone and CD-DVD in national languages and French. UNESCO Dakar, which supervises all UNESCO offices in Africa, also said the project will be rolled out in several African countries. ´The fight against illiteracy is a national issue that requires a lot of commitment from everyone,´ government representative Mamadou Mar said.

Thiam told Biztechafrica that being able to read and write has helped her take control of her life and look at life from another angle.”

Further details

Thursday, October 09, 2014 9:37:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“In its continuous effort to bridge the gap between theories taught in the classroom and real life situations, Vodacom Business Nigeria has organised a two-day industrial tour for students from the Department of Engineering and Information Technology, Covenant University, Nigeria.

According to the tech giant, the visit was aimed at providing first–hand experience and a unique opportunity for the students to gain insight into a working environment related to their field of study. The industrial tour, which took place at Vodacom’s offices in Ikoyi, focused on´Demystifying Cloud Computing´ where students got in-depth knowledge of cloud technology, how it works and how it is applied to modern businesses.

The Managing Director, Vodacom Business Nigeria, Guy Clarke, said: ´Our commitment is centered on the concept that the more knowledgeable the youth are, the greater their opportunity for employment. We know that Cloud Computing plays a big role in the ICT industry today and it would contribute to the further growth of Nigerian businesses as the technology is gaining wider acceptance in the business world´. According to him, the workshop is one of the company’s many contributions towards the development of skills and job creation opportunities for young people.

Cloud computing will continue to change the world and in many cases, young people drive this process even without knowing it. With millions of youths in Nigeria connected to the Internet, many use cloud through collaboration and social networking tools. There is no better way to encourage this change than exposing the young people to the technical, business and leadership skills required for Cloud technology innovations.”

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, October 09, 2014 9:33:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“MTN Ghana has revealed the details for Version 2.0 of the MTN Ghana Application Challenge. Back in 2013, Software Engineer Setriakor Nyomi was named as the overall winner with his Oware 3D application.

According to MTN Ghana, this year’s edition under the theme ´Promoting innovative local apps development´ is open for submission of apps from October to 28th of November 2014. It challenges Ghanaian app developers to code locally relevant and user-friendly apps to suit local taste.

CMO Rahul De stated that: ´In addition to consolation prizes for runners-up, each category will award a cash prize of GHC 15,000, and the overall winner will receive a cash prize of GHC 20,000.´

´The mobile application market is inextricably linked with the explosion of smartphone penetration and usage by consumers worldwide. As the smartphone market grows rapidly in Ghana, and especially on MTN network, it is imperative that we have apps developed locally and tailored to our market,´ he said.

According to MTN Ghana: ´The mobile application market is creating employment and generating income for an estimated number of 2.3 million people across the world. It is also said that apps generate around €10 billion per year in revenue for the European Union, which has about one 1 million apps available.´

The last edition of the apps challenge was a success, according to MTN Ghana, as most of its winners are experiencing rapid patronage of their apps on MTN play and other platforms.

´MTN Apps Challenge Version 2.0 has one goal, and that is to reward the most innovative and locally-relevant mobile apps developers. Entries of apps will be accepted in three categories: education; lifestyle; and games and entertainment.´”

(Source: IT News Africa)

Thursday, October 09, 2014 9:28:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"IICD believes that equipping teachers with pedagogical tools and access to information can bring about large-scale social changes in entire educational systems. Many of the gaps in education in developing countries can be bridged with the help of ICTs and enhanced capacities for creating, sharing and using information and educational materials.

It is globally acknowledged that quality education has the power to combat poverty and stimulate long-term development. Despite this consensus, 130 million schoolchildren are still unable to read, write or do basic math* because of poor standards in education, overcrowded classrooms and under-qualified teachers. In its new position paper, IICD draws on nearly 20 years experience of bringing ICT solutions to classrooms to show that by building the ICT capacities of teachers, students gain the skills needed to succeed after school.

IICD’s experience in this field has shown that simply equipping schools with innovative tools is not enough to improve teaching and learning in the classroom. The success of ICT in the classroom cannot be achieved through one single solution. For this reason, IICD offers a range of integrated ICT solutions that aim to holistically overcome challenges and change classroom dynamics. Each of our solutions is made up of four parts: 1) equipping schools with locally appropriate ICT tools, 2) training local stakeholders on the effective use of these tools, 3) creating relevant educational materials, and 4) enabling the ICT environment to support sustainable changes in education."

More information

Thursday, October 09, 2014 9:23:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"Portland Community College (PCC) has teamed with Desire2Learn (D2L) to introduce a massive open online course (MOOC) for educators that will address Web accessibility concerns associated with online learning.  



PCC and D2L are working together to offer this practical, hands-on MOOC to help all educators become more versed in the issues of web accessibility in online education.
Specifically, the following goals are to be achieved by course participants:

- Create accessible photo images, diagrams, and charts for online courses
- Create accessible audio and video components for online courses
- Create accessible HTML content pages for online courses
- Create accessible course content in other formats
- Building a Web-accessibility knowledge base.

'At PCC, we are committed to improving Web accessibility in our online program and advocate for the needs of students. We make it a priority to provide faculty, course designers and instructional technology professionals with the knowledge and skills to create offerings with accessibility in mind,' said Loraine Schmitt, director of distance education at PCC, in a prepared statement. ' We realize many institutions are faced with resource challenges and we are excited that this free MOOC on accessibility teaches educators some of the best practices we use at PCC to make educational content accessible to students.'

Successful participants will have the option of receiving an electronic not-for-credit completion certificate from D2L at the end of the course.
For more information, visit opencourses.desire2learn.com"

(Source: GAATES)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:50:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"The Kenyan ICT Authority has partnered SAP for the second year to train at least 100 young Kenyans with high-end ICT skills to the value of approximately US$6,000 per student.

The SAP Skills for Africa programme, which will be offered on scholarship to unemployed recent university graduates, will be carried out at the Techno Brain offices in Nairobi.
 
SAP Skills for Africa targets recent graduates interested in finance and business development, in line with Kenya’s ICT Master Plan 2014-17, which recommends developing talent and nurturing a workforce skilled in ICT to meet the needs of the industry.

Cabinet Secretary at the Ministry of ICT Dr Fred Matiang’i commended the achievements of the initiative and called on more companies to design similar projects. 'We churn out thousands of graduates into the market, but they face a challenge in getting jobs as they do not match the skill set that employers are looking for. We are tackling this head on and our goal is to partner with the private sector to increase the capacity of our people in ICT,' he said.

The ICT Authority and SAP have signed a three-year partnership agreement to collaborate on innovation and incubation programmes, general ICT awareness and literacy, skills development and internship programmes, best practice sharing on process improvement and joint research initiatives.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the ICT Authority Victor Kyalo said: 'Capacity and literacy is a major component of what the authority is mandated to promote. We are working to achieve this through various partners in the private sector and academia. This is a key ingredient to Kenya success to becoming a hub in ICT excellence.'

'A key component of SAP’s Africa Growth Plan, is the training of 8,000-10,000 new consultants in Africa in the next seven years. These skilled people, in the main economic hubs of Africa, will enable governments and private sector to improve the way they do business across the continent and ultimately the World – driving prosperity through job creation,' said Andrew Waititu, Managing Director of SAP East Africa.

Successful candidates will go through a training programme, certification and internship placements, with the scholarships targeting candidates that graduated between December 2011 and December 2014 for internships to run in the first quarter of next year."

(Source: BizTech Africa)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:02:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 25, 2014

"First museum-based Cisco Science Fellowship for Innovative Learning Technologies to foster science engagement and innovation through technology.

Today, Cisco and the Ontario Science Centre announced their vision to advance the Centre's interactivity and accessibility. Cisco's investment in state of the art Information Communication Technology (ICT) will help transform the Ontario Science Centre into a ´connected museum´ allowing it to engage even broader audiences in innovative and interactive approaches to exploring science. In addition, Cisco is also funding the first ever museum-based Cisco Science Fellow for Innovative Learning Technologies, with the appointment of the Centre's Sabrina Greupner.

A Commitment to Science Literacy is Important for Canada's Economic Success

According to the World Economic Forum, in the past five years Canada has fallen to fifteenth from ninth place in economic competitiveness. In addition to investments in science, technology and innovation, competitive economies need innovative workforces that are literate in science and technology. Both organizations recognize the importance of a culture of science and innovation for Canada's economic success.

´With one million visitors per year, including more than 180,000 students, the Ontario Science Centre is one of the most visited cultural attractions in Canada. This collaboration will allow us to develop new modalities of interaction with our visitors and to reach audiences beyond the Centre. Cisco's vision to enable innovation, particularly in education, is closely aligned with our own, and is one of the reasons this is an excellent relationship,´ said Dr. Maurice Bitran, CEO, Ontario Science Centre. ´Cisco's leadership in this alliance has been both innovative and inspirational, and with their technology solutions and expertise, we hope to offer our visitors unparalleled learning experiences that will inspire the next generation of innovators.´

Creating a Next Generation ´Connected Museum´

This collaboration will provide the technological infrastructure necessary to bring science literacy and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning to broader audiences.

Both organizations will work to modernize and upgrade the Centre's information and communication systems, allowing it to collaborate with initiatives such as the forthcoming Cisco™ Internet of Everything Innovation Centre in Toronto and Cisco's Connected North program that enhances education and health care services in remote northern communities.

´Today's students will be the architects of tomorrow's Internet of Everything. Encouraging students to learn and engaging with them in new and exciting ways is key to inspiring them with the energy and creativity that drives scientific and technological innovation,´ said Nitin Kawale, president, Cisco Canada. ´By exploring technology solutions and integrating them into the new Science Fellowship, Cisco and the Ontario Science Centre hope to light a spark in the youth of today and encourage them to explore the potential that science and technology have to offer.´

Visionary Leadership Provided by Cisco Science Fellow for Innovative Learning Technologies

While Cisco offers a number of academic fellowships for science and technology education, the Cisco Science Fellow for Innovative Learning Technologies is its first museum-based fellowship. The goal of this fellowship is to improve science engagement and literacy through the use of integrated technologies.

´With a shared commitment to a culture of innovation, learning excellence and engagement with science, this new alliance opens up so many exciting opportunities,´ said Sabrina Greupner, manager of the Science Centre's Weston Family Innovation Centre and the newly appointed Cisco Science Fellow in Innovative Learning Technologies. ´As a liaison between organizations, my goal is to bring together external collaborators with our researchers, programmers, teachers and science experts to create innovative learning experiences and encourage the sharing of best practices.´

This fellowship will allow for research, development and innovation in the use of integrated technologies and solutions for learning science, enhancing the Centre's Science Education program, the largest museum-based program of its kind in Canada."

(Source: CISCO)

Thursday, September 25, 2014 5:58:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 19, 2014
More than 500 participants connected with tech entrepreneurs and experts from some of the most exciting names
 
With a curiosity to find out more about what it’s like to work in tech, more than 500 youth participated in the first-ever Tech Fest on 6 September 2014. Professionals from global tech companies, up-and-coming start-ups and local tech groups shared their experiences and advice with these participants.

Tech Fest seeks to raise awareness of the tech industry among the youth, while providing them the opportunity to network, as well as learn and dabble with some of the latest technologies. The highlights from the afternoon of activities included a live demo of the Red Rhino – a made in Singapore open-top fire-fighting vehicle; exploring a Nanyang Polytechnic student project which uses Microsoft Kinect sensor for infantry training; students writing their first lines of code in Ruby and Python; as well as a mock interview session with Google.

´We are thrilled by the overwhelming response for Tech Fest, especially with it being a totally new event. We were oversubscribed, but that was a happy problem for us.

Some rising and big names in the tech circle supported Tech Fest, and IDA will keep working with the industry to find new ways to inspire young Singaporeans to build and experiment with tech. Singapore is on its way to be the world’s first Smart Nation, and Tech Fest is just one of the many cool events that we will be organising for the tech ecosystem as we move towards that goal,´ said Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA.

´One of the speakers said nothing is wasting time, so if you are wasting time, then you are doing something that you are passionate about. So it’s not always that you need to get good grades and everything. That was really important. It’s a different perspective I would say´said Benjamin Wu, 25 years old, SMU student.

Tech Fest is organised by the IDA, in collaboration with Autodesk, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PayPal, Red Hat, Garena, GrabTaxi, Razer, Carousell, Hope Technik, Tinkertanker, ViSenze, Zopim, GeekcampSG, Singapore Geek Girls and Kosagi.”

(Source: IDA)

Friday, September 19, 2014 10:11:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“ABOUT 120 teachers from Doregos Private Academy and St Bernadette School in Nigeria are in the processing of becoming the first schools in Nigeria and Africa to get certified in the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Standard, Digital Literacy and Microsoft certifications towards preparing students for the new academic session with 21st century skills which they will need in a world where technology is prevalent and quickly changing.

 The teachers from the schools will be certified as Microsoft Certified Educators (MCE) and Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3) professionals. These certifications differentiate Doregos and St. Bernadette Schools from other teachers in Nigeria and Africa. The Microsoft Partners in Learning Group has a professional development programme to help teachers develop the attributes needed for innovative teaching.

The teachers are undergoing rigorous training for four weeks at New Horizons, the world’s leading IT training institution in Nigeria where they will also sit for the international certification online to test their competencies in all areas based on the examination body. This landmark achievement has set a standard of ICT digital literacy and teaching with technology in schools today for others to emulate.

Mrs. Clementina Doregos, proprietress of the two schools said the training will aid them to be on same level with what transpires abroad.

She explained that her visit to top schools in USA and UK where teachers and students are collaborating, innovating and solving problem in classroom in real time shows that teaching has gone beyond didactic method of training to collaborative method where teachers and students share knowledge real time in classroom with the use of technology.

 Managing Director of New Horizons, Tim Akano, said that ´Mummy Doregos is such an exceptional proprietress that is ready for change driven by innovative way of adding value to her students, teachers, parents and schools.´ He added that the proprietress informed him how she wants her teachers to be certified and empowered yearly by using technology to train the students.

New Horizons has developed a curriculum for teachers in line with UNESCO Standard, Digital Literacy and Microsoft certifications to empower and equip them with 21st century teaching skills and test their competency. This will address one of the reasons for the mass failure in West African Examinations Council (WAEC).

According to the Head of National Office, WAEC, Charles Eguridu many Nigerian teachers are not competent and some teachers could not even read and how will they impact knowledge you do not possess. He also said that teachers find it difficult to do competency tests which some state had to reserved for obvious reasons, so the quality of the teachers in the systems is such that one can not vouch for their competence.”

(Source: The Guardian)

Friday, September 19, 2014 10:00:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 16, 2014


UNESCO’s experience in Senegal demonstrates that mobile phones, computers, internet and TV make literacy courses much more attractive for illiterate women.

“We have demonstrated that technology increases illiterate women’s interest in learning new skills and helps build their confidence, as they are able to read and write their own messages and use the keyboard to correct their own sentences,” says Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar. According to her, the transition women make in the classes to using mobile phones and computers has become an attraction and pooled a lot of interest.

Since 2011, UNESCO Dakar has been running the PAJEF literacy project in Senegal in partnership with government, NGOs and local communities. While some beneficiaries receive literacy classes face-to-face,   the majority of women learn through DVDs, online and mobile applications and television programmes.

Through this project women can improve both their literacy and IT skills as well as vocational and life skills, which are also integral parts of the literacy package.  In addition, the project includes financial support given to each class for learners to develop their own income generating activities. 

 After the good results obtained in Senegal, UNESCO announced the extension of the project to Kenya and Nigeria. Gambia has also shown interest in replicating the project and yet more countries, including Pakistan and Namibia, are interested in learning more. In this way the project PAJEF is being considered as a model for other countries to increase the literacy nationwide and particularly among women.

(Further details)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 8:33:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Darius Ishaku, has announced that the training of 100 youth in ICT skills for this region will start on September 15th.

Mr. Ishaku said that the Ministry would carry out this training in collaboration with companies such as Swift and the private consultancy firm, Just Nigeria Ltd.

According to the Minister, "This initiative places emphasis on vocational training tailored towards providing the identified trainees with the needed essential skills and competences to become active players in their chosen sector of the economy". Also, he said that because information and communication technology is one of the biggest sectors in Nigeria, it poses a great opportunity to engage the country’s extensive young population. 

According to the statistics, there are around 44 million Nigerian mobile phone subscribers. The Minister said, "With more than 100 million active phone users and some 50 million persons having access to the Internet, phone assembly plants are therefore the best investment for youths to benefit from“. In this way the Minister noted the importance of developing the necessary technical skills among youths to foster further development of  his country.

The Ministry also mentioned that the government’s  “Transformation Agenda” and commitment to improving the lives of youth, including through ICT. Unfortunately some of the projects from the government faced obstacles, such as lack of funding.  Despite these challenges, he programme recently completed training for 100 Niger Delta youths in its skill acquisition programme, carrying out trainings and providing each participant with N100,000 to start their own businesses once they completed training.

(Source: All Africa)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 8:26:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
On September 08, 2014 a literacy app will be launched by the Nal'ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, in partnership with Mxit Reach.

Mxit is a South African social networking platform, which will provide access to stories, and educational materials to anyone with a mobile.  This company has five million users every month.

According to Carole Bloch, Director of the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA),"Research shows that being told stories and being read to at home are the things most likely to help make children successful learners at school. Stories, particularly when read or heard in home languages, help children develop their language skills and imagination as well as their thinking and problem-solving skills. But not all South Africans have access to children's books and stories - particularly in their mother tongue.

What most South Africans do have is a cellphone, with mobile penetration now over 100% in the country. By harnessing this tidal wave of mobile communication technology use in our country, we hope to get even more adults reading and enjoying stories with their children so it becomes part of their daily lives."
Because children are often just as skilled in technology use as their parents, they are able to read stories on their own or experience the rewards of sharing stories with their parents. 

"There is a tendency for parents to engage less with their children around E-books and other forms of digital content. Language and literacy skills are best developed in the discussion and engagement that takes place when caregivers and young ones share a story together - and this includes the sharing of stories found on digital devices".

To address this, on the Nal'ibali reading-for-enjoyment app, they invite adults to sign-up with their children for stories and motivational tips in the language of their choice. The app prompts users to share stories with their children, given that frequent practice with reading will encourage higher levels of literacy. Users also earn points for finishing stories and answering questions.  Finally, the app provides a library of stories, including audio stories, quizzes, and space for reviews.  Soon, features will be added to enable younger children to practice rhymes and all users will be able to ask experts reading- and writing-related questions. 

The app currently enjoys more than 60,000 subscribers and seeks to expand its use. “In that way,” Andrew Rudge, CEO of Mxit Reach says, “the company can make a lasting contribution to the development of a reading culture in SA”.

Further details

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 2:32:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 01, 2014


In order to tackle the lack of locally relevant content and improve the quality of education in rural areas of Peru, the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) has designed an integrated solution that turns largely unused laptops into digital offline libraries.

Student reading performance in Peru ranked last in the 2012 OECD PISA test, and rural education suffers considerably from a lack of culturally and linguistically contextualized learning materials and expertise. These digital offline libraries contain user-generated content in local languages and reflect the culture of Peru’s indigenous communities.

For the last 17 years, IICD has been using existing ICT in innovative ways to solve day-to-day problems faced by local communities. Although nearly five million Peruvians speak Quechua, Peru’s national curriculum is still mostly in Spanish. Spanish-speaking Peruvians are seven times more likely to achieve satisfactory scores on literacy and numeracy tests than Quechua speakers. The situation is much worse in disconnected rural schools. Peru’s most remote areas in the Andes suffer from poor infrastructure, a serious shortage of qualified teachers, lack of Internet connectivity and lack of relevant educational material.

As part of an effort to improve Peruvian education in general, the One Laptop per Child programme (OLPC) has already provided eight hundred thousand XO laptops for educational use, but due to lack of training and Internet connectivity, these laptops have gone largely unused. With suited pedagogical approaches and access to the right kinds of learning materials and expertise, these computers can be powerful tools for education. They offer students access to stimulating materials, like videos in their own language, and allow teachers to offer and create culturally relevant content and examples. The availability of educational material contextualized to indigenous cultures and traditional knowledge not only increases the development of students’ literacy skills, but also aids in the preservation of local identities.

(Source: IICD)

Monday, September 01, 2014 10:47:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO’s YouthMobile Initiative recently concluded the 3rd round of workshops in Nairobi, Kenya for 40 young people on mobile app development. The training is part of a seven round series of workshops hosted in partnership with the Developer School of Kenya.

A series of intensive training workshops on mobile application development for youth for sustainable development in Kenya has been ongoing during the summer in Nairobi, Kenya.

From 17 July 2014, 40 young people received mobile app development training. The workshops were within the framework of the new and innovative UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative in partnership with the Dev School and Kenya National Commission for UNESCO.

The UNESCO Eastern Africa Office provided extensive assistance to the training initiatives. The YouthMobile Initiative aims to empower youth with the high-level skills and confidence to create mobile apps that are locally-relevant and contribute to the reduction of chronic youth unemployment.

The global objective is to engage at least 25,000 young people and sell at least 5,000 mobile apps by 2017.

At a time when the world is looking for new ways to build peace and achieve sustainable development, encouraging innovation and creativity in the  youth of the world will be vital in effectively addressing these challenges.

The Nairobi workshop was held in partnership with the Dev School, a start-up from Kenya with aspirations to introduce coding to youth across the nation. Founded in 2013 by a young Kenyan, Ms. Martha Njeri Chelimo, the Dev School has now successfully run two rounds of training in Nairobi. In these workshops, students are able to extensively study programming languages, mobile platforms, web application frameworks, front end development, writing and entrepreneurship.

The 40 young people who participated in this summer’s workshop learned mobile app development from the MIT App Inventor curriculum. Peer trainers guided students in building Android applications and focused on creating apps that would solve specific local problems.

Linus Onyango, Chairperson at the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO Youth Forum, said: “The Mobile Application Training has been the most exciting and innovative undertaking related to ICT in which the UNESCO Youth forum Kenya has participated. The mobile Application training has been on for six weeks now and the attendance has been amazing. The class is always full and the trainers have been great in giving the learners an introduction to mobile apps development. I would like to thank UNESCO’s Regional Office, the Dev School, the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO and the Kenyan youth for making Nairobi YouthMobile a success”.

Since the Dev School’s inception, the number of students participating in workshops has been steadily increasing. Graduating students have had great success in finding employment within the growing IT industry in Kenya.

There will be a hackathon in September, where students will be required to fully develop their final mobile applications for presentation. In the hackathon, the students will build Android applications in the following areas: education, unemployment, culture, water and sustainable development.

To find out more about the UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative, follow on Twitter @YouthMobile_ or visit the website: www.youthmobile.org
UNESCO is organizing similar YouthMobile workshops in South Sudan, Nigeria, Lebanon and Jordan.

(Source: UNESCO)

Monday, September 01, 2014 10:19:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Chief Executive Officer of Tigo (Tigo Ghana limited), Roshi Motman, is encouraging more girls to study ICT including software, web applications and hardware engineering.

According to her, the ICT industry offers women the opportunity to bring their personal ambition and passions together and make a meaningful contribution to society by developing cutting-edge innovative solutions.

She also believes careers in ICT offer economic freedom and independence for women to work from anywhere including remote locations and across industries.
The Tigo CEO interacted with young women from Nima and Maamobi, suburbs of Accra, at the ‘Tech needs Girls’ training centre.

The centre is run by a Tigo Reach for Change ambassador, Regina Agyare, a social entrepreneur committed to introducing and encouraging young girls to study ICT. Roshi Motman was delighted by the enthusiasm of the young girls and pledged Tigo’s continuous support for  the project. She urged the young women to be confident and challenge the status quo as they will be constrained by history, processes and systems.

‘Tech needs Girls’ is a social enterprise project aimed using technology to encourage and empower young girls to pursue various careers in ICT through hands-on training and mentorship.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Monday, September 01, 2014 10:04:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU, the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) is looking for innovative ideas on how ICTs can help smart cities to slow down or mitigate the effects of climate change and thereby improve people’s health.



This might include novel technologies or combinations of existing technologies, services, and systems which would shape a smart city. It may focus on monitoring or reporting on climate change, mitigating or adapting the impact of climate change on society, or on changes in technology and society that lead to a greener community.

Are you an entrepreneur under the age of 30 and interested in winning up to USD5000 in funding, plus mentorship, networking, and high-level exposure before an influential global audience of decision-makers?

Are you interested in working on concepts and ideas for new social start-ups which directly address climate change and its negative impact on health through a process of co-creation?

Do you want to be part of the select group of 10 young innovators from all over the world present at ITU Telecom World 2014 in Doha, Qatar?
Apply now at: https://ideas.itu.int

Deadline: Tuesday, October 7 2014
Find out more on ITU Telecom World 2014 at telecomworld.itu.int

(Source: GAATES)

Monday, September 01, 2014 8:57:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 21, 2014


On July 9, the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD)-led Connect4Change consortium, together with preferred partner Text to Change and the Forum for African Women Educationalists in Malawi (FAWEMA), launched a campaign aimed at creating an environment in which children’s rights are recognized and respected. The initiative uses ICTs to map the local situation of children, particularly in schools and focusing on girls, to raise community awareness of child abuse and to advocate for children’s rights. It empowers the community to voice their concerns and puts a structure in place for facilitating follow-up and feedback.

In this campaign, SMS and radio are used to mobilize communities around issues affecting children’s rights and education. Parents, teachers and other community members are encouraged to enrol in a mobile platform informing and surveying participants on various children’s rights topics, and both SMS and radio are used to further raise awareness and sensitize the community to these issues. The messages focus on child abuse in many forms, including but not limited to child marriage, child labor, sexual harassment and severe punishments by teachers. A toll free line has been designed to report incidents of child abuse, and reported cases are to be followed up by linking to the appropriate authorities such as the Victim Support Unit, mother groups or the Ministry of Gender and Social Welfare.

Our experience shows that inclusion of all community stakeholders from the beginning is crucial in advocacy work. Furthermore, the diversity of issues addressed by this campaign requires the engagement of all community stakeholders to support and hold each other accountable to their shared goals. For these reasons, IICD worked to include not only local authorities, but also school management committees, teachers, parent-teacher associations, teacher training colleges and primary education advisors in the workflow.

Advocacy initiatives such as this child protection campaign are an important part of the ICT4D work that IICD pursues. Keeping issues such as child abuse on political and community agendas is a central component of bringing about sustainable social changes in the countries in which they work. In this initiative, by advocating children’s rights via an ICT platform, parents and educators in the community become better equipped to deal with these concerns and offer their children a safer environment for learning and living.

(Source: IICD)

Thursday, August 21, 2014 6:35:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore’s (IDA) inaugural Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) conducted its first class on 6 August, receiving an overwhelming response. The data sciences specialization course caters to  Singaporean working professionals and achieved more than 350 registrations, with strong participation from both the private sector and the public sector alike.

With Singapore gearing up to be the world’s first Smart Nation, data sciences and analytics are  becoming increasingly relevant and are  playing a greater role in businesses and government organizations in terms of  handling operational efficiency, engaging customers, as well as anticipating and delivering services. Professionals with training in data sciences and analytics are  expected to be in demand. McKinsey forecasts that there will be a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 data sciences and analytics professionals by 2018 in just the US alone.

In partnership with course provider Coursera, the MOOC pilot offers Singaporeans from different professional backgrounds the opportunity to develop vital skills that respond to this growing demand for data sciences and analytics talent, providing them with opportunities and improving career prospects. An industry recruitment report has shown that data professionals can expect to earn from $80,000 up to $180,000 or even more per year.

The IDA MOOC pilot has attracted a broad base of participants with a good proportion of applicants having five years or less of working experience. However, the course has also attracted experienced professionals with about 60% of the applicants having 5 years or more working experience.

While about 30% of the applicants come from an IT background, 40% are from a wide range of sectors such as healthcare, finance and education, reflecting data sciences and analytics’ ability to be applied across sectors and areas of work. The remaining 20% of applicants come from data-related professions, seeking to build upon their existing skills.

“We want the participants joining IDA MOOC to not only benefit from a high quality of learning that improves career prospects, we also want participants to network with...and learn from... like-minded members of industry”, said Mr. Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA. “This is an important part of building a data sciences and analytics community in Singapore”.

(Source: IDA)

Thursday, August 21, 2014 6:19:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), together with Intel, launched the All Africa Girls STEM Competition aimed at enhancing girls' interest, participation and performance in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and to help the girls pursue careers in these fields.

The inaugural competition took place in Nairobi from 13th - 14th August 2014 and featured a team of 35 all-female finalists drawn from the 15 African countries where FAWE has presence.

Kenya was among the countries participating in the competition, sending 6 participants to the competition all drawn from Meru County. Other countries participating included Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zanzibar.

Speaking at the event, Intel's Africa Program Director, Suraj Shah, said "The technology sector has recently faced allegations of being a male dominated sector. Partly to blame for the situation is that not many women pick a career path in technology. Intel has chosen to be at the forefront of promoting gender balance and female participation in the technology sector, especially in Africa where technology's contribution to the economy has been growing at a fast pace".

The FAWE Science, Mathematics & Technology (SMT) programme, initiated in 2004, is aimed at increasing the participation and performance of girls in Science, Mathematics and Technology subjects in primary and secondary schools in Africa.

The programme is implemented in FAWE's Centres of Excellence (COEs) and in non-COEs schools across countries where FAWE has a presence. The collaboration between FAWE and Intel is in line with Intel's "She Will Connect program", which is an innovative combination of digital literacy training, an online peer network, and gender-relevant content.

Through the program, Intel endeavors to work with an ecosystem of partners to close this gap globally, beginning in Africa. Intel created the program as a result of the Women and the Web report in developing countries that showed 25% fewer women were online than men and in Sub-Saharan Africa, the gap rose to 43%.

As a result of this initiative, young women get the opportunity to acquire or improve digital literacy skills and expand their understanding and use of technology so that they can connect to health, government, and educational information, economic opportunities, and gender-specific resources. Consequently, these young women are able to receive better education, enhance their political participation, have a stronger voice in their communities, and increase their income by connecting to new economic opportunities.

This event created a platform for female students to test their creative, technological and innovative minds through the various STEM projects that they initiate, think through, conceptualize, develop and present for competitions at the school, national and African regional levels.

In addition to bringing together the girls, the event also brought together prominent women professionals and scientists who will  provide mentoring and motivational talks to encourage the young girls through sharing their experiences, among other activities.

Among these professionals were former FAWE beneficiaries who have made it through their education and who can serve as an inspiration to the upcoming Scientists, Mathematicians, Engineers and Technological experts.

(Source: All Africa)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 10:02:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 11, 2014
KiBO Foundation, a social enterprise focused on developing skills and unleashing the capacity of youth through ICT skills in Uganda, has started a programme in Entebbe to help young people with disabilities attain IT skills.

The KiBO programme is expected to benefit over 350 youth in the municipality.  The program seeks to generate change by  providing schools with content that will open up their students’ minds to becoming great leaders and entrepreneurs.

Abraham Temu, KiBO´s Founder & Managing Director, said: "KiBO Foundation, Cisco and Entebbe Municipality officially launched a Community Knowledge Center (CKC) to provide members of rural communities, and especially the deaf, access to technology, to enable them find jobs, start businesses, gain education, and increase their financial self-sufficiency".

The project is set to help people with hearing difficulties acquire IT knowledge to make them better suited for the job market.

Temu also added that the Entebbe CKC was started two years ago and has trained hundreds of community members to date, including the youth and teachers, who are awarded certificates of accomplishment. He said "this will act as a demonstration centre from which youths will have access to the best technology in the world, unlike the current situation where students find difficulty in research because of lack of information centres".

This programme is part of a commitment by Cisco, a global IT company, to provide useful content and technology to disadvantaged groups in Africa, so that they can have access to what is happening around the globe.

"Through engaging municipalities in developing strategies that affect the young people, challenge their mindsets, we hope this will open up their minds to being great thinkers and pillars of change in their communities", Temu said.

KiBO hopes to set up seven more centres in other parts of Uganda including in Nebbi, Gulu, Amuru, Entebbe, Ntugamo, and Lira. In 2013, Cisco funded six CKCs across Uganda - Entebbe, Gulu, Lira, Nebbi, Ngora and Ntungamo Districts, with KiBO Foundation as the lead implementer; similar centers have been implemented across Africa to enable rural communities have access to Information and Communication Technology.

(Source: All Africa)

Monday, August 11, 2014 12:15:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


World Pulse is honored to join the Women and the Web Alliance, a groundbreaking public-private partnership which aims to create a movement addressing the gendered Internet gap by bringing more than 600,000 young women online in Nigeria and Kenya in the next three years.

World Pulse will collaborate with USAID, NetHope, Intel Corporation, World Vision, UN Women, and Women in Technology in Nigeria to transform the lives and livelihoods of girls and women in Africa through digital literacy training, relevant content, policy work, and online social networks.

World Pulse will provide digital empowerment training and a peer network of support to sustain women’s engagement and empowerment online. Building on its strong networks in sub-Saharan Africa, World Pulse will use its digital platform to unite and amplify young women’s voices, solutions and impact worldwide.

By introducing women to the Internet, sustaining their engagement and use of technology as a tool for social and economic empowerment, World Pulse is building a future where every woman and girl believes in the power of her own voice and uses it to build a free and equitable world where all life thrives.

The Alliance was announced at the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit event, Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa, hosted by the White House, the George W. Bush Institute, and the US Department of State. The event convened African First Spouses from more than 35 countries; non-governmental organizations and non-profit leaders; private sector partners; faith-based and grassroots organizations; and other leading experts.

Further information

Monday, August 11, 2014 12:03:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO, in conjunction with the Government of India, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Ministry of Human Resource Development of India, is organizing an international event titled “From Exclusion to Empowerment: Role of ICTs for Persons with Disabilities”, which is scheduled to take place from 24 to 26 November 2014 in New Delhi, India.

This international event will bring together more than 500 leading policy makers and practitioners in the field of disabilities, communication and information specialists and ICTs developers, together with leaders in politics, education, civil society, culture, business, media and industry, as well as UN family organizations. These stakeholders will discuss these vital issues in order to enhance human rights and fundamental freedoms for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in every aspect of life.

The major objectives of this international event are to showcase the potential and benefits that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) provide in terms of access to information and knowledge for persons with disabilities around the world and to encourage all stakeholders to take concrete measures for the empowerment of persons with disabilities through the use of inclusive and accessible ICTs.

Current estimates suggest that 1 billion people, 15% of the global population, are living with some form of disability. Though they have been referred to as the ‘world’s largest minority’, many persons with disabilities are not provided with equal access to education and gainful employment. They are thus denied the opportunity to take an active part in their communities and grow as individuals. It is imperative that this issue be dealt with, specifically under the auspices of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and with a view to the Post-2015 inclusive-development agenda.

UNESCO is convinced that ICTs can help mitigate the digital divide and foster the inclusion of persons with disabilities within an educational context, as well as within society as a whole. Inclusive and accessible ICTs can be used to address the needs of persons with a variety of disabilities, to the extent that they encourage personalized lifelong learning, employment and social participation.

This international event strives to gain better understanding of the possibilities afforded by these new technologies, and will be comprised of three main events:

1.The international conference, which will aim to raise public awareness amongst a variety of stakeholders: policy and decision makers, leaders within education, industry, IT and media sectors, and public and private organizations.

2.The “We Care Filmfest,” which will play a large part in raising awareness about disability through the medium of film. While an important issue, disability has received precious little visibility; as a result, prejudice and negative stereotyping towards disabled persons is prevalent.

3.The ICT Exhibition portion of the conference, where mainstream and assistive ICTs will be on display in an interactive workshop format and exhibition space. ICT solutions developers and providers will be encouraged to present existing ICTs and good practices, to develop new solutions, and to create a network for progress within this domain.

Overall, recommendations will be made for specific actions and innovative solutions will be shared, so as to encourage new policies, products, services, and cross-sectoral collaboration to empower persons with disabilities. It is through efforts like these that meaningful change can be effected, and UNESCO and its partners are proud to present and engage in this important conference.

For more information about the international event, please visit the following website: http://www.unesco.org/ict-disability/

(Source: UNESCO)

Monday, August 11, 2014 11:41:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Minister of Communication Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, reiterated the Federal Government of Nigeria’s commitment to empowering Nigerian girls and women through ICT gender empowerment initiatives at an interactive session with young women undergoing training at the Ministry’s 1000 Girls ICT training program, held in Abuja, on Tuesday 15th July.

Johnson emphasized that the Ministry of CommTech is empowering women and girls to embrace ICT, to actualize their potential and contribute to the economic development of Nigeria through various technology initiatives.

The minister also said the 1000 girls programme is part of the federal government’s Girls and Women in Nigeria (GWIN) programme aimed at empowering girls and women in Nigeria.

She said, through the GWIN programme, the Ministry of Communication Technology and four other ministries, coordinated by the Finance Ministry, were working together to ensure that women and girls, especially the disenfranchised, are empowered. She said several programmes are being created to ensure the empowerment, employment and inclusion of women in the nation’s development.

“For us in ICT, this particular program is important, because when you look at the statistics, there is a big gender divide in the world of ICT. And when you look at the way ICT is relevant in all sectors and beginning to take over the way things are done in everything, that gender divide in ICT means that women will be left further behind if we don’t encourage them to embrace ICTs. The training programme will also empower the 1,000 girls with ICT skills and knowledge in the knowledge economy“, the minister said.

The program is expected to help reduce the imbalance in ICT adoption and appropriation among men and women in the country. Johnson said that with the ICT sector emerging as the fastest growing sector in the Nigeria, recording a 30 per cent year-on-year growth, ICT has the potential to significantly contribute to increasing the social welfare of women.

The Minister emphasized the transformative power of ICTs to accelerate the development of women by helping them to be more efficient and effective in their jobs, careers, and business and to generate new employment opportunities. She said that ICT has unlimited potential to significantly contribute to increasing the social welfare of women.

The ministry also has two other programs –The Digital Girls Clubs and SmartWoman Nigeria program --all geared at empowering women and Girls in Nigeria. Oluwakemi Koretimi, a beneficiary of the 1000 Girls Training program, expressed satisfaction with the knowledge in ICT she has gained during the training exercise. She said that before she joined the program, she thought ICT was difficult and obscure and that only men operated and excelled in that field.

(Source: Nigerian Newspaper)

Monday, August 11, 2014 9:33:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


On the 22nd July 2014, Camara attended the official opening of its first solar-powered computer lab in Gros Morne, Haiti. As part of Camara’s ongoing partnership with University College Dublin Volunteers Overseas (UCDVO), it is intended that this facility will become the first of many new e-Learning centres to be integrated into the region. This unveiling is the result of a Memorandum of Association signed over two months ago in University College Dublin by Maureen O’Donnell, Camara’s European and Caribbean Service Manager, and Caroline O’Connor, a representative of UCDVO. The memorandum outlined a plan to introduce a sophisticated solar-powered computer lab with an accompanying teacher training programme to the area; a plan that has now come to fruition.

Camara successfully installed twenty refurbished computers, while also providing a rudimentary training course for the teachers involved. UCDVO have shown their support by administering continuous, valuable teacher training to staff for the duration of their stay. In the coming weeks, Camara will begin work on a specialized training manual for teachers. It will be bilingual: available in  both French and Haitian Creole. Camara hopes this will continue to support staff and schools in the region.

This venture has been part of a collaboration between the two organizations that has been ongoing since 2009. An inaugural project in Morogoro, Tanzania was expanded to incorporate multiple schools and an extensive computer training programme.

UCDVO are already involved in many development projects in the greater Gros Morne area, and Camara are thrilled to have launched this new project in partnership with them. The installation of this solar-powered computer lab is an exciting new opportunity, allowing them to focus on one of the central issues impeding access to ICT in Haiti – that of electricity. Electricity is something of an exclusive resource in Haiti; it is quite expensive and generally unavailable outside of urbanized areas. Solar power offers an elegant, practical and renewable alternative.

(Source: Camara)

Monday, August 11, 2014 9:20:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 04, 2014


The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has announced a strategic partnership with the private sector to deliver e-learning programmes in Kenya to thousands of marginalized girls.

Project iMlango is an e-learning partnership, led by satellite operator Avanti Communications and its partners: the smartcard and digital payments system provider, sQuid; online maths tutoring provider, Whizz Education; and technology NGO, Camara Education. The integrated programme aims to improve learning outcomes for 25,675 marginalied girls, across 195 Kenyan primary schools.

Project iMlango addresses the cultural and financial issues that can lead to reduced school attendance and drop outs, with electronic attendance monitoring and conditional payments to families. At the programme’s core sits an internet learning platform, accessed via satellite broadband connectivity, where partners provide students with interactive, individualized learning tools.

According to the project lead, Project iMlango delivers:

- High-speed satellite broadband connectivity to schools;
- Personalized maths tuition with a virtual online tutor, alongside digital learning content for maths, literacy and life skills;
- Tuition and support to teachers to use ICT in their teaching;
- Electronic attendance monitoring with conditional payments – to incentivise families to send their daughters to school – for use with local merchants;
- In-field capacity in IT, technology and support resources;
Real-time project monitoring and measurement;

(Source: IT News Africa)

Monday, August 04, 2014 9:24:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Ghana will soon benefit from an innovative project from Samsung in which shipping containers repurposed into solar-powered classrooms will provide students in the most remote parts of Africa access to education and innovation.

Samsung's Solar-Powered Internet Schools Initiative is part of Samsung’s Citizenship program and it will bring mobile classrooms filled with gadgets to rural towns.

By outfitting a mobile shipping container with desks, a 65-inch electronic board, Internet-enabled solar-powered notebooks, Samsung Galaxy tablet computers and Wi-Fi cameras, children can receive a technology-rich education without traveling far away.

Each 12-meter portable classroom has space for up to 24 students to learn how to use computers and how to surf the Internet, many for the first time. The schools are specifically designed for African conditions, and can withstand energy-scarce environments, harsh weather conditions and transportation over long distances.

Fold-away solar panels provide enough energy to power the classrooms’ equipment for up to nine hours a day, and for one-and-a-half days without any sunlight. The solar panels are made from rubber, rather than glass, ensuring they are hardy and durable enough to survive long journeys across the continent.

Samsung is working with the Government of Ghana and the Ministry of Education, local educators, content developers, school administration and management to integrate the Internet Schools into local communities in Ghana by the end of July.

(More details)

Monday, August 04, 2014 9:12:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The first ever Pan-African Women in Tech meet up will take place as a virtual event in August, supported by simultaneous live viewing events in Uganda, South Africa and Ghana.

Organized by Women in Tech Ghana, Women in Tech Zambia, Women in Tech Uganda, and Girls in ICT Rwanda, the event aims to bring together women working in technology across the continent. The organizers note that “some Women in Technology clubs exist already but, to date, no one has attempted to build a pan-African network, allowing us to compare our challenges, learn from other countries and connect across borders to expand our influence”.

They elaborated: “Working in technology can, at times, be an isolating experience for women, especially in Africa. The impact of this can limit women’s professional growth in the sector. Women need mentors, role models and a network to share their experiences, challenges and skills”.

The meet up will be held on 2 August 2014, at 12pm GMT, 2pm CAT, 3pm EAT.

Register for live stream event or viewing parties at https://womentechafrica.wordpress.com

(Further details)

Monday, August 04, 2014 8:57:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



Digital Education Group (DEG), an academic consulting firm specialising in classroom technology, has launched a new search engine for schools called “Easy School Find.”

The Search Engine project aims to serve as a platform for useful educational information, ideas and updates for parents and corporate institutions, as well as to promote schools and other educational facilities.

Speaking at the launch, The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DEG, Mr. George Sackey, said the project was expected to offer Ghanaians from all parts of the country the chance to easily access and search online for schools of their choice.

He added that the project was carefully designed with outstanding and colourful layouts that would offer users the opportunity to comment and send instant feedback and ratings.

Mr. Sackey noted that the Project would offer incomparable benefits to parents and all prospective students in terms of simplifying school searches by allowing them to access relevant information about schools through  state of the art technology.

For her part, The Branch Manager of “Easy School Find”, Miss Priscilla Adom Tawiah, disclosed that the project would benefit a wide variety of people by providing the latest educational products and services, information, ideas and updates.

She said the platform provided by the “Easy School Find“ project would help parents, guardians and students with detailed directions to schools as well as virtual information on those schools.

According to her, "Easy School Find" would provide the general public with the most cost-effective and efficient means of advertising and promoting educational institutions on a global platform.

 (Source: BizTech Africa)

Monday, August 04, 2014 8:36:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 21, 2014
The funding boost for the Computers in Homes digital literacy programme, announced recently, has been welcomed by the 2020 Communications Trust.

“We appreciate this on-going support from Government,” said Laurence Millar, Chair of the 2020 Communications Trust. “This will help us continue to tackle the digital divide for families with school-aged children who do not have access to a computer and internet in their homes.”

Computers in Homes ticks all the boxes in terms of government’s digital priorities and target groups and is strongly supported by communities throughout New Zealand and especially by Members of Parliament for the most remote and disconnected regions, many of whom have seen first-hand the benefits for their constituents.

“We have a waiting list of over 3000 families, and we believe there could still be more than 70,000 families with school-aged children without access to the internet in their homes”, said Mr. Millar. “We are looking forward to the results of the Census later this year to get an up-to-date picture on the extent of the digital divide”.

“Computers in Homes currently supports families in 17 low income communities from the Far North to Otago. Today’s announcement means that we can support another 1500 families during the next year, and continue to respond to demand in these regions”.

“Government has announced the 21st Century Learning Reference Group to provide expert advice on digital literacy in schools to indicate the importance of digital skills for New Zealand’s future. Digital inclusion is an important part of our future, and expanding the programme to reach 5,000 families every year would cost less than 1% of the Government’s investment in ultra-fast broadband. We urge the Government to keep investing in digital literacy alongside the infrastructure spend, to ensure New Zealand gets the expected economic and social returns”, Mr. Millar concluded.

(Source: e-Learning Porirua)

Monday, July 21, 2014 9:46:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Deputy Director of the British Department for International Development in Ghana (DfID-Ghana), Ms. Charlotte Pierce, has pledged the commitment of DfID to working with the Government of Ghana to give all young people the opportunity of good quality education.

Ms. Pierce said DfID was currently helping 120,000 girls, who had dropped out of school in Ghana, to return to primary school and over 80,000 disadvantaged girls to complete their secondary education. She disclosed that in pursuit of its goal of helping more young people, particularly girls, to be in school, the British Government launched a programme dubbed ‘The Girls Education Challenge,’ under which one million girls across the globe are to go to school and learn.

Ms. Pierce spoke at the launch of Ghana’s first interactive distance-learning project, Making Ghanaian Girls Great! (MGCubed), at Prampram in the Greater Accra region. Ms. Pierce said MGCubed received funding under the (DfID)’s Girls' Education Challenge (GEC) programme to help it address the challenges of teacher quality, teacher absenteeism and poor student learning by equipping two classrooms in every school with solar-powered computers and projectors through which real-time, two-way interactive distance lessons could occur. She urged all stakeholders including parents, head teachers, district, community and traditional leaders, school children and the staff of project implementation and partner organizations to work together for the success of the project.

In an address, Dr. Gordon Carver, MGCubed Project Director, said the project was an attempt to use technology to achieve certain simple educational goals of attracting girls and boys to come to a classroom and learn relevant material through engaging activities, guided by a well-trained teacher.
Dr. Carver also stressed the need for partnership and collaboration among stakeholders to make the project a success.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Monday, July 21, 2014 9:21:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Government agencies are increasingly using social media to engage with citizens, share information and deliver services more quickly and effectively than ever before. But as social content, data and platforms become more diverse, agencies have a responsibility to ensure these digital services are accessible to all citizens, including people with disabilities.

Accessible, universal technology ensures the success of people with disabilities in the workplace.  A lack of accessible technologies constitutes a major barrier to the employability and productivity of persons with disabilities.  Increasingly employers use social media in recruiting and in the workplace and, as not all social media platforms are accessible, according to the U.S. Government, this practice excludes the 20 percent of the U.S. population living with a disability. 

To address this issue, as part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies and the Social Media Accessibility Working Group have developed a Toolkit of best practices in social media accessibility.    
 
This guide to Improving the Accessibility of Social Media in Government was created with the input of social media leaders and users across government and the private sector.  It is a living document containing helpful tips, real-life examples and best practices to ensure that your social media content is usable and accessible to all citizens, including those with disabilities.

To begin exploring the Toolkit, simply select from this table of contents:

- Who Developed This Toolkit?
- Why Is The Accessibility Of Social Media So Important?
- What You Will And Won’t Find In This Toolkit?
- General Social Media Accessibility Tips
- Platform-Specific Social Media Accessibility Tips – e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vine, Blogs, etc.
- Additional Resources
- How To Provide Feedback or Contribute Content To This Toolkit

Further details

Monday, July 21, 2014 8:51:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 16, 2014


The government of Botswana is making concerted, legislative efforts to catch up with other countries in Africa, like Rwanda and South Africa, who are speeding ahead in the faculty of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Speaking during the recent 12th Southern Africa Research and Innovation Management Association Conference (SARIMA), Professor Torto of Botswana said parliament has already approved a National Innovation Fund which will provide seed and early stage funding for technology based start-ups and ventures, as well as established companies with viable innovation concepts.  The objectives of the 12th SARIMA conference were to develop the discipline of research and innovation, including professional development and promotion of best practices, in order to foster and coordinate activities related to research and management at local, national, regional, and international levels.

Torto said in this day and age science, engineering, technology and Innovation (SETI) “hold answers to new complex challenges that governments are facing. He commended the host country Botswana for making significant strides in mapping the landscape of science, technology and innovation (STI) and emboldening national frameworks.

“Over the past 60 years, both developed and developing countries have recognized this fact by increasing the number of SETI government bodies, establishing new SETI legal frameworks as well as implementing a diverse set of new SETI policy instruments”, said Prof. Torto.

In this light, according to Torto, the country is poised for progress and reform, including upgrading the country’s science systems and building capacity for monitoring and evaluating performance. 

Torto said building a sound higher education system has now become a “national priority.”  To date, Botswana has invested in two new public institutions of higher learning. One of these focuses on science and engineering, while the other on agriculture and natural resources.

He said, although funding and financing research and innovation is an expensive enterprise, it is critical for both Botswana and other countries to build an inclusive and diverse knowledge society.
 
(Source: BizTech Africa)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 12:11:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO supported the Rwanda Board of Education in carrying out a two-day consultation meeting in Kigali from 7 to 8 July 2014. Held under the theme “Review and Validation of the ICT Essentials for Teachers Curriculum”, the event aimed at supporting the implementation of the Rwanda ICT for Education Policy through UNESCO’s ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT CFT).

The meeting in Kigali included a discussion on the development of openly licensed teacher training materials to be available as open educational resources (OER), to facilitate the integration of ICT in classrooms in Rwanda.

In line with the ICT in Education Policy Paper, it is foreseen that the outcomes of this workshop would support the development of an OER-based curriculum for in-service training to ensure that capacity building courses are tailored to local needs in terms of using  ICT for quality teaching and learning.

The objectives of the new curriculum will be the following:
  • aligning the ICT CFT to support the Rwanda ICT in Education Policy;
  • defining the objectives of teacher training materials to support the use of the ICT CFT; and
  • outlining the process for the development of OER to support training materials.
Participants in the meeting included representatives of the Rwanda Education Board, the University of Rwanda teacher training institutions, as well as the British Council, and non-governmental organizations. Participants noted the importance of the workshop, especially in order to use the ICT Competency Framework for developing teacher training programmes that are in line with national policies and strategies.

This activity is a direct follow-up to the implementation of the Paris OER Declaration that was adopted in June 2012 at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. It is also part of UNESCO’s continued efforts of promoting the application of ICT to enhance the quality of and access to education, including the stimulation of production, sharing and access to open educational resources (OER).

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 11:44:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Indigenous communities may benefit from new computer technology that allows them to access educational resources and the internet using their own language. An international and interdisciplinary group is currently working on using this technology to reduce the digital gap and help protect cultural diversity in Mexico.

This effort is part of a wider project called Heliox, which is developing a free, inclusive operating system using a version of the existing fully open-source GNU/Linux system. New features such as translation software to assist indigenous speakers, as well as archives and educational content in local languages and direct links to websites are being added to this operating system.

“Free software is allowing us to serve people, minorities, who are not the goal of companies”, says Roberto Feltrero, a researcher in cognitive sciences at the National Distance Education University, Spain, and the project’s director. Feltrero first developed assistive Heliox to help people with disabilities access computers, designing innovations such as screen magnifier software and a device to control the mouse using head movements.

When he visited Mexico and met a group of philosophers of science interested in promoting the autonomous use of technology in indigenous communities, they began to work on the Mexican version of Heliox.

Heliox guides users to applications, files and websites through text and voice messages that appear in their chosen language when the cursor is pointed at icons. This helps guide users without needing much computing knowledge.

“If you tell a person ‘Firefox’ or ‘open file’ even in their native language, they will not understand because it is a computer language. In fact, 96 per cent of the words used in a computer system do not have a translation”, explains Feltrero. “We do not want only to translate because we want to reach people who have probably never used a computer”.

Heliox is saved on a memory stick along with software that automatically configures it to any computer in less than two minutes. “You do not have to do anything”, Feltrero explains, adding that Heliox can work on old computers.

With a budget of nearly US$8,000, provided by Mexico’s National Institute for Indigenous Languages, Feltrero and his team have already translated Heliox into Mexican Spanish, and indigenous tongues Mayan, Náhuatl and Mixe.

Luz Lazos, the project’s diversity consultant, who is based in Mexico, says, “It is not restricted to these languages. It is a system for any community anywhere in the world to develop their own Heliox and revitalize their language”.

Heliox’s creators expect that the Mexican version of the software will be released for free later this year. At the same time, indigenous communities will be given 20 old computers with Heliox installed.

In addition to the translation software, the team is developing educational and scientific content in indigenous languages to be included as archives in Heliox.
The objective is to show communities they can use text, video and audio editors to jointly create and share content based on their own cultures, values and traditions.
“There is a surprising connection between the principles and values in free software communities and the ones in indigenous communities, such as communal work or meritocracy”, says Lazos.

Gustavo Gómez Macías, a Mexican expert in programming and free software, says Heliox will be a “wonderful tool”. But he adds that it is important to make sure there are no compatibility problems between GNU/Linux and hardware, which is often a problem due to its complexity, and to ensure automatic updates are available. Feltrero is confident that these challenges will be adequately addressed.

(Source: SciDev Net)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 11:08:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 14, 2014



This is an annual special achievement award for outstanding performers and role models in Gender Equality and mainstreaming in the area of ICTs. Please note that this award is applicable for both women and men.
This is a ITU-UN Women Joint Award.

Background:
Women’s digital empowerment and their full participation in the information society is one of ITU’s key objectives. The 2010 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference strengthened Resolution 70 (Rev. Guadalajara, 2010) on “gender mainstreaming in ITU and promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women through information and communication technologies” and subsequently, the ITU Council, at its 2013 session, adopted the ITU Gender Equality and Mainstreaming (GEM) policy. 

To promote this policy, and recognize and reward ITU members and other Stakeholders who are leading the way in using ICTs to expand opportunities for women and girls, Secretary General has launched the annual GEM-TECH Awards, which will be conferred for the first time at the 2014 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-14) in Busan, Republic of Korea in partnership with UN Women and will inter alia celebrate and commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and its impending implementation review in 2015.

The first ITU-UN Women GEM-TECH Awards will be awarded in seven categories covering crucial topics of gender equality and mainstreaming in and through ICTs, and are open to all stakeholders working in related areas.

1) Objective: 
The ITU - UN Women GEM-TECH Award will demonstrate a commitment to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment through ICTs.

2) Format:
Open call to all Stakeholders working in the ICT Landscape.

3)Stakeholders Eligible to Apply for the Awards
Governments 
Private Sector
Civil Society
International Organizations
Academia

4) Award Categories – 7 Categories

1.ICT Applications, Content, Production Capacities and Skills for Women’s Social, Political Empowerment and Women’s Empowerment Linkages with Sustainable Development.
2.ICT Applications, Content, Production Capacities and Skills for Women’s Economic Empowerment and Poverty Reduction.
3.Promoting Women in ICT Sector - initiatives aimed at attracting, retaining and promoting women within the ICT sector and into decision-making positions (private and public sector).
4.Enabling Girls to Become ICT Creators - initiatives aimed towards providing girls with an opportunity to become not just active users but also creators of ICTs and content.
5.Closing the ICT Gender Gap - Ensuring ICT accessibility for women, such as digital literacy training and ensuring affordable and meaningful access to ICTs by women. Initiatives aimed at measuring the ICT gender gap including research and data on women’s engagement with ICTs and their impact.
6.Efforts to Reduce Threats Online and Building Women’s Confidence and Security in the Use of ICTs.
7.ICT and Broadband strategies policies, framework that promote women’s digital empowerment.

5) Timeline

STAGE I: 5 July : Launch of  the Award
STAGE II: 5 July- 5 September -Nomination stage (This award is open to Organizations and Individuals. Please note that self-nominations are welcome)
Propose a nominee here: http://www.itu.int/en/action/women/gem/Pages/award.aspx
STAGE III:  5 September- 5 October- Selection stage
STAGE IV:  21st October Announced at the PP-14

More details

Monday, July 14, 2014 7:02:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Japan’s Government will connect all hospitals, clinics and pharmacies nationwide as part of broader plans to address Japan’s ageing population problem, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has told FutureGov.

Yasushi Yoshida, Director General for ICT Strategic Policy Planning at the Ministry, told FutureGov that the government wants to increase the adoption of electronic health records by small and medium-sized hospitals. “Many big hospitals have already introduced electronic health record systems. But it’s not easy for medium to small hospitals to introduce this because of the expenditure involved”, he said.

The government is encouraging these hospitals to use a cloud technology to minimize costs: “We are recommending to medium to small hospitals to use more efficient systems using cloud, since the cost is lower”, he said.

Japan’s government faces the challenge of providing healthcare for a “super-ageing society” and the government is looking at how ICT can be used to collect and analyze healthcare Big Data to address the issue. The government has plans for a longer-term project to improve data collection and analysis by building a nationwide network connecting all hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and nursing centres.

Yoshida explained the current situation: hospitals are connected to a cluster of clinics around them, and there are 150 such clusters across the country. However, these clusters are not connected with each other and information flows only one way from the hospital to the clinics.

“In the future, we would like to connect all hospitals nationwide, including connecting the hospital-clinic clusters with each other”, Yoshida said. “We would like more hospitals and clinics to participate in the network. Information should flow both ways”, he added. The government also plans to include pharmacies and nursing centres in the network, as they are currently excluded from the clusters.

Although there is no official target for the completion of the network, Yoshida hopes to see it completed in the next five years, though he acknowledges that this will be a difficult goal to accomplish in this time frame.

(Source: FutureGov)

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 2:03:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The International Task Force on Teachers for EFA is a voluntary global alliance of EFA partners working together to address the shortage of qualified teachers needed to achieve universal primary education by 2015 and to provide a quality education for all.

The Task Force is holding a consultation on inclusion and equity in teachers‘policies and practices via an online discussion forum. Input from this consultation will feed into the drafting of a policy brief on this issue.

The following three questions will be asked to the participants in an effort to deepen the themes of inclusion and equity in policies and teaching practices:

1. On a daily basis, how can teacher help to promote equitable and inclusive education?
2. Are there equitable and inclusive teaching policies for marginalized children in your country? Are teachers involved in the implementation of such policies?
3. Which strategies should be put in place in schools to help teachers facilitate inclusion and fair treatment of marginalized children?

The International Task Force on Teachers for EFA is inviting institutions and experts from all regions of the world, including both developing and developed countries, to share the challenges, priorities and practices of their education systems and contribute to discussions and debates in the online forum. We also invite our members to extend the invitation to their respective network(s).

When, local time: Wednesday, 2 July 2014 (All day) to Thursday, 17 July 2014 (All day)
Where: France
Type of Event: Working group/Expert Meeting
Contact: m.lacasse@unesco.org

Further details

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 1:45:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) today announced a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America Commitment to Action, valued at $3.71 million dollars, to engage 10,000 middle school girls in learning computing concepts. The announcement was made at the CGI America meeting in Denver.

NCWIT’s Commitment to Action will scale the successfully piloted NCWIT AspireIT initiative, which enlists technical high school or college women in designing and leading computing programs for younger girls. This innovative “near-peer” approach allows young women to become role models and build leadership skills while encouraging younger girls to pursue computing.

"This initiative was born from young women’s enthusiasm for technology and desire to pay it forward,” said Ruthe Farmer, Chief Strategy & Growth Officer of NCWIT. "Who better to invite girls to explore and experiment with technology, than the young women they look up to and aspire to be like? NCWIT AspireIT provides the national infrastructure needed to harness this energy and rapidly bridge the computing education gap for thousands of girls nationwide”.

Research shows that peer influences can have a positive effect on girls’ plans to pursue computing. “Near-peer” role models serve as real-life examples of other girls interested in technology and computing while reducing the effects of stereotype threat – reduced confidence and performance when one is reminded of gender stereotypes, such as “girls are not good at math or technology”. Find out more with NCWIT’s Girls in IT: the Facts (www.ncwit.org/thefactsgirls) report.

"Not only has leading an AspireIT program been a tremendous benefit for the students but I have also learned to challenge myself to take charge and inspire the girls through my love of technology,” shared Noor Muyhi, a computer science student at New Mexico State University and an NCWIT AspireIT Program Leader. “My goal is for every girl in the program to feel 110% supported and to leave the camp with a spark of curiosity towards technology fields".

The NCWIT AspireIT pilot has launched 70 programs, providing an estimated 115,000 hours of computing education to over 2,000 girls in 23 states. To fulfill the CGI Commitment NCWIT will engage 600 high school and college members of the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program and 250 partner organizations to co-create and deliver 400 computing-focused after-school programs for middle school girls across the country through 2018. Find out more at www.ncwit.org/aspireit.

Commitment partners include the Intel Foundation, which provided the initial startup funding for NCWIT AspireIT and has made a long-term investment in scaling the program, with additional support from Google, the Northrop Grumman Foundation, Microsoft, Sphero, the UC Irvine Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, and Tata Consultancy Services. Partners provide financial support, technical assistance, hardware and software, curricula, and volunteers to work locally with the programs.

Further details

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 12:39:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 27, 2014


Last week, Gayaza High School, a girls’ institution with a long history of excellence, showcased their e-Learning centre. Ronald Ddungu, the Deputy Head Teacher said they have adopted an inclusive approach to e-Learning where teachers have actively integrated technology and teaching.

Students can now access class notes andhomework and carry out research in a timely manner,allowing them to fully benefit from Uganda’s educational curriculm.

Ddungu said this innovative e-Learning initiative wonGayaza High School USD15,000 during this year’s Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain during March.

“The use of technology in schools in Uganda will help improve the delivery of the curriculum. Gayaza High School will work closely with other schools and mentor their teachers in adopting the use of technology in their work”, Ddungu said.

During a recent tour of the school, Mark East, General Manager of Global Sales and Operations at Microsoft, said, “The government of Uganda needs to set a policy and infrastructure for schools to access internet and technology because Information Technology is a tool that each student needs to have a right to.’

He said, “Teachers, like those in Gayaza, need to learn how to effectively integrate ICT into their curriculum and classrooms. It helps create immersive learning experiences that improve students’ experiences and skills through technology.”

Eastsaid Microsoft’s approach to e-Learning is a not a one-device-fits-all solution. With access to ICT in schools still unevenly distributed, schools across Uganda are at different levels of implementing e-Learning programs and therefore have different needs. “For instance, there is a high teacher absenteeism rate in Uganda, as reported by the BBC, meaning that 40% of public school classrooms don’t have teachers teaching in them,” he said.

The company recently launched the Microsoft4Afrika Virtual Academy, which delivers free IT training from Microsoft experts, and covers topics such as app development, coding, business intelligence and virtualisation.

Microsoft plans to continue delivering relevant, effective and scalable technologies, services and programs. As eLearning progresses in Africa, the company looks forward to continuing its efforts in improving learning for all.

(Source: Business Week Newspaper)

Friday, June 27, 2014 8:39:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
New, mainstreamapproaches and tools are needed to improve visual accessibility for people with low vision , according to a special article in the July issue of Optometry and Vision Science, the official journal of the American Academy of Optometry. “Visual accessibility makes an environment, device, or display useable by those with low vision,“ says Anthony Adams, OD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of the journal.

According to a review by Gordan E. Legge, PhD, of the University of Minnesota, vision science, in collaboration with other fields, has a key role to play in developing technologies and designs to promote visual accessibility for the millions of people living with low vision.

In recognition of his pioneering work on low-vision research and visual accessibility, Dr. Legge was named the 2013 Charles F. Prentice Award Lecture Medalist.  Established in 1958, the Charles F. Prentice Medal is awarded annually to an outstanding scientist who has contributed significantly to the advancement of knowledge in the visual sciences.

Low vision is defined as a chronic vision disability that adversely affects daily functioning and that is not correctable by glasses or contact lenses. It is estimated that there are between 3.5 million and 5 million Americans with low vision, and this number is expected to increase as the population ages.

In his Prentice Award Lecture, Dr. Legge—who suffers from low vision himself—proposed to “embed low-vision research more explicitly in the real world” in order to reduce barriers to visual accessibility. He shares examples of his research in two key areas: architectural accessibility and reading accessibility.

Architectural design has great potential to enhance visual accessibility for people with low vision. Dr. Legge gave illustrated examples of how low vision can make it difficult to navigate architectural spaces; these  obstacles and hazards may even change with the light at different times of the day.

His research includes the development of software tools to promote the design of visually accessible spaces. These tools reflect the impact of reduced visual acuity and contrast sensitivity, as well as predict whether architectural features can be seen by people with low vision. Dr. Legge writes, “We need practical models of low vision capable of predicting real-world object visibility”.
Dr. Legge’s work also includes efforts to increase reading accessibility for people with low vision. Advances such as electronic readers provide powerful new tools to improve reading accessibility, but there’s still a lack of knowledge of how best to use the features they provide. Research is needed to understand the interacting effects of variables such as display geometry, visual acuity, viewing distance, print size, and font.

Dr. Legge urges low-vision researchers to work with other disciplines—including software and hardware developers and design professionals—in solving the problems of visual accessibility. He writes, “Where we succeed, we will contribute to vision science by showing how vision functions in the real world, and we will find better ways to reduce barriers facing people with visual impairment”.

Further details

Friday, June 27, 2014 8:33:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


MTN Uganda, through the MTN Uganda Foundation, has unveiled a fully equipped,state of the art bus dubbed the “MTN Internet Bus“. The Bus, which is the first of its kind in Uganda, will be a vital tool in carrying out MTN Uganda’s vision of enhancing ICT Education across the country.

The MTN Internet Bus is equipped with sixteen high-end computer workstations, as well as access to High-speed Internet Connectivity Service powered by MTN 3G and 4G LTE technology and Wi-Fi coverage. The Internet Bus is estimated to have cost in excess of Ushs. 600 million andwas unveiled at a Press conference held at MTN’s Nyonyi Garden offices.

At the launch,  MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer Mazen Mroué said the introduction of the MTN Internet Bus is part of MTN Uganda’s new vision of delivering a “Bold, new digital world.“ The company aims to create a unique customer experience, drive sustainable growth and improve MTN customers‘ lives.

Mroué said the MTN Internet Bus, along with other ICT awareness initiatives throughout the country, will serve to develop the technological capacity of Ugandans and strengthen the nation’s economy.  This Bus also plays a vital in briding the gap between rural and urban areas by promoting computer literacy in rural zones.

Further details

Friday, June 27, 2014 8:27:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Savannah Fund is a seed capital fund specializing in USD25,000-USD500,000 early stage investmentsin  high growth technology (web and mobile) startups in sub-Saharan Africa. Initially focused on East Africa, the fund aims to bridge the gap between early stage/angel and venture capital investments  that currently exists in Africa. The Fund combines capital andmentoring networks, both in the region and from Silicon Valley through  an accelerator program, as well as a follow-up independent seed fund, to achieve its goal.

An experienced and technology savvy team, with members who have founded companies or are actively involved in angel investing, manages the fund. Members of the team have also run successful accelerator programs in the past and understand the unique Subsaharan African environment. Theyare backed and supported by local, regional and international networks of “angels“ and venture capitalists on whose expertise they draw to help startups succeed and grow into fully fledged regional or global companies.

They believe in the potential for Africa to become a global technology innovator by developing sustainable for-profit companies that both create jobs and make an impact. Take a look at their accelerator or connect with themon AngelList if you have a more mature startup.

(Source: Savannah-fund)

Friday, June 27, 2014 6:58:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



IITE, the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, aims to promote equal access to education and inclusion of the most vulnerable segments of society through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

IITE has strived to improve the access and quality of education for disabled persons by means of ICTs since 1999. Within this framework, the Institute has held a number of international expert meetings and workshops in partnership with well-known experts from various countries, including the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, Australia and the USA. This experience enabled the Institute to develop a specialized training course named: "ICTs in Education for People with Special Needs". A team of international experts from Italy, the Russian Federation, Australia, Denmark, and other countries, headed by Dr. Edwards (United Kingdom), developed this course.  The course presents the best international experiences in the field of general and specific ICT application in education for a wide range of people with special educational needs, as well as policy advice.

Policy changes and consolidated efforts of governments and civil society are necessary to reduce the extensive gap that exists in access to, and use of, digital technologies by people with disabilitiesICTs can both ease an individual’s access to life-long learning andcontribute to new career and business opportunities. ICTs also grant vulnerable groups and individuals access to the political, economic, scientific and cultural activities of a society, thereby helping to resolve social inequalities.

As part ofthe UNESCO initiative to promote a broader view of the concept of inclusive education, IITE supportspolicy dialogue to initiate the development of national e-inclusive strategies aimed at the following:

  • increasing disadvantaged and excluded groups` access to ICT infrastructure;
  • promoting basic ICT literacy and vocational training programs targeted specifically at the most vulnerable segments of society;
  • and supporting regional, sub-regional and inter-country cooperation and exchange of good practiceson the extension of ICTsto excluded groups.
ICTs offer great potential to support life-long learning for all groups of learners, including those with disabilities. The application of ICTs can compensate for the lack of natural functions, thus contributing to appropriate learning environments for students with disabilities.

The direct beneficiaries of the activities in this field are policy and decision-makers who are responsible for or involved in the development of educational policies and plans; experts in teacher training and vocational development; as well asteachers themselves.

(Source: UNESCO)

Friday, June 27, 2014 6:41:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 25, 2014


British Council is taking a lead role in the development of a unified curriculum for integration of ICT in education for the purpose of the rollout of the National Laptop Project. A joint workshop was held at the Kitengela Conference Centre & Resort Park, and brought together key stakeholders from the Jubilee Laptop Project (JLP) Consortium consisting of Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Ministry of Education, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Microsoft, Intel, Technology Partners, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, UNESCO, and Kenya Literature Bureau.

The national laptop project is expected to run from January 2014 by which time 50,000 teachers need to have been trained on ICT integration in the classroom, besides device assembly, applications uploading, content development and delivery of devices to schools among others. It is envisaged that the teachers training should be done by end of August 2013 before which there should have been induction workshops for technical teams, master trainers and training of trainers.

This writing workshop represents the first stage towards achievement of ICT integration capacity building for primary school teachers in preparation of the school laptop project. This meeting aimed to review existing content from various curricula on ICT skills and integration with a view to isolating relevant content. Thereafter, the involved stakeholders plan to rewrite each module with an emphasis to enhancing pedagogy for the teaching profession and improving learning outcomes. With this in mind, we hope to harmonize the ICT integration curriculum and adjust it within working objectives of the UNESO ICT competency standards. It is also key to note the aim of developing relevant manuals, ICT baseline survey tools and web-based collaboration systems for trainers.

Of particular importance was the time given to participants to interrogate the available content in detail and come up with a synchronized curriculum on key areas, some of which are good practice from the Badiliko and Spark a Child’s Digital Future projects. These areas include: school leader training, 21stcentury skills, basic ICT skills , internet, mail groups, social media networks, ICT integration in teaching and learning, ICT integrated lessons and managing environments, interactive digital content, safety, security and ethical issues, first line basic maintenance and support, assessment , monitoring and evaluation.

A harmonization curriculum team has since been established, and comprises 30 key stakeholders. It is envisaged that this team will address a number of key expectations mainly touching on: content format, identifying teachers for training of trainers and master trainers, structures for teacher management (support structure and types), consolidation of partners in curriculum harmonization, gap analysis,wholesome retooling of the teacher: online services (registration, pay slips, promotion, profile updates, casualty, real-time data, poll survey and collaborations),budget and sponsorship for capacity development and incentives: certification, professional development and promotion.

The teachers are the custodians of the ICT project, and will actually do the groundwork in terms of equipping students with these very vital IT skills. By directly involving them in these preliminary stages, they have a great opportunity to exercise ownership of the project. Having the teachers input at this early stages means that the final product content, execution, structures and workings are clear from the very beginning and resonate with their specific needs.

Through this initiative also, the government, will be able to aptly roll out the ICT project in line with its vision of bringing ICT skills to schools. By getting necessary input from all the key stakeholders, the government is guaranteed of getting an end- product that resonates with the people, by the people and for the people.

Source: British Council

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 1:20:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 19, 2014


UNESCO’s Institute of IT in Education (IITE) with the University of London  recently launched its first Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on "ICT in primary education". More than 7000 participants from 166 countries are registered, with over 3000 participants from emerging economies.

The MOOC is designed as a professional development course for teachers, head-teachers, leaders and policymakers in primary education, but is open to all with an interest in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The course team has instructors from 8 different countries.

The course will look at  why and how  teachers integrate ICT into primary education. It analyses examples from schools in different parts of the world, and brings professional teachers, head-teachers and policymakers together to share their best ideas and inspiring stories. The course materials were developed by a group of international experts, led by Professor Diana Laurillard of the University of London, based on studies carried out for UNESCO IITE.

The basis of the course is not a particular theoretical approach, but a collection of good and interesting experiences and examples of ICT in primary education from different countries across the world. It is based on the conviction that ICT, when used well, is a vital tool to help all children achieve their learning potential.

This first course, launched on 27 May 2014, is free and open to all. It runs for 6 weeks, and provides 4-10 hours of study each week, depending on the pathway the participant chooses to take. There is an option of receiving a certificate of completion, and/or a statement of accomplishment. Potential participants can see the course description and register here.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:57:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"Knowing how to code?" or "literacy of the XXI century? " - UNESCO's YouthMobile initiative and Intel Software  hosted a round table on this issue on Friday, June 13, the day of the5th edition of Futur en Seine (CNAM, Paris), with the support Cap Digital.



Learning how to code is  is no longer only about training engineers, but rather to give all citizens the means to create, work, and  manage a lot of information, and take a critical look at technologywhile having fun. In this context, “coding” must be seen as a new way to learn more than mere “coding techniques”.

With its new "YouthMobile" initiative, UNESCO wants as many girls and boy as possible to have the opportunity, through the code, to use technology to address local and global issues related to sustainable development. UNESCO and its partners strive to provide young people with the high level skills and confidence necessary for the development, promotion and sale of mobile applications.

Many volunteers around the world are already deploying “coding” trainings, but these programmes are often not easy for parents or teachers, rather than technicians, to replicate, translate, or adapt.

Intel Coding for Kids, an open source package of trainings and software incorporating international best practices in this field, meets the criteria of UNESCO's YouthMobile initiative. Educational and/or non-profit partner associations can freely adapt and build their own programmes, within the framework of international deployment.

In this approach, code is used as a means of artistic creation, and to facilitate understanding of social, scientific and environmental problems. The proposed pedagogical model is based on the peer-to-peer concept. The code is introduced very gradually and at each step the learner acquires ready-to-use expertise.

In addition, the round table organized by UNESCO and Intel Software will focus on other innovative approaches recently adopted in France, such as by Simplon.co and Ecole42, and will try to assess the feasibility and sustainability of larger deployments and similar initiatives, particularly in emerging countries.

The Futur en Seine festival will take place from 12 to 22 June 2014, in the heart of Paris and across the Île-de-France. For more information:http://www.futur-en-seine.fr/fens2014

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:50:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Ghana's Open Learning Exchange (OLE) is introducing innovative teaching and learning models which involve the use of affordable technology tools to make learning more pleasurable, and improve universal literacy. Local experts and politicians believe technology is the ultimate solution to alleviate the country's low literacy levels. Last year, former finance minister Dr. Kwesi Botchwey called on students to take advantage of technology to enhance their knowledge.

According to BizTech Africa, these tools include the Raspberry Pi server, which houses the OLE's Basic eLearning Library (BeLL).  A Raspberry Pi is a small computer that uses an ARM 11 processor running at 700MHz with 512MB RAM. It uses much less power than a PC, and takes up much less space. 

OLE said the BeLL system, which is powered by the Raspberry Pi, is designed to work on or off both the electric grid andthe Internet. This ensures that the most marginalised students in resource-limited areas have access to high quality learning resources. OLE said the Ghana National BeLL network will be used to update each of the School BeLLs periodically with new resources.

A feedback functionality worked into the BeLL system will then send usage data (such as pupils‘ and teachers‘ comments and ratings of the effectiveness of the resources) to the Ghana BeLL, which would make such data available to educational authorities, curriculum developers,and resource developers, among others.

This, OLE said, will provide unprecedented, rich data that can help improve the effectiveness of the learning materials and strategies to achieve universal child literacy.

Most of Ghana's Grade 6 schoolchildren still cannot read or write properly even after five years of primary education. The majority of Ghanaian adults' handwriting is almost unreadable and their reading skills in English are also often very poor. It is this alarming situation that prompted OLE Ghana to team up with World Vision Ghana to launch the Ghana Reads project.

OLE Ghana director Kofi Essien told the press that the Ghana Reads project, currently being piloted in 28 schools, provides low-cost tablets and hand-held technologies to school children. This project is backed by effective pedagogical and teacher support strategies to increase access to high quality, interactive learning resources in the classroom.
                                                                                                                                                                   
 (Source: OAfrica )

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:38:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, June 14, 2014


Announced at the World Economic Forum recently, Intel is partnering with the Rockefeller Foundation to further the She Will Connect initiative which aims to promote women in Africa and eventually other emerging markets’ tech scene.

A recent Women and the Web report suggested that, in developing countries, there are 25% fewer women than men online. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the gap rises to 43%. In light of this discovery, Intel launched the She Will Connect programme last year September which will aim to give women greater opportunities in this space.

The initiative strives to halve the digital gender gap in Africa, by empowering five million women through digital literacy programs, with initial pilots in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.

According to general manager of the Intel World Ahead Program, John Davies, “Technology in general and the internet in particular, has transformed the lives of billions of people. It opens up opportunities and possibilities that never could have been realized before. But women and girls are being left behind – which is why we are investing alongside other organizations to close the gap through Intel She Will Connect”.

As reported by CIO, this recent partnership will further help people from the She Will Connect programme with employment opportunities. Rockefeller Foundation Africa’s managing director, Mamadou Biteye, further explains the philanthropic foundation’s role.

The partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation will seek to connect those trained through the program to employment opportunities. Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa Regional Office elaborated on the Foundation’s role:

“We will work together with Intel to connect high potential but disadvantaged young women in our target African countries to online jobs through tools and training that will provide them with best practice guides to assist them in successfully accessing online jobs, earn an income and build their skills and digital work experience”.

Launched in 2013, Digital Jobs Africa is an initiative by Rockefeller Foundation that seeks to connect disadvantaged youth to jobs in the digital economy. “We will seek out more partnerships with pioneering private sector players who have a shared vision around addressing the youth employment challenge”, concludes Biteye.

(Source: Ventureburn)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:45:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


A centre to train the youth in Information Communications Technology (ICT) has been officially opened in Koforidua, the Eastern regional capital.

The innovation centre which is a Government of Ghana-world Bank collaboration provides users with Internet, area for the assembling of hardware, software programmes, audio visual equipments to allow users interact with the world, a seminar room, among others.

The facility, which will be replicated in the remaining nine regional capitals, is also aimed at creating job opportunities for the youth.

Communications Minister, Dr.Edward Omane Boamah, who officially opened the centre said "all these innovation centres across the regional capitals will be linked up through the power of the internet and to the BPO centre at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle''.

The minister noted that the establishment of the innovation centre will enable business process outsourcing activities take place in all the regional capitals.

''The centre will help business outsourcing which hitherto happened only in Accra extended to the other regions'', he said.

In addition to the innovation centres, Dr.Omane Boamah stated that government is establishing twenty-one Community Information Centres (CIC) to add up to the eighteen it established last year.

"The CICs are a bit different from the regional innovation centres. It is a strategy to help diffuse ICT's to every nook and cranny of the country to engage our youth in a much more healthy way than what we have seen in the past and also give them decent Jobs through [provision of] appropriate skills in ICT'', he explained.

(More Information)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:27:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


In 2008, UNDP’s ICT Trust Fund —established with the Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology—joined forces with the World Health Organization, Vodafone Foundation and the Siwa Community Development and Environment Conservation Association to launch an initiative aimed at both eradicating female illiteracy and helping women to find new or better employment.

In addition to teaching 8,800 women how to read and write, the initiative is providing women skills and materials needed to take control of their lives. For example, the programme put a special emphasis on computer skills, so in addition to providing training in business development and problem solving, it equipped the participants with their own personal computers.

As a result, women enrolled in the programme learned to read and write, improved their agricultural and handicraft production abilities and acquired online marketing skills. Siwa women now promote their products through an online store.

Aware of prevailing social norms in the oasis, programme instructors brought the classes into women’s homes. They transformed the traditional tableya—a low, round, dining table around which rural Egyptians sit cross-legged and eat—into a so-called tabluter. A tabluter is a customized, ergonomic computer embedded in the tableya; the computer hosts a single central processing unit that can run up to four independent computers. The newly tailored tableya is foldable, making it easy to carry around from home to home.

In 2012 alone, the initiative trained 120 women on the device, in addition to 10 more who were taught how to be literacy instructors, ensuring the ongoing life of the project. Fatma Ibrahim was among the first group of women to complete their literacy programme on a tabluter.

The project team is currently training non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the Siwa governorate to use the tabluter to teach reading and writing. UNDP is also creating a business model for these NGOs so they can offer free literacy classes. UNDP and its partners are preparing to bring the entire initiative to five more oases in Egypt.

(Source: UNDP)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:23:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 06, 2014
Nathan Han, 15, of Boston was awarded first place for developing a machine learning software tool to study mutations of a gene linked to breast cancer at this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public.
Using data from publicly available databases, Han examined detailed characteristics of multiple mutations of the BRCA1 tumor suppressor gene in order to "teach" his software to differentiate between mutations that cause disease and those that do not. His tool exhibits an 81 percent accuracy rate and could be used to more accurately identify cancer threats from BRCA1 gene mutations. Han received the Gordon E. Moore Award of US$75,000, named in honor of the Intel co-founder and fellow scientist.

Lennart Kleinwort, 15, of Germany received one of two Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards of US$50,000. Kleinwort developed a new mathematical tool for smartphones and tablets that brings capabilities to hand-held devices that previously required more sophisticated and expensive computing tools. His app allows users to hand draw curves, lines and geometric figures on the touch screen and watch the system render them into shapes and equations that can then be manipulated at will.

Shannon Xinjing Lee, 17, of Singapore received the other Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award of US$50,000 for developing a novel electrocatalyst that may be used for batteries of the future. Researchers have been looking for ways to make rechargeable zinc-air batteries practical, as they would be safer, lighter in weight, and have six times the energy density of lithium ion batteries, making them ideal for hybrid vehicles. Lee found that her activated carbon catalyst, which she made entirely from carbonized Chinese eggplant, greatly out-performed a more sophisticated commercial catalyst in stability and longevity tests and will be environmentally friendly and inexpensive to produce.

"The world needs more scientists, makers and entrepreneurs to create jobs, drive economic growth and solve pressing global challenges," said Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation. "Intel believes that young people are the key to innovation, and we hope that these winners inspire more students to get involved in science, technology, engineering and math, the foundation for creativity".

This year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair featured more than 1,700 young scientists selected from 435 affiliate fairs in more than 70 countries, regions and territories. In addition to the top winners, more than 500 finalists received awards and prizes for their innovative research, including 17 "Best of Category" winners, who each received a US$5,000 prize. The Intel Foundation also awarded a US$1,000 grant to each winner's school and to the affiliated fair they represent. Additionally, the Intel Foundation presented a select number of students with experiential awards, including the new 11-day trip to China to attend the country's largest national science competition, speak with researchers at Intel's lab in Shanghai, and visit the Panda Research Base in Chengdu.

A full listing of finalists is available in the event program. The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2014 is funded jointly by Intel and the Intel Foundation with additional awards and support from dozens of other corporate, academic, governmental and science-focused organizations. This year, more than US$5 million was awarded.

To learn more about Society for Science & the Public, visit www.societyforscience.org, and follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter.

To get the latest Intel education news, visit www.intel.com/newsroom/education, and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Further Information

Friday, June 06, 2014 9:23:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 16, 2014


ECWT and E-SCN are pleased to announce a strategic partnership based on their mutual focus of equality and opportunities for youth within the ICT sector. This is specifically in line with the promotion of STEM and in particular CS education to girls, as well as increasing female representation in the ICT workplace.

E-SCN’s project and advocacy activities range from Digital Inclusion initiatives all the way up to workforce development projects, with an overall interest in reducing skills gaps, and youth unemployment. The Danish based network organization also has a strong focus on the recognition and use of the e-Competence Framework, which is a reference framework of competences applied within the ICT sector, that can be used by the individual ICT user, private sector, public sector, academia etc.

In recognition of the launch of this strategic partnership, E-SCN and their existing partners Carnegie Mellon University spin-off company, PROXCER, and Telecentre-Europe are making a donation to provide girls across Europe the opportunity to gain credentials and proof of skills within different areas of ICT.

PROXCER, based in Dublin, Ireland, is the only company in the world to deliver Authentic Examinations. Authentic Examinations are the heart of PROXCER’s method for evaluating the capability of an individual to write software accurately, by measuring the test-takers ability to program realistic problems in a professional environment, using a real programmer’s toolkit. The concept was developed and is used at world renowned Carnegie Mellon University, and spinoff company PROXCER is now bringing this opportunity to academia and private sector globally.

Through collaboration with E-SCN, PROXCER will be donating batches of SDE (Software Developer Examination) vouchers and preparation material to all National Point of Contacts of ECWT, so that a set of girls already engaged in ICT in many countries will have the chance to measure their skills.

Telecentre- Europa collaborating with ECWT already in connection with e-skills events, under mutual understanding of the benefits deriving from collaboration between two different but equal level strong EU umbrella networks, represents the European digital inclusion and digital literacy sector in Europe. Their members are focused on helping individuals get online, teach them basic and advanced digital skills and help individuals benefit from opportunities that the ICT sector can offer.

Telecentre-Europe, Microsoft, and E-SCN are currently engaged in a project which gives young people in formal and informal education, as well as unemployed youth, the opportunity to prepare for and take Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) and/or Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certifications. This project is now being extended to ECWT, where 400 girls will now have the opportunity to become certified in either MOS or MTA throughout Europe.


(Source: ECWT)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:06:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The European Commission is looking for Europe's best startups in this year's Tech All Stars competition. The lucky winners will have exclusive access to Europe's most prestigious startup events and will pitch to the likes of Sir Richard Branson and Chad Hurley.

European Commission Vice President @NeelieKroesEU said "Part of businesses success is making the right connections and the European Commission can help open doors. Finalists will get connected to EU funding sources, successful entrepreneurs and other influential people".

The competition is open to EU registered startups younger than 3 years, which have raised less than €1 million in external funding. Applications are open until May 22nd 2014.

Tech All Stars Competition
  • 10th-11th June 2014. Over two days, 12 finalists get to know London's vibrant startup scene, connect, learn and get inspired by successful entrepreneurs. Finalists will be trained and challenged in an eliminatory pitch battle and a distinguished selection panel will chose the top three.
  • June 12th Founders Forum London. Top three finalists pitch their startup to a world-class audience of tech leaders and investors. The best European startup will be elected, and the winner will be announced by Neelie Kroes
  • Summer 2014. The Grand Tech All Stars Winner will be panellist at the European Commission's Digital Agenda Assembly again rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers of the tech world.

Previous Tech All Star Winners include Irish company Trustev which offers real time, online verification using social fingerprinting technology (see MEMO/13/557) and Cognicor a Spanish start-up offering an automated complaint resolution service (see MEMO/12/472).

Background
StatupEurope is the European Commission action plan to strengthen the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs in Europe and contributing to innovation, growth and jobs. It is a Digital Agenda initiative supported by @NeelieKroesEU to help innovative tech companies start in Europe and stay in Europe.

Further Information

Friday, May 16, 2014 8:52:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Telecentre Academy (TCA), the capacity building arm of Telecentre.org Foundation, will soon be launching a new course entitled “Women, Entrepreneurship and ICTs”. Designed specifically for women with an enterprising spirit and an idea of what they want to start, the course seeks to equip participants with the necessary knowledge and skills in entrepreneurship and encourage them to pursue entrepreneurial activities.

Recognizing the gap between training initiatives focused on the use of ICT tools in the enterprise world and those full blown business administration courses that take much longer to complete, TCA developed its latest course offering in an effort to bridge this particular gap.

The course, which will delve into the practical aspects of starting a business, will be made available in English and Spanish and is expected to kick off in June in Europe and Africa. It will run for a period of 8 weeks or a total of 40 work hours. A self-directed and collaborative learning approach will be employed where the participants themselves will set their learning goals and link them to their enterprising activities. A tutor will be on hand to facilitate the learning process and guide them through the training and exercises.

All participants who will successfully complete the course will obtain a corresponding certificate from TCA. Through this course which was developed in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), TCA also hopes to build a community of practice where people who have taken the course can exchange knowledge, experiences, resources and good practices.

TCA will be offering the course for a minimal fee, the rate of which may vary per country. Some scholarships and discounts may be awarded depending on local demand.
Interested in partnering with TCA and introducing this entrepreneurship course to your network? Don’t hesitate to contact the TCA team.

Further information

Friday, May 16, 2014 7:01:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


1,700 High School Students Compete for More than US$5M in Los Angeles.

The world's largest high school science research competition, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public, comes to Los Angeles May 11-16. Approximately 1,700 high school students selected from 435 affiliate fairs in more than 70 countries, regions and territories will share ideas, showcase cutting edge research and inventions, and compete for more than US$5 million in awards. The full list of finalists is available in the event program (starting at page 47).

Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation, and Rick Bates, interim CEO and chief advancement officer of Society for Science & the Public, will be available for comment at the event. "Through the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Intel aims to empower students to develop innovations that positively impact the way we work and live", said Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation. "We hope the competition will not only shine a spotlight on the finalists' achievements, but also encourage more youth to embrace science, technology, engineering and math".

"By earning the right to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, student finalists have proven they have the capability and desire to become the leading scientists and engineers of tomorrow", said Rick Bates, interim CEO and chief advancement officer of Society for Science & the Public. "Intel ISEF is not only a chance to compete for awards but an opportunity to learn, be inspired, and share their research with fellow top young students from around the world".

To learn more about Society for Science & the Public, visit www.societyforscience.org, and follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter.

Further details

Friday, May 16, 2014 6:54:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Cisco is on a mission to make Kenyan girls embrace ICT careers and be part of the ever growing sector of the economy.

This comes amid reports by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that the number of school girls opting to study technology-related disciplines on the decline in most countries worldwide.

Cisco hopes to join ITU to champion the catalytic role a tech career can play in creating exciting, far-reaching opportunities for women and girls. The company recently hosted a ‘Girls in ICT Day’ for girls aged between 14-18 to hear about the vital role that ICT plays in employability today and how the Internet of Everything will create the jobs of tomorrow.

“Cisco has been involved in ‘Girls in ICT Day’ since it started four years ago. We understand the value of a diverse workforce, and believe that many more girls would pursue careers in ICT if they were better informed about the many different types of jobs available within the sector’, said Hital Muraj, Corporate Affairs Manager, East and Central Southern Africa.

The 26 girls from various institutions were mentored by representatives from from Global Peace Foundation, Safaricom and UNESCO, and encouraged to embrace ICT careers and reap from the male-dominated sector.

The Girls in ICT Day is an annual day of activities organized by the International Telecommunications Union aimed at improving the understanding of careers in ICT among girls.

To help inspire girls to consider a future in technology, ITU established the ‘Girls in ICT Day’ back in 2010 and supports the global organization of activities every year on the fourth Thursday in April. Currently in its 4th year, global momentum around Girls in ICT Day continues to grow with over 100 countries touted to hold events hosted by governments, private sector and NGOs in 2014.

This year Cisco will be hosting 2,500 girls at almost 80 of their offices worldwide and across 37 countries in EMEAR giving them the opportunity to network with each other and other role models to inspire them to consider an IT career.

During their visit to Cisco, students will be able to experience and engage with Cisco’s technologies for themselves, including collaboration platforms such as TelePresence and Jabber.

These platforms will enable interaction on the day and beyond with other Girls participating across the globe and of the leading women working within Cisco and its partners and customers.

“By 2020 there will be approximately 50 billion objects connected to the Internet. At its essence, the Internet of Everything is the networked connection of people, process, data and things…and is set to create an unprecedented level of disruption across industries, globally”, said Muraj.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Friday, May 16, 2014 6:45:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The latest ITU report, Digital Opportunities: Innovative ICT Solutions for Youth Employment, carries an important message for youth, the private sector, academia and government policy makers seeking to address youth unemployment: youth need digital skills if they want to get a job or start a business.

Digital literacy is effectively a prerequisite for employment and starting a business in all countries, and ICTs should be prioritized in all national youth employment and entrepreneurship strategies.

Firstly, how bad is youth unemployment?
According to the ILO Global Trends for Youth Unemployment 2013 report, 73 million young people were unemployed worldwide and three times as many are underemployed. A further 621 million youth are said to be “NEET” — not in education, employment or training. Youth make up 17 per cent of the world’s population and 40 per cent of the world’s unemployed.

High youth unemployment not only hampers economic growth, but for youth it can be a debilitating experience that affects their ability to lead productive and rewarding lives. Urgent attention is needed to address the plight of youth and provide them better opportunities for employment.

One of the causes of youth unemployment is a skills mismatch between what the market is seeking and what institutions of learning – both formal and informal – are providing. Many employers claim they cannot find people with the job skills they need. Youth without digital skills are being cut out of a growing number of job and business opportunities.

Policy makers reading this report could draw only one conclusion: To promote youth employment it is essential that youth in their countries obtain digital skills, including how to become ICT creators.

ICTs should be included in youth employment and entrepreneurship strategies for three key reasons:

1.More jobs and businesses require ICT skills
2.ICTs are transforming the way young digital entrepreneurs do business
3.There is an explosion of online learning opportunities and resources for job seekers and digital entrepreneurs

ICTs are transforming old market sectors including farming, manufacturing and the health sector, and creating new market sectors that didn’t exist even a few years ago, like social media management, gaming and the mobile apps economy. The demand for both basic and more advanced ICT skills cuts across all sectors, from agriculture and construction to education and service industries to ICT jobs themselves, in both developing and developed countries. Basic digital literacy is increasingly required just to find job listings and apply for a job.

What kinds of opportunities exist?
Youth with mid-level digital skills can earn wages through offshore services, such as information technology outsourcing (ITO) and business process outsourcing (BPO), crowdsourcing and microwork (task-oriented work opportunities for data entry, coding, tagging and other text-based tasks).  Mobile financial services like M-PESA are making it easier for young people to receive payment for services rendered. CrowdFlower is one example of crowdsourcing which hires people in more than 70 countries.

Youth trained as ICT creators are working developing apps, games and social network websites.  Since the iPhone was introduced in 2007, the app economy has generated roughly 752,000 app related jobs in the US and 530,000 jobs in the European Union as of 2013, according to Vision Mobile. While currently much of the apps development taking place in developing countries is for export to the US, Europe and Asia, it is expected that in a few years’ time, local demand in developing countries will reach the levels of demand in Europe and North America as smartphone penetration rises.  This will give rise to a need for apps development relevant to local languages and content.

New ways of working and learning
The report also highlights new ways digital entrepreneurs are working, such as tech hubs or app labs. These are business incubation spaces that provide solutions to young digital entrepreneurs: they provide Internet connectivity, support structures (including shared office space), mentorship and collaboration. Tech hubs and app labs are springing up throughout the developed and developing world including Applabs funded by the Grameen Foundation in Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia and Uganda.

Despite the fact that digital skills are not systematically being taught in all schools, the report recognizes that youth can obtain vital digital and business skills online. The report documents the explosion of new learning opportunities that can enable youth to get the right skills, including Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), open courseware and mobile learning as well as hackathons and mobile app competitions.  All of these opportunities point to the need to promote collaborative learning in digital skills development strategies.

The report includes a number of policy recommendations, including ensuring digital skills and collaborative learning is part of school curricula, hosting innovation and co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and funding app contests and competitions.

ITU’s Telecommunication Development Sector (BDT) has created a new Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Resources Database to assist young people to find and use these digital opportunities. This database contains resources for finding employment, becoming an entrepreneur, learning technical and soft skills, finding a mentor, searching for funding, networking, and many other valuable services.

Access the full report here and find out more about ITU’s work for Digital Inclusion and visit ITU’s Youth Employment Database.

(Source: ITU Blog)

Friday, May 16, 2014 5:41:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 08, 2014
The Singapore government will set up a S$8 million (US$6.3 million) Digital Inclusion (DI) Fund to raise the adoption of infocomm for low-income households, and encourage social innovations to help voluntary welfare organisations better manage the well-being of their beneficiaries with relevant technology, announced Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information.

“The Internet today is increasingly becoming a utility for individuals, households and organisations. The Government has been stepping up its efforts at digital inclusion to ensure that no segment of the community is excluded from the benefits that the internet can bring – for example, access to information and e-services”, he said.

The Government’s existing programmes include the NEU PC Plus Programme, Silvercomm Initiative and Infocomm Accessibility Centre reach out to students from low-income families, senior citizens and persons with disabilities respectively.

The DI Fund will help individuals and households level up and enjoy the benefits that come with advancements in digital technology as Singapore prepares to wire up as a Smart Nation.

For example, targeted households will benefit from home internet access to surf for information and perform digital voice calls.

(Source: FutureGov)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 9:38:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO literacy project for girls and women in Senegal (PAJEF) is becoming an attraction. Its innovative teaching methods and approaches have grabbed the attention of other countries, which also struggle with high illiteracy rates. This week (30 April–2 May 2014) 14 policy-makers and education specialists from Nigeria are in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, to learn more about the PAJEF experience.

Last month, a delegation from the Gambia came on a study visit, which generated interest from a number of countries, including Pakistan and Namibia.

The PAJEF literacy project has successfully implemented literacy courses through mobile phones, computers, the internet and television, which, coupled with vocational skills training, have proven effective in reaching out to illiterate women. It is a partnership between the Senegalese government, UNESCO and the multinational private sector company Procter&Gamble.

Launched in January 2012, the project aims to improve access to education for 40,000 neo-literate and illiterate women aged 15-55 years in Senegal before it ends in June 2014. Based on the success of the project in Senegal, a similar literacy project was launched in Nigeria in March 2014.

South-south cooperation
The Nigeria project seeks to accelerate and underpin national efforts to achieve Education for All. The aim is to benefit 60,000 girls and women in the Federal Capital Territory and Rivers State within the next three years.

The Nigerian delegation will visit literacy and tutoring classes, where adolescent girls are strengthening their literacy skills through vocational training. They will also visit a virtual class where girls and women are using learning application accessible through mobile phones and computers. They will experience the digital blackboard, the so-called ‘Sankoré kit’, which has been installed in all classrooms used for the PAJEF project since the end of 2013.

The delegation will have the opportunity to get familiar with the educational radio and television structure within the Senegalese Ministry of Education. They will also learn about the popular TV programme Diek ak-Keureum, which is delivering literacy courses specifically designed for a female audience and broadcasted during daytime on national TV.

Education transforms lives
Educated girls and young women are more likely to know their rights and to have the confidence to claim them. In the words of UNESCO's Director-General, Irina Bokova: “Girls education is a development multiplier and one of the most powerful transformational forces we have to build peace and social inclusion”.

In 2011, UNESCO launched “Better Life, Better Future”, a global partnership for girls’ and women’s education, which addresses two main areas requiring more attention – secondary education and adult literacy. It introduces programmes aimed at stemming the drop-out of adolescent girls in the transition from primary to secondary education and in lower secondary schools, as well as focuses on scaling up women’s literacy programmes through stronger advocacy and partnerships.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 9:14:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO held a four-day workshop on ICT for teacher training from 7 to 10 April 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya. This event is part of UNESCO’s continued efforts of promoting the application of ICTs to enhance the quality of and access to education, including the stimulation of production, sharing and access to Open Educational Resources (OER).

The workshop aimed at populating a knowledge deepening course for primary education teachers in Kenya with national and international OERs and thus builds capacity of participants to enable them to adapt and customise Open Education Resources (OER) and thus support deployment of the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers within the Kenyan context. Furthermore the workshop capacitated participants in instructional design principles, including ideal structure of a blended course delivered as professional development opportunity. Mr Andrew Moore, the facilitator of the workshop stated that “there is need for OER ICT CFT to complement the Kenya Governments One laptop per Child project as this will enhance its integration to the country’s education programme”.

The training attracted participation of Kenyan ICT CFT OER courseware developers from the Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Teachers Service Commission, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa, Kenya Education Management Institute, Kenya Institute of Special Education, Kenya Technical Teachers College, Strathmore University, and Inoorero University. Many, if not all of the participants found the workshop to be of great value and of great need for themselves or their respective institutions. Participants were ready to take on the challenge posed during the workshop and were eager to move on to integrating the concepts they had been taught into practical activities.

This workshop comes as a follow up of the workshop held from 18 to 22 November 2013 that took stock of existing ICT teacher training initiatives in Kenya and proposed the UNESCO project to focus on offering additional professional development opportunities to those teachers and school managers who had completed the initial ICT integration training. The UNESCO project will enable the Teacher Service Commission to offer ‘follow-up’ training at a slightly higher level using a different mode of delivery in order to contain costs for both the project coordinators and participants.

This activity is a direct follow-up to the 2012 World Congress on Open Educational Resources which released the Paris Declaration on OERs calling on Governments to openly license all educational materials produced with public funds. Supported by a generous grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (USA), UNESCO is working with the Governments of Kenya, Oman, Bahrain, and Indonesia to implement dynamic and relevant policies to guide and recognize teachers and learners to find, adapt, use, develop, and share open educational resources.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 8:52:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
International Girls in ICT Day was again sponsored by International Telecommunications Union on the fourth Thursday of April (which this year turned out to be 4/24/14). The initiative, launched by ITU with the purpose of raising awareness of the importance of involving girls in ICT fields, aims to promote the benefits that ICT careers may offer.

In 2012, many African nations celebrated International Girls In ICT Day. Organizations in at least 16 African nations participated the following year. This year, we note roughly the same number of events. Also, it is worth noting that we have observed more female-oriented African tech events during the course of the year – a testament to the lasting success of the official Girls in ICT Day.

By our count, at least 13 African countries held or will hold a gathering this month to get girls excited about ICT. Most events directly aimed to encourage girls to pursue careers in ICT.

Cameroon: Girls in Tech Cameroon celebrated in Yaounde, with an emphasis on professionalism.

Congo-Brazzaville: Femtic Congo, with the support of the telecoms regulator ARPCE, celebrated with a series of panels on ICT and employment.

Cote d’Ivoire: The Ministry of Posts and ICT (along with the Ministry of Solidarity, Family, Women, and Children) hosted an event with the organization Femmes & TIC.

 
 
Ethiopia: International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in collaboration with Africa Union Commission, UNECA, UNDP, UN Women, other UN Agencies and the private sector held an event in Addis Ababa.

The Gambia: Girls in ICT Gambia held a logo design competition and school debate on the importance of ICTs.

Ghana: The Ministry of Communications, with the assistance from other ministries, held an event in Koforidua (Eastern region).

Kenya: AkiraChix, for the second time, hosted a day-long event at iHub Nairobi for high school and university girls interested in ICT. Successful female entrepreneurs were on hand to share their experiences.

Liberia: The Ministry of Gender and Development held an event where iLab Liberia, among others, gave a presentation.

South Africa: Intel Africa and Girls Invent held a coding session for girls.

Uganda: The Commonwealth Peoples’ Association of Uganda, supported by the Government of Uganda, held an ICT-themed debate on April 9th.

Other posts, videos, and anecdotes about how African girls are utilizing technology were also shared under the hashtag #GirlsinICT.

Just because the official Girls in ICT Day is over doesn’t mean that we should forget about strengthening the involvement of girls in ICT! In Africa, girls generally have less access to a formal education, let alone one involving the latest technology. Providing girls with access to ICT (and role models to foster their passions) is vital if African nations are to become information-based societies.

(Source: Oafrica)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 4:07:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 30, 2014


UNESCO has published a report explaining how mobile technology is used to facilitate reading and improve literacy in developing countries. The report was published  on 23 April, on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day.

The report, Reading in the Mobile Era, highlights that hundreds of thousands of people currently use mobile technology as a portal to text. Findings show that in countries where illiteracy rates are high and physical text is scarce, large numbers of people read full-length books and stories on rudimentary small screen devices.

The report, the first-ever study of mobile readers in developing countries, provides valuable information about how mobile reading is practiced today and by whom.
Worldwide 774 million people, including 123 million youth, cannot read or write and illiteracy can often be traced to the lack of books. Most people in Sub-Saharan Africa do not own a single book, and schools in this region rarely provide textbooks to learners.

Yet the report cites data showing that where books are scarce, mobile technology is increasingly common, even in areas of extreme poverty. The International Telecommunication Union estimates that of the 7 billion people on Earth, 6 billion have access to a working mobile phone.

 Video: Interview with Mark West, one of the authors of the report

UNESCO’s study of mobile reading was conducted in seven developing countries, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Drawing on the analysis of over 4,000 surveys and corresponding qualitative interviews, the study found that:

- large numbers of people (one third of study participants) read stories to children from mobile phones;
- females read far more on mobile devices than males (almost six times as much according to the study);
- both men and women read more cumulatively when they start reading on a mobile device;
- many neo- and semi-literate people use their mobile phones to search for text that is appropriate to their reading ability.

The study is intended as a roadmap for governments, organizations and individuals who wish to use mobile technology to help spread reading and literacy. The report recommends improving the diversity of mobile reading content to appeal to specific target groups such as parents and teachers; initiating outreach and trainings to help people transform mobile phones into portals to reading material; and lowering costs and technology barriers to mobile reading.

(Source: UNESCO)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:41:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s minister of communication technology, has inaugurated Digital Girls Clubs in 12 federal government girls Schools across the country, which she said was aimed at empowering Nigerian girls and encouraging them to embrace careers in ICT.

The 12 pilots will impact 1,200 girls, with the clubs later set to be launched across all federal colleges, offering a curriculum teaching girls relevant technology skills.

“The Digital Girls Club is part of the Girls and Women initiative of the federal government geared at empowering Nigerian women and girls”, Johnson said. “The administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in a bid to empower women and girls in Nigeria created a gender empowerment scheme titled Girls and Women in Nigeria (G-WIN) with the sole aim of positively impacting and improving the lot of women and girls in Nigeria”.

She said Nigeria needed to increase the participation of females in ICT. “Getting more girls into ICTs is a task we are committed to at the Ministry of Communication Technology. We want to ensure that Nigerian girls are encouraged and empowered to embrace ICTs. It is critical to get girls to adopt ICTs so that they are not left behind in the digital revolution changing communities and nations across the globe”, she said.

“Our desire is that the Digital Girls ICT Clubs will empower Nigerian girls and lead to the development of an army of ICT compliant girls that will contribute to the economic growth and empowerment of Nigeria in the future”.

An online platform was also launched to serve as a tool for stimulating and empowering girls to embrace and adopt ICTs. “ICTs are powerful transformative tools that foster development and advancement of economies – whether developing or advanced. It is a useful tool for bridging the digital divide in most economies”, Johnson said.

“It also plays a crucial role in the socio-economic empowerment and development of communities and nations across the globe. It is the bedrock of development and the leveraging of this critical tool not only helps us create wealth and jobs, but it also enables development at all levels – health, agriculture, education”. She said the Ministry of Communication Technology was working hard to ensure Nigeria leverages the power of ICT to transition to a knowledge-based economy.

(Source: Humanipo)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:37:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
London Schoolgirls Build Mobile Apps in Tech City on Girls in ICT Day

The GSMA hosted an interactive app building workshop to celebrate Girls in ICT Day, the ITU’s annual global initiative to empower and encourage young women to consider studies and careers in ICT. A class of 13-year-old schoolgirls from east London school Bethnal Green Academy visited creative hub BL-NK in London’s Tech City to gain perspectives and insights from four successful women in technology and to build their own mobile apps.

Speakers at the event included:
- Maria Molina, Principal, Communications, Media & Technology, AT Kearney
- Ranwa Sarkis, Head of Sales Operations, Facebook
- Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA
- Lucy Paine, Junior Project Manager, Telefónica

Each speaker shared their personal experiences and offer words of advice to inspire the young female audience, a number of whom have yet to decide on their GCSE subjects. Members of the GSMA will also work with groups of students to mentor them for the day and share their own personal insights and experiences of working in the mobile industry. The aim of the event was to encourage these students to consider taking STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and to explore the exciting and varied career opportunities in technology.

“There is much more to be done to encourage girls to pursue learning in subjects such as engineering and computer science, which open up possibilities of working in exciting careers in technology,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA. “Mobile is a particularly dynamic and vibrant area right now and it can also open up career opportunities across a range of industry sectors, for example, creating connected cars, advancing mobile commerce or even designing the master plan for a smart city. We are delighted to support the ITU’s Girls in ICT Day to help develop those critical science, technology and math skills that can serve as a foundation for a variety of careers”.

“I warmly welcome the GSMA’s Connected Women initiative to help close the ICT skills gender gap and attract and retain female talent in the mobile industry. The continued growth and development of vital tech skills and expertise in London and our major cities will ensure the future of the UK digital success story,” said Joanna Shields OBE, Chairman of Tech City UK and UK Ambassador for Digital Industries. “Digital innovation is helping us reimagine entire industries, generate economic growth and create new jobs. I hope that today’s app workshop in Tech City will inspire local schoolgirls to study STEM subjects as foundation for future, exciting careers in the technology sector”.

A range of apps will be developed by the schoolgirls:

- Beat the Bullies – resources and videos to help children who are being bullied or who think their friends are in trouble
- Local Lowdown – activities to do in their local area including shops, socialising and maps
- My Digital Hero – pick someone they look up to (anyone from Lady Gaga to Emma Watson) and create an app dedicated to her, featuring videos, quotes and pictures
- Top Tech Tips – create a set of tips and tricks for new users of a specific technology (e.g. Facebook, iPhone)

The Connected Women programme is focused on creating global awareness of the business case for greater involvement of women in the mobile industry and to motivate the sector to take positive action. In addition to that workshop, the Connected Women programme has hosted other successful events in Barcelona, London, New York and Shanghai. To find out more about the GSMA Connected Women initiative, visit www.gsma.com/events/connected-women

(Source: GSMA)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:24:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Every year, the fourth Thursday in April is celebrated as International Girls In ICT Day, when a spotlight is put on encouraging and mentoring girls and young women to pursue careers in ICT. The day is set aside for events, workshops and classes to be held around the world under the International Girls In ICT Day banner.

In South Africa there’s been a few events, most notably at Intel’s Woodmead offices in Joburg where we dropped by to look in on the Girls Invent Tomorrow again as they hosted a coding workshop for a group of 20 senior high school girls in grades 10 to 12 from Westbury Secondary School.

Each one of these girls has chosen school subjects that fall within STEM, with a handful of them wanting to go into tech and programming in the near future.

The room is filled with excitement and eagerness as the girls are introduced to the basics of coding through a step-by-step tutorial using a coding program called Alice. Their “lecturer” for the day is Lebohang Modise, a developer from Microsoft who offeres talks and coding workshops across the country to young people.

“I’m here today to inspire these young girls to consider going into coding or any ICT related career because there aren’t many females in the industry”, Modise says. “I try to prepare them by telling them about my own experiences because I went into varsity only knowing the dictionary meaning of coding, had I known about programs such as Alice and how to use it, I would’ve been better prepared. So I think we may have started something here and if these girls can continue with this, it would be a plus”.

“Today’s event is about getting girls to understand what coding is about, because the world is changing and being a programmer is becoming a big thing,” explains Thuli Sibeko, co-founder of Girls Invent Tomorrow. “This is the first coding workshop we’re hosting for high school girls, we work with a certain company to identify girls from grade 10 to 12 in certain schools who are interested in STEM. The reason we are hosting these workshops is that we want to expose young girls to other careers and make them see that careers are not just about being a doctor, lawyer, nurse aand so on. The world is their oyster in terms of technology and we don’t want them to limit themselves in terms of what they choose when they leave school”.

Source: htxt Africa)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:14:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


A fun, FREE, interactive IT Career Showcase for Secondary School Girls Years 8 to 11.
3 and 4 June 2014
Location: Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood

The Go Girl Go for IT expo aims to encourage girls to take up careers in ICT – it brings together female role-models who work in a vast number of industries – from banking to television, multimedia to medicine, and much more. Speakers at the event will show that ICT careers for women are viable, enjoyable, global, and rewarding.

What will happen at the Go Girl event?
At Go Girl 2014, students will hear from and have the opportunity to talk to talented and inspirational role models with IT careers. There will be access to a wealth of information that will assist students in making informed IT career decisions.
The program includes a series of interactive presentations, and features a tradeshow where girls can talk in person to company representatives. Lunch is provided with entertainment.

Who should attend?
The event is open to all high school girls from years 8 to 11. We encourage all students to attend, regardless of the subjects they are currently studying.
It is also recommended that the following teachers/advisors attend:
 - Year 8, 9,10 and 11 Year Advisors
- Careers Advisors
- IT Teachers
- Business Teachers

Attendance at this event is free.
Visit www.gogirl.org.au for more information and to register

(Source:vicICTforwomen)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 2:52:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações

 

24th April 2014

Girls in ICT Day, an initiative backed by ITU Member States in ITU Resolution 70, will be celebrated this year on April 24th. The main goal is to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Portugal is joining these celebrations again by carrying out two initiatives at Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações | Museu das Comunicações:

- March and April - a school and university contest about ICT issues will take place at FPC | MC (What is the impact of the digital revolution for the professions in the future? Is it important to increase the number of women working in the ICT sector?)

- 24th April - a roundtable debate with the participation of women connected to the ICTs industry, the announcement of the school competition winners and the delivery of the prizes.

For more information see the following websites: Portuguese version of the site | ITU

(Source: FPC)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:17:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
- The device uses raised points to depict information from a computer
- Blind people can use the Incendilumen to control the computer
- It will allow blind people to open and close different windows

Argentinean students from the country’s National Technological University are developing a tablet-like computing interface for blind people.

They plan to develop a final prototype over the next two months and launch it in just over two years, as a joint venture with a technology firm based in Buenos Aires.

The device acts as an interface between the user and a computer, says Guido Muchiutti, one of the seven team members and the device’s inventor. He tells SciDev.Net that the product depicts information from the computer screen and allows the user to control the computer.

The prototype, named Incendilumen, which means ‘turn on the light’ in Latin, has a surface covered with 2,000 tiny rods that rise and fall to represent information such as graphics, buttons and windows.

“Our interface translates data so blind people can feel it by touching what appears on the screen, whether icons or words in the Braille system”, says Leonardo Hoet, a professor of from the same university and a member of the team.

Incendilumen was a finalist in the Argentinian technology and design contest Innovar 2012, and won funding from the country’s ministry of science to develop the product further. Leandro Sereno, president of the Association for People with Visual Disabilities in Argentina, who tested the prototype, is enthusiastic about the device.

“When it is ready it will be fabulous because, with it, blind people can feel what appears on the screen and interact with it”, he tells SciDev.Net. “For instance, we can use different windows, and icons to open them or close them, something currently impossible for us. It would be very useful for surfing the internet¨.

Ariel Lutenberg, a researcher in Buenos Aires University’s Faculty of Engineering, praises the device, but says that many challenges remain to ensure this Argentinian innovation succeeds.

“The problem is always going beyond the laboratory and getting a product to sell”, he says. “It means lowering costs, mass production and other complicated issues in countries like Argentina. Things are different in Silicon Valley or Israel, for instance”.

The Incendilumen team hopes to make the tablet as cheap as possible and available to both institutions and individuals.

See here a video by the Incendilumen team about the innovation (in Spanish): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRGSullF-i4

(Source: SciDev)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:05:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Its that time of year again, where we bring together girls from different high schools and women in the tech industry together for a day of intense fun and brainstorming around career opportunities for girls in technology!



AkiraChix, for the second time, will be hosting a Girls in ICT Day event on April 26th, 2014 at iHub between 9:00a.m and 5.00p.m. This event is geared towards exposing young ladies in high school and university to career opportunities available to them in the tech industry. They will get to interact with girls who have benefited from the mentorship program in the past, as well as women working in the tech industry locally.

We will continue to provide updates as we get closer to the day of the event.
If you have a sister/friend in high school who you think would benefit, sign them up on their eventbrite page: http://akirachixgirlsinict14.eventbrite.com

(Source: Akirachix)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:57:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Last week, World Pulse, a partner of Telecentre.org Foundation, launched the second of three phases of its Women Weave the Web Campaign. After Digital Access which was the main focus in Phase 1, Digital Literacy now takes center stage in Phase 2.

What tools would you like to have access to in order to feel more comfortable online? What challenges did you face when learning to use the web? These are but some of the questions that Phase 2 of the campaign hopes to find the answers to. It is all about the tools, resources, and training that women need to espouse the Internet and truly take advantage of its benefits.

How to Participate
To participate, simply write in your journal and share your experience on digital literacy. World Pulse will then analyze your recommendations and deliver them to key decision makers, including government officials and technology companies! For more details on participation, read How to Participate.

Resources, Resources, and more Resources!
Digital literacy starts with tools, trainings, and resources, so World Pulse and its partners, to include TCF, have joined forces to bring you some great ones! Check out the Campaign Resources section where you can learn and share information on digital tools!

In this phase of the campaign, TCF lends its support through the provision of its free training and certification on Google tools. Learn more about this here.

For more information about the campaign, check out the World Pulse website.

(Source: Telecentre.org)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:16:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The European Competition 2.0 asks teachers and educators to share the creative and effective ways they are using online resources or applications in their teaching practice.

How to enter
To enter you need to make a short video showing your teaching practice that involves the internet or mobile app. The video must be a maximum of 2:30 minutes. Then you must register on the Ed2.0Work project website and submit your video. The deadline to enter is 12 September 2014 at 12.00noon. Visit the competition website for more information on how to apply.

Judging and prizes
The winners will be decided by an international panel of judges. The winners will be invited to present their ideas (all expenses paid) at the European Conference in the Applications of Enabling Technologies, 2014 20-21 November 2014, Glasgow, Scotland.

The judging team includes:
Russell Stannard
Shelly Sanchez Terrell
Sylvia Guinan

About Ed2.0Work
Ed2.0Work is a European Union funded education project that has two missions:
- To create a network that spans education and the world of work and is designed to improve the use of Web2.0 tools in both fields.
- To create a set of tools for the empirical evaluation of Web2.0 tools

The project will create a network between stakeholders in the education and work sectors that will examine how both should be using Web2.0 in the education and work environments.

Further details

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:57:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Ooredoo partners with ITU for development of local digital content

ITU has launched the fourth edition of its popular ‘Young Innovators’ competition, seeking out talented young thinkers and social technopreneurs across the globe, and encouraging them to showcase their innovative ideas at the upcoming ITU Telecom World 2014 in Doha in December this year.

The annual competition, which was launched in 2010, offers young people the chance to take part in workshops on entrepreneurial skills, opportunities to meet and network with leading ICT players, and to showcase their projects at the InnovationSpace, a dedicated show floor pavilion at ITU Telecom World.

The first challenge of the 2014 edition focuses on ‘Local Digital Content’. Open to 18-30 year-old start-up founders from across ITU’s 193 member states, the competition is looking for the most promising tech start-ups that are inspiring the creation, aggregation or digitization of dynamic local content, particularly in non-Latin scripts.

Entries can be submitted by start-ups that are involved in script content, resolving the technical challenges of digitizing non-Latin scripts through innovative technologies, or pinpointing fresh uses for older technologies, such as optical character recognition, voice recognition or translation software.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Toure said, “I am delighted to announce the first challenge of the latest edition of the ITU Telecom World 2014 Young Innovators’ Competition. Last year’s competition brought us inspirational concepts and projects from innovative young people around the world, all of which had significant potential social impact and impressive business potential. I look forward to exploring the latest innovations at ITU Telecom World 2014 this December in Doha”.

The first stage of the contest has been launched in partnership with Ooredoo, which is supporting Qatar’s hosting of ITU Telecom World 2014. With strong experience in encouraging relevant local content and inspiring start-ups across the MENA region and Asia, Ooredoo will provide invaluable support for the contest.

Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al Thani, CEO, Ooredoo Qatar, said, “We’re excited to support this first challenge in the Young Innovators’ competition. We know that new digital content can inspire people and open new opportunities in their lives, and we believe strongly that each and every market deserves relevant content in their own languages that is tailored to their interests”.

About the Competition
Two start-ups will be selected as winners of this challenge by a Selection Committee of experts and invited to attend ITU Telecom World 2014.

At the event itself, selected Young Innovators will enjoy mentoring and workshops on entrepreneurial skills, opportunities to meet and network with leading ICT players, and the chance to showcase their projects at the InnovationSpace, a dedicated show floor pavilion.

Prize money of up to USD 10,000 in the form of seed funding will be awarded to implement and bring to scale winning start-ups. The competition will comprise a number of different challenges, the first of which focuses on local digital content.

The deadline for initial submissions is 30 May 2014, 24:00 GMT +2.
Visit https://ideas.itu.int/ for more information on the challenge and to apply or comment on submissions. You can also visit the Young Innovators’ Facebook page or contact us directly at young.innovators@itu.int.

ITU Telecom World 2014 will take place from 7-10 December 2014 in Doha, Qatar. For more information on how you can be a part of this key event, visit http://telecomworld.itu.int/

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:51:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Qatar Friendship Fund ((QFF)) Tunisia, Tunisiana (part of Ooredoo) and Microsoft have announced the launch of Intilaq, a USD18mn incubation programme, to enable young entrepreneurs in Tunisia to launch ICT-related start-ups.

Intilaq is the next stage in the evolution of the Startup Factory, Tunisia’s first end-to-end support programme for start-ups launched by Tunisiana in 2012. Now, with the support of the QFF and Microsoft, the initiative is being expanded to support a comprehensive incubation programme as well as a coaching and nationwide knowledge-sharing approach, with a particular focus on encouraging young people to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions in the ICT sector.

Youth unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) averages around 27%, with Tunisia seeing unemployment rates of 40% for university graduates and 24% for non-graduates. Ooredoo and its companies across the world are taking a multi-faceted approach to this issue, working with respected national and international partners to support entrepreneurship, employment and education programmes.

The launch of Intilaq is the latest in a series of significant initiatives to enable young people to learn more about starting their own business and provide them with knowledge and financial resources to launch and manage a start-up.

Speaking at the launch event, Abdullah Nassir al-Homidi, Qatar’s ambassador in Tunisia and president of the QFF, said: “The Qatar Friendship Fund strives to give a significant boost to the youth, giving them support and accompanying them step by step into their projects. We hope to have a direct impact on those who will build Tunisia’s tomorrow and therefore enhance its economy in the long term”.

Kenneth Campbell, general manager of Tunisiana, said: “This initiative will have a significant impact as it will establish a unique economic platform for start-ups, enabling the development of the sector. Last year, Startup Factory was a resounding success that discovered significant untapped potential, and today we move into higher gear with larger ambitions”.

Mohamed Bridaa, general manager of Microsoft in Tunisia, said: “Intilaq is a first in Tunisia. It is a pioneering project that works to promote, develop and strengthen the capacity of Tunisian youth to propel innovation and creativity. In this sense, Microsoft will share its expertise notably in the field of information technology”.
Intilaq will also work as an incubator for international enterprises, adding a new dimension to incubation programmes for the region.

(source: Gulf Times)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:20:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The use of computers, mobile phones and other ICTs in community banking can assist microfinance institutions and credit officers in managing and recording loan payments, savings deposits and improving bookkeeping accuracy. But the potential of ICT solutions to improve the lives of rural women in Peru goes beyond giving them access to loans.

ICT-enabled solutions can assist microfinance institutions and community banks to set up skill training and adult education programmes that best address their need to train and advise their clients, not only to increase their chances of managing profitable businesses but also to improve their quality of life.

In Peru, the Connect4Change consortium led by IICD has developed together with PROMUC and Text to Change, an integral ICT-enabled solution that in 2013 serviced 21,000 women and aims to reach out to 160,000. Since most of the impoverished women benefitted by group-lending live in rural or semi-urban areas, they need training to learn the basics of financial services. The Connect4Change capacity development programme includes sessions about best practices in small business management, business plan development, insurances and over-indebtedness.

The ICT-supported community banking project uses mobile phones to send information about group meetings, financial products, credits, interest rates, late payments and loan payment reminders. Iin additions, they also receive information about best practices in managing funds and working capital to start off their own businesses.

Further details

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:09:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 01, 2014


The Vive Digital Plan Colombia was awarded at the Office of the United Nations in Vienna, as "one of the 15  Innovative Policy 2014" , in view of their impressive contributions to the disabled population for the Zero Project, an international initiative working for a world without barriers .

Vive Digital, program through which the Ministry of ICT is driving the transformation of the digital ecosystem in the country, was highlighted at an international summit on accessibility.

They stressed about the impact of ConVertic , the software that the Ministry put tfree of charge to more than 1.2 million people with visual and hearing disabilities enabling them to use the computer and surf the Internet . And in 2014 more than 800 centers provide technological tools that promote accessibility.

More than 400 experts in accessibility and disability worldwide extolled the work of MinTIC , for its programs for people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

Vive Digital Plan of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies was shortlisted as one of 68 innovative policies in Project Zero. Globally the company meets and models that improve the quality of daily life and the legal rights of people with disabilities.

The references provided by the Project Zero said: Respecting the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities , approval for disability rights , innovation in approach and legal instruments application implementation that delivered measurable and identifiable improvements and easily transferable to other countries.

Recognition also highlighted the achievements of Vive Digital Plan on access to the Internet, and noted that, in contrast to other countries in South America, Colombia makes major investments in information technology .

Similarly, the annual report of Zero Poject , highlighted the commitment and performance of Colombia at work for the rights of people with disabilities.

Under the slogan "No one can enjoy a human right if there is no access to it", the Project Zero has investigated 69 practices and policy solutions that have proven successful in overcoming barriers to access .

The Zero Project

The Zero Project was initiated by the Essl Foundation in 2010. Project Zero 's vision is to work for a world without barriers, in accordance with the principles and provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) . It does so by investigating Innovative Practices and innovative policies worldwide that help improve the lives of people with disabilities, as well as research in social indicators that measure the implementation of the UN CRPD and the current situation in all countries of the world.

(Source: MinTIC)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 4:26:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Get Online Week‘ has been launched in Egypt and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for the first time to empower and encourage the use of technology, raise awareness on the benefits of ICT and to promote the role of e-skills in the daily lives of every day people.

‘Get Online Week’ is a European digital empowerment campaign launched in Egypt by the United Nations Development Program (Egypt), the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology through its ICT Trust Fund, Microsoft Egypt and Telecentre Europe and Telecentre Foundation.

The theme for the campaign in the region is employment, digital jobs, social innovation and entrepreneurship for youth. UNDP in Egypt, and other GOW partners, engaged young innovators, entrepreneurs, public institutions, civil society and the private sector in a variety of diverse online and offline activities during the entire week.

On the 21st of March to the 22nd of March, computer science students from nationwide universities participated in a mobile application development marathon. For two days, participants worked on developing and prototyping their own mobile applications that tackled one of the following issues: Women Empowerment, Child Protection and Environment.

Throughout the week, a series of webinars on topics related to innovation and entrepreneurship were live streamed online by different Egyptian innovators. The audiences were able to watch and engage with the presenters in real time.

Furthermore, on Wednesday the 26th of March, a round table discussion on youth entrepreneurship and innovation was held at the UNDP Country Office in Cairo. Participants included representatives from Ashoka, Cairo Sitters, Egyptian Streets, Eventtus, Flat6labs Se3eedy Geeks, Supermama, Tawseela and Yomken.

 To learn more about Get Online Week check out http://getonlineweek-mena.com/ and www.facebook.com/getonlineweekMENA

Further details

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 12:02:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
International Girls in ICT Day is an initiative backed by ITU Member States in ITU Plenipotentiary Resolution 70 (Guadalajara, 2010) to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies (ICTs). International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated on the 4th Thursday in April every year. This year, it will be celebrated on the 24th of April.

The Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure (MOICI) as the authority in charge of pushing the nation's overall ICT agenda has identified members of the public and private sector whose input would be highly beneficial in highlighting the strides our country has made thus far in promoting the girls and young women ICT agenda."As this initiative is under our purview, it is important we play our mandated role to spearhead an extensive campaign in empowering our girls and young women in the important role ICT stands to play in their lives. We want to engage them to embrace math and science, in order to be game changers in our sector. As natural managers, women involvement in all sectors of the economy is critical in its success", Said, Madam Nancy Niang, The Permanent Secretary of MOICI.

International Girls in ICT Day is an initiative backed by ITU Member States in ITU Plenipotentiary Resolution 70 (Guadalajara, 2010) to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies (ICTs). International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated on the 4th Thursday in April every year. This year, it will be celebrated on the 24th of April.

The Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure (MOICI) as the authority in charge of pushing the nation's overall ICT agenda has identified members of the public and private sector whose input would be highly beneficial in highlighting the strides our country has made thus far in promoting the girls and young women ICT agenda."As this initiative is under our purview, it is important we play our mandated role to spearhead an extensive campaign in empowering our girls and young women in the important role ICT stands to play in their lives. We want to engage them to embrace math and science, in order to be game changers in our sector. As natural managers, women involvement in all sectors of the economy is critical in its success", Said, Madam Nancy Niang, The Permanent Secretary of MOICI.

(Source: All Africa)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 11:45:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson weekend flagged-off the Digital Girls Club at the Federal Government Girls College, Bwari FCT . This was in continuation of the plan to have the club in I2 federal government girl's schools across the six geopolitical zones, in the country.

The Minister said the project was in recognition of the power and transformative potential of ICTs for development as the Ministry focuses on ensuring that Nigeria leverages the power of ICTs to bridge the digital divide between women and their male counterparts. She described the project as one of the ICT interventions of the Ministry of Communications Technology that will empower Nigerian girls and encourage them to embrace careers in ICTs.

For her, "ICT has powerful transformative tools that foster development and advancement of economies, whether developing or advanced. It is a useful tool for bridging the digital divide in most economies. It also plays a crucial role in the socio-economic empowerment and development of communities and nations across the globe. She also described ICT as the bedrock of development, adding that "leveraging on this critical tool not only helps us create wealth and jobs, but it also enables development at all levels- health, agriculture, education, among others".

The minister said that president Goodluck Jonathan in a bid to empower women and girls in Nigeria, had created a gender empowerment scheme titled Girls and Women in Nigeria (G-WIN) and urged women to embrace ICT and bridge the digital divide.

She explained that the Digital Girls Clubs will teach the girls ICT skills and increase their knowledge of technology necessary for empowerment.

The clubs is being set up in twelve public schools that already have computer labs with internet access in the six geo-political zones of the country. Johnson noted that a curriculum to transform and positively impact on the girls has been developed to teach the girls relevant technology skills that will transform their lives.

A portal www.digitalgirls.org.ng has been created to act as a key tool to also stimulate and empower the girls to embrace and adopt ICTs.

According to the Minister, 1200 girls from the 12 pilot federal government schools will be impacted upon in the first instance and the Clubs will be set up across all the Federal Government colleges in all the states of the federation six months after the pilot test in the selected 12 schools.

The Clubs will be manned by professionals who will play a key role in stimulating the interest of the girls. Periodically mentors will be invited to give inspiring talks and participate in various ICT related activities that will interest the girls.

Current statistics in Nigeria reveals that Nigerian women make up 50 per cent of the population but hold less than 20 per cent of ICT jobs in the country. Also only about 33 per cent of women are online in Nigeria.

Further details

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 11:35:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 24, 2014


UNESCO is now seeking feedback from stakeholders on how it should design and implement a comprehensive study of Internet-related issues that will present options for future actions within its mandate. Comments are requested before 30 April, after which the draft concept paper and questions will be finalized, and the research will commence.

This wide-ranging Internet study arises from a resolution agreed by UNESCO’s 195 Member States during the Organization’s General Conference in November 2013.

By mandate of Resolution 52 of UNESCO’s 37th General Conference in 2013, the study is required to cover the fields of (i) Access to information and knowledge, (ii) Freedom of expression, (iii) Privacy, and (iv) Ethical dimensions of the information society, and also explore possible options for future actions. The results will inform the Organization’s reporting to the 38th General Conference in 2015.

The resolution requires that the study be done through an inclusive multi-stakeholder process which includes governments, private sector, civil society, international organizations and the technical community.

These consultations will be done through an online questionnaire, meetings with UNESCO Member States, and UNESCO participation in events such as the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance (NETmundial), WSIS High Level Review Events, the Internet Governance Forum, the Freedom Online Conference, and the Stockholm Internet Forum.

The draft concept paper for the study, proposed by UNESCO’s Secretariat, outlines how the fields can be conceptualized and presents related research questions. The guiding framework is the draft concept of “Internet Universality”. By summarizing core Internet principles relevant to UNESCO’s mandate and fields of competence, the notion of “Internet universality” highlights four R-O-A-M principles: (i) that the Internet should be Human Rights-based (ii) “Open”, (iii) “Accessible to All”, and (iv) nurtured by Multi-stakeholder Participation. As part of the consultation, feedback is also sought on this draft concept.

To send your written comments on the Draft Concept Paper and the Draft Concept of Internet Universality, please write to Internetstudy(at)unesco.org.

Further details

Monday, March 24, 2014 6:26:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


A total of 2,331 Better Ghana Agenda laptop computers have now been presented to teachers who completed the Rlg Information Communication Technology training under the Basic school Computerisation Project in the Central Region.

The Central Regional Minster, Dr Samuel Sarpong, who presented 1,400 laptop computers to a batch of beneficiary teachers in Cape Coast, underscored the important role of ICT in the current educational system.

He pointed out that computer literacy in the job market currently constituted an essential driving force that determined the chances of one getting employment and that it had become necessary for all stakeholders in the educational sector to work towards ensuring that classroom teachers became ICT inclined.

He said in this regard, government was working hard to promote ICT education, and has therefore decided to implement the policy on laptops distribution under the Better Ghana Agenda ICT project in which basic school teachers are trained and presented with computers.

The Central Regional Director of Education, Mr Joseph Dagor Kor, explained that the provision of the laptops was to serve as motivation for all teachers, and urged them to share their knowledge with their colleagues and students as society expected a lot from them.

He challenged teachers to use their ICT knowledge and laptops to equip themselves with 21st century skills instead of the archaic information they kept recopying from previous lesson notes, adding that lessons should be student centered to encourage the children to work on their own to enable them work everywhere in the world.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Monday, March 24, 2014 6:16:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Ministry of Information Communication Technology (ICT), Postal and Courier Services is organising the e-TECH AFRICA 2014 EXPO conference and exhibition scheduled for 11 – 14 March 2014 in collaboration with its strategic partners.

The theme for this year is “Promoting Competitiveness and Sustainable Growth Through ICTs”.

The conference will run parallel to the exhibition. The event is expected to bring a wide range of ideas, opinions, perspectives, research findings and expertise to expand knowledge frontiers for sustainable growth and development through ICTs. The event is also expected to draw people from the ICT Industry, civil society, academia and government to a discussion platform for national development. The e-TECH Africa 2014 Conference and exhibitions will provide a platform for creating awareness about the opportunities, challenges and benefits derived from the adoption of ICTs in Africa as well as initiate practical measures needed to extend the ICT reach.

The exhibitions and conference will also explore the enabling role of ICTs in the development of African countries.

Objectives of the conference
The general objective of the e-TECH Africa Conference is to arouse the interest of the Zimbabwean population in the use of ICTs for a successful transformation of Africa from an agricultural society to a knowledge society. In line with the African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE), the Conference is expected to:

a. Promote the right of all to have equal access to ICT value added services and to experience the advantages of using technological services
b. Develop, maintain and stimulate people’s curiosity, interest and enjoyment in ICTs
c. Promote the acquisition of appropriate technological skills, concepts, principles, methods and vocabulary
d. Leverage ICTs as a tool for socio- economic development especially in developing countries.
e. Attract more and new investments in the ICT sector
f. Bridge the digital divide.
g. Promote business linkages and partnerships.

The thrust of the conference is therefore to explore how ICTs can accelerate Africa’s developmental agenda and in the process transform Zimbabwe into a knowledge based society.

Conference Agenda
The conference will be characterised by key presentations followed by panel debates that will discuss how ICTs can be exploited to support sustainable economic development. Presentations and panel debates will focus on what can be done to sustain or speed up the developmental pace and close the ICT gap still exists particularly at national level and in Africa. It is therefore expected that key presentations will be made in and around the following areas:

• Building a Knowledge and Information Society
• Research and development in ICT’s
• ICT’s in Health and Agriculture
• ICT’s in Tourism and Entertainment
• Building a vibrant ICT industry
• The need for a well regulated ICT environment
• Bridging the digital divide
• The potential of ICT’s for sustainable growth
• Cyber Security & Cyber Ethics
• ICTs for Poverty Alleviation and Community Development
• Impact of e-Government on National Development
• E-learning for a developing economy
• Green Computing
• Cloud Computing

For more information please visit http://www.etechafrica.co.zw/ or email:  gchingonzo@ictministry.gov.zw or bmhonderwa@ictministry.gov.zw

(Source: TechZim)

Monday, March 24, 2014 5:55:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Nancy Sibo has been nominated Ms Geek 2014 for her mobile cow application project on Saturday, coinciding with International Women's Day. Ms Geek, which reards ICT projects by women, was organized for the first time in Rwanda.

Nancy Sibo, a student in the Agriculture Engineering faculty at the University of Rwanda Huye campus presented her application called Mobile Cow, an app that could be tied in the government's Gira Inka program to allow farmers monitor the oestrus cycles of cows.

She was chosen among 25 applications of women's initiatives from various higher learning institutes and universities in Rwanda. The second prize winner was Christine Bayizere, a student in Electronics and Electricity Engineering. Her project is a Wireless Black Box that to monitor vehicles and send alerts in case of an accident.

Josephine Tujyimbere came third with the Class Attendance Management System which uses fingerprint recognition to monitor students' progress. Chantal Mukundwa, a Computer Engineering & Information Technology student explained her proposed software, called the Nearby Item Locator System, which is both a web and a mobile application, that allows users to search for items they wish to buy, and receive a list of the nearest shops with those items in stock. She scooped the people's choice award from online voting.

The fifth was Eline Nyirangirimana, an ICT student who developed the Online Driving License Examination System that allows users to save time by taking their driving tests online. According to Akaliza Gara, a member of Girls in ICT, Ms Geek is an opportunity to celebrate the women in ICT and inspire other women to join the sector.

"There is nothing specifically male about ICT, it's something that both men and women can embrace and use to make the most of their career", she said.

Minister of Youth and ICT Jean Philbert Nsengimana indicated that the government through the Smart Rwanda program supports girls in ICT to contribute to the country towards its vision. He pointed out that while women have been economically, socially and politically empowered, the number of women in science and technology is still low. While 64% of the members of the chamber of deputies in Parliament are women, they only represent 16.5% in TVET.

Minister Nsengimana called on women to embrace science, mathematics, engineering and technology. "You are a generation that is going to transform this country and the continent", Nsengimana said.

Giovani Ntabgoba, the director of KLab in Kigali, promised the finalists a working place and mentorship to improve their projects in a suitable business orientation.

(Source: All Africa)

Monday, March 24, 2014 5:39:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Nairobi County Government has partnered with Internet Service Provider Wananchi Group to provide free Internet to schools in the city.

The pilot programme which begins immediately will cost the ISP Sh125 million to connect 240 schools to the World Wide Web.

Nairobi County Executive in Charge of Education Christopher Khaemba said on Tuesday that the initiative was expected to encourage e-learning in schools in line with the free laptops programme by the national government.

“Because the majority of school-going children are in the slums, this will also help us to structure those informal schools so that they are properly registered; they are subject to quality assurance inspections and so on. So this partnership with Wananchi is going to impact us in so many ways”, he said.

He underscored the importance of the project saying that it will open up opportunities for children especially in slum areas.

He however stressed the importance of teachers to take full advantage of the programme. “For the schools, there is need to inculcate values in students. There needs to be particular focus on empowering teachers so that they can teach the children to make good decisions so they may be able to use the internet in a safe way”, he said.
He further indicated that the County Government will be embarking on a major project seeking to develop infrastructure in all public schools within Nairobi.

“We are embarking on a massive infrastructural development and we are inviting partners to bring in their resources so that they may benefit children from Nairobi and by extension the whole country”, he stated.

Wananchi non-executive board member Richard Bell indicated that the Internet programme is set to be expanded to benefit about 2,000 schools in the County once the pilot phase is completed.

“After we have connected those schools, then we will gather some data and then do a full rollout of the project where we will end up connecting in excess of 2,000 schools throughout Nairobi. Although the County Schools will take preference as we are rolling out, the intention is to connect all schools including private schools”, he said. “This is a massive increase to the schools connected to the Internet. Our role is to provide the fibre from the schools. This is global best practice; it is done like this all over the world. We are glad that Nairobi will be the first County to benefit from such a program”.

Further details

Monday, March 24, 2014 5:17:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Kenya’s private schools, in conjunction with technology companies Microsoft, Intel, Safaricom and Mitsumi, have partnered to take affordable gadgets and learning solutions to all private schools across the country.

In the collaboration, Intel East Africa will provide training programs and material, Safaricom Limited will provide the data plan, Equity Bank will be the finance partner and Mitsumi Computer Garage will offer devices.

According to Peter Ndoro, CEO Kenya Private Schools Alliance, schools laptops worth between sh30,000 and sh55,000 bundled with relevant content and e-learning materials will be offered to learners in private schools.

¨We intend to train at least three teachers in all private schools on the use of the gadgets and the e-curriculum by the end of the year… we already have 32 trainer of trainers but we intend to increase that number to 102 so that we can train all the targeted private schools teacher before end of the year¨, said Mr. Ndoro.
There are about 3400 private schools in Kenya.

The alliance aims to ensure all private schools have provisions for cheaper laptops and relevant digital curriculum for learners before end of this year.

In the agreement, every Intel device purchased will come pre-loaded with approved Intel Explore and Learn, a one-stop shop for digital education content.

Specifically tailored finance options will also be provided through loans from Kenya’s Equity Bank and M-Changa, a mobile money-based way to contribute towards the purchase of devices. Special data packages from Safaricom will also be provided, consisting of 5 gigabyte and 10 gigabyte bundles.

“Through this platform, learners can easily access a wide variety of content including text books, set books, revision books, interactive past exam papers, rich multimedia (audio, video and animations)”, said Alex Twinomugisha – Business Development Manager, Intel Corporate East Africa.

“Teachers need proper training and the curriculum needs tweaking to fit the new era of technology in classrooms”, said Twimomugisha. There are over 60 in-built science experiments pre-loaded in the gadgets to be distributed by Mitsuni Computer Garage.

The gadgets, which private schools are expected to buy through a financial plan with Equity bank ranges from the very basic to the advanced depending on learners’ needs.

Better still the laptops, especially those targeting junior learners come bundled with a classroom management system to monitor students’ activity. The laptops for the small children are break-proof to withstand rough handling. The gadgets will also be fitted a theft deterrent software meaning if they are stolen or smuggled out of school they can be remotely locked and rendered unusable.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Monday, March 24, 2014 5:12:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 11, 2014
ITU celebrates the power of digital literacy to change women’s lives as it reaches target of ‘one million women trained worldwide’

Over one million disadvantaged women in 79 countries around the world are now benefiting from newly-acquired information and communication technology (ICT) skills thanks to a partnership between ITU, the UN specialized agency for ICTs, and Philippines-based NGO Telecentre.org Foundation.

The Women’s Digital Literacy Campaign, launched in 2011 with a target of training one million women around the world, leveraged the combined reach of Telecentre.org Foundation’s global network of 100,000 telecentres worldwide and ITU’s 193 Member States and 700 private sector members.

The campaign reached its goal earlier this month with a total of 1,014,096 women trained in basic computer skills, through the efforts of 153 participating organizations and 20,000 telecentres around the world.

Myrna Padilla spent 20 years living away from her children earning a living as a domestic worker in Hong Kong. Now, back home in the Philippines, she uses her digital literacy skills to run her own graphic design business employing 20 staff – and all her children are getting a college education...watch Myrna talk about the power of technology skills to change a family’s destiny

Obonyo ‘Molly’ Adhiambo couldn’t afford a college degree, and knew her options were limited – until a friend told her of a digital literacy training course being offered by youth-based organization Nairobits Trust…learn what Molly did with her new computer skills

Yulia Korneyeva was 23 when she first learned to use ICTs at a telecentre. But like many young people hit by the economic crisis, she recently found herself out of work – and realized she lacked the proficiency to apply for the positions she wanted. Her future changed when she saw an advertisement for a free course entitled “Advanced Digital Literacy”…find out how Youlia’s training changed her life

“The success of this joint campaign meshes perfectly with this year’s International Women’s Day theme of ‘equality for women is progress for all’, because training in today’s ICT systems is so often change that turns around the lives of unskilled and disadvantaged women and their families”, said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré.
“Having the skills to use ICTs opens up new horizons and empowers women, both economically and culturally. In addition, offering digital skills to over one million women at grassroots level is helping reverse the paradigm whereby, in many countries, ICTs still most often benefit men more than women”.

Recent research by ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau estimates that there are 200 million fewer women online than men. Of the world’s 2.8 billion Internet users, 1.3 billion are women, compared with 1.5 billion men.

While the gap between male and female users is relatively small in OECD nations, it widens rapidly in poorer countries, where expensive, ‘high status’ ICTs like computers are often unaffordable for women at the bottom of the development pyramid. In the developing world overall, 16% fewer women than men are online, with even greater disparities in some regions; in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, ITU estimates that there are only half as many women connected as men.

A report issued last year by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development’s Working Group on Gender, led by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, revealed that, around the world, women are coming online later and more slowly than men. It also showed that women are on average 21% less likely to own a mobile phone – representing a mobile gender gap of 300 million, equating to US$13 billion in potential missed revenues for the mobile sector.

“With technology now widely recognized as a critical enabler for socio-economic development, the Women’s Digital Literacy Campaign has been key in reinforcing ITU’s global efforts to promote the digital inclusion of women in line with Millennium Development Goal 3 on gender equality”, said Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, which initiated and led the Women’s Digital Literacy Campaign.

“Partnership is key in any undertaking, and what we have achieved so far under the Telecentre Women Digital Literacy Campaign is a testament to this. I, therefore, take this opportunity to thank ITU and all our partners in this campaign for accepting the challenge and for embracing this cause with so much fervour,” said Miguel Raimilla, Executive Director of Telecentre.org Foundation. “We may have already reached our target, but the work doesn’t stop here. There is still so much more to be done out there, and the programme will definitely continue to empower women worldwide through ICT, in the hopes of inspiring change and ultimately bringing about the much needed results”.

The campaign is just one element of ITU’s work in the field of gender empowerment through ICTs. Each year on the fourth Thursday in April, ITU and the global technology community celebrate ‘Girls in ICT Day’, an international awareness-raising initiative launched by ITU in 2010 to promote tech careers to a new generation of girls with an interest in science and maths.

Since its inception in 2010, the day has been gaining huge momentum around the world, with 2,700 events organized in 121 countries for an outreach of more than 70,000 girls and young women. Event organizers are gearing up for a big celebration on 24 April this year: stakeholders are encouraged to contact girlsinict@itu.int to let the ITU team know their plans.

ITU has also developed a range of digital literacy training materials designed to be used in school-based community centres and multi-purpose telecentres by women, indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities. In addition to providing basic ICT literacy, the materials show trainees how ICTs can be used to support a range of economic activities such as handicrafts, agro-tourism and agriculture. Training materials can be accessed here. Information and toolkits on how to run a local ‘Girls in ICT Day’ are available on the ITU Girls in ICT Portal.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:15:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


In the evolving knowledge societies of today, some people are overloaded with information, others are starved for information. Everywhere, people are yearning to freely express themselves, to actively participate in governance processes and cultural exchanges. Media and information literacy (MIL) provides all citizens with critical competencies to survive in the 21 Century.

Recognizing that to achieve MIL for all will require national policies, UNESCO has published Media and Informational Literacy Policy and Strategy Guidelines.
This comprehensive MIL Policy and Strategy Guidelines resource is the first of its kind to treat MIL as a composite concept, unifying information literacy and media literacy. These guidelines offer a harmonized approach, which in turn enables stakeholders to articulate more sustained national MIL policies strategies, describing both the process and content to be considered.

As Professor Ulla Carlsson, Director of the Nordic Information Centre of Media and Communication Research, notes in her Preface, “this publication is of vital importance toward improving efforts to promote MIL on national and regional levels”.

Without MIL policy and strategy, disparities are likely to increase between those who have and those who do not have access to information, enjoy or not freedom of expression, and are able or not to critically engage in modern governance and a connected world which are powered by information, media and technology.

The Guidelines is divided in two parts. Part 1, MIL Policy Brief, is designed for policy or decision makers and can serve as a summary of the publication. Part 2 is divided into several comprehensive chapters and covers the following topics:

- how to enlist MIL as development tool;
- conceptual frameworks for MIL policies and strategies; and
- model MIL policy and strategies that can be adapted by countries globally.

This new publication is part of a comprehensive MIL Toolkit being developed by UNESCO in cooperation with its partners. The full MIL Toolkit will include:

- MIL Curriculum for Teachers (already produced and available here);
- Global MIL Assessment Framework (already produced and available here);
- Guidelines for Broadcasters to promote MIL and User-Generated Content (already produced and available here);
- an online multimedia MIL teaching resources tool; and
- model online MIL and intercultural dialogue courses (one is already developed and available here).

Further Information

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:09:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, Telecentre.org Foundation (TCF) is happy to announce that, as of January 2014, over 1 million women from different parts of the world have been trained and acquired new ICT skills under its Telecentre Women Digital Literacy Campaign.

The campaign, which kicked off in 2011, is a joint undertaking of TCF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN specialized agency for ICTs. With a total of 1,014,096 women trained, the original 1 million target was surpassed through the combined efforts of 153 participating organizations in 79 countries.

“Partnership is key in any undertaking, and what we have achieved so far under the Telecentre Women Digital Literacy Campaign is a testament to this. I, therefore, take this opportunity to thank ITU and all our partners in this campaign for accepting the challenge and for embracing this cause with so much fervor", says Miguel Raimilla, TCF’s Executive Director. “We may have already reached our target, but the work doesn’t stop here. There is still so much more to be done out there, and the program will definitely continue to empower women worldwide through ICT, in the hopes of inspiring change and ultimately bringing about the much needed results”, he added.

(Source: Telecentre.org)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:02:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Whether it's learning how to read and write or setting up your own farm, a Zambian computer tablet -- known as the ZEduPad -- is trying to open up the country's information highway.

The brain child of British tech entrepreneur Mark Bennett, the ZEduPad principally teaches users basic numeracy and literacy skills, aimed at primary school children. "It became clear that there was a huge need for this kind of technology", Bennett said, "particularly tablet technology, which has come a long way in Africa in recent years".

After arriving in Zambia 30 years ago under the British Aid Program, Bennett worked in the computer department at the country's national university for over a decade before deciding to go it alone.

We can really do something very major for the first time", he said. "We've invested about $5 million to date... It's totally all-encompassing and quite prescriptive so we are aiming at being able to get to an untrained teacher in a deep rural area in the African bush".

The ZEduPad is programmed in eight different languages native to Zambia with over 12,000 preloaded classes and lesson plans for untrained teachers in rural areas, according to Bennett.

Approved by the Zambian Ministry of Education, the educational tablet allows children to create a personal profile on its seven-inch screen to keep track of their progress as well as exposing them to e-mail and Wikipedia.

Bennett said the ZEduPad is set up to teach grades one to seven through interactive learning in every subject from math to PE, art and music. The technology comes at a time when Zambia's educational system is undergoing sweeping changes. Since 2001, the government has increased primary school enrollment rates by 90%. As a result, the World Bank has identified the landlocked southern African nation as having one of the most improved primary school education systems in the developing world.

Bennett added: "For years there was a problem with funding, education was not keeping up with population growth. Young people coming out of school and not being well suited or prepared to enter the job market.... We're trying to change that".

The ZEduPad gives children a grasp of vital technology skills in a landlocked country where broadband is scarce and only 18% of the nation's 14 million people have access to electricity, according to the World Bank.

In addition to following the national curriculum, the tablet also contains farming and health information designed for adults to help prevent the spread of killer diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.

(Source: CNN)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 2:42:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, 8 March, UNESCO joins forces with international and regional partners to launch the annual Women Make the News (WMN) initiative. This year’s WMN theme is “Advancing Global Partnerships to Achieving Gender Equality in and through Media.” It is closely linked to the International Women’s Day global theme, “Equality for women is progress for all”.

Research has shown that, on average, only 24% of people questioned, seen, heard or read about in the media are women. Only one quarter of board members governing media organizations are women. The media, as champions of freedom of expression and with their function to promote diversity, should treat this imbalance as a threat to the free expression of half the world’s population. Getting more women in the news needs to be a consistent commitment to achieve evolutionary change.
We are calling on our media partners to commit to ensuring that 30% of all experts interviewed in the news are women as a step towards achieving gender equality in editorial content.

Half the world’s population implies fifty percent of the viewership, listenership and readership of the world’s media. Responding to them is a sure business and development model. It is sure progress for media development and indeed sure progress for all. 

Likewise, UNESCO is inviting editors-in-chief of newspapers, radio, television online and offline to join this initiative, and to entrust women journalists and reporters with editorial responsibility for the newsroom on International Women’s Day or during the WMN initiative.

The WMN 2014 theme this year is connected to the success of the groundbreaking Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG) which was launched during the first Global Forum on Media and Gender which took place in Bangkok, Thailand, from 2 to 4 of December 2013. Through GAMAG, constructive dialogue between media partners and civil society will be strengthened, and all stakeholders can collectively work to give momentum to women's access to expression and decision-making by promoting a gender-inclusive media and communication environment.

Gender equality in all levels of decision making in media and in content involves all and has many dimensions as described in the UNESCO Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media resource. The media civil society, governments, private sector and development organizations can contribute. GAMAG and the WMN 2014 initiative unite all stakeholders to take action. Click here to view WMN website and see more about how you can get involved. Commit to this initiative and help to spread the word.

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 1:27:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 10, 2014


- Women around the world are more economically excluded than men.
- Social norms affect women’s work by dictating the way they spend their time and undervaluing their potential.
- Legal discrimination is a remarkably common barrier to women’s work.

Women around the world still face huge, persistent gender gaps at work, according to a new report by the World Bank Group, which calls for bold, innovative measures to level the playing field and unleash women’s economic potential.

By virtually every global measure, women are more economically excluded than men, according to Gender at Work. Trends suggest women’s labor force participation worldwide has stagnated over the past 30 years, dropping from 57 to 55 percent globally, despite accumulating evidence that jobs benefit women, families, businesses, and communities.

"The reasons for this will differ from country to country, but we think that the persistence of norms—which means that women don't have as much choice over their livelihoods as men—as well as legal barriers to work are both playing important roles", said Jeni Klugman, World Bank Group Gender and Development Director.

A companion to the 2013 World Development Report on jobs, the report notes that since women face multiple constraints to jobs, starting early and extending throughout their lives, progressive, broad-based, and coordinated policy action is needed to close gender gaps. Common constraints include lack of mobility, time, and skills, exposure to violence, and the absence of basic legal rights.

Gender at Work also finds that legal discrimination is a remarkably common barrier to women’s work. Restrictive laws can hinder women’s ability to access institutions, own or use property, build credit, or get a job. In 15 countries, women still require their husbands’ consent to work.

To address these inequalities, the report recommends governments target actions that cover a woman’s life cycle—saying interventions that focus only on women of productive age start too late and end too early.

“The commitment must begin with fostering girls’ and boys’ skills and aspirations equally from their early years, so it stays with them long enough that they and future generations enjoy a more equitable and prosperous world”, Klugman said.

Gender at Work: 10 Global Facts:
 
• Women’s labor force participation has stagnated, in fact decreasing from 57 percent in 1990 to 55 percent in 2012.
• Women on average earn between 10 and 30 percent less than working men.
• Women are only half as likely as men to have full-time wage jobs for an employer.
• In only five of the 114 countries for which data are available have women reached or surpassed gender parity with men in such occupations as legislators, senior officials, and managers; namely, Colombia, Fiji, Jamaica, Lesotho, and the Philippines.
• Women spend at least twice as much time as men on unpaid domestic work such as caring and housework.
• A total of 128 countries have at least one sex-based legal differentiation, meaning women and men cannot function in the world of work in the same way; in 54 countries, women face five or more legal differences.
• Across developing countries, there is a nine percentage point gap between women and men in having an account at a formal financial institution.
• More than one in three women has experienced either physical or sexual violence by a partner or non-partner sexual violence.
• In 2010-12, 42 countries reported gender gaps in secondary school enrollment rates exceeding 10 percent.
• One in three girls in developing countries is married before reaching her 18th birthday.

(Source: World Bank)

Monday, March 10, 2014 6:12:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 05, 2014



This study aims to provide a greater awareness and contribute to a greater awareness of society about the possibilities offered by ICTs for persons with visual, hearing and mobility disabilities, to improve their welfare and employment opportunities.

It delves into the facilities and difficulties to access and use three types of specific technologies: the mobile phone, Internet (including social networking and e-government) and the computer.

The core of the study is based on the exploitation of EPDFVE Survey 2013, for persons with visual, hearing and mobility disabilities between 18 and 64 years old living in Spain, designed specifically to know, from experience and perception of disabled people themselves, how they can access and use the various technologies listed. Also, we want to know what aspects of ICT are more useful to enhance their daily life, what are the limitations that these groups have to take advantage of its benefits and what demands and proposals make us to improve their access and use thereof.

The analysis of data from the 2013 Survey EPDFVE allows to answer various questions raised with regard to people with disabilities and the role of ICT in their daily lives.

Here is available for download, in PDF, a summary of the report with main conclusions. The full report (188 pages) must be requested by sending an email to infofve@corp.vodafone.es

Further details




Wednesday, March 05, 2014 7:04:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

General Objectives

Analyze the social and labor situation and the profile of people with disabilities in nine Latin American countries in order to find out whether ITC training and teleworking are an alternative for their labor inclusion.

Specific Objectives

  1. Generate quantitative information on ITC training and working conditions of disabled people. Provide an estimation of the number of potential teleworkers with disabilities.

  2. Generate qualitative information through observation and refer to actual teleworking cases involving people with disabilities in order to identify the use of ITC applicable to this kind of activity and detect how legislation and norms are applied in each country focusing the labor inclusion of people with disabilities.

  3. Divulge concepts, advances and results related to this research, and propose recommendations in accordance with the analysis of the specific aims one and two in relation to the different players: people with disabilities, trainers, contracting parties, OSC and governments.

Methodology

Information and compilation

In order to find out whether in the Latin American countries included in this research exisist cultural, social, political and technological conditions to implement telework activities for the disabled, the research will look for responses to the questions detailed below.

The countries involved are in the following list:

  1. Argentina

  2. Brazil

  3. Chile

  4. Colombia

  5. El Salvador

  6. Mexico

  7. Peru

  8. Dominican Republic

  9. Uruguay

Two different approaches will be used in the research: a macro social or quantitative one and a micro social or qualitative.

The macro-social approach will allow us to provide support to the theoretical premises of a somewhat general nature to portray the quantitative aspects of the research related to the specific aim number one.

The micro-social approach, on the other hand, will highlight the relative nature of its conclusions, because the interpretation of experiences, opinions and their meanings is essential, as they only are meaningful within certain and limited situations, referring to specific cases which will allow us to evidence the qualitative aspects.

This division will facilitate information analysis and will also allow us to synchronize both perspectives. If we just consider only one of these approaches, this might lead us to a fragmented view, because both approaches constitute an indivisible reality.

Qualitative data compilation will be carried out through computer software to be determined by the team, having the Atlas TI features.

Further details

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 7:01:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



Mobile phone applications unveiled this week aim to reduce the high number of young people who are not in schools in the Philippines by offering them new ways to engage in education.

The apps, which were presented this week at the Mobile World Congress (24-27 February) in Barcelona, Spain, include a portal to help those outside education find courses near them, an app to teach English to out-of-school teenagers through phone calls and another app to help teachers track the progress of students taking such courses.

In 2011, more than six million young people were outside the education system in the Philippines, according to the country’s National Statistics Office. The nation’s Department of Education aims to provide education to at least one million of them in 2014.

The government is confident it will meet this target partly through the use of mobile technology, Stephanie Velasco-Orlino, education programme manager at Filipino mobile operator Smart Communications, tells
SciDev.Net.

Mobile phones are widely used in the Philippines, with the population reported to send around two billion text messages a day, according to the
Philippines — Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts report published in June 2013 by telecommunications consultancy BuddeComm.

Overall, Asia’s mEducation market is projected to reach a value of US$6.8 billion by 2017, according to the GSMA, an association that represents mobile operators worldwide.

The three mobile applications unveiled this week are the result of a GSMA-facilitated partnership between the Philippines’ Department of Education and three telecommunications firms: Globe Telecom, Digital Mobile Philippines and Smart Communications.

“The mobile network operators in the country … are working to provide mobile education services to help the government to reach their goal faster”, says Velasco-Orlino.

Her company has just launched an online portal that allows young people who are not in school to find tailored training programmes.

Smart Communications also aims to build a database of its users so it can find out where these young people are located and tell them about courses that nearby education centres offer. This could help potential students find information on where to go to school, given a general lack of infrastructure and the destruction caused by typhoons.

The system is due to be available in the second quarter of 2014 both for smartphones with an internet connection and for older phones, through an interactive voice response (IVR) system.

(Source: SciDev.Net)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:58:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



Creating stronger connections between scientific research and teachers’ communities was the main objective of the EU project PATHWAY.

In collaboration with the UNESCO ASPnet schools of Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro and Serbia and the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), schools and teachers played a leading role in expanding students' experiences and their understanding of science.

With the purpose of promoting scientific culture and a better understanding the role of science and technology in schools and among young people in the South-East European (SEE) region and Europe, an online survey of ASPnet Schools was undertaken by the UNESCO Venice Office. Fifty three schools from 4 countries (Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro and Serbia) participated in the survey.

The response rate of all the schools (mainly from secondary and primary/elementary schools) was very high. The country that showed a major interest was Croatia with the highest number of filled forms. Half the schools chose one of the UNESCO ASPnet study topics for their school activities. The most popular topic among the schools was ‘Cultural Diversity, Peace and Human Rights’, although ‘Education for Sustainable Development and Cultural Heritage’ came immediately after.

The schools that responded to the survey also expressed interest in being part of the EU-Project PATHWAY and opening their schools to science and technology education. Bringing the students into close contact with science centers raise their interest and motivation to learn about science and be involved in scientific investigations. Hence, one of the ideas of PATHWAY was to connect schools with science centers and with scientific research in general, but also to focus on teachers' professional development in this field.

An objective of the project PATHWAY was to reinforce and strengthen networks and partnerships so they may play a significant role in promoting scientific culture in particular among young people. Students and teachers should be active in the process of creating and maintaining networks and partnerships.

The willingness of the UNESCO ASPnet Schools to collaborate offered a great potential for the further development and consolidation of the PATHWAY project.

(Source: UNESCO)


Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:55:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 




Facebook introduced SocialEDU, a pilot initiative that will provide students in Rwanda with free access to a collaborative online education experience. With SocialEDU, students in Rwanda will receive free data plans for accessing free edX MOOCs from some of the world’s leading universities.

Internet.org is about working together to remove barriers to access and give billions of people the power to connect to the knowledge economy,” said Javier Olivan, Vice President of Growth and Analytics at Facebook. “SocialEDU represents this kind of collaboration at its best”.

He noted that “We worked with the Rwandan government, a telecom company, a device manufacturer and an educational content provider to develop a plan to provide students with free, high-quality, localized educational content and create a social learning experience that is accessible via handheld devices. The initiative builds on the success of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) by making it possible to access high-quality educational content affordably”.

Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said, “The Government of Rwanda is excited to partner with Facebook to open up a world full of content and interaction to Rwandan students. The social education experience will accelerate innovation and propel Rwanda into a knowledge-based economy”.

He added that “We are committed to doing our part to make sure SocialEDU has the greatest possible impact in Rwanda. This is fully aligned with the Government’s Broadband for All policy and the Smart Kigali Initiative, a public-private partnership that provides free wi-fi in Kigali’s most popular squares, buses, hotels, and public buildings”.

At its core, SocialEDU addresses five critical barriers to access by bringing together: Free content, Free data, Affordable smartphones, Localized, social educational experience and a government that supports innovation.

In this program, edX (edx.org) will work with Facebook to create a social educational experience by building a mobile app that is integrated with Facebook. Airtel will provide free education data for everyone in Rwanda who participates in the program for one year, while Nokia will pitch in with affordable smartphones that will improve the quality and ease of Internet access.

The Government will also expand its Smart Kigali program to provide free wi-fi in campuses throughout the country, enabling students to access high-quality multimedia educational content. Furthermore, the Government will work with edX to adapt course materials for local students. Airtel will lead operations for the phone trade-in program.

Normally these types of apps consume a great deal of bandwidth to work properly. To ensure the success of the app in Rwanda, Facebook is providing engineering support to guarantee that the app creates a social experience that is optimized for a low-bandwidth environment.

Facebook will work closely with Ericsson to test the app’s functionality at Ericsson’s facility, which simulates a 2G environment to provide developers with immediate feedback on the app’s performance in alternative environments. Later this year, Facebook, in partnership with Ericsson, will launch a unique testing facility that simulates alternative environments for developers to use when creating apps for similar markets.

Airtel Africa’s CEO Christian de Faria said, “We are honored to participate in this noble initiative. Education is one of the key engines for economic and social growth across the continent, with Rwanda amongst Africa’s most respected countries for its outstanding development record. We will do everything possible to support this ongoing reform using Airtel’s technological capability in the data and mobile commerce environment, to facilitate Rwanda’s rapid progress”.

Nokia’s Executive Vice President for Mobile Phones, Timo Toikkanen said, “Our affordable smartphones help people make the transition from simple mobility to more sophisticated experiences. Playing a role in helping students get access to these experiences, such as social education, through the SocialEDU initiative is truly an honor”.

Improving global access to high-quality education has been a key edX goal from day one,” said Anant Agarwal, president of edX. “Nearly half of our 2 million students come from developing countries, with 10 percent from Africa. In partnering with Facebook on this innovative pilot, we hope to learn how we can take this concept to the world”.

With SocialEDU, students in Rwanda will receive free data plans for accessing free edX MOOCs from some of the world’s leading universities, including Harvard, MIT, U.C. Berkeley, TU Delft, Australian National University and ETH Zurich.

This platform will allow students to ask questions, engage with other students, interact with teachers, and participate in group discussions.

Further details


Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:50:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC), a New York-based charity supporting children and adults with autism, has selected Sprint as the 2014 recipient of the Change Maker Award for its commitment to accessibility for people with disabilities. Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO, will accept the honor on behalf of the company at QSAC’s annual gala taking place on Tuesday, June 17, at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers (West 26 Street and West Side Highway) in New York.

Each year, QSAC’s Change Maker Award recognizes a company that has made a meaningful commitment to supporting the needs of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Sprint is being honored for delivering innovative accessible solutions that empower individuals with disabilities.

Sprint offers a variety of products and services, including unique, accessibility-themed ID packs for select Android devices that are designed to accommodate various accessibility needs. Sprint’s Accessible Education ID pack, among other services, assists individuals with autism who are working to improve their socialization and communication skills.

Sprint’s efforts to expand access to technology embodies our hope for more tools and resources to assist individuals with disabilities in achieving greater independence, empowering them to contribute more meaningfully to their communities,” said Gary Maffei, executive director of QSAC. “By recognizing Sprint, QSAC hopes to encourage others to actively support Sprint and similar efforts to expand access to technology for children and adults with autism”.

At Sprint, we recognize how making wireless technology more accessible can reduce, and perhaps eventually eliminate, the communication barriers faced by individuals with disabilities,” Hesse said. “We embrace this challenge and we are proud to receive the 2014 Change Maker Award”.

Past recipients of honors from QSAC have included Pfizer and PIMCO. Each year, QSAC’s gala brings together more than 500 people to increase autism awareness while raising funds to support QSAC’s programs and services for the autism community of New York and Long Island.

Additional details regarding the gala are available online at www.qsac.com/gala.

Sprint’s corporate responsibility program, Sprint Good WorksSM, is guided by the principle that doing the right thing is good business. More than a statement, it’s also a belief: Good does indeed workSM. That’s why Sprint is committed to anticipating the needs of customers and making award-winning services accessible to all. By empowering seniors and people with disabilities through accessible technology, Sprint is demonstrating how good technology works as a positive force in society.

For more information, watch the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh813O1yYT0&feature=player_embedded

Further details


Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:43:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



Under the motto “No one can enjoy a human right to which one does not have access”, the international initiative Zero Project (www.zeroproject.org) mobilized its worldwide network of more than 1,000 disability experts in spring 2013 to map the state of the implementation of the CRPD and to find innovative practice and policy solutions on accessibility.

Download the full report

(Source: G3ICT)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:39:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 26, 2014
UNPAN online training courses are available to anyone with Internet access and are provided free of charge. The courses are available in English, Russian and Spanish. Please login or register to view and access the courses available listed below:

Courses Available for Registered Users

Electronic and Mobile Government
- Principles of E-Government
- Infrastructure for E-Government Development
- Strategies and Methodologies for E-Government
- E-Government Interoperability (English and Russian)
- Open Government Data for Citizen Engagement (NEW!)

Institution and Human Resources Management
- Decentralized Governance
- Human Resources Managers Capacity Development
- Gestión Presupuestaria Basada en Resultados (Spanish)
- La Calidad en las Organizaciones Públicas (Spanish)
- Strategies for Strengthening Public Sector Human Resources Management for Africa's Development (Coming Soon...)

Knowledge Management in Government
- Knowledge Management in Government Organization
- Strategic Intelligence

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs
)
- Citizen Engagement and the Millennium Development Goals
- Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation for MDG Implementation
- Play and Learn: MDG Progress Game

(Source: UNPAN)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 12:22:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The European Commission has selected DIGITALEUROPE and European Schoolnet to deliver the e-Skills for Jobs 2014 campaign. It aims to raise awareness of the need for citizens to improve their command of information and communication technology (ICT) skills for work. The campaign is a response to the growing demand for ICT-skilled professionals which is currently not met, despite high level of unemployment in Europe.

The campaign comes under the umbrella of the European Commission’s Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, an EU-wide multi-stakeholder partnership helping to address a shortfall in the number of European citizens with ICT professional skills, and to exploit the employment creation potential of ICT.

The main focus of the campaign will be to raise awareness of the education, training, jobs, and other opportunities that are available to people with e-Skills – those who know how to effectively use digital technologies.

Together, industry, education bodies and public authorities will deliver a large and diverse programme of events and activities throughout the year for people at all levels of education and skills. The campaign is coordinated by DIGITALEUROPE and European Schoolnet in conjunction with hundreds of national and pan-European partners including European Centre for Women and Technology, JA-YE, Telecentre Europe and many major IT industry partners.

e-Skills are essential for professionals working in small to medium size enterprises, for young people and the unemployed looking to enter the workforce. They are also vital for corporations who need a highly-skilled workforce. While Europe struggles with a prolonged economic downturn, e-Skills are more essential than ever to help get Europe’s economy back on its feet. People with strong e-Skills will play a central role in making Europe an innovative and competitive environment.

During the course of 2014, the e-Skills for jobs campaign will run in 30 EU countries*. It will inform students, unemployed people, ICT professionals and SMEs about the vast range of opportunities that ICT-related jobs present. One of the first key activities is Get Online Week, a pan-European event organised by Telecentre Europe on 24-30 March, to get new users online and improve their digital skills for working life. Two major events are also foreseen during the campaign linked to the Greek and Italian EU Presidencies.

(*Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK).

For up to date information please contact:
Jonathan Murray, Project Director, DIGITALEUROPE, jonathan.murray@digitaleurope.org
Tel: + 32 2 609 5328
Alexa Joyce, Project Director, European Schoolnet, alexa.joyce@eun.org
Tel: +32 2 790 7554

DIGITALEUROPE, is the voice of the European digital technology industry. Our membership includes large and small companies in the Information and Communications Technology and Consumer Electronics Industry sectors. DIGITALEUROPE membership is composed of 61 major multinational companies and 41 national associations from 29 European countries. In all, DIGITALEUROPE represents more than 10,000 companies all over Europe with more than 2 million employees.

European Schoolnet is the network of 30 European Ministries of Education, based in Brussels. As a not-for-profit organisation, we aim to bring innovation in teaching and learning to our key stakeholders: Ministries of Education, schools, teachers, researchers, and industry partners.

The Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs is a multi-stakeholder partnership, led by the European Commission to tackle the lack of ICT skills and the several hundred of thousands of unfilled ICT-related vacancies.  For more information see https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/grand-coalition-digital-jobs-0 and follow the Twitter hashtag #gc_eu

Get Online Week was started by Telecentre Europes an annual Europe wide campaign to get new computer user online by helping them to get through the doors of their local ICT learning centres, enabling the staff to build people’s confidence to move on into more structured learning.

Further information

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 12:11:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Young people in Rwanda are urged to take part in different debates by following live on Youtube a bi-monthly YouthConnekt Hangout programme and share their views through social networks.

The youth discuss different topics that are aimed to find solutions to different problems they face in life. The last week’s debate was the expression of young people about the role of mobile application and how they can create the mobile application technologies to solve socio-economic problems.

YouthConnekt was initiated by the Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT) in 2012 as a platform to connect young Rwandans and increase their participation in the country’s socio-economic transformation. The initiative has since spun off a number of well-established programs such the YouthConnekt Dialogue and YouthConnekt Awards.

YouthConnekt Hangout brings together various partners including UNDP, ADMA, Tigo Rwanda, Zilencio Creativo, BSC Ltd and HeHe Ltd to create a platform for youth, government, development partners, private sector and civil society to connect youth to opportunities for their personal and socio-economic development.

The last Hangout gathered the youth from different sites mainly the students of University of Rwanda/Huye (UR Huye), those of INATEK in Ngoma District, and the kLab members, a group of young ICT innovators in Kigali and the Ministry of Youth and ICT headquarters. It was an occasion where the youth were interacting with the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana.

Minister Nsengimana said that the YouthConnekt Hangout serves as an opportunity for young people to find solutions to the communities’ problems. “The Hangout brings opportunities to young people of Rwanda and beyond, the role of mobile technologies especially mobile application today,” said Minister Nsengimana.

Minister Nsengimana stressed that the role of mobile applications can be crucial in different sectors as Rwanda stays in a process of transformation, moving from agriculture based economy to ICT activities; adding that young people who started to create the applications will be rewarded in the competition to happen in the next YouthConnekt Hangout.

Miriam Muganga, a third year student at UR Huye in Computer sciences and systems, said that she tried to create an mobile application that can locate different hotels and restaurants in Huye District where tourists and visitors may find accommodation easily.

Muganga noted that any application needs a lot time doing research, and it is difficult when the students mix it with their studies.

“It is hard to find people who are more interested in the innovation, developing an application are very good when you are in a team“, said Muganga as a challenge to her.
The Hangout is an online debate happening live after two weeks, through the initiative young people across the country and abroad share their views, and are able to ask questions to the officials in order to find solutions against challenges that the country face in line with development goals.

YouthConnekt Hangout won the first prize at the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa's innovation fair in the beginning of December last year in South Africa. The platform use Google hangout technology in combination with other social media channels and SMS to connect young people to role models, resources, skills, and entrepreneurship and employment opportunities.

Click here to watch the last hangout: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdbEZYMRkjQ

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 11:58:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The fifty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 10 to 21 March 2014.
Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC - accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world attend the session.

Themes

Priority theme:
Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls.
The draft agreed conclusions are now available.

Review theme:
Access and participation of women and girls to education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work (agreed conclusions from the fifty-fifth session).

Emerging issue
:
Women’s access to productive resources

Organization of the session

In accordance with its multi-year programme of work (ECOSOC resolution 2009/15), the Commission's two-week session includes the following activities:
Organization of work

Further details

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 11:54:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU commits to empowering women over the air waves

World Radio Day 2014 brings attention to women's empowerment and encourages radio broadcasters to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality over the airwaves.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré said, “Radio is an effective means of reaching out to people everywhere. By providing information in a timely manner, it empowers people in every corner of the world, in particular women, to meet their goals of sustainable development. Innovations in radio technology, which are under constant development at ITU, will make this medium increasingly relevant”.

13 February marks the day UN Radio was founded in 1946. Today, UN Radio continues to reach millions of people around the world, with daily broadcasts in the six official languages of the United Nations plus Portuguese and Kiswahili. Through partner stations around the globe, via the Internet and through new media, UN Radio highlights the efforts, achievements and challenges of the United Nations in dealing with pressing global issues, such as, sustainable development, peace and security, human rights, humanitarian affairs, and women’s equality and empowerment.

In January 2013, the United Nations General Assembly formally endorsed UNESCO’s proclamation of World Radio Day following a request from the Academia Española de la Radio of Spain.

Radio is an effective medium to reach a wide audience and a very effective communication tool. Radio broadcasts by networks and community radio stations play a very important role in reaching out to people living in remote rural settlements around the world and is particularly indispensable in emergency communication and disaster relief.
“World Radio Day celebrates audio broadcasting and seeks to improve international cooperation among radio broadcasters while encouraging decision-makers to create and provide access to information through radio,” said Mr François Rancy, Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau. “The occasion draws attention to the unique value of radio, which is currently taking up new technological forms and devices such as digital and online broadcasting”.

The ITU body dealing with the broadcasting service, ITU-R Study Group 6, focuses on worldwide broadcasting roaming and accessibility to these services – which include vision, sound, multimedia and data services intended for delivery to the general public – and plays a leading role in the advances being made in these technologies.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 11:33:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Download PDF here

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been proven to promote economic growth, but do we know that ICTs reduce poverty? This book provides new empirical evidence on access to and use of ICTs and their effect on poor households in four East African countries: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. It addresses the questions: Do women benefit economically from using ICTs? Are the livelihoods of rural users boosted? Which ICTs are being used by low-income entrepreneurs?

ICT Pathways to Poverty Reduction presents a conceptual framework to analyze how the dynamics of poverty change over time and to shed light on whether ICT access benefits the poor as well as the not-so-poor. The chapters contain case studies on how various forms of ICTs affect different aspects of poverty based on research in East and Southern African countries at the household level or in small and medium enterprises.

Six of the chapters in this book are based on data from the PICTURE Africa study between 2007 and 2010. Two additional chapters detail country-specific studies based on findings from other research projects. Overall, the study concluded that ICTs make a difference to the livelihoods of the poor and contribute to reducing both financial and non-financial dimensions of poverty.

ICT Pathways to Poverty Reduction is essential reading for policymakers and researchers in international development, as well as staff of development agencies working on livelihoods for the poor.

(Source: IDRC)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 11:08:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 19, 2014


How do we make educational materials accessible to a girl from a poor family in Africa where over 50% of her female peers will never go to school? How can we get books into the hands of the poorest people on Earth?

The answer, at least in the immediate term, is mobile devices – and more precisely, mobile phones. Mobile devices are the most successful and ubiquitous information and communication technology in human history. They are plentiful in places where books and schools are scarce.

In less than a decade, mobile technology has spread to the furthest corners of the planet. Of the estimated 7 billion people on Earth, 6 billion now have access to a working mobile phone. Africa, which had a mobile penetration rate of just 5% in the 1990s, is now the second largest and fastest growing mobile phone market in the world, with a penetration rate of over 60% and climbing.

Mobile devices are transforming the way we communicate, live and learn. We must ensure that this digital revolution becomes a revolution in education, promoting inclusive and better learning everywhere.

From 17 to 21 February 2014, the UNESCO Mobile Learning Week will explore how mobile technologies can meet the needs of educators and help them improve their effectiveness. Under the theme of “Empowering teachers with technology”, MLW 2014 will consider the benefits as well as challenges associated with mobile learning—such as ensuring equity of devices, online safety, limited mobile-friendly content and the need for teacher training. “Technology can be a powerful education multiplier, but we must know how to use it… On its own, technology is not enough. Empowerment comes from skills and opportunities to use them. It comes from quality content that is inclusive, that draws on local languages and knowledge systems,” said UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova.

As mobile technology jumps from the margins of education to the mainstream, teachers will be key to the success of ICTs in teaching and learning. While not a panacea, mobile technology has a clear track record of improving educational efficiency. MLW 2014 will investigate how educators can best utilize mobile devices to achieve national and international learning objectives, including Education for All.

Despite impressive progress, the world is not on track to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadline. To ensure universal primary education UNESCO estimates that 6.8 million teachers need to be hired worldwide by 2015: 1.7 million are needed to fill new posts and 5.1 million are needed to replace outgoing teachers. These shortages—both current and anticipated— impede a wide range of development efforts by preventing young people from gaining access to the high quality instruction needed to excel in knowledge-based societies. The shortage of trained and motivated teachers is most acute in parts of the world where more and better quality instruction is desperately needed. In light of the urgency of the global teacher crisis, UNESCO wants to better understand how mobile technology can help prepare new teachers and provide professional development to working teachers.

Compounding the challenges of teacher supply, are concerns about teacher quality. Many children who are in school fail to develop basic competencies. As the latest UNESCO Global Monitoring Report reveals, 250 million students worldwide cannot read, write or count, even after four years of school. Close to 775 million adults – 64% of whom are women – still lack reading and writing skills, with the lowest rates in Sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia.

Improving educational access and quality requires political leadership, planning and action. To this effect, MLW 2014 will host a policy forum, symposium, research track, 11 half-day workshops, and 80 breakout presentations on the most cutting-edge topics, such as Open Educational Resources; classroom apps for smartphones and basic phones alike, content for tablets and netbooks; mobile learning pedagogics; building mobile learning apps; social media and more.

Mobile technologies hold the key to turning today’s digital divide into digital dividends, bringing equitable and quality education for all.

Further details

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 10:48:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
UNESCO, in partnership with Athabasca University and in cooperation with the UNESCO-UNAOC University Network on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue, launches online course on media and information literacy (MIL).

This entry-level online course will provide youth with basic media and information competencies to become critical citizens and agents of change. The course is designed to enable youth to:

 - Understand why media and other information providers are important to development and democratic societies;
 - Recognise a need for information and to locate, access, organise and carefully evaluate information and the content of media and other information providers;
 - Use and share information based on moral principles or accepted standards of social behaviour;
 - Interact with media and other information providers to freely express themselves, share their culture and learn about other cultures, promote gender equality, and participate in democratic and development activities.

The course is based on the MIL Curriculum and the Freedom of Expression (FOE) Toolkit published by UNESCO. A central theme throughout this 12-week course is how media and information literacy can enable youth to be actively involved in intercultural dialogue, advocating for equality between women/girls and men/boys, and freedom of expression.

The course will be offered through Athabasca University’s online e-Lab, using the learning management system, Moodle. Most sessions will be self-directed, with ongoing interaction with the course presenters in the online space. Athabasca is a Canadian university that holds a UNESCO Chair on open education resources. Athabasca University is an associate member of the UNESCO-UNAOC University Network on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue.

Applicants should be youth (females and males between the ages 15-25). Participants who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate from Athabasca University.

In order to successfully complete this course participants will need regular access to a computer and Internet access to download documents, listen to podcasts and view online videos.

To apply, please click here. Application must be completed by 19 February 2014. There are no associated fees to participants who wish to do this course.

This MIL course is being launched in conjunction with UNESCO’s Women Make the News initiative organized around International Women’s Day, March 8. It is the second course to be offered by UNESCO-UNAOC University Network on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue. The first targets teachers, policy makers and others professionals.

Further Information

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 10:40:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
A social media site that links Puerto Rican scientists abroad with those at home could be helping to strengthen the science community in a territory that has experienced substantial brain drain, according to its developers.

The founders of CienciaPR (‘Science Puerto Rico’) say the island group has few high-quality scientific institutions and, like other Latin American countries, spends little on research — so brain drain is a problem.

Some 64 per cent of Puerto Rican students studying for PhDs live outside the archipelago, as do 44 per cent of the doctorate workforce, according to a paper reviewing the website’s progress, published last month (31 December) in PLOS Biology.

With so few scientists in Puerto Rico, it is hard to foster local science, say the authors. But CiencaPR may be compensating with a digital community that can help fill the gaps.

Launched in 2006, the network has almost 7,000 members in 48 countries, and includes people in more than 185 universities in the United States.

The authors of the paper say CienciaPR has brought benefits at a local level, enabling students and scientists who leave Puerto Rico to continue to contribute to the local scientific community through science communication, outreach initiatives, research and education.

For example, the platform “has been a resource for teachers [in Puerto Rico] who look to bring scientists to their classrooms or to contextualise their science lessons. It is helping to stimulate students’ interest in science careers”, says Giovanna Guerrero-Medina, CienciaPR’s executive director.

(Source: SciDevNet)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 12:28:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Wikigender, the UN Foundation, Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC), the EU-LAC Foundation, European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), ECLAC and PARIS21 would like to hear your views on where are the data gaps and engage in a discussion on pioneering initiatives that generate new data and new methodological approaches to address complex areas (e.g. unpaid care, time use, social norms).

The outcomes of the discussion and main findings will be synthesised in a final report and presented/distributed at a side event organised by the OECD Development Centre, Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in March 2014, during the 58th session on UN the Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

Participate from 9am (GMT+1) on 27/01 until 5pm on 14/02!

Background

The objective of this online discussion is to focus on data gaps on gender equality, which can contribute to the 58th Commission for the Status of Women’s (CSW) review of the MDGs. Given the growing advocacy momentum for a stand-alone gender equality goal and targets in the post-2015 agenda, it is important to stocktake progress made since 2000 on improving the quality, coverage and approaches to data, which can assist in the elaboration of priorities for the statistical infrastructure for gender equality moving forward. Initiatives spearheaded at the international level (e.g. the UN Women/UNSD 52 minimum set of indicators, EDGE initiative, Data 2X), regional organisations (e.g. ECLAC, EU-LAC, EIGE), and national statistical offices point to the importance of coordinated action and knowledge-sharing for advancing the gender agenda at all levels: sub-national, national and international.

The Wikigender online discussion will look at where are the data gaps, map pioneering initiatives that generate new data (including use of big data), share knowledge on new methodological approaches to address complex areas (e.g. unpaid care, time use, social norms), progress on gender statistics since 2000, as well as national capacities to collect data. It aims to bring together leading institutes working on gender statistics to share and discuss their initiatives, results and proposals for improving gender statistics amongst a technical community of practice.

More information

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 11:59:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Government on Friday introduced the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill in Rajya Sabha (RS), seeking to increase reservation for persons with disabilities in public sector jobs from existing 3% to 5% and reserve seat for them in higher educational institutions.

Persons with disabilities under the proposed legislation – which also seeks to broaden the ambit of disability from seven to 19 sub-categories — will, however, not get such relief soon as the members in Upper House insisted to send it to a standing committee of Parliament for detailed examination before putting it up for discussion and passing.
If the chairman Hamid Ansari agrees to send the Bill to the parliamentary panel, then it won’t be passed during the current session – the last one during the present government.

At present, the reservation for the disabled is only 3% in the ratio of 1% each for people with mobility, vision and hearing disabilities. The new Bill, if passed by the Parliament, will extend the quota by 2%, covering two new additional categories – mental disability and people with multiple disabilities.

The proposed legislation divides the broad categories into various sub-categories, seeking to include as many types of disabilities as possible. It includes, thalassemia and muscular dystrophy besides autism, blindness, cerebral palsy, chronic neurological conditions, mental disability and multiple disabilities.

The Bill, introduced by the Union minister for social justice and empowerment Mallikarjun Kharge, also provides for setting up National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, which will have statutory powers besides establishing a dedicated National Fund for Persons with Disabilities.

The proposed legislation is expected to bring more clarity in defining disability. Anyone suffering 40% disability or more will continue to be defined as a ‘person with disability’.

Besides making provisions to prevent persons with disabilities from harassment while getting disability certificates, the proposal legislation also provides for stringent punitive measures under which anyone violating the provisions could face from six months to five years of imprisonment and a fine from Rs 10,000 to five lakhs.

Demand to send the Bill to standing committee came from CPM members in the House. As soon as Kharge introduced the Bill, the party member Sitaram Yechury rose to his feet demanding that the bill should be referred to a Standing Committee. Deputy chairman P J Kurien, however, said that the chairman Hamid Ansari would take a call on this.

The government had in December last year decided to replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995 with the new Bill. It maintained that the proposed legislation is in consonance with the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which India had signed in 2007.

Various Disabled Rights Groups had, however, protested against the Bill in its current form, saying the provisions were not in tune with the norms of UN convention. The groups had identified 20 shortcomings and suggested amendments in the Bill.

Besides introduction of this much awaited Bill, the Upper House could not transact any other business for the third consecutive day on Friday. Member raised various issues including Telangana, corruption and plight of Tamil Nadu fishermen simultaneously as soon as the Rajya Sabha assembles. As the din continued, the House was adjourned for the day after two adjournments during the first half.

(Source: The Times of India)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 3:33:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 13, 2014


Safety is a basic human right. But for the millions of women and girls living in low-income urban communities across the world, personal safety can be difficult to achieve – giving way to gender-based violence, social isolation or a lack of basic social services. With this challenge, we are asking the OpenIDEO community to help design solutions that enable women to feel safe and empowered, by contributing research, sharing ideas and collaborating with others during the challenge.

According to the latest UN Habitat Report, women make up the majority of the world’s poor—up to 70 percent in some countries. It is also widely acknowledged that women and girls living in low-income urban contexts are disproportionately affected by safety hazards such as gender-based violence, unstable housing and inadequate sanitation facilities or lighting. As more and more people in developing countries migrate into cities from more rural areas, finding effective safety solutions for women and girls becomes increasingly urgent.

In order to frame the context for this challenge, Amplify convened an interdisciplinary group of subject-matter experts and community stakeholders to explore the issues underlying women’s safety. Learn more about these issues and what the experts discussed. The Amplify team will also be sharing research contributions as they learn from women, girls and multidisciplinary experts throughout the Research Phase.

Thought Starters for This Challenge
While there are countless exciting design directions for improving women’s safety in low-income urban areas, here are a few of the opportunity areas that came up during our expert convening that we are particularly excited about:

- How might we leverage the population density of low-income urban areas as a catalyst for safety?
- How might we use existing points of connection – from schools, to bus stops, to marketplaces – to build community, support and agency among women and girls?
- How might we engage men and boys in making urban environments safer for women and girls?
- How might we use infrastructure – transportation, architecture, sanitation and lighting, for example – to enhance safety and security?

Check out more information and short videos about these opportunity areas.

We trust that everyone will approach our challenge conversation with empathy and respect. With that in mind, we’ve outlined some Guiding Principles for contributing to this challenge – a great place to start if you’re just jumping in.

(Source: Open Ideo)

Thursday, February 13, 2014 3:59:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 22, 2014

We are excited to announce the launch of our WWW: Women Weave the Web Campaign! Join World Pulse in supporting women who are using the Internet to transform the world. From the streets of Nairobi to the plazas of Buenos Aires, women are logging on and sparking change. Now is the time to break down the digital divide. Participate in our campaign to make sure that every woman can access the tools that will empower her!

Our newly launched campaign is poised to crowdsource the wisdom of grassroots women leaders like you on issues related to digital inclusion and empowerment. With the launch of the campaign, we're kicking off the Digital Access phase to find out about challenges you have accessing the Internet and the solutions you and your community are developing. In a few months, we'll turn our focus to Digital Literacy and then to Digital Empowerment, to gather your ideas on the tools you need to fully espouse the web, as well as how the Internet empowers you to create real and powerful change on the ground. World Pulse will analyze the submitted testimonies, and, in conjunction with our partners, present your ideas and recommendations to important international forums, policy leaders, media outlets, and technology companies. Together, we can make sure our voices are heard in the halls of power, calling for the digital inclusion and empowerment of all women around the world!

Want to write a story? Take a picture? Connect with other women? There many ways to get involved with the campaign, from writing a journal entry on digital access to uploading a photo of your local library, or mapping internet cafes that are safe for women. Take a look at our How to Participate page to learn about all the ways that you can get your voice heard on this important issue!

This year, we have joined forces with several partners to bring some incredible opportunities and prizes to campaign participants! These opportunities include the $20,000 Lynn Syms prize, to be awarded to an outstanding grassroots woman and visionary voice using digital tools to effect change and advance her community work.

Campaign participants will also be able to apply to become a part of the Beyond Access Community, an initiative aimed at supporting local libraries in implementing community development programs. To be eligible for all the prizes, you first need to submit a journal entry to the campaign, so submit your story now!

(Source: World Pulse)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:53:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
TALENTEDGE, India's premier technology training company, has unveiled plans to boost information technology education in Nigeria through a partnership with local internet company, Linkserve.

A statement by Talentedge, said the company would, through its multiple product lines, offer a bouquet of learning courses like individual learning programmes, campus learning schemes, corporate education programmes and government training projects.

It said the pact will bring to the Nigerian market, a bouquet of technology training applications that had already helped to change IT learning in India and other developing nations.

The statement also added that the agreement would also allow Linkserve to open training centres.

Talentedge said it would also work with other sub-franchisees to increase the educational knowledge base in Nigeria for a better trained workforce.“We are extremely delighted to sign an agreement with Linkserve Group as part of our endeavour to change the landscape of education in Nigeria by introducing affordable and quality education for millions of students.

"Even though we have been operational in Nigeria as KarROX, we are now re-entering the country with a renewed vigour by partnering with a strong player in the IT Industry like Linkserve.

"We hope to replicate the high standards of education set by us in India in Nigeria”, the firm stated.

The chairman of Linkserve, Chima Onyekwere, was quoted as saying the partnership with Talentedge was in line with the company's vision to bring to the Nigerian market quality educational training matched with the innovative spirit of Linkserve.

He hailed Linkserve as a true IT pioneer in Nigeria. Onyekwere, said Talentedge and Linkserve would help the Federal Government improve the quality of ICT education and to ensure that Nigeria benefitted from the increased advancement in the field.

(Source: All Africa)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:47:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in partnership with UNICEF Ghana will this week launch the MEST-UNICEF Hackathon, a three-day product development competition to find new technologies to serve the hard-to-reach in Ghana. Participants will tackle issues ranging from water supply tracking, to access to information, and sanitation.

Over 3 days (from 15th -17th January 2014), participants will work in teams to develop practical web or mobile applications that address a set of problem statements presented by UNICEF Ghana. On 17th January, the teams will pitch their solutions to a panel of judges from UNICEF Ghana and MTN Ghana, and the top three teams will receive GHC5,000, GHC2,500 and GHC1,000 respectively.

“MEST is dedicated to supporting young and bright Africans to start their own software companies to create wealth and jobs in Africa. Our goal is that by setting this pace we can inspire generations that follow to achieve greatness in the continent”. Ekua Odoom, Managing Director - MEST said.

“We know talent is equally distributed but wealth is not and by creating opportunities like this we are showing the world how inspirational, talented and promising the youth in Africa are. And for this reason we are excited to partner with key development players such as UNICEF Ghana, to pursue this common vision of touching the continent in a phenomenal way- by helping find innovative technologies to serve the hard-to-reach in Ghana through this hackathon”, Ms. Odoom said.

Over 100 of Ghana’s brightest tech minds will join the competition at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) at East Legon. Participants will be joined by guests from the technology and business communities, as well as members of the general public.

“New ideas and technologies are needed to serve the hardest to reach communities in Ghana. UNICEF aims to co-develop innovations that are driven by and suited to the needs of the most vulnerable”, UNICEF Ghana Country Representative, Susan Namondo Ngongi, said.

“Partnering with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology gives UNICEF the opportunity to encourage innovations by Ghanaians, for Ghanaians. This partnership will bring different sets of skills, viewpoints and influence to the table.

“Most of the problem statements presented by UNICEF are around how we, working with our partners, improve our ability to target resources and monitor and manage results. “We believe that this hackathon will come up with innovative concepts that can be further refined to improve the lives of children in Ghana”, Ms Ngongi said. Follow @UNICEFGhana and @MESTGhana on twitter for live updates.

(Source: Ghanaweb)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:43:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Laptops, tablets and mobile phones are quickly changing the way we live and they are changing the way we learn.

Devices that were banned in schools just a few years ago are becoming commonplace in classrooms and increasingly integrated into day-to-day pedagogical practices. Yet concrete and evidence-based knowledge about how mobile technology is best leveraged to improve education is only beginning to emerge.

UNESCO Mobile Learning Week 2014 will bring together experts and government officials from around the world to discuss how new technologies can improve education outcomes and make learning more accessible and more equitable. The theme of the event, now in its third year, is teachers. How can mobile technology make teachers more effective and help them impart meaningful skills and understanding to students? Questions about how technology, teachers and learners intersect have never been more relevant and Mobile Learning Week will engage these questions directly from 17 to 21 February 2014.

(Source: UNESCO)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:39:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Many don’t believe that women can be as successful as men in fields related to math and science. Coding and computer programming have particularly been male-dominated fields, in the West as well as in the Arab world.

This perception has inspired the formation of several all-women coding and electronics groups, such as Girls Who Code, Women Who Tech, Women 2.0, and Girls in Tech which have opened two regional branches this year, in Cairo and Dubai (Another regional branch, in Kuwait, closed three years ago).

Girls in Tech was launched last November to bring the "know-how" of Lean Startup Machine to Egypt - its three-day model of trainings, tutorial sessions, and workshops targeted at school students in underdeveloped markets - to Egypt's students. But since then, the political and economic climate has forced the local chapter of Girls in Tech to shift its strategy and build instead a local community that challenges girls to develop tech skills on their own. Looking for local technical partners to fill in for the leery American organization wasn’t easy, according to Karam, because Egyptian telecom companies are rarely interested in anything beyond their own bottom lines.

This community was launched during a big event in Cairo, during which members were able to share opportunities and advice to facilitate their work. Smaller, more informal networking meetings as well as customizable mentorship events are also in the making.

Mona Karam, founder of Girls in Tech’s Egypt branch, is 27 years old, and works in Research and Development at Vodafone. While the general impression, she says, is that it’s harder for girls to succeed in technology fields, she and her organization have worked on bringing several young women to the forefront. One of these is Dr. Maha Nassar, founder and CEO of Jupiter2000, who has been working in the IT field since 1996, specifically in electronic financial transactions. Another woman is Rasha Ali, CEO of Smacrs, which specializes in e-advertising and marketing and other e-services. Both participated in the opening ceremony for Girls in Tech’s local branch in Cairo back in April.

"Women's capabilities usually begin to be questioned after they graduate from college with majors related to technology, math, engineering, science, and business management", she says. Women, she adds, sometimes struggle to find support from even the people closest to them, as was the case with Dr. Maha Nassar who revealed, during a speech in the opening ceremony, how her husband discouraged her in the beginning of her professional career. Later, he became her biggest supporter as her company's customer database began expanding to the GCC countries.

The Girls in Tech team, made up of five women who work part-time, including Karam, as well as many volunteers, are developing a database of pioneering women in the fields of mobile apps development, online marketing, and online media. Few pure technical fields are included in this list, perhaps because of the continuing stereotypes that Karam seeks to challenge.

Karam also spoke of the group’s intention to partner with public schools that lack technical capabilities to organize small programs in traditionally male-dominated fields.

(Source: Wamda)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:35:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN 2013 played host to a large delegation from the Ugandan government, including the State Minister of ICT, Hon Nyombi Thembo, and the State Minister of Education, Hon Dr Kamanda Bataringaya.

The delegation attended to represent and publicise eLearning Africa 2014, which will be hosted by the Ministry of ICT in Kampala, May 28 – 30. This will be the ninth edition of the conference, which travels to a new African nation each year.

eLearning Africa is the largest and most comprehensive knowledge sharing event for technology-enhanced education and training on the African continent. The annual conference is a forum for everyone with an interest in education and training in Africa. The Call for Proposals is open until January 15, 2014, and the organisers are searching for inspirational, innovative speakers to submit presentation ideas under the theme of ‘Opening Frontiers to the Future’.

Hon Nyombi Thembo, Bob Lyazi, of the Uganda Communications Commission, and Edward Ssebukyu, from the Ministry of Education and Sports, contributed presentations to an interesting session in the OEB programme. The session detailed the efforts within Uganda to create a “knowledge society where ICT is central in all spheres of life” and the speakers shared their enthusiastic anticipation for the coming conference in Kampala.

On Friday morning, Hon Nyombi Thembo made a keynote address, explaining the Ugandan government’s prioritisation of ICT as one of the “priority areas for socio-economic transformation”:
“We are all aware of the increasing importance of ICT in the socio-economic transformation and development of society. The world is steadily moving towards a knowledge-based economy … and as such, we have put in place the enabling policy and regulatory environment to facilitate the integration of ICTs into all social and economic activities”.

Going on to speak about the opportunities that hosting eLearning Africa offered Uganda, Hon Nyombi Thembo explained that the conference “brings together major industrial players who share their expertise through discussions and live projects that have impacted and changed the lives of people in different countries”.
The minister finished by warmly inviting the entire OEB audience to eLearning Africa next May and to enjoy all that Uganda, “a beautiful country … endowed with a diversity of culture, nature and wildlife”, has to offer.

ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN brought together 2,195 experts and practitioners from working in and around technology-supported learning for three days to analyse, collect and create new perspectives on e-learning. The 19th edition of the annual conference was attended by participants from the education, corporate, government and public service sectors.

Further details

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:29:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The annual African EduWeek conference will this year host key sessions on the incorporation of ICT and technologies into the classroom and learning process in a bid to improve educational practices.

Following from the release of the South African matriculation (matric) examination results yesterday, the organisers of the event said the current quality of education is questionable, and both teaching and learning methods need to be reassessed.

As such, this year’s African EduWeek conference – to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 10 and 11 – will focus on key takeaways such as the use of ICT skills to enhance teaching and learning, the role of technology in the classroom, empowering teachers, strengthening school leadership, and improving FET colleges. “There could not have been a clearer illustration of the need for EduWeek than the matric results we have seen, and responses we are hearing from the education community”, said Tanya Jackman, event director of African EduWeek.

“Learners are leaving school without the necessary tools to succeed, as we see with the high dropout rates from universities and youth unemployment, and this simply has to change”.

This year’s conference has the title of “Empowering teachers to deliver quality education everywhere”, and will include free workshops for teachers to improve their classroom and technical skills.

“Our educators are the most central element in improving the education system, and they must have access to relevant training to develop and equip their learners with the tools required to succeed in professional and further education environments”, said Jackman. South Africa’s matric results published yesterday saw 78.2 per cent of students pass their exams, despite the minimum pass requirement being just 30 per cent. As such the education system is coming under considerable criticism.

“In the wake of the recently published matric results, the quality of education and indeed of teachers is coming under increased scrutiny as critics cite low pass requirements (30 per cent) and simplified exams, not educational progression, as the key determinant in the results. As 78.2 per cent of matric students passed, questions remain as to whether the quality of education learners receive is high enough”, Jackman said.

(Source: Humanipo)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:23:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, December 22, 2013

The deadline to submit your application and all required submission materials is January 22, 2014.

Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech) helps women and girls enter and succeed in technical careers, with the goal of enhancing women's talent and skills needed to fuel technological and economic growth. WeTech, a Clinton Global Initiative commitment, is led by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and implemented with a consortium of dedicated partners to support innovative activities, training, build networks and offer professional opportunities for women and girls in tech.

SEED FUND: AFRICA

WeTech is launching a Seed Fund in Africa that will provide small grants to support individuals or civil society organizations to play a role in increasing the access for women and girls to computer science-related training, jobs and leadership roles. While new and existing initiatives will be considered, preference will be given to the expansion of current projects.

Seed Fund grant amounts will range from $2,000 - $20,000. Grant applications will be reviewed by a panel of experts knowledgeable of Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) content areas or applicant's countries. Based on the application review, the Seed Fund team may propose modifications to the budget, requested amount and/or scope of the project that the grantee may accept if they so choose. Winners of the WeTech Seed Grants will be required to report quarterly on their progress as well as participate in, and contribute to, a virtual community of fellow grantees.

If you have specific questions throughout the application process, please contact us at wetech@iie.org

Further details

Sunday, December 22, 2013 8:20:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 19, 2013


Imagine a world where disabled and non-disabled people have equal life opportunities; access to mainstream education, employment and career development opportunities, a world where disabled people are able to freely access buildings, transport and other services.  This is what we aim for.

India has a rich cultural and religious heritage. It is the world’s fourth largest economy, and with a population of over one billion, is the largest democracy in the world (World Bank, 2010). India is growing in many aspects, fast becoming a global player with great potential to develop and influence other countries.

There are many changes taking place in relation to Disability Equality in India and around the world; anti-discriminative legislations, ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled people (UNCRPD), CSR initiatives, Disability Equality Practices and many more.

However, whilst India is making rapid progress in addressing disability equality, over 50% of disabled people remain illiterate compared to 35% of the general population (Government of India, 2001). The deep inequalities experienced by disabled people are further exacerbated when combined with existing axes of social difference, such as gender and social status. This shows the greater need for change in attitudes towards, and awareness of disability equality and accessibility. We believe it is you who can initiate this change which will last a lifetime and beyond, that will see our children, grandchildren and generations to come grow up in a country that respects equality and provides opportunities for all.

Choice Internationl (UK) and NGI are bringing together national and international resources to provide an environment for innovation and creativity, through which we aim to initiate change in Disability Equality and Accessibility in India. This jointly organised conference aims to recognise the achievements in Disability Equality in India, whilst analysing the challenges we now face.

So join us at ‘Freedom of choice’- an International Conference on Disability Equality and Accessibility in India, and make a lasting difference!

NGI creates a platform for forward-thinking Indians and friends, connecting them for the betterment of their lives. The aim of this publication and its events are to explore, express, learn, share, and network across the globe, promoting India, Indians and friends globally via debate, discussion and knowledge sharing.

Choice International is a UK based, non-profit, international development organisation promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the UK and overseas focussing specifically on promoting leadership development of disabled people. The current focus on India is via the LEAD-India programme.

This conference aims to:
- Explore Disability Equality within Indian businesses and services to gain an understanding of disability equality relating to accessibility, perception of disability and disability legislation in India.
- Explore the importance of barrier-free design and infrastructure.
- Equip participants to become ambassadors and promoters of Disability Equality
- Create an opportunity for participants to meet and network, share skills, knowledge and experience in Disability Equality and promote the concept of a barrier-free environment in their respective fields.

Help to incorporate effective Disability Equality practices and barrier free design in all infrastructures developed within corporate, public and voluntary sectors.

(Source: Choice International)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 6:03:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The YouthConnekt Hangout, a web-based platform that uses social media channels to connect young people to role models, resources, entrepreneurship skills and employment opportunities, has been named the best innovative project by the United Nations.

The project was rewarded with a $75,000 prize during the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Africa Innovation Fair earlier this month.

YouthConnekt was initiated by the Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT) in 2012 as a platform to connect innovative young Rwandans to participate actively in the country’s economic transformation.

“Building the skills of young people, harnessing their energy, and realizing their aspirations will help Rwanda improve its living standards and foster inclusive economic growth. Empowering them with opportunities to reach and apply their full potential are our most important challenges and our most vital opportunities”, said Lamin Manneh, the UN resident coordinator.

He indicated that although Africa had made significant strides in economic growth, it needs to be translated into opportunities for the youth to address poverty.
“Youth unemployment is a big challenge. If we want to develop, we have to harness development resources; no country can develop without involvement of youth”, he said. “An innovative approach to development is imperative”.

Manneh also called on people to transform Africa by linking job seekers to opportunities, but reminded that skills were the primary starting point in creating employment.
“People seeking jobs need skills and qualifications”, he noted.

While YouthConnekt Hangout so far requires internet access and literacy to participate in it, ICT Minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana indicated that thanks to Hehe Ltd, a Rwandan company, the online services will be linked to phone short messages (SMS) to increase access to the platform, especially in rural areas.

He added that the UNDP prize will be used to strengthen and expand the project and urged the youth to explore and seize available opportunities. “We want to build an active and innovative community that is confident in its ability to solve its own challenges by making a smart use of the abundant opportunities around us” he said.

“We are focusing on developing the youth because they are the future and are more innovative while taking on community challenges and turning them into opportunities”.
The hangouts sessions will be focusing on sharing information on opportunities for youth economic empowerment through employment, entrepreneurship, access to finance, Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D).

In addition, youth personal development as well as social and political empowerment will be promoted. Young people will also use the platform to contribute to ongoing policy discussions at national and international levels, with a focus on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

(Source: The Sunday Times)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:55:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO has launched its Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Assessment Framework for the evaluation of countries’ readiness to create an enabling environment for MIL. The publication also aims to assess citizens’ competencies on MIL, particularly targeting teachers in service and training.

Since the rapid advancements in information and communication technologies took place, traditional notions of literacy have struggled to keep up with modern demands. The challenges are also linked to a growing influence of media and the need for better management of information and knowledge at professional and societal levels.

UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy programme represents a composite set of knowledge, attitudes and skills, necessary to access, analyse, evaluate, use, produce and communicate information, media content and knowledge in creative, responsible and ethical ways in order to participate and engage in personal, professional and societal activities. UNESCO believes that every citizen needs to learn and understand principles necessary for media and information providers to fulfil their functions in society, learn more about opportunities and threats coming from virtual world and manage resources. As such, MIL acts as a key factor for the participation in knowledge societies in the 21th century, ensuring capacities for lifelong learning and developing employability and inclusion for all citizens.

A central component of UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy strategy, the Global MIL Assessment Framework would enable Member States to carry out comprehensive assessments of the information and media environment, and to monitor at the regional and national level the extent to which citizens have acquired MIL competencies, particularly targeting teachers in service and training. This evidence-based information will subsequently help Member States monitor the effectiveness of the implementation of education and ICT policies in developing 21st century capacities, and help to design new strategies and action-oriented plans that fit best within country-specific contexts and conditions.

The publication presents an overall assessment framework composed of two tiers: country readiness, and assessment of competencies. It also includes a plan for national adaptation as well as concrete suggestions for data collection, analysis and application. It is intended as a living document to be further tested, adjusted and adapted to national needs and circumstances by its users – policy decision makers, teachers and local professional communities in information, media and education.

The Global MIL Assessment Framework is part of UNESCO’s commitment to the implementation of the Intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP) Strategic Plan, and particularly its priority on information literacy, and of the Plan of Action of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). It also contributes to the on-going debate on Internet Governance.

The UNESCO Global Media and Information Literacy Assessment Framework was prepared by UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector in close collaboration with UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics and with support of the Japanese Government.

The UNESCO Global Media and Information Literacy Assessment Framework can be accessed here.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:30:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Google India aims to help 50 million more women get online by 2014-end by undertaking a variety of initiatives across the country.

Though India is on its way to become the second largest Internet market, with 200 million users, overtaking the U.S., only one-third of the online users are women.

The Internet can play an important role in empowering women in India and help them transform their lives. It can help women achieve self esteem and express their views freely, open up new opportunities and help them gain education. At the macro level, these benefits can translate into lowering maternal and infant mortality rates, a higher GDP of the country and improving standards of living.

But lack of easy access to the Internet and lack of knowledge of how to use the global network and its relevance in their daily lives are the biggest barriers for women to get online. ‘Helping women get online’ is just that initiative which aims to overcome these hurdles. Google India aims to help 50 million more women get online by 2014-end by undertaking a variety of initiatives across the country. “We have already seen many cases of women benefiting greatly by using the Internet and we are really delighted to partner with leading brands in the country in this ambitious project”, said Rajan Anandan, MD and VP Sales & Operations for Google India.

The initiative will focus on creating awareness of the benefits of Internet and educating women to use it to improve their lives, and work with partners to enable easy Internet access points for women. In the first stage, Google will launch a mass media campaign and promote the specially designed website www.hwgo.com which will host content covering the very basics of the Internet and special content that is relevant to women, available in both Hindi and English. Women can call toll-free helpline number 1800 41 999 77 for answers to any query about the Internet.

The initiative follows the success of a pilot programme that was carried out by Google India at a village in Bhilwara, Rajasthan, where over 100,000 women were trained in the basic applications of the Internet.

Now the programme will be supported by Intel, HUL and Axis Bank through joint outreach efforts including Internet training in digital literacy. Intel is also launching a mobile app, “Easy Step,” for women and it would be available on Android playstore.

Google has partnered with a host of different companies which will create and share content relevant to Indian women on www.hwgo.com. These partners include Johnson & Johnson, Indiatimes.com, Healthkart.com and Babyoye.com.

The Bhilwara project covered girl students in the age group 13-18, housewives and working women. Basic training content was created in Hindi to help the women understand how they could use the Internet in their day-to-day lives.

(Source: The Hindu)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:23:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
As is happening in other areas of society, women already occupies a better posision among the people who are making online computer training. 67% of students are women, compared to 33 % of men, according to data from Internet Academi, the largest Spanish online training platform on Internet.

Currently, they are opting to form a majority (83% ) for short programs, one month, to meet specific needs and improve their qualifications. The other 17% select a deeper or masters programs, which takes six to 10 months. They prefer mainly four areas: Social Media, Browsers, Web Analytics and Community Management.

The "sketch" of women who are doing digital training, according to data from Internet Academi would be: Spanish, around thirty years old, with higher education and who holds a responsible position in the field of Consulting or Internet.

· Age. 48% of the students are between 30 and 39 years old. Behind them, the age group between 20 and 29 accounts for 31 % of the total, and only 19 % are older than 40 years.
· Studying. With higher education level, which, in many cases, represent a Postgraduate. These studies are primarily focused on advertising, marketing, computers or technology.
· Vocational sector of origin. The students interested in the digital ecosystem work primarily in Consulting, Internet, Technology and Distribution. There is a small representation of the world of banking, insurance, textile, hospitality, advertising and marketing.
· Working place. 85% of the students have a position of responsibility as Director or Area Coordinator Department according to Internet Academi. The number of administrative and employees represents 8 %.
· Motivation. The three main reasons why women choose to be formed are: take the push that  Internet has in recent years to get a better job, increase their general knowledge to progress in their current job and complete their resume.
· Preferred courses. The students are mainly inclined to courses related to social networks and the Community Management, search engine optimization , the user experience , analytics and metrics in Internet and mobility. Among women who are enrolled in a Master Program, the chosen discipline is the E -Commerce.

"The data show that women are joining en masse to the knowledge society and their role will grow soon to address the changes that will continue", explains Rodrigo Miranda, director of Internet Academi. "Being off the Internet is similar to being illiterate in the twentieth century, and the woman has understood perfectly. They want to take this area to improve their opportunities in a business world, which is still dominated mostly by men, and they are aware that the Internet is a much more egalitarian environment where the shortage of well-trained professionals opens opportunities where they will not find wage differences like in other sectors".

Rodrigo Miranda recalls that the Network has also broken the geographical barriers. "In the case of Internet Academi, although the vast majority of our students are Spanish, in the last two calls has significantly grown the number of people from America, especially from Mexico and Colombia, and even from Asia, reaching 25% of total".

(Source: Cibersur)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:12:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
SWAZI youth recently attended a regional Web 2.0 training in Malawi.

This was courtesy of the Strengthening Youth Employment Opportunities in ICTs and Agriculture in Southern Africa (SOFIA) project. Patrick Masarirambi from SOFIA said this was part of the stakeholders’ meeting held in Malawi from November 25 to 29, 2013. He said this was a trainer of trainers on Web 2.0 and social media aimed at equipping youths in the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in agriculture.

“Participants came from the three countries, namely Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia. About five youths were selected from Swaziland to go for the training in Malawi“. Graduates from this training will be required to replicate the acquired knowledge in their centres and young farmer groups. “Running concurrently with the training was the regional advisory committee meeting which comprised members from the three implementing partners”, he said.

Masarirambi said Swaziland was represented in the committee by Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Director of Youth Affairs Bheki Thwala and Lulote Executive Director Patrick Masarirambi as the implementing partner. He said also present was sponsor representative from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) Ken Lohento.

Masarirambi said the meeting looked into various issues that should be addressed so as to ensure the success of SOFIA. He said the training was facilitated by Chandrabose Sembho from Mauritius and it went well. “Participants from Swaziland held their own as they competed well in the training. “At least two of them, Vusi Shongwe and Wandile Nxumalo were among the best five participants as they scooped two of the five prizes.

“These trained youths are going to facilitate the national training on Web 2.0 sometime next year, where about 25 will be selected from all the regions in the country”, he said.

Masarirambi said communication and availability of internet through ICT would enhance the flow of information shared locally and internationally to update farmers on supplies, markets and the outbreak of diseases as well as availability of a new variety of seeds.

He said it had been shown that the use of ICT could significantly reduce marketing and production costs. Adding, he said this project would bring economic growth, thus cutting down unemployment among the youth and the levels of crime.

(Source: Swazi Observer)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 3:57:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 13, 2013

Most people are optimistic about technology innovations advancing healthcare, are willing to participate in virtual healthcare visits with their doctor, and would use health sensors in their bodies and even their toilets, according to a new study commissioned by Intel Corporation.

The "Intel Healthcare Innovation Barometer", conducted across eight countries by Penn Schoen Berland, found the majority of people also believe that technology innovation holds the best promise for curing fatal diseases – more than increasing the number of physicians or additional funding for research.

"This survey indicates very high willingness of people to become part of the solution to the world's healthcare problems with the aid of all sorts of technologies", said Eric Dishman, Intel fellow and general manager of the company's Health and Life Sciences Group. "Most people appear to embrace a future of healthcare that allows them to get care outside hospital walls, lets them anonymously share their information for better outcomes, and personalizes care all the way down to an individual's specific genetic makeup".

Intel's research revealed that what people want most at the intersection of healthcare and technology is more personalized care based on their own behaviors and biology that provides the freedom to get healthcare wherever and whenever it's convenient for them.

Intel Healthcare Innovation Barometer: Key Findings

Improving Personal Care and Self-Monitoring with Technology

- More than 70 percent of people globally are receptive to toilet sensors, prescription bottle sensors or swallowed monitors.
- Sixty-six percent of people say they would prefer a personalized healthcare regimen designed specifically for them based on their genetic profile or biology.
- Fifty-three percent of people say they would trust a test they personally administered as much or more than if performed by a doctor.
- About 30 percent of people would trust themselves to perform their own ultrasound.

Sharing Anonymous Digital Health Records for the Common Good

- People are more willing to anonymously share their health records or genetic information than their banking information or phone records.
- More than three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents over the age of 55 would be willing to anonymously share results of lab tests or health monitoring to contribute to research databases compared with 64 percent of millennials.
- India is the country most willing to share healthcare information to aid innovation.

Emerging Technology Tools for Increased In-Home Health Management

- Half of those surveyed would trust a diagnosis delivered via video conference from their doctor.
- Seventy-two percent are receptive to communication technologies that allow them to remotely connect to their doctor.
- The innovation least likely to be incorporated by the global population is a robot performing surgery.
- Almost half of respondents (43 percent) globally would trust themselves to monitor their own blood pressure and other basic vitals.
- Only 42 percent of Japanese respondents say the traditional hospital will become obsolete in the future compared with 57 percent of global respondents.

Further details

Friday, December 13, 2013 5:05:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ICT can transform the way that education is delivered and open the way to a new pedagogy. It can make it easier for teachers to plan and find high quality materials, and it can help pupils to find out more about the subjects that they are studying. Critically, new technology can enable teachers to tailor their teaching more closely to the abilities of individual pupils.

This article is going to explore some initiatives taken by Tanzanian government in providing conducive environment for utilisation of ICT in the education sector. There are several projects at the national level, projects that have now been included as part of the national ICT policy for education.

(a) ICT Implementation in Teachers’ Colleges: This was a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Education and SIDA aimed at introducing ICT in all teacher-training colleges in the country. The project was initiated in 2005 when a proposal was developed by Schools Online, an NGO based in the US and with offices in Tanzania at the time, and sold to the ministry as an initiative to improve access and quality of education in the country. The programme’s main goal is to improve the quality of teacher education by using ICTs in pre-service and in-service sessions. Tutors were expected to become ICT literate and able to use ICT as a tool for teaching and learning as well as for management and administration. The benefits of preparing ICT-literate teachers are expected to spill over to schools when implementing initiatives like e-school or e-learning.

(b) ICT Development in Secondary Education: The eSchool Forum which was formed after the education stakeholders workshop organized by the ministry of education in 2005, has submitted a programme proposal to the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training. The proposal recommended the introduction of ICT in secondary education, in phases starting with 200 schools in phase 1 (2006 to 2008), a large scale rollout covering 2,000 schools in phase 2 (within five years), and nationwide coverage by 2015. The proposal covered a wide range of activities that need to be undertaken within the programme, including ICT infrastructure development in the schools, technical resources, student management at school levels (integrated EMIS), content and curriculum development, e-learning, sensitisation, human resources, and programme co-ordination and funding.

(c) Education Management Information System (EMIS): The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training is implementing a nationwide education management information system (EMIS) to produce and manage educational data and information. The EMIS is expected to collect, process, utilise, and disseminate education data to educational stakeholders on a timely basis. This project is currently being implemented at the ministry headquarters, however some regional and districts offices have been provided with computers and printers. Computer training has taken place for 19 regional education officers, 19 regional academic officers, 35 district education officers, and 34 statistical and logistics officers.

(d) Computer Procurement and Refurbishment for Schools: This project was managed by the Tanzania Computer Literacy for Secondary Schools Trust Fund, a local NGO based in Dar es Salaam. The project procured used computers and received donations from donors and other organisations, refurbishes these computers and uses them to equip computer labs in secondary schools. The project also train students in basic computer maintenance so that they can become the first-level support for the labs. This project was supported by IICD.

(e) Tanzania Education Services Web site: This Web site publishes information on the education sector in Tanzania, including information about schools, examination results, and school administration. There is a wealth of information including contact information for 1,060 schools and 47 teacher colleges. This project was supported by IICD.

(f) Barclays/Digital Links/TEA Computer for Schools Project: Barclays Bank and Digital Links International have formed a partnership to spur the growth of ICT in schools across East Africa. A three-year programme has set targets to place 10,000 computers in approximately 500 schools.

Implementation of the programme is through collaborative partnerships with organisations in each country. For Tanzania, the Barclays ICT project for schools is implemented by Tanzania Education Authority (TEA), Tanzania Commission of Science and Technology (COSTECH), and Mkombozi Centre for Street Children.

We are now living in an information age whereby transformation has been happening around the world with the ubiquity of ICT. It is natural that this transformation must be reflected in the way we teach and the way we learn. Todate, such a transformation has not much been taken up by the government in an effort to offer a wide range of ICT services to the citizens especially primary schools.

In Tanzania most of schools have not gone through this technological process and very few have been equipped with an ICT infrastructure. In primary schools in Tanzania, ICT has been included in curriculum while in the secondary sector it has been started to be regarded as a different subject and geared towards a skills-based exam but for few private secondary schools.

ICT can be a powerful resource for supporting school-directed change. Funding for ICT in Schools will influence the direction and the speed of innovation over the next four years. It is our recommendation that resources are targeted to areas that will drive the priorities and strategies to make transforming the way we learn into a reality.

(Source: IPP Media)

Friday, December 13, 2013 4:47:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ICT education to reach 8500 students in 33 provincial schools

ITU has selected Sri Lanka as one of five countries for the ‘Connect a School, Connect a Community’ project. Following the completion of a ‘Connect a school, Connect a Community’ project in Akuressa, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) initiated this project with ITU to extend the scope to cover 33 schools on the entire island.

This project was inaugurated today with the opening of the Computer Laboratory of the Watareka Kanishta Vidyalaya (Primary School), in Homagama, Padukka, Colombo District, by the Sri Lanka Minister of Education Mr Bandula Gunawardena. The ceremony was attended by Mr Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka and Chairman of the TRCSL, and Ms Eun-Ju Kim, Director of the ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, along with participating school principals and officials of the Provincial Education Offices.

The project will benefit over 8500 students in 33 schools located in areas of low ICT development, while also educating children with special needs.

The main objective of the project is to narrow the digital divide between rural and urban areas and provide digital opportunities to their communities. Transforming these schools into community ICT centres is expected to help marginalized and vulnerable groups, such as women, indigenous people, persons with disabilities and those living in rural, remote and underserved areas, and to empower them to contribute to their socio-economic development.

ITU and TRCSL have provided funds for the hardware and software required to equip the computer laboratories in schools. The schools will be responsible for the maintenance and operation of the facilities, while telecommunication operators will provide broadband Internet connectivity to at concessionary rates. “This school and rural community-oriented ICT project will be beneficial to the rural sector”, said Mr Weeratunga. “In the future, these schools will play a key role in the penetration of ICT knowledge into the rural and remote areas of the country”.

“The Ministry of Education is committed to equipping teachers and students in Sri Lanka with digital literacy skills in order to empower them to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the global economy”, said Mr Anura Dissanayake, Secretary in the Ministry of Education. “The project will bring technology into the classroom and allow teachers to teach their students critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration skills”.

“This is a smart initiative which sets a milestone in driving ICT access to rural and remote areas and benefits not only teachers and students but also the communities where they live”, said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “Such an innovative public-private-peoples’ partnership, which promotes school-based community ICT centres, represents an attractive, affordable, inclusive, scalable and sustainable step forward in providing digital opportunities for the people of Sri Lanka. This is certainly an excellent way forward to realize the Asia-Pacific Vision 2020: Smartly DIGITAL, which was endorsed last month by leaders at the Connect Asia-Pacific Summit held in Bangkok, Thailand”. Dr Touré was represented at the event by Ms Eun-Ju Kim, Director of ITU’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

The ‘Connect a School, Connect a Community’ project in Sri Lanka is a public-private-peoples’ partnership (4P) involving ITU, TRCSL, the Sri Lanka Ministry of Education, UNHCR, ICTA, SLT, Mobitel, Dialog Axiata, Metropolitan Computers, Daisy Lanka Foundation, Jinasena Training and Rehabilitation for ICT Education promotion of the Island.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Friday, December 13, 2013 4:21:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 09, 2013

New subtitling service makes FMQs more accessible.
 
A new service aimed at making First Minister’s Questions (FMQs) more accessible is now available on the Scottish Parliament’s You Tube channel. From today, subtitles will be available on the video archive of FMQs footage to improve accessibility and allow a wider audience to watch questions being put to the First Minister the same afternoon it is broadcast.

Running for an initial trial period, the new service will use the text from the Official Report and will be available on Thursday afternoon after First Ministers Question Time takes places and usually by 4.30 pm.

Speaking about the new service, Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body member David Stewart MSP said: “Openness and accessibility have always been at the heart of the work of the Scottish Parliament. I am delighted to announce that we will be trialling this new service as a way of bringing First Minister’s Question Time to as wide an audience as possible. Being able to see subtitled archived coverage so quickly is a significant step forward”.

The new service is the latest addition to the range of services available to those wishing to engage in Parliamentary business. These include providing information about the Scottish Parliament and its work in a range of different formats including Braille, audio, large print and British Sign Language.

In addition, where visitors are attending parliamentary business or going on a guided tour, BSL / English interpreters are available if booked in advance through Visitor Services.

People wishing to use the new service can go the Scottish Parliament’s You Tube channel. The archived video of FMQs will now include the option to add captions.
The initial trial will run until the end of December 2014.

(Source: The Edinburgh Reporter)

Monday, December 09, 2013 2:39:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 06, 2013
UK open IPTV platform YouView has released the second in a series of updates designed to deliver better accessibility for blind and partially sighted customers as well as those with motor skill and cognitive impairment, to improve the journey for this audience to find their favourite TV.

YouView
has improved the zoom functionality which now allows visually impaired users to zoom into and navigate the programme guide and select or record programmes. YouView describes this improved zoom functionality as market-leading in the UK, advising that it works with all aspects of the programme guide.

Other updates include the option of navigating the YouView programme guide using any USB connected UK keyboard or ‘Monster 2’ and ‘Clevy’ accessible keyboards, suitable for those people who struggle to hold a remote control or hold down two keys at once. Maps for these controllers are available at youview.com.

YouView has also developed series of ‘Grid Set’ navigation screens for the ‘Grid 2’ software computer programme, which allows severely disabled users to navigate the YouView programme guide with the press of just one button. Specialist software ‘Grid 2’ is designed to enable the use of computers and similar devices for this user group and is compatible with a variety of different input devices including switches and head-pointers. A computer running ‘Grid 2’ software can be connected to a YouView set-top box via an ‘IR blaster’ (infrared transmitter) which emulates the same signals as a remote control.

These updates follow an earlier accessibility release which included the option to change the iconic blue and black YouView programme guide to high contrast black and white, enabling visually impaired users to read the text more easily. Additionally, the mini screen available in the top right hand corner of the programme guide also now has the option to be switched off, offering easier navigation for customers with cognitive disorders and making navigation less distracting.

The free YouView app for iOS and Android mobile devices now also offers text-to-speech navigation of the programme guide so visually impaired users can find more information about TV programmes and remote record single programmes or a complete series. A high contrast version of the YouView app is also available. Further accessibility updates to the YouView app will be added in due course.

Susie Buckridge, Director of Product at YouView, said the platform’s goal had always been to ensure it was the easiest way for all of its customers in the UK to find the TV they love. “We hope these accessibility updates will give a wider range of customers the means to discover great TV and radio, by providing the tools to make our user interface and mobile applications easy to navigate. We are particularly pleased with the new zoom function which is a UK first and will give visually impaired users a much clearer user journey”.

The update will initially only be available on YouView set-top boxes purchased at retail and will be issued via a staggered roll-out over the coming weeks. Customers with YouView from BT or TalkTalk will receive accessibility updates early in 2014.

(Source: advanced-television)

Friday, December 06, 2013 5:37:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

This paper captures a wide range of initiatives in Bangladesh, Kenya, Egypt, Lebanon, Indonesia, Turkey, Mauritania, Tunisia, Nepal, Nairobi, West Africa, India, Nigeria, Malawi, Uganda, Serbia and South Africa, among others, that illustrate how ICTs embedded in broader communication for development strategies can provide the driving power to change and ensure better outcomes for marginalized adolescent girls. The paper highlights many of the benefits of ICT use for adolescent girls, including access to knowledge and information; connection, engagement and agency; involvement in efforts for improved governance and service delivery; increased opportunities for empowerment and voice; greater participation and inclusion; and efforts to overcome violence, exploitation and abuse. In addition, the authors also recognize existing barriers and risks in using ICTs by marginalized adolescent girls.

The paper also features case studies of C4D strategies developed by Plan International and Women in Cities International (WCI), partner organizations that are using ICTs to empower and improve the lives of adolescent girls. The examples illustrate ways in which voices of adolescent girls are captured, amplified and ‘upstreamed’ from individual or community to higher levels of influence and decision-making. At the same time, they demonstrate the essential elements of effective C4D strategy development.

Initiated in 2008, Plan’s Youth Empowerment through Technology, Arts and the Media (YETAM) programme took place in 6 West and East Africa countries: Cameroon, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda and Senegal. Through this programme, youth engaged in the community development process and beyond. They were trained on different forms of communication, which included verbal communication, performance, visual arts, and social media, in order to help them effectively raise their viewpoints and enter into dialogue with families, peers, community members, decision makers, and the general public. Social media and new technology allowed those who formerly did not have a space at the global table to enter into the dialogue directly.

Download the Full Report here

(Source: Youth Economic Opportunities)

Friday, December 06, 2013 3:57:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
UNESCO supported McCam Child Care & Development Centre to organize the first ICT for Special Needs Education Training Workshop from 11 to 12 November 2013 in Kingston, Jamaica. The event aimed at building capacities of educators in the use of available and emerging ICT, and their integrating into learning and teaching environment of students with the special needs.



Based on training-of-trainers format, the workshop was designed to produce master trainers, who would be able to train others and begin the change in pedagogical teaching practices. Twenty-four participants, mostly teachers and NGO workers from various disability groups including the deaf, blind and intellectually disabled, travelled to Kingston from as far as Westmoreland to participate in the workshop. They now have the challenging task of bringing a change in teaching and learning through ICT to their respective institutions and organizations.

Hara Padhy, Information and Communication Advisor from UNESCO’s Office in Kingston, presented new and emerging ICT tools, terminologies, policies and activities that had already influenced special education and would continue to do so. Melody Williams, educational technologist, presented new skills which would allow for the development of ICT resources, greatly needed in special education.

UNESCO is working to build inclusive knowledge societies, where persons with disabilities must be included at all levels, which can be achieved with the help of new technologies. Assistive technologies, especially those with personalized disability-friendly features, can improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities by providing better access to information and knowledge, to education and healthcare, as well as to employment. UNESCO initiated this first activity of its kind in Jamaica and hopes to replicate it in other countries of Caribbean building on the Jamaican experience in the next biennium.

Today, more than one billion people live with some form of disability in the world. Jamaica is reported to have more than 160,000 persons with some forms of disabilities.

Download here the Vision 2030 Jamaica, Persons with Disabilities - sector plan 2009-2030.

(Source: UNESCO)

Friday, December 06, 2013 3:52:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
15 per cent of the world’s population lives with a disability. This represent about 1 billion people globally. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), such as mobile phones, satellites or the Internet, are a unique infrastructure that expand access to key public services, promoting digital inclusion. Throughout the world, persons living with disabilities are already benefitting the advantages of ICT-enabled applications.

But more needs to be done. To extend the benefits of ICTs to all, ICTs have to be made accessible to persons living with disabilities, so these technologies constitute an opportunity and not a barrier. Get involved in ITU activities to make ICT accessible to persons living with disabilities and to achieving equitable communications for everyone.

The commemoration of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities provides an opportunity to further raise awareness of disability and accessibility as a cross cutting development issue and further the global efforts to promote accessibility, remove all types of barriers, and to realize the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society and shape the future of development for all!

Also, a new report released on September 2013 demonstrates how ICTs, have become a positive force of transformation and a crucial element of any personal development, empowerment and institutional framework for inclusive development. “The ICT Opportunity for a Disability-Inclusive Development Framework” contributes to a better understanding of the extent to which ICTs can enable and accelerate the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities. It lists challenges that are still to be addressed while outlining concrete actions to be undertaken by each group of stakeholders and a set of indicators to help measuring progress towards the achievement of a disability-inclusive development agenda.

Download the report "The ICT Opportunity for a Disability_Inclusive Development Framework"



Find out more about the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

​(Source: ITU)

Friday, December 06, 2013 3:47:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

As a part of its Voices of Youth Citizens initiative (formerly Digital Citizenship and Safety ), the Social and Civic Media Section of UNICEF commissioned InterMedia, along with its research partners, to conduct a study on the impact of digital technologies on young people. Specifically, the study focused on exploring how 152 children, 12 to 17 years old, in Kenya, use social media and other digital technologies, and what impact these technologies have on this group, particularly from the perspective of childrights.

The study involved holding digital youth clinics in four locations in Kenya, with children and young people who have access to mobile phones and the internet. It focused on understanding digital behavior, and perceptions of risk and safety among these active, young users of digital and social media.

Recommendations 

While the use of social and digital media is expanding rapidly among young people, parental support and the integration of digital media in education is lagging behind.  There is relatively easy access to entertainment and pornography, but there are fewer visible examples for parents and their children of how social media and digital technologies can be used for education, information, opportunity and empowerment. This will surely evolve as Kenya adjusts to the expanding information society; however, several recommendations emerge from this study that UNICEF can consider in the interim.

Download the Full Report here

(Source: Intermedia)

Friday, December 06, 2013 3:39:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Microsoft and The Future Project, a development initiative founded by Red Media Africa, have launched ‘Aiki Nigeria’, a new youth employment programme to help young Nigerians get the skills to set up their own businesses or get jobs.

Citizenship Manager, Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, Ugochukwu Nwosu, said: “Microsoft takes its citizenship engagement as primary to its work. In working with organisations, technology enthusiasts and governments at every level, we have emphasised the crucial importance of jobs for a new generation of Nigerians. This programme is a major step in leading a coordinated solution to this urgent problem”.

Aiki Nigeria has been developed closely with employers to ensure it offers employability requirements and later, the youths can take up job openings in these firms or be matched to other firms.

Aiki Nigeria has also launched a free online skills portal and career’s advice service, aiki.ng, to reach those in the rural areas. Aiki has been designed to give secondary and tertiary school students detailed information on how to start businesses, job opportunities, career tips, capacity building and networking. Young Nigerians also access training sessions and courses on personal development, consulting, entrepreneurship and project management, and offers one-on-one tailored advice from personal mentors from different occupational fields and mock interviews.

Executive Director, The Future Project and co-founder of Red Media Africa, Chude Jideonwo, said: "It is our ambition that through the new Aiki Nigeria programme we can help all young Nigerians, no matter where they are, to develop the skills they need to achieve their full potential”.

Launched five years ago, The Future Project invests in enterprise and expanding opportunities for young people. The enterprise support scheme aims to work with Microsoft to better build a community of talented job seekers and help match them to job opportunities and solve unemployment and related evils.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation with over 166 million people and for any nation looking for human resource and a market for its products, this huge population plays the answer.

According to the World Bank, over 22 per cent of this population is unemployed and even worse, the youth unemployment rate stands at 38 per cent.

(Source: This Day Live)

Friday, December 06, 2013 12:29:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
GIZ idea behind this workshop with African hubs was to network with pioneers and practitioners, to share experiences, create new ideas and discover opportunities in Africa which will eventually help promote international cooperations for sustainable development.

The event brought together a dozen of African hubs including, iLab Liberia of Liberia, iHub of Kenya, ActivSpaces of Cameroon, Klab of Rwanda, RLABS of South Africa, iLabAfrica of Kenya, icecairo of Egypt, Wennovation Hub of Nigeria, BongoHive of Zambia, iceaddis of Ethiopia and of course our AfriLabs.

In attendance were representatives from the KAIPTC of Ghana and a hosts of GIZ representatives from head offices in Germany and other African Countries.
During the workshop, we had the opportunity to visit Hubs, (iHub, M:Lab, iLabAfrica, Ushahidi) Incubators like (Nailab & iBizAfrica), and Strathmore University which houses the Safaricom Academy, iBizAfrica and iLabAfrica.

The Impact of hubs:
- Develop skills
- Create jobs
- Serve as implementing partner for both governments and development cooperations
- Serve as a focal point for the community
- Identify skills and bring them together under one roof where their potentials can be utilized effectively not only on the national scene, but globally as well.
- Help with local development since it creates local linkages.
 
The potential of digital innovation is every country’s business, because it has become the driving force for national economies, infrastructure development, renewable energy, green revolution and a new way for education. Since mobile devices/technology in general, had become one of the world’s potent development tool, it’s eminent that development cooperations look in the direction where mobile devices can be harness to produce a new way for development projects implementation in a mush faster, better and cheaper way. It is in this direction that hubs and incubators come into play. GIZ, from their perspective sees the impact of hubs in one word “CUBE”.

Create Innovation
- Use Knowledge
- Building Network
- Enhance Impact

These are relevant points in development and should therefore be incorporated by institutions in their strive to meet their projects deliverables.

(Source: iLab)

Friday, December 06, 2013 12:24:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 28, 2013
UNESCO organized a Youth Radio Workshop in Paris on 31 October for 27 attendees of the 8th Youth Forum at Paris Headquarters. During the workshop young people from all over the world had a chance to discover how to produce audio pieces for radio using practical exercises taken from the youth radio toolkit “Linking Generations”.
  


The workshop attendees, including youth delegates, observers, participants and organizers, learned how to write news items, prepare interviews and create vox pops. They also produced a number of audio pieces reflecting their views on gender equality and women’s empowerment in radio in their respective countries. Through radio young people shared their insights into the gender situation in Côte d'Ivoire, Rwanda, Mexico, France, Brazil, Germany, Senegal, Kuwait, Nigeria, Argentina, Ivory Coast and others. Some of them also highlighted challenges and successes in women’s political participation, in particular in accessing decision-making positions.

“The majority of journalists in my country lack proper training on media issues, and I believe it would be a good idea to organize a similar workshop in my country”, said Seleman Yusuph Kitenge, representative of Youth of United Nations Association of Tanzania. “There is a concern about media misleading the public, especially on crucial issues”, he added.

Towards the end of the workshop the participants created jingles demonstrating their support for World Radio Day 2014. Several participants from Africa expressed their commitment to celebrate World Radio Day within their youth organizations.

The theme of the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum was “Youth and Social Inclusion: Civic Engagement, Dialogue and Skills Development”. The Forum discussed youth civic engagement issues as well as the skills and competencies that are relevant and appropriate for young people to become employable or self-employed and to put their innovation, creativity and entrepreneurialism into practice.

Linking Generations” is a product of the Swedish funded project “Empowering Local Radio with ICTs” and is available online for use by radio stations, young people, policy makers, youth and radio advocates.

For more information on the toolkit, please read see the article: Linking Generations through Radio.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, November 28, 2013 4:19:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech) helps women and girls enter and succeed in technical careers, with the goal of enhancing women’s talent and skills needed to fuel technological and economic growth. WeTech, a Clinton Global Initiative commitment, is led by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and implemented with a consortium of dedicated partners to support innovative activities, training, build networks and offer professional opportunities for women and girls in tech.

SEED FUND: AFRICA

In December 2013, WeTech is launching a Seed Fund in Africa that will provide small grants to support individuals or civil society organizations to launch or expand initiatives for women and girls that increase their access to computer science-related training, jobs and leadership roles.

We are very interested in learning about your successful activities currently supporting women and girls in Computer Science and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and how we might support expansion and impact. We are also eager to hear your new, innovative ideas for programming in this space.

Please help us by sharing your opinion, experience and ideas in this survey by December 9th. By completing this survey you will receive information in December about the WeTech Seed Fund application as soon as it goes live.

In addition to your feedback we would appreciate your help to grow our network - please spread the word and share with colleagues!

ELIGIBILITY

To apply for a WeTech Seed Fund grant applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Current resident of an African country (including North and Sub-Saharan Africa).
-  Application must be submitted in English.
-  Applying as an individual (at least 18 years of age), or a representative of a non-governmental organization (NGO) or social enterprise based in Africa.
-  Ability to demonstrate previous experience conducting activities supporting women and girls in computer science or STEM fields.
-  Commitment to developing and contributing to a virtual community for WeTech Seed Fund grantees.
-  Demonstrated leadership potential (references will be required).
-  Proposed projects MUST have a tangible impact for women and girls in computer science and/or STEM- related fields.

PROJECTS

Preference will be given to projects that target under-served populations and locations, take a collaborative approach, have a high potential for growth and present an innovative use of technology.

Projects eligible for grant funding include, but are not limited to:
- Computer science workshops and trainings for women and girls
- Early incubation of female tech entrepreneurs
- Programming and app development training programs
- Speakers bureaus, role model and mentoring programs
- Networking events for women in computer science or STEM fields
- Community participation in ITU’s Girls in ICT Day
- Community education to generate support for computer science or STEM-related careers among parents and educators
- Hackathons and coding camps for girls
- Sponsorship of a Technovation Challenge team

TIMELINE

December 9, 2013: WeTech survey closes
December 18, 2013: WeTech Seed Fund Online Application opens
January 15, 2013: WeTech Seed Fund Application Deadline
March 1, 2013: Round One of WeTech grants announced

(Source: WeTech)

Thursday, November 28, 2013 4:10:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


ITU has recently adopted two new policies to mainstream gender equality and improve the accessibility of ITU services for persons with disabilities. Both policies were adopted by the ITU Council at its 2013 session.

The adoption of these policies represents an important step forward for the Union and builds on past ITU initiatives set in place with the leadership and support of the Membership.

As they call for more equitable, gender balanced and accessible ICT environment, ITU believes that they should lead by example in these domains and that they should strengthen the capacity of the ITU Secretariat to support Membership on these important issues.

ITU welcomes and encourages ITU Memberships to engage with them in this endeavor and it seeks support in the following areas:

- Contributing in kind (expert/training materials, etc).

- Sharing best practices and innovative ideas on how to put these policies into action.
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