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 Wednesday, September 11, 2013


- Young people from 60 countries share their ideas with world leaders
- There was 80 participants in Marathon for developing mobile and web tools.

Although their appearance and origin are diverse, around 500 young people between 18 and 25 years old gather in the country to converse in the same language: the technology.

The young people, including 120 Costa Ricans, are attending the World Youth Summit: BYND 2015, an encounter that challenges them to sculpt their future with weapons offered by today's technology.

The event is held from Monday September 09 until September 11 at the Crowne Plaza Corobicí.

During the first day, the attenders were integrated at various conferences, workshops and talks with a common goal: to draw conclusions and generate ideas that become the raw material to meet the  new called Millennium Development Goals, among which are reduction of poverty, child mortality and hunger and achieving universal primary education, promote gender equality and protect the environment.

With this desire, during the afternoon of Monday also began a marathon or “hackathon” that promotes the development of tools (such as apps) for mobile devices (phones and tablets) and web platforms.

Luis Diego Oreamuno, one of the coordinators, considers that the young people will work for 24 hours to create technology solutions in three areas: education, sustainability and health.

"We conducted a previous session with experts, we formed teams and now they can identify problems and propose a solution from technology", he said. Representatives from technology companies like Microsoft and Cisco talked with young people and gave them some advice. One of them, Howard Charney, Cisco vice president, said that "there is not a single person as intelligent as a group of people".

Those words went into the ears of young people as Cesar Lopez, from Technical School Don Bosco, who entered with five other partners to participate in the “hackathon”. " This event aims to generate different solutions to the problems facing the world today. It's a great opportunity to express different ideas of a new generation that has grown up surrounded by technology", Lopez held.

Also Akhtar Badshah, director of Microsoft 's Corporate Citizenship, made his contribution of inspiration: "A ¨hackathon¨ is a way to unleash creativity , integrating different people and perspectives. To give answers to the problems", Badshah encouraged.

(Source: La Nacion Newspaper)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 1:43:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, September 08, 2013

Each issue of ICT Update focuses on a specific theme relevant to ICTs for agricultural and rural development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, and features a selection of commissioned articles. The printed bulletin also contains a Guest editor contribution, Tech Talk, Resources, Dispatches and a ‘Question and Answer’ section.

This issue of ICT Update is about e-Agriculture strategies.

Issue 73- August 2013

Contents:

- Harnessing ICT strategies for ACP agriculture, Harsha Liyanage and Ken Lohento

- e-agriculture strategies: the case of Ivory Coast, Ken Lohento and Mark Speer, with contributions from Noël Kouable

- A telecom operator in West Africa, Fatoumata Doucoure and Catherine Flouvat

- CARICOM’s e-agriculture strategies, CARICOM

- ICT-triggered knowledge revolution in India, Madaswamy Moni Bookmark

- Bookmark:User-centred mobile app development

-Q&A:Catapulted into the information society, Jackson Miake

- ICT tools for the uneducated, Edward Addo-Dankwa

Further details


Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:46:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Four institutions of the capital began three training workshops for facilitators and supervisors of digital rooms of the Dominican Telecommunications Institute (Indotel), in order to engage staff of these centers in the fight for the eradication of violence against women in cyberspace (Internet network).

The two workshops was conducted by the Dominican National Commission for UNESCO (CNDU) and the Centre of Research for Female Action (CIPAF), with the support of the Dominican Telecommunications Institute (Indotel) and the National Commission for the Society Information and Knowledge (CNSIC).

The workshops, called "Computer Training Centers (ITC) in the fight against gender violence", are part of the Project "Stop Violence: The contribution of ICTs to end violence against women in the Dominican Republic" , sponsored by UNESCO in the country.

The training sessions focused in the issues of violence against women as an issue of power and inequality, and the role of CCI computer centers in the development of the community while working with a gender perspective, among others.

The workshops, which are held in the multipurpose room of Indotel, will take three days and involved more than 20 supervisors and facilitators of digital screens in the National District and Santo Domingo province.

(Source: CNSIC)

Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:33:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Rural Zimbabwe is characterised by a lack of proper infrastructure, a limited electricity supply and poor road networks. Traditionally, communication to these areas has always been limited.

However, over the past five years mobile phones have begun providing a means of communication, connecting Zimbabwe's rural population with urban dwellers.

According to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), a body mandated to issue licences in the postal and telecommunications sector, Zimbabwe now has a mobile penetration of 97 percent.

"The increase in mobile penetration has been triggered by increased investment in communication infrastructure in both urban and rural areas, meaning that marginalised people can now afford to use mobile phones", POTRAZ acting director Alfred Marisa told IPS.

Mobile phones have slowly become the simplest and cheapest mode of communication in this southern African nation.

According to the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency's 2011-2012 Poverty Income Consumption and Expenditure Survey, which was released in June, 7.7 percent of Zimbabwe's economically active population is unemployed. This is a marked contrast to previously reported unemployment figures of 85 to 90 percent.

The report also noted that 8.2 million Zimbabweans in rural areas are poor, while 10.7 percent of the rural population is unemployed. It is estimated that 72 percent of Zimbabwe's 12.75 million people live in rural areas.

But despite these high poverty figures for rural Zimbabwe, mobile phone usage is growing rapidly there.

According to Frost and Sullivan Growth Partnership Services, an international company that conducts business research to accelerate growth, "despite the high levels of unemployment, the number of mobile phone subscribers in Zimbabwe has increased from less than two million at the end of 2008 to more than 10.9 million in 2013".

According to Josham Gurira, an economist at the University of Zimbabwe, access to mobile phones will continue to change rural Zimbabwe.

"Access to information and communication technologies is now considered a basic human right and mobile phones have offered the best opportunity to enhance the digital divide which could have prevented it. The use of mobile technology has empowered many people and is regarded as a key tool in helping alleviate global poverty", Gurira told IPS.

"The adaption of mobile technology has redefined the way people communicate and the growth in mobile phone use has shaped a new way of engagement and connection. Mobile phones are providing Zimbabwe with an opportunity to develop", he said.


(Source: All Africa)

Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:26:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Thailand’s ICT Ministry is cooperating with Chulalongkorn University Demonstration School (elementary level) to pilot IT applications that could improve teaching effectiveness and education quality, under the national Smart Education plan. 




TOT, a State-owned telecom company, and a team of programmers have developed applications have developed educational software for the tablets. The Ministry is to pilot the educational tablets at the Chulalongkorn University Demonstration School.

It seeks to promote information technology as a medium of instruction in the school, improving effectiveness of education delivery, and enabling teachers to track the students’ progress and manage records efficiently.

Minister for ICT, Anudith Nakornthap, said, “With the ‘One Tablet PC per Child’ programme, the Ministry of ICT has accelerated the development of information technology for the education sector to meet international standards”.

The educational software is compatible with popular platforms, such as Windows, iOS and Android, in order to increase educational opportunities and encourage students to make extensive use of the tablets, the Minister added.

“Patterns of educational instruction are changing, as modern IT applications are developed for the education sector. This, combined with better connected government agencies and cloud services, has changed the potential of innovation in the education sector”, remarked the Minister.

In addition to IT infrastructure, he highlighted the need for developing curriculum standards, developing teachers’ IT skills and promoting research and evaluation in order to create sustainable transformation in the education sector.

The Minister shared, “The Thailand Smart Education programme is currently in pilot stage, and based on the results, the tablets will be extended to other schools in the future. The programme looks to transform the learning paradigm with a learner-centred development model and one-to-one digital classrooms. The programme aims to instil lifelong learning and allow students to learn from anywhere, at any time”.

Further details

Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:19:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

UNESCO’s Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development moves into a second phase in its open consultation with all stakeholders on the new concept of “Internet Universality”, with the release this week of a second version of a concept paper.

This follows a series of internal and external consultations by the Communication and Information Sector, most recently with the sister programmatic sectors at UNESCO. Since the process began at the WSIS+10 review meeting in February 2013, the concept has also been canvassed at eight international fora.

The concept of “Internet Universality” provides an overarching understanding of key elements of the Internet. These are the underlying norms that contribute to shaping the use and development of Internet: (i) free and human rights based; (ii) openness; (iii) accessible to all; and (iv) multi-stakeholder driven participation. The four can be summarized by the mnemonic R – O – A – M (Rights-based, Open, Accessible, Multi-stakeholder driven).

By bringing together UNESCO’s existing positions on the Internet, the concept of “Internet Universality” could help to frame much of UNESCO’s Internet-related work in education, culture, science, social science and communication-information for the strategic period of 2014-2021. It could provide a common point of reference and lead to enhanced synergies between sectors.

In addition, the concept could support UNESCO’s work in facilitating international multi-stakeholder cooperation in regard to the Internet, and it could also highlight what the Organization can bring to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development thanks all those who have commented on earlier drafts for their valuable suggestions. As part of an evolving discussion, the second version of “Internet Universality: A Means Towards Building Knowledge Societies and the Post-2015 Development Agenda” is offered for further feedback from all stakeholders.

(Source: UNESCO)

Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:10:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ICT4Ag conference will take place in Kigali, Rwanda, in November, discussing the ICT future of agriculture. 




Intending to spark conversation on the ICT influence on value chains, advocacy and policy development, the conference will promote the establishment of a dynamic and enabling environment in agricultural areas.

From November 4 to 8 farming, fisheries and livestock fields are invited to participate in the discovery of new innovations, learning about useful technology and sharing experiences with global stakeholders.

In this preparation meeting the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said that Farmers in Rwanda want to know how they can use new and existing ICT tools to boost their production.

Minister Nsengimana urges agriculture & ICT experts to see how new technologies can support the entire chain in agriculture process

On the other hand the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Agnes Kalibata said that new solutions will be introduced to boost agriculture sector in Rwanda; added that Youth will be able to bring new ideas which will be very useful to the whole African continent.

Over 400 participants are expected. Representing the public and private sector in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific and further afield, delegates will discuss how increased investment and adoption of ICTs in the agricultural sector will contribute to improved value chains and more effective advocacy and policy processes in agricultural and rural development (ARD).

Issues related to ICT trends and their impact on ARD, capacity building, enabling environments, scaling up and sustainability will also be discussed.

Participants include a variety of industry members such as academics, entrepreneurs, developers and operators.

Aimed at the media, a competition about the promotion of industry-based success stories was launched to discuss the enabling environment, gender main streaming through ICT and the promotion of agribusiness through ICT.

(Source: Ministry of Youth and ICT of Rwanda)

Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:00:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 29, 2013

Google is giving $25,000 dollars to each of the five most inspiring stories of how the web has played a pivotal role in transforming lives in Africa. As a nod to encouraging sustainable ventures, the money will be put toward improving winning entries. The competition, dubbed Africa Connected, runs from August 27 through October 31.

The idea of Africa Connected is more than just Google promoting its own products for corporate gain (though Google is undeniably pitching its products to new web users). Instead, the projects highlighted by the initiative will inspire others to change their community. The collection of success stories will also show how the internet can have a social and economic impact on Africa. As Google puts it, one of the most important ways to get people online is to “help increase the visibility of what African people are actually achieving on the web”.

The entry requirements are:
- Be 18 years of older and a resident of an African country (other than Sudan due to economic sanctions)
- Be willing to showcase how the internet, in conjunction with a Google product, has improved African lives
- Have a Google+ account

Individuals, teams, businesses, and NGOs are able to submit. Entrants may submit multiple stories and can vote for their own submissions. The deadline for entries is October 31st.

Judging looks to be a thorough process
Winners, slated to be announced in March 2014, will be selected across five categories and then matched against five criteria:
- originality of concept
- level of social/economic impact
- relevance to country/region
- use of Google products
- potential to scale

After submissions are collected, a shortlist will be narrowed down to 20 semi-finalists of which senior judges will limit to 10 finalists. The online community (those with a Google account) will then pick the five most engaging stories.

Further details

Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:30:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

After spending about six months in the process every year, Lobeni has managed with outstanding efforts to get her licence renewal so far, but this clearly costs her a lot of money and time that she often cannot afford. Just like Lobeni, nurses and midwives in Malawi have to follow these courses and ICTs are playing a role to make this possible in rural areas without the burden of travelling to main towns.

Thanks to an ICT-based Continuing Professional Development (CPD), implemented by IICD in collaboration with the National Organization of Nurses and Midwives (NONM) in Malawi, Lobeni has not only gained more credits to renew her licence, but she has also enhanced her computer skills, access to current health information and self assessment.

Besides more complex comprehensive solutions on e-learning systems (CMS, LMS, etc.) the project started right after the ‘stone age’, by having staff from NONM scan the official nurse manual, which was later saved as PDF and made accessible to all nurses at the health facility. NONM also bought laptops, modems and Internet bundles, and trained about 20 nurses in basic ICT skills. A CDP coordinator, who is in charge of grading the exams within this system, was also trained.

Common challenges usually found in rural and often impoverished communities, such as shortage of equipment and frequent power blackouts, can be overcome by expressly setting up solutions with minimum bandwidth and energy requirements. Yet in this kind of ICT-based projects, the main challenges are often people-related. In order to facilitate multi-stakeholder involvement and create local ownership, the project and technical solution are designed together with the implementing partner, including the capacity development activities, training, installation and customisation.

Aiming to explore and analyse the possibilities of taking the NONM’s CDP platform to the next level, IICD’s Technical Adviser Maurizio Bricola travelled to Malawi earlier this year, “we had a very productive first meeting that ended up with four main action points. After the meeting I had a session on Drupal and Quiz module with the ICT officer to discuss local installation and customisation”.

NONM made a prompt start in three hospitals, the Mchinji District Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre and St. Andrew Hospital in Kasungu, with a potential to reach out to about 1000 nurses.

Further details

Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:23:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Ejisu -Juaben Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Afrifa Yamoah Ponko, in collaboration with the management of Subah Infosolutions Ghana, has launched an Information Communication Technology (ICT) training centre at Ejisu for the youth to build their capacity in the assembling and repairs of computers and mobile phones.
The ICT centre, dubbed SITENPREC Project, is expected to provide opportunity for the youth to acquire entrepreneurial and employable skills to make them more competitive in the job market.

Sobah Infosolutions Ghana assembled 40 computers for the project, which is expected to motivate students from the basic to the tertiary levels to delve into the basics of e-learning and research to broaden their horizon.

In an address during the launching of the project, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Yaw Adusei, who was the guest of honour, commended the Ejisu-Juaben Municipal Assembly for collaborating with the management of Sobah Infosolutions to initiate the project.

He said the slogan of the project- bringing technology closer to the people- was in line with the government's plans to empower the people through the imparting of knowledge to them.

While urging the youth to take advantage of the project and register in their numbers to enable them access the facility, Mr Adusei advised them to "desist from abusing the facility to pursue cybercrimes and anti-social activities".

For his part, the Ejisu-Juaben Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Afrifa Yamoah Ponko, assured the people of the assembly's desire to always engage in productive partnership intended to promote the interest of the citizenry.

He pledged to further collaborate with Sobah Infosolutions to expand the facility for it to accommodate 100 students at a time. In his address, the Managing Director of Subah Infosolutions, Mr Birendra Sasmal, said besides offering opportunity for the youth to use the facility for e-learning, students who registered with them also stood the chance of acquiring entrepreneurial skills in ICT.

According to Mr Sasmal, the company had so far expended GH¢300,000 on the project and assured that with the launching of the e-learning at Ejisu, six more centres would be launched in other parts of the country to motive the youth to nurture their potentials in ICT programmes.

More details

Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:17:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Google has announced a grant offering female journalists and women in computer science, computer engineering or technical fields from Africa, Europe and the Middle East support to attend tech conferences.

The search giant will cater for travel as well as entry to various tech conferences in what the company says is an ongoing programme to encourage women to excel in computing and technology.

“As part of Google’s ongoing commitment to encourage women to excel in computing and technology, we are pleased to offer Women in Tech Conference and Travel Grants for female computer scientists”, read the announcement.

The grants will be paid after the conference and will be up to EUR 1,000 (US$1,300) with eligible conferences including the JSConf to be held in Berlin in September, Grace Hopper conference, set for October in Minneapolis, the Flossie conference to be held in Malta, in September, and Velocity conference, to be held in London, in November.
Google has placed deadlines from when the female journalists must apply, with the deadline for JSConf being August 18, Grace Hopper August 22, Flossie October 4, and Velocity conference October 6.

Google added that all applicants must have a strong academic background with demonstrated leadership ability.

(Source: Humanipo)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:11:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The report has been realized for the Millennia2015 International Conference, UNESCO, Paris, 3-6 Decem ber 2012. This work is a collaborative and participative contribution to the Foresight Research on the variable V08 “Women and eHealth: connected medical knowledge benefiting all”, conducted at the Destree Institute, Namur, Belgium and provides the results of the investigation on Women, Health and ICTs.

Based on the data collected, the study has considered four dimensions of the roles of women in eHealth:

1. Women as Beneficiaries (WB): Women are at the core of family healthcare in communities and have the greatest need to have access to and use ICTs for their personal health and that of their family members.
2. Women as Healthcare Professionals (WHP): Women are at the frontline, of family care in their role as healthcare workers in communities. They require ICTs to facilitate effective communication with other healthcare workers, with doctors, and patients.
3. Women as ICT professionals (WICT): Women are the engineers and technicians who develop innovative and adapted devices and applications that help reach the most isolated settings and communities.
4. Women as Leaders (WL): Women advocate at all levels, from raising new opportunities to partnering with the private sector, collaborating and networking, improving funding mechanisms, and leading eHealth initiatives in communities.

Proposed ICT Solutions
1. Radios and Televisions: WB, WHP
Radios and TVs continue to play a major role in the dissemination of health information and should be incorporated with mobile phones and Internet services to reach more women.
2. Mobiles, tablets, and other electronic devices: WB, WHP
mHealth or mobile health shows interesting results but remains limited to pilot projects that hardly expand at national and regional levels. Most women who received health related SMSs on their mobile phones prefer messages delivered by voice, using voice commands. An example of this speech-to-text application is the iPhone’s “Siri”, in which the user only has to be able to speak, not to read or write. Incoming messages could have a text-to-speech option, so that messages are “read” out loud to those unable to read.
3. Telemedicine: WHP
Telemedicine remains a “male” sector at all levels: medical, technical, and engineering. Women are beneficiaries as patients where such services are made available, yet just a few female doctors, nurses or midwives are active in Telemedicine services.
4. Free Call Lines: WB
Many WeHealth members emphasized the need to promote the adoption of free call lines that enable women to reach health centers and health service workers. These lines can be used in particular to support women living in difficult situations, such as domestic violence, natural disasters, war/conflicts, and as refugees.
5. Alternative energy solutions: WB
Where energy is scarce or unreliable, local solutions using solar or wind power show promise. Young girls in India have found a urine-based solution to provide enough energy for mobile phones.
Health Information.
6. One of the most cited areas of interest to women (WB) is receiving regular information on maternal and child health, family health, disease control, HIV/AIDS, malaria,
cancer and vaccination.
Full report

(Source: ECWT)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 9:58:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The nation’s capital has joined Cape Town and Stellenbosch in the race to roll out fast internet to the public, to the especial benefit of the poor, in a move that signals a newfound understanding of ‘digital rights’.

The idea that access to the internet is something other than a cutting-edge luxury has been slow to filter into South African discourse. Yet the evidence shows that access to the Internet is far from a luxury for the poor. It is better understood as an enabler of existing rights on a large scale, as well as the most powerful means of job creation and business creation currently known. The poor are least likely to receive government services timeously and fully, but also least able to complain about it and hold those responsible accountable. In a South African context in which one’s likelihood of receiving the services one is entitled to, rises exponentially with one’s ability to punish the officials concerned when they fail to provide the services, giving the poor access to advanced information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure can change lives.

Even where this rationale is not understood or accepted, the business case for free public wifi more than stands on its own, and some of the nation’s leading municipalities have duly set about making digital rights real.

The City of Tshwane aims to roll out free wifi to poor neighbourhoods, built-up areas and major centres of learning as early as November this year. The first phase will encompass the venerable Church Square, the University of Pretoria in Hatfield, the Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve campus, a community centre in Mamelodi, one of the nation’s largest townships, and another college.

Next year, Phase Two will focus on schools, with the total connectivity of all government schools and higher learning centres by 2016. This builds on the success of the city’s push to connect 100 municipal offices, libraries, and contact centres, now complete. Most hearteningly, the city’s approach is enlightened about the intersection between public investments and grassroots entrepreneurship: spare capacity on the city network will be sold to private service providers, who will be providing a fast internet service to parts of the city in which there is very little choice in internet provider – or no internet service at all.

(Source: The South African)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 9:49:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Ministry of Education announced on Monday 26 August its plan to upgrade schools in rural or remote areas by enhancing access to information communication technology services.

The ministry said it believed an effective use of ICT could overcome the limitations of education in the most remote areas of the country.
The ministry will first inject 5.9 billion won (US$ 5.3 million) to provide tablet computers and smart devices as well as wireless network connections for 300 schools with fewer than 60 students by next year.

It also plans to provide ICT workshops for students and teachers at the schools, and will gradually expand its support to other schools in the areas, the ministry said.

(Source: The Korea Herald)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 9:39:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 22, 2013


Multilateral Project Co- funded by the European Comission, under LLP Programme / Comenius: http://ictgogirls.eu/
The main goal of the Project is to empowering girls with the knowledge, skills and values to help them be able to create future opportunities for innovation and quality ICT related employment.

Period: 01/11/2012 - 31/10/2014 (24 months).

The experts behind this project belong to 7 institutions from 5 European Contries:
University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), Die Berater (Austria), Spoleczna Akademia Nauk (Poland), Institute Fraunhoffer IAO-Stuttgart Uni (Germany), CVO Antwerpen-Zuid (Belgium) and Donau-Universitat Krems (Austria).

Objectives:
- Produce a methodology and learning toolkit for secondary schools to promote ICT and entrepreneurship among their female students.
- Improve teachers methodologies to promote entrepreneurship and ICT skills among schools girls and deliver them support tools.
- Increase ICT skills for educational issues among schools girls.
- Show the empowerment potential of ICTs to girls in order to face their future choices in studies and work.
- Improve the following cross- curricular skills: Initiative, group work, language learning.
- Encourage cooperation between the worlds of education, training and work.
- Establish a sustainability plan involving business, ICT related institutions.

Look for more information here: http://www.slideshare.net/elearningcesga/ict-gogirls-project
or visit https://www.facebook.com/ICTGoGirls
Any question:
Maria R. Malmierca, coordinator: mjrm@cesga.es

(Source: CESGA)

Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:50:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Gauteng MEC for Education, Barbara Creecy urged girl learners to take up careers in Science and Technology when she addressed the Girl Learner Seminar Programme at Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, on  August 13, 2013.

As part of Women's Month celebrations, Sci-Bono has brought 1 600 girl learners from schools around Gauteng for a two-day Girl Learner Seminar. The invited learners will interact with women role models from industry and academia. There will be presentations and small group discussions aimed at encouraging and educating the girls on how to set personal goals and tackle some of the obstacles they might face in developing future careers.

Creecy urged girls to plan their post-school careers and to work hard to achieve success in the world of work. Highlighting the importance of science and technology to the economy, she encouraged girls to consider careers in this area.

She also called on girl learners to take advantage of the many opportunities in the science and technical fields in South Africa, because of the serious lack of skills in these sectors of the economy. Creecy promised that the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) would support girl learners who strived to perform well despite their backgrounds.

"There are many examples of women and young girls that have succeeded despite obstacles, because they are focused and determined to beat the challenges. What you achieve depends less on your background than on how hard you are prepared to work to be successful, despite the obstacles you may have to face", Creecy said.
She added: "There are plenty opportunities available for those learners who are prepared to strive for success. The GDE offers bursaries to the top learners in all our priority schools. The Gauteng City Region Academy (GCRA) has many additional bursaries available for learners. So, if you make the effort, we will be ready to support you and assist you to go all the way".

Creecy said that it was worth noting that in 2011, there were 14 316 girls who wrote the physical science exam. Over 57% passed and 653 girls achieved distinctions. In 2012, the number of girls writing physical science increased to 15 297 and the pass rate improved to just under 69% with 600 distinctions.

Creecy said that there should be no doubt about girls' abilities to excel in the sciences. The successful women scientists that were participating in the event were proof of important contribution that South African women are making to science. The next generation of women in science will have the opportunity to do even more.

Further details

Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:41:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Tablet-based learning has started taking shape in Malawi with the launch of Tablet-Based Learning project by a United Kingdom based educational software publisher EuroTalk.

The project currently being piloted in some schools in the country is a culmination of partnership between the governments of Scotland and Malawi. Government of Malawi through the ministry of education, science and technology launched the scheme in 2010 piloting the use of tablet technology in 30 schools with the EuroTalk app ‘Masamu’ (a local word for mathematics) which is intended to teach basic numeracy.

EuroTalk said in a statement that one of the leading Universities in the UK, The University of Nottingham will be evaluating the project next month in order to establish if children using EuroTalk’s ‘Masamu’ maths application learn faster than their classmates.

The statement which says the study will take place at Biwi Primary School, Lilongwe, which was selected for the project by the ministry of education, also says up to 300 children aged 5-6 will be involved in the study which will be led by Dr Nicola Pitchford, from the School of Psychology at The University of Nottingham. Children will be tested at the start of the evaluation, in pattern processing, motor co-ordination and simple maths skills before spending 30 minutes each day in the Learning Centre, currently under construction using the Masamu apps on iPad mini tablets.

“They will then be tested again after six weeks later, to examine what learning has taken place among these children compared to other students”, the statement says adding that if the results show significant educational gains, EuroTalk will scale up the project in Malawi. Andrew Ashe, EuroTalk’s managing director observes that in a country like Malawi, where class sizes often exceed 100 pupils, many children don’t get the learning opportunities they so desperately need.

“We believe that high quality, local language, educational applications on tablet technology can be life-changing, and we look forward to seeing what the study reveals”, he said.

The goal, EuroTalk says, is to bring the best possible education to one billion children, and the team sees the forthcoming evaluation as a vital step.
The company is using Malawi as a model and depending on how successful it will be, the project will expand to other countries across the world, producing the applications in each child’s local language.

EuroTalk, which was established in 1991, is a company best known for its range of language learning software in over 130 languages, which has been used by more than 20 million people worldwide.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:35:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Gauteng's 2 200 public schools will have access to uncapped wi-fi and 3G connectivity and 88 000 Huawei tablets will be distributed to students from next year as part of the province's e-Learning Solution.

The R396.2-million project will facilitate learning by addressing the digital divide and will provide all pupils an e-mail address and free internet access. It will replace the Gauteng Online Schools Programme, provincial Finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe said on Wednesday.

"The rebranded e-learning solution will be rolled out at the beginning of next year and will be up and running in January 2014 when schools reopen", Nkomfe said. "The Gauteng Online programme succeeded in improving computer literacy in public schools and demystified phobias associated with the world wide web".

The replacement of the initiative is expected to build on this foundation.

"Exposing our learners to e-learning techniques ought to occur at a tender age", he said. "We therefore elected an e-learning solution that could mediate meaningfully, but in a sustainable manner, while being financially viable".

Connectivity and cloud solution firm Cloudseed won a two-year contract to provide network connectivity for the project, following which the Gauteng Broadband Network will provide this service.

Short-term insurance will be provided for losses and damages, along with ongoing maintenance and support.

(Source: All Africa)

Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:24:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Nafham Project, a new online education platform, is working to improve the Egyptian education system by capitalizing on the power of the internet and modern technology. Created in 2012, Nafham, (meaning “we understand” in Arabic), offers interactive online classes for primary and secondary level students. Students have access to videos, social media websites, and other educational resources that teach Egyptian students curricula approved by the Egyptian Ministry of Education.
Students access the material by logging into nafham.com. The coursework is divided by semesters and the semesters are further divided into two additional parts. Instructors are allowed to post creative educational media that supplements the lessons. Parents can track students’ progress through regular reports. The site fosters student participation and accountability by utilizing social media websites like Facebook.

Nafham is unique because its content - which includes 6,845 videos for 3,000 primary and secondary level lessons – free for students. Its educational videos are between 15 and 20 minutes long. Lessons include a series of corresponding exercises and activities that further engage the students with the coursework. Various groups have had a hand in Nafham’s video production. Some videos are aired on other educational channels while others are created by volunteers and/or even fellow classmates that want to help their peers.

Currently, Egypt’s schools are over capacity. This overflow has taken a toll on the nation and the economy. The Egyptian Information and Decision Support Center reports that classroom size often exceeds 60 students. It “has a negative impact on student achievement and skill development, and at the same time opens the door to dropping out of school”, states Mohammad Habib, a founding member of Nafham. With over 1.1 million students, Egypt’s education system has trouble providing specialized education tailored to individual students’ needs. Additionally, many Egyptian families struggle to afford the US$100 tuition fees and private tutoring costs.

Nafham’s founders, Mohamad Habib, Mustafa Farhat, Hashem Ali, and Ahmad El Alfi, recognized this dilemma and other problems in Egypt’s education system. They decided to take action. Using the internet as the medium for improvement, they created the “learning management platform” in 2012. Some say it is like the Khan Academy of the Middle East.

The site wants to encourage a love of education and help students grasp the learning process in a digital age, while “erasing crippling cultural obstacles to education success that exist in some environments, such as the phenomenon of ostracizing successful students”. Nafham hopes this is only the beginning of success for Egypt’s education system and the rest of the country.

(Source: Open Equal Free web)

Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:05:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Most welcome as the virtual gateway of rural and enclaved areas to the world, the communities of Ako, Misaje, Jakiri, Oku and Ewoh in the North West Region now sound off with multi- purpose community telecentres.

The respective centres officially went functional from August 5-7, 2013 with the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Jean Pierre Biyiti-bi Essam, cris-crossing the communities with prescriptions for the populations to embrace and preserve the facility for posterity.

On -the-spot in the beneficiary Divisions of Bui, Donga Mantung and Momo, Minister Jean Pierre Biyiti-bi Essam said the telecentres are a precious gift of President Paul Biya whose commitment to develop the nation never dims. He said the centres meet standards and were conceived to serve the people without discrimination. He stressed that they are indispensible tools for human existence and development with revelations that more centres will be constructed to cover a majority of localities and lift their level of computer literacy. Conceived to take communication facilities to virtually every community, the telecentres enhance communication without tears. It is a poverty-alleviation project that checks rural exodus, creates indirect jobs, opens chances for competition in business ventures and enhances the government's resolve to decentralise. Each centre carries infrastructure, computers, information equipment and furniture worth about FCFA 70 million. They are open to the general public and cover compartments with opportunities for postal services, ICTs, telecommunications, training, financial services, telephone, internet, e-mail, typing, digitalised printing and video editing. They also have a lot to offer in telephone services, fax, photocopy, scanning, internet, online services, community radio services, research and secretariat works etc.

The commissioning exercise was a rare moment for beneficiary communities to show gratitude with gifts and messages that demonstrated their commitment to stand by the government for peace, progress and development. In Ewoh, the Mayor of Batibo council, Tenoh Lawrence saluted government's efforts to decentralize communications as a prerequisite for development. He prayed for the effective operation of the centres after the fanfare of inaugurals while an elite, Rt. Col Weriwoh Godfred hailed government for efforts to take Ewoh and neighbourhoods out of darkness with the planting of modern day communication facilities.

Further details

Thursday, August 22, 2013 9:44:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 15, 2013
In recognition of International Youth Day, Microsoft introduced on 12 August, the 4Afrika Scholarship program, as part of its 4Afrika Initiative, through which it will provide mentorship, leadership and technical training, certification, university-level education, and employment opportunities for promising African students.

Mentorship will be provided by Microsoft employees from around the world, and employment opportunities will include internships and both part-time and full-time jobs within Microsoft, as well as with the company’s more than 10,000 partners across Africa.

Through the company’s 4Afrika Initiative and YouthSpark program, Microsoft has committed to helping millions of Africans get critical skills for entrepreneurship and employability. The 4Afrika Scholarship program is one way the company intends to meet that goal, by helping ensure that promising youth have access to the education, resources and skills they need to succeed, regardless of their financial situations. To help redress gender disparity in higher education in Africa, the company is actively encouraging young women to apply.

Microsoft also announced that in the coming year it will provide 4Afrika Scholarships to 1,000 youth to pursue associate degrees in computer science and business administration with the first participating higher-education institution, University of the People. The institution is an online university dedicated to the democratization of higher education, which is affiliated with the United Nations, the Clinton Global Initiative, New York University and the Yale Law School Information Society Project.

“Together with participating education institutions, Microsoft’s goal with the 4Afrika Scholarship program is to level the playing field for talented young African minds who might not otherwise have the resources, enabling them to get the education and skills they need to thrive in technology-related fields”, said Patrick Onwumere, director of youth enablement, Microsoft 4Afrika. “The 4Afrika Initiative was designed to help ensure that Africa can become globally competitive, and investing in our highly motivated youth is a critical step toward making that a reality”.

Students wanting to apply for these first 4Afrika Scholarships to attend University of the People must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma and be proficient in English, since all coursework is taught in English. They must also have access to the Internet to participate in the online classes. To help address the connectivity issue, the company is making working space available in its Microsoft Innovation Centers in Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda and Botswana for successful applicants near those locations. In addition, Microsoft is working with various partner hubs across Africa to make similar arrangements for students in other locations.

“University of the People works hard to ensure that university-level education is a possibility for the masses, and through the 4Afrika Scholarship program, Microsoft is helping us extend that possibility even further in Africa”, said Shai Reshef, president, University of the People. “We are proud to be working with Microsoft to help create amazing opportunities and open new doors for Africa’s youth”.

Applications for 4Afrika Scholarships to University of the People can be submitted online at http://www.uopeople.org/4afrika. The first 4Afrika Scholarship students will begin classes in November 2013. Further information about the 4Afrika Scholarship program is available at http://www.youth4afrika.com.

(Source: IT News Africa)

Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:57:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Over 48 girls from different secondary schools across the country received training on the use of ICT's at Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology in a programme dubbed Camp TechKobwa.



The five day training program organized by Peace Corps in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and ICT was closed on Friday last week.
Lyla Fujiwara, head of Camp TechKobwa said that the programme focuses on inspiring young women to become the next generation of Rwandan technology entrepreneurs by developing their skills and creativity in using technology.

"We wanted to inspire girls to have courage to approach technology and also provide access to computers, remove any fear from them of using technology such that they know that they can also participate and become leaders in the ICT sector" Fujiwara explains.

Patrick Rwabidadi, a Senior Technologist at the Ministry of Youth & ICT said that the ministry had embarked on this initiative to bridge the gap between males and females in the ICT sector.

Rwabidadi further said that camp TechKobwa was an ideal way to encourage young women to become active in the ICT sector by building their confidence and self-esteem in the use of technologies.

He called on the girls that had received this training to start media and computer clubs in their schools such that they can share the knowledge acquired with other students.

Acknowledging the gap of women in the ICT field was Akaliza Keza Gara of Shaking Sun Ltd that deals in designing websites and graphics, who said that the ICT sector was clearly male-dominated.

"Having girls in ICT is still a challenge that we are trying to address because most of the professionals in this field are men. So we have been encouraging young women to join the field and study ICT. Even those who are pursuing other careers ought to study it on the side because those skills are transferable in any carrier" Akaliza explains.
Bellis Kizza a student of Gashora Girls' Academy said that she had learnt a lot about computers like how to make video, programming using scratch and how to type faster. She said as a computer student the training had helped improve her knowledge in ICT and was also inspired to become an entrepreneur and technician in the future. The girls participated in several fun and educational activities and were also given an opportunity to interact with women pursuing careers in both media and technology.

Further information

Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:51:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 The technologies are instruments that allow the learning process among children, due to their role to incentive the teaching in various contents, said Tuesday the minister of Education, Pinda Simão.

Pinda Simão said so at the ceremony meant to present the training project in new technologies of rehabilitation, sponsored by Lwini Foundation.
According to the minister, with the training based on new technologies the teachers will understand the fundamental elements for transformation the educative system needs in order to achieve the high quality of education, with equity and equality of opportunities.

In his view, these changes always require courage and determination by all educative community, specially to improve the professional and human skill of teachers.
He also said that all process of change depends on the knowledge of teachers, the kills, collaboration, creative thinking and commitment and affection in the actions.
In this perspective, he said that training in technology of rehabilitation will make up an inspiration source to create new possibilities to adequate and enrich the teaching-learning process.

Pinda Simão noted the teachers along their training will have the opportunity to share experience that will operate as tools that will neutralize the barriers for the learning process.

(Source: All Africa)

Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:46:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The use of multimedia tools to facilitate broader community participation is enabling some of the more marginalized communities in Peru to share more engaging and relevant local knowledge among their people. “Participatory video is a methodology to reach the deepest emotional action triggers of people”, said Peruvian film-maker and Andean activist Rodrigo Otero.

During a workshop organized by IICD in Cusco, facilitated by Otero who is also an expert on participatory video processes, participants and local organizations agreed that video is a communication technology appropriate for their intervention areas due to its effective way of collecting and transmitting indigenous knowledge, culture and traditions of their communities.

“Participatory video making is related to various experiences in different places worldwide that privilege the role of communities both in the production and diffusion of videos in today’s modern society”, said Otero.

Since 2011, IICD supports the efforts of civil society organizations to integrate ICT in Education through the Connect4Change programme in Peru. Six organizations are currently involved in the implementation of intercultural bilingual education (Educación Intercultural Bilingüe - EIB in Spanish), a nation-wide experimental plan aiming at a more balanced and contextualized education across several Peruvian regions such as Cusco, Huancavelica, Apurímac, Junín and Ayacucho.

A major aspect of EIB is to bring culturally relevant and bilingual education to the classroom by using Spanish and Quechua. Quechua is the mother tongue of 13.2%1 of Peruvians and the language that is widely spoken by some of the most excluded communities in the rural areas where the six Connect4Change-supported organizations intervene. Other aspects of EIB include linking the Andean culture to modern educational practices, for example reintroducing traditional Quechua songs into teachers´ pedagogical methods in the classroom.

During the three-day workshop in May, a group of 20 participants, from technical staff of the six organizations to teachers working in poor communities, explored the basics of participatory video making in a very practical and hands-on training. The first day was dedicated to introduce participants to filming techniques such as “in front of and behind the camera”, “seeking the beauty” or “show and tell” with practical exercises. On the second day, participants learned to write a storyboard using the techniques from day one and shot a 10-minute outdoors interview. The workshop concluded with a round of deliberations regarding the suitability of participatory video methodologies to convey EIB values in the school.

Further information

Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:42:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The project to support the implementation of the ‘Bachelor-Master-Doctorate’ (LMD in French) reform through ICTs capacities building in different universities in West Africa countries (PADTICE) seeks to enhance students’ daily life. Furthermore, the project will improve Higher Education’s quality and access.

With the LMD system, students are at the heart of the training, with a self-learning content. PADTICE seeks to reinforce the current training and managing system in Higher Education by focusing on the benefits offered by the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Thus, several actions should be established:

- Supporting the development of an online and distance learning,
- Developing learning spaces for students,
- Helping with the difficult setting of LMD reform (deficiency and/or inaccessibility of learning resources, lack or weakness of the required tools to manage student’s schooling, etc.)
Thus, the project aims to increase universities’ ICTs capacities through three components:
- Setting up physical and virtual ICT infrastructure,
- Ensuring the acquisition of equipment and hardware,
- Building capacities in the areas of ICT, university teaching, accreditation and quality assurance and research.

Concerning the acquisition of software tools, it is planned to accompany the establishment of 8 specific platforms such as a digital library which should improve the supply of university libraries. The development of internet portals which should be real information and communication tools is also part of this evolution. Furthermore, universities will benefit from modern and efficient managing tools to run the university system.

The building of “access rooms”, at least in the eight main universities of the project, will accompany the strategies already developed by universities to facilitate the access to ICTs for students, administrative staff and teachers. Plus, trainings will be organized in order to take over ICTs and strengthen the university community capacities and skills to use these tools. “Technologies give a plus for students” affirms Youssouf Ouattara, Coordinator of the project at UNESCO Dakar.

An online access to knowledge, a plus for UEMOA universities
One of the key points of the project seeks to make the courses handout available, including outside the class. The publishing online of handouts by teachers should enable students to directly get classes’ educative resources that they are currently taking with difficulties in the crowded lectures. This would also help to provide some online-learning and open universities to a wider audience.

African students are also part of the Y generation
“Students seem to be ahead of universities in the use of ICTs today. Most of them have a smarphone and e-mail addresses, they are going at least once a month in an internet cafe or have an access to Internet" notes Ouattara. "This process should be accompanied to fix their use of ICTs in learning processes” he adds.
Universities need to be accompanied to meet the current evolutions and provide the appropriate training.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:35:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
This coming September 9-11, the Beyond 2015: Global Youth Summit takes place in San José, Costa Rica, and we want you to be a part of it! How can you join in the discussion? Here are several ways:

1. Share your ideas



The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has launched an online consultation platform to “crowdsource” the priorities of youth, which will be channeled into the Summit by the President of Costa Rica, H.E. Laura Chinchilla, who will also take this voice of youth to the General Assembly in New York.

While anyone can participate in the crowdsourcing platform, it’s important to get youth under the age of 25 to participate online at http://ideas.itu.int. To date, youth have submitted 500 ideas on how to address development challenges using ICTs. These ideas have generated 10,000 votes from peers, as youth select the most promising proposals.

What to do: We want you to join in the discussion! Submit your ideas, vote for the ones you like, and give suggestions in the online consultation platform. To get started, go to http://ideas.itu.int, register, and get started! Don’t forget to identify Telecentre.org Foundation as your source when asked where you heard about the Summit. Online consultation will remain open until the BYND2015 Summit begins.

What you get: Aside from the chance to make new friends and make an impact on global policy regarding youth and ICT, people who register and participate in the online consultation will automatically become part of the ITU-Youth Global Network and get the chance to win exciting prizes. There are 2 all-expense paid trips to the Summit in Costa Rica to be won, and another 50 Android tablets up for grabs: who knows, the next one might go out to you! Note: The deadline for winning the free trip is August 16.

2. Host/attend a Mini-Summit

Although not everyone will be able to attend the BYND2015 Summit in Costa Rica, we’d like to invite those who can to hold a Mini-Summit in their telecentres. Selected sessions will be streamed live during the days of the Summit and people can join in by watching the sessions, participating virtually, and holding workshops of their own.
What to do: To hold a Mini-Summit of your own, first, check to make sure your telecentre meets the minimum technical requirements:

- Has a stable broadband connection;
- Has a PC or laptop;
- Has, ideally, a projector for all participants to see the video feed properly (not a necessity though)
- Has a webcam;
- Has a good quality headset for those hubs that intend to intervene remotely into the summit

Next, check out the Programme of Sessions that will be streamed live. Once you’ve determined the session(s), you want to follow, send an email to Seuwandi Yapa (syapa@telecentre.org) no later than Friday, Aug 23, with the following information:
- Name of your telecentre
- Location of your telecentre (city and country)
- Session(s) you are interested in holding a Mini-Summit on
- Designated contact person (must be available to run a few tests before the conference to check the connection)

Once we hear from you, we’ll email you back with some materials for the Mini-Summit.
What you get: In addition to getting the opportunity to engage with and learn from peers worldwide, telecentres who hold a Mini-Summit will also receive an electronic certificate for their role as a remote hub for the BYND2015 Summit. Participants in your Mini-Summit will also receive an electronic certificate of attendance.
So what are you waiting for? Join the BYND2015 Summit activities now and help us spread the word about this opportunity for youth! You’ll not only get the chance to win exciting prizes and make new friends, you’ll actually get to be part of the solutions to issues affecting youths all over the globe.
For more information on the BYND2015 Summit, download this brochure or visit www.bynd2015.org.

(Source: Telecentre.org)

Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:17:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The GSMA announced it is partnering with the Generalitat de Catalunya in the “mSchools” programme, a multi-year, multi-faceted mEducation initiative by the Mobile World Capital Barcelona. The mSchools programme is designed to lower dropout rates, improve student attainment in schools across Catalonia and throughout Spain and, ultimately, to better prepare students as they pursue further education and employment in today’s digital world. This new initiative builds on a successful mSchools pilot programme undertaken in Catalonia by the GSMA and the Generalitat earlier this year and could enhance the learning experience for 1 million students in Catalonia alone.

“While dealing with the continued impact of the global economic crisis and educational systems that were designed to address the needs of students in the pre-digital era, educators are being asked to deliver more with far less,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General of the GSMA. “Mobile can help change this dynamic. Mobile enables access to up-to-date materials, improves collaboration and strengthens learner engagement, opening up new ways of teaching and learning that improve achievement and employability. We are pleased to be joining with the Generalitat de Catalunya to bring the power of mEducation to students in the Mobile World Capital”.

The mSchools programme being launched today comprises several elements:
- An App Education Course, a computer science elective that will be offered in Catalan high schools to teach students about application design and prototype development;
- A Supporting Entrepreneurship in mEducation programme designed to help entrepreneurs and support mEducation;
- The Mobile Learning Awards, run by the Generalitat de Catalunya and recognising the integral role of mobile technology in education by Catalan schools, honouring innovative teacher and student-led projects; and
- A Mobile History Map, a pilot to develop a geo-positioning app that allows students to collaboratively create or edit content on relevant points of interest within one kilometre of their schools.

To support the mSchools initiative, the GSMA will contribute €500,000 per year through 2018, funding technology, resources and the delivery and management of the programme. Further, the GSMA will leverage experience gained from mEducation deployments around the world to implement global best practices with educators and administrators participating in the initiative.

The programme brings together public and private institutions; organisations currently participating include A Crowd of Monsters, Barcelona Loves Entrepreneurs, Incubio, King, Social Point and Softonic, who will support the App Education course with expert staff. Mobile operators Telefónica, Vodafone and Orange will also support the mSchools initiative.

“The GSMA is very proud to be partnering with the Mobile World Capital, leading mobile operators and the private sector to help create an educational environment that will enable young people throughout Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain to build important new skills that will prepare them for new opportunities in the future”, added Bouverot.

(Source: GSMA)

Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:07:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 12, 2013
Equality and non-discrimination constitute a basic and general principle relating to the protection of human rights of all persons. It is an indivisible part of international human rights law, binding on all member states of the United Nations, founded on the principles of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Despite this fact, discrimination of persons with disabilities remains a daily reality in most countries that are members of the United Nations and have signed the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities which range from more visible forms such as segregated education and denial of employment opportunities to more acts of discrimination against disabled citizens such as imposition of physical, psychological and social barriers resulting in social exclusion of persons with disabilities.

Over the past 10 years, protecting the rights of disabled people all over the world has been placed number one priority and objective by promoting new disability legislation more especially in countries which are signatory to the international treaty both in specific policy fields and under a global approach of treating disability as a human rights issue.

For Africa, the African Union (AU) is repositioning the disability forum in a more comprehensive African legislation that will prohibit all forms of discrimination on grounds of disability and provide effective and dissuasive remedies to discrimination within member states and ensure that African rehabilitation institutions become effective in addressing disability matters.

The focus is more on information provision to society, which is an eye opener, but also looks at potential new barriers for the social inclusion of persons with disabilities.
Considering the fact that we are in a world of information and communication technologies (ICTs), persons with disabilities should be part of new development. As the world is offering these new opportunities to everyone, it is more significant for persons with disabilities, as they use technological assistance for daily activities to a higher extent than people in general.

With technological equipment adapted to the abilities of everyone, disabled end-users would be able to participate in all aspects of social life on more equal terms than ever before.

(Source: All Africa news)

Monday, August 12, 2013 5:41:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
A recent survey was conducted on Women24 with 2000 of the site’s readers. The aim of the survey was to help marketers and ad agencies find out what makes South African women tick and what their online behaviour is.

The survey findings reveal that Women24 readers are highly engaged online. 83% of the respondents said they used the internet to gather information, 78% of them regularly take online reviews into consideration when shopping and 33% watch online videos at least once a week. 21% also spend more than three hours a day on their phone or mobile device.

This active engagement online is reflected in Women24′s Effective Measure numbers. Women24 features as the biggest female focused website in the Unique Browser category (Effective Measure’s benchmark of choice) with an average of 267,689 UB’s per month over the last three months.

The site also recorded a total average of 1,846,845 Page Impressions over the last three months.”Women24 is the top website for women in South Africa, consistently occupying this top spot in the benchmark measurement categories for the industry, proof that the content policies are meeting the needs of female readers” says Gustav Goosen, CEO for The SpaceStation, the digital media sales agency who exclusively represent Women24. “Our survey has shown that the Women24 reader embraces being online and has a lifestyle geared towards living digitally”, says Goosen. The results show that 50% of the respondents shopped online at least once a month, while 95% of them entered competitions online and 50% also confirmed they engage with online ads on a regular basis.

The Women24 reader is savvy and educated – 75% have a tertiary education and 44% earn more than R30k per month. But they also embrace family and down time, with 57% of the readers choosing a family as the ultimate female status symbol and 70% using their spare time to go on holiday in South Africa.

Says Lili Radloff, Women24′s editor: “Our readers are loyal and very specific about where they want to be online. The site’s editorial policy is to provide content that is frank, original and fearless and to create a platform where women of all ages and cultures can share their stories and get advice from a team of experts”.

“We conduct surveys like these to assist our clients and agencies in understanding the people they are communicating with, and to help them and their team strategically make the best decisions for their campaigns”, says Women24 channel manager at The SpaceStation, Vicki Steenkamp.

The SpaceStation has created an infographic from the survey results, which is available on the news section of www.thespacestation.co.za. The company is also available on Twitter @SpaceStationZA.

Further details

Monday, August 12, 2013 5:36:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


A new ICT incubation centre has been inaugurated in Tinapa, Cross Rivers state, Nigeria, continuing the government support of entrepreneurs in the country.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the governor of the state, Liyel Imoke, said the Information Technology Development Entrepreneurship Acceleration (iDEA) is the first of its kind in the geopolitical zone.

“It will provide young men and women with capacity and intellect to compete globally”, Imoke said. Imoke said the fruition of the project is the actualization of a vision jointly shared by the federal government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Communication Technology and the government of Cross Rivers state.

The centre, which is a part of the Tinapa Knowledge City (TKC), will allow young people to showcase their abilities. Imoke added it could transform the state’s economy and produce products that could compete on the global field.

(Source: Humanipo)

Monday, August 12, 2013 5:30:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The government has provided 459 schools and institutions with fully furnished and equipped Information Communication Technology (ITC) laboratories and Internet access.
So far, 38 colleges of education, 37 national vocational training institutes, 26 technical institutes,10 youth leadership training centres and 249 senior secondary schools have benefited from the government’s schools connectivity project.

Other beneficiaries are 25 junior high schools, 49 nursing colleges and 25 community development vocational institutes. The Minister of Communication, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, made this known at the meet- the-press in Accra last week.

The minister used the platform to announce the official launch of the ITU‘s Regional Development Forum (RDF) and the Africa Regional Preparatory Meeting (ARPM) for the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) scheduled for Accra, this year. The RDF will be held from October 1, 2013, while the ARPM will be held from October 2 to 4, 2013.

With the country’s development in the ICT sector, the minister said the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2011 listed Ghana as one of the top 10 most dynamic performing countries in Information Communication Technology (ICT) development.

Ghana is said to have improved its global ranking by four places and its ICT Development Index (IDI) increased from 1.81 to 2.23 whereas the average for Africa is 1.88.
According to the minister, Ghana placed 117 in the world, and sixth among sub-Saharan African countries in ICT usage.

The ITU is the global and specialized agency of the United Nations with a responsibility to regulate, standardize, co-ordinate and develop international telecommunications.
Dr Boamah said the upcoming RDF would be used to deliberate on issues relating to trends in telecommunications and ICT in Africa, broadband policy and e-applications.
The conference will also deliberate on cyber security, development of public-private partnership for improved capacity building in the ICT sector and the future of the information society.

The ARPM, according to the minister, was in preparation towards the WTDC in 2014. He said the meeting would be used to assess the implementation of action plans of the WTDC.

Enumerating some of the successes in the ICT sector, the minister said the over-all submarine cable capacity of the country so far was 12.3 Terabit.
According to him, in fulfillment of ITU commitments and that of the government to provide employment to persons with disability, the Akropong and Wa schools for the Blind have been selected as sites for the pilot phase of the disability connectivity project.

Also, he said Community Information Centers (CICs) had been built as access points for ICT in the under-served areas, adding that currently 93 CICs were fully furnished and equipped to provide community Internet access and an avenue for low cost ICT training.

According to the minister, the cost of bandwidth in Ghana had witnessed substantial reduction over the years from $10,000 per month of two megabits to $1,200 today of the same two megabits.

(Source: Ghana Web)

Monday, August 12, 2013 5:20:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Technology vendors Dell and Microsoft have been working to deliver classroom technology for remote regions and, in particular, into schools that have not previously had access to any form of computing technology.

Mamoeketsi School in Lesotho is profoundly aware of the importance of technology in educating and empowering young people. The school is located in Lesotho, near Maseru. HIV/AIDS affects a third of the population and around 50 per cent of the school’s students are orphans. Most are familiar with poverty. Although the government invests 12 per cent of its gross domestic product in education – and the country’s literacy rate is one of the highest in Africa – few students have access to technology. Less than 5 per cent of the population has access to the Internet or even basic mobile phones with text and call functions. However, through the efforts of Moliehi Sekese, a charismatic maths and science teacher at the Mamoeketsi School, students now have access to affordable technology that is significantly raising their academic achievements and enhancing their potential.

After attending a Microsoft Shape the Future event – an initiative that supports access to technology in developing countries through partnerships with companies such as Dell – Sekese was inspired to see how technology could engage pupils in a dynamic way. She devised a project about native plants and herbs, requiring students to report to her by text message through mobile phones borrowed from relatives or friends. The project was a huge success, exciting students so much that Sekese found herself receiving text messages in the middle of the night. Sekese realized that the school needed to empower students with access to technology, but cost was a major barrier to this.

Mamoeketsi School wanted to implement an affordable, low maintenance IT solution to provide its students with access to the internet, supporting research and collaboration, so the school implemented a shared computing solution with Dell ‘zero clients’ and Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Server to deliver a lowcost, centrally managed computing environment for students.

As a result of its dynamic use of technology in teaching, the school has reduced truancy. While access to technology can be a big motivator for students and increase attendance and engagement in learning; it can be challenging for students who are slow learners. Shared computing addresses this by enabling the teacher to remotely monitor and interact with an individual student from the teacher’s computer station. Sekese says: “Children who are slow learners often feel embarrassed about asking questions in class and so they stop coming to school. Truancy has stopped being a problem since we deployed the solution because I don’t have to disrupt the rest of class or call attention to the slowest learners”.

“Technology Enhances Learning and Life” is one of the twelve opinion pieces featured in the eLearning Africa 2013 Report. To read more about the annual publication, please visit: http://elearning-africa.com/media_library_publications_ela_report_2013.php.

Further information

Monday, August 12, 2013 5:01:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 07, 2013
A 21st Century Media Strategy to Promote Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment Worldwide



Every era has a moment when the scales begin to tip. For the world’s women and girls, that moment is now. Women and Girls Lead Global combines the power of documentary film, national television broadcasts, local and new media, and engagement activities to impact audiences and support existing NGO efforts to empower women and girls.

THE PROJECT
- Three-year initiative launches in nine countries in Fall 2012.
- High-quality documentary films profile women and men who inspire hope, awareness, and action.
- Television partners in each country air annual 10-episode series to national audiences.
- Engagement campaigns align with existing local work of NGO and media partners.
- Local “call-to-action” content (PSAs, radio, mobile), live screenings, and social media connect individuals, mobilize communities, and multiply NGO impact.
- Builds on the work of Women and Girls Lead, a 50-documentary public television project to focus, educate, and connect U.S. audiences in support of women and girls everywhere.

PARTNERS
Women and Girls Lead Global is a public-private alliance created between USAID, Independent Television Service (ITVS), and Ford Foundation, in cooperation with lead NGO partner CARE.

LEARN MORE
Download the Women and Girls Lead Global fact sheet.
Read the Impact Blog post "The Power of Storytelling" by CARE's CEO and President, Dr. Helene Gayle.
Visit the Women and Girls Lead Global website.

(Source: USAID and Women and Girls Lead Global website)

Wednesday, August 07, 2013 9:56:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Critically Acclaimed 18-Week Series Introduces U.S Audiences to Their Global Neighbors, Offering Unique Perspectives Into Unfamiliar Lives, Experiences and Stories from Around the World.



Season premieres Sunday, June 2 at 10 PM ET on the WORLD channel (Check local listings) and available online at http://worldchannel.org/

Independent Television Service (ITVS) and the WORLD channel announced last May the lineup for season six of Global Voices, the critically acclaimed international documentary television series premiering on the WORLD channel (Check local listings). The first original series to launch on WORLD, Global Voices was included in the New York Times’ Mike Hale’s list of “Favorite TV shows of 2012”. This season will set out to present even more compelling stories often overlooked by American media, by offering a unique lineup of programming, introducing U.S. audiences to their global neighbors and opening a window into unfamiliar lives, experiences, and perspectives from around the world.

Slated for Sunday nights at 10pm ET, from the beginning of June through the end of September, this weekly series premieres Sunday, June 2, followed by a repeat broadcast of the entire season for an additional 18 weeks. The series will present the U.S premieres of nine documentaries funded by ITVS, as well as encore presentations of other acclaimed ITVS programs. In addition to the WORLD channel broadcast, each episode will be available online, post airdate, beginning the following day for 21- 30 days at worldchannel.org. All full-length episodes are free and available online anytime during the allotted timeframe.

This season’s Global Voices spans the globe and offers rare insights into the lives of people in countries as far away as Indonesia, India, El Salvador, Iraq, Tanzania, Japan and Ethiopia, providing a global perspective and diverse viewpoints about our global world community.

The season opens in Indonesia, with the U.S Premiere of Where Heaven Meets Hell (Air Date: June 2), by Sasha Friedlander. Deep in the rain forests of Eastern Java, Indonesia, lies the active volcano, Kawah Ijen, where 500 sulfur miners carrying backbreaking loads, traverse treacherous terrain amidst spectacular vistas and toxic gases. Friedlander relays the stories of four of these miners, who risk their lives and health daily in an industry we rely on for sugar, matches and cosmetics. This visually stunning and intimate film chronicles their attempts to escape the endemic poverty and lack of education that haunts their community. Drawing strength from their families and Muslim faith, these miners inspire us as they search for meaning in their daily struggles and triumphs.

In the next U.S Premiere, When Hari Got Married (Air Date: June 16), directed by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, we meet Hari a 30-year old taxi driver in the Indian Himalayas. He is getting married to a girl he has never met, but has fallen in love with her over the mobile phone.

Hundreds –possibly thousands – of children disappeared from El Salvador in the midst of the country’s civil war in the 1980s. Niños de la Memoria (Air Date: June 30), directed by María Teresa Rodríguez, follows three of those children as they return to their native country in search of identity and answers.

Invoking Justice (Air Date: July 14), Deepa Dhanraj’s film, explores the lives of Muslim women from a small town in South India, who set out to deliver justice in their own courts, posing a radical challenge to their traditional Muslim community and clergy.

Other premiere programming highlights include The Lost Dream (Air Date: July 28), directed by Jehan S. Harney. Nazar and Salam helped the coalition forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom and were forced to flee their homes. As they begin their new lives in the United States, they wonder if their sacrifice was worth the costs. In the Shadow of the Sun (Air Date: August 11), directed by Harry Freeland, is an intimate story about two very different members of a remote island’s albino community in Tanzania, as a wave of brutal killings targeting people with albinism sweeps their country. The List (Air Date: September 8), directed by Beth Murphy, introduces us to a modern-day Oskar Schindler story, about Kirk Johnson, a 26-year old American aid worker, fighting to save thousands of Iraqis whose lives are in danger because they worked for the United States to help build Iraq.

The season concludes with two films about family and identity. Directed by Kaspar Astrup Schröder, Rent a Family, Inc. (Air Date: September 22) follows Ryuichi, a Japanese businessman, who owns a company that rents out fake family members and friends, but his own family doesn’t know. The season finale Girl, Adopted (Air Date: September 29), directed by Susan Motamed and Melanie Judd, spans four years in the life of one irrepressible girl. The film offers an intimate look at the struggle to create identity in the aftermath of adoption across race and culture.

In addition to the nine programs making their U.S. broadcast premiere, the series will also include nine award-wining programs, many in which have previously premiered on PBS’s Independent Lens series. These films include: Garbage Dreams, directed by Mai Iskander; Unmistaken Child, directed by Nati Baratz; Bolinao 52, by Duc Nguyen; Behind the Rainbow, directed by Jihan El Tahri; Blessed is the Match, directed by Roberta Grossman; Taking Root, directed by Lisa Merton and Alan Dater; A Village Called Versailles, directed by S. Leo Chiang; Journals of a Wily School, directed by Sudeshna Bose; Egalité for All: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution, directed by Pat Aste.

For a complete lineup of Global Voices films and schedule, please visit: worldchannel.org

(Source: ITVS)

Wednesday, August 07, 2013 9:46:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 02, 2013


The Computer Society of Zimbabwe hosted on 23 July a discussion on issues affecting women in the information communication technology sector.
The discussion ran under the theme, "Women in ICTs - Challenges and Opportunities".

In a statement, the society said the event was addressed by some of the leading women in the local ICT sector who have also been challenged and inspired by other successful women worldwide.

"The event was facilitated by some of the leading women in the ICT sector in Zimbabwe, among them X-Pert Solutions managing consultant Joyce Benza, Computer Society of Zimbabwe deputy director Viola Dondo, Premier Service Medical Aid Society ICT manager Margareth Ziramba, while lawyer Rumbidzai Dube was the guest speaker", read the statement.

Focus of the event was the challenges being faced by women in making a breakthrough in the field of ICT that has for long been male dominated.
"Considering that the facilitators are women shows that the ICT field is for everyone and much can be done from every angle”.
"Opportunities were also discussed in relation to how the girl child can be better prepared for a career in ICT leadership, software and network engineering and many other facets of ICT", added the statement.

The event came at a time the society is undergoing transformation with a possibility of rebranding to ensure that it operates professionally while achieving its set targets and objectives that include ensuring the ICT person remains relevant.

Further details

Friday, August 02, 2013 11:30:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Minister of Information and Civic Education, Moses Kunkuyu says Government is focused at improving the services and livelihoods of the people of Malawi through Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Kunkuyu said this in Blantyre on Monday during the official opening of a 5-day Television white Spaces (TVWS) training for ICT stakeholders in Malawi.

The physics Department of Chancellor College of the University of Malawi, in partnership with the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has embarked on a project called Malawi White Spaces Project which aims at providing broadband connectivity to rural Malawi at affordable cost using the identified gaps (White Spaces).
The meeting is geared to finding means and ways of how to reach out to rural masses with ICT using the white spaces in channels that are free in a given site or region.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the training, Kunkuyu said the government of Malawi is committed to promote universal access to ICT services by facilitating a conducive environment for enhanced collaboration between the public and the private sector through PPP arrangements.

"I am glad to inform you that Malawi is one of the five countries in the world which are currently involved in the pilot phase of this project. This demonstrates the strategic focus on ICT development under the wise and dynamic leadership of the current administration”.

The country has placed ICT high on its agenda through such initiatives as the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) and the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP).
"This project will therefore go a long way in supporting these initiatives through the upliftment of the socio-economic status for the rural masses", said Kunkuyu adding that there will be challenges in the implementation that require close cooperation between the industry, leaders and MACRA.

Kunkuyu said the training will facilitate improved broadband connectivity to the rural areas utilizing the identified White Spaces and that the project's initial pilot phase starting September, targets areas which are key to social and economic development like hospitals, schools, the defense forces and the Seismology Unit for earthquake monitoring.

Further details

Friday, August 02, 2013 11:23:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project has so far covered 407 schools across the country. At least 207,026 laptops have been distributed, according to Nkubito Bakuramutsa, the OLPC Coordinator in Rwanda Education Board.

Bakuramutsa told The New Times yesterday that Rwanda has been ranked third globally after Peru and Uruguay in terms of rolling out laptops in primary schools. He added that at least all 30 districts have five OLPC-enabled schools. “The project now focuses on seeing each school in all 416 sectors equipped with laptops”.

The project that was launched in 2008 aims at boosting Rwanda’s goal of becoming a knowledge-based society.

Bakuramutsa said that 2,200 schools have also been equipped with servers, wireless access points and digital content including, e-books, math, science and English courses.
“The server is also equipped with a school management and information system and security features to track laptops in case of theft or loss”.

According to Sergio Romero, OLPC Vice President Africa, Peru tops the list in the world when it comes to OLPC rollout in schools with about 750,000, Uruguay (approximately 475,000) and Rwanda in third position with more than 200,000.

The project has also trained 10,000 teachers with basic ICT skills to enable them to prepare and teach their lessons in digital format.
Bakuramutsa further said that with such a massive deployment, the OLPC programme is looking at establishing a modern call centre that would provide online maintenance support to schools.

(Source: The New Times)

Friday, August 02, 2013 11:19:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is providing multimedia tablets and training to 160 teachers at 11 schools in the Eastern Cape as part of a project that aims to develop a mobile teaching model that can be applied countrywide.

The CSIR's Meraka Institute said on Friday that it had completed a one-year pilot phase in which 17 teachers at Arthur Mfebe Senior Secondary School in Cofimvaba were trained in using digital content on tablets to support traditional teaching and learning.

A comprehensive mobile learning curriculum had been developed for this purpose, the CSIR said, and learnings from the pilot phase were being applied in the first phase of the project, which would see tablets rolled out to 11 additional schools over the next two years.

The rollout began on Friday, and would be followed by a second phase, starting in 2014, in which tablets would be rolled out to a further 14 schools.

The Meraka Institute's Merryl Ford believes that the innovative use of mobile technology has the power to transform education.

"These devices will help to change the landscape of education in rural areas, allowing teachers and students greater access to knowledge and education resources", Ford said in a statement on Friday.

She added that the project was "turning old models and approaches upside down by starting with the most disadvantaged schools in the country ... If what we're doing works in rural schools, it will work anywhere".

The project employs a "learn to earn" model, in which teachers get the opportunity to earn their tablets by attending training courses once a month in the afternoons, and by using them in their classrooms to support teaching and learning processes. This is further supported by a system in which teachers are rewarded with "digital badges" to encourage their progress.

Once the teachers at each school show that they are ready, the rollout will be extended to learners as well. At Arthur Mfebe Senior Secondary, the second phase began on 18 July with each matric student receiving their own tablet to support their studies.

"We want to develop a sustainable, replicable model that can be implemented across the country", Ford said, adding: "The project is a partnership between ourselves, government, teachers and learners where everyone has a responsibility to make it work.

"We are doing this with the schools, not for them, and we hope that by helping them become agents in their own success, the project will be successful far beyond our involvement".

The project, dubbed ICT4RED, is a sub-projects of the over-arching Technology for Rural Education Development (TECH4RED) project, a collaborative effort between the national departments of Science and Technology, Basic Education and Rural Development and Land Reform, and the Eastern Cape Department of Education.

Further details

Friday, August 02, 2013 11:13:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Schools are preparing for a seismic shift in the teaching of ICT. Now they have Computing instead of ICT to cope with, and there is a much greater emphasis on computer science under a new curriculum.

While some schools, especially primaries, struggle to prepare for this change, Lancaster Girls' Grammar School has grabbed the bull by the horns. Instead of putting on a course for teachers they are taking 30 students to the hotbed of digital innovation and home of some of the brightest minds in computer science – Silicon Valley, California.
Lancaster headteacher Jackie Cahalin is delighted. “ICT is a very successful subject at LGGS at both GCSE and A level standard", she says, "allowing the girls to be creative as well as learning skills that will assist them in their other studies and future careers.

"We introduced Computing because there was a clear gap in our curriculum for those pupils who wanted to go a step further and learn how to create a tool rather than use it. Computing appeals to girls who enjoy maths, electronics and science; they find it challenging and have had to adapt their mindsets to be able to overcome problems and find solutions.

"We strive to offer our pupils the best opportunities and the visit to San Francisco is no exception and is set to truly inspire LGGS students to see there are opportunities for women in this field."
The children and teachers leave on July 17 for a full itinerary which includes visits to the usual tourist spots such as Golden Gate Park, Sausalito, Fisherman's Wharf and Alcatraz but also the more computer-focused trips to the History of Computing Museum in Mountain View, Google HQ, Qualcom and a full day on the Stanford University Campus where they will meet some of the women in the faculty of computer science.

The inspiration behind the trip is Joanne Devlin, head of ICT, computing and business. “I never recognized the 'dull and boring' description of ICT [Michael Gove's] from the teaching at Lancaster Girls' Grammar School", she says, "as we have tried to make the teaching of ICT as interesting, engaging and relevant to the needs of pupils and their potential careers in the IT and digital industries.

"This trip, however, will help to raise the girls’ aspirations and make them realize what opportunities a career in computing and IT could offer them.




Further details

Friday, August 02, 2013 11:07:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology launched the pilot trial of its ASEAN Community e-Classroom project, an initiative under the ASEAN ICT Master plan 2015, which aims harness the ICT skills of people with disabilities.

The ASEAN Community e-Classroom is a virtual classroom featuring several ICT courses aimed at making sure that people with disabilities – whether blind, deaf and mobility impaired — is equipped with the necessary ICT skills to be part of a competitive ASEAN ICT workforce.

Users can simply create an account and choose their desired learning track from the eight course categories which include the following: Smart ASEAN Citizen, Smart ASEAN for the Youth, Smart ASEAN for Women, Smart ASEAN aged citizen, Smart ASEAN with physical disabilities, Smart ASEAN blind, Smart ASEAN deaf, and Learning disabilities guardian.

With the goal of the free movement of labour by 2015, ASEAN hopes that its pool of skilled professionals are equipped with the skill sets needed to facilitate a true regional labour integration - one that results to the development of competitive and productive enterprises, better lives for the people and socio-economic growth.  

(Source: FutureGov)

Friday, August 02, 2013 11:03:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
A project aiming to provide high school students with the needed and most recent academic materials has been launched in Liberia. The Project is being launched by the ASHESI University in the Republic of Ghana, and is currently piloted at the RICKS institute in Monrovia.

Three students, currently in Liberia for the pilot the project, Mohammed Kessir, Martha Adjou Kinu and Kpetemeni Siakor, the project is intended to give education through Technology.

Siakor said: "For a very long time people have known ITC as a course by itself but I think Technology is a tool and if it is tool, it is a means, not an end in itself. This is about using technology for the purpose of giving education so this is not about giving people Technology it is about giving education but deliver through Technology".
Siakor said the project is a software network project that is used to download the most recent textbooks and academic materials from the website for students who find it difficult getting access to the needed materials for their studies to prepare them for future public exams.

Siakor told FrontPageAfrica that with the latest revelation made by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that the country's education system is a mess and needs attention points to the need for more help high school students with access to textbooks to help them prepare for public exams.

Siakor said the project was initiated by him at the University and because of the significant impact it has made in the lives of students, the administration of the ASESI University decided to help in making it bigger for a lager impact.

Siakor also disclosed that because of the importance of the project, the University solicited outside help from some individuals.

Siakor said, the software sever is currently posted at RICKS, but they are currently accepting other students and schools administrators who have interest in accessing the facility.

"The purpose of this project is not to make students lazy, or get teachers out of the class but it is only intended to support learning and prepare people for exams, Siakor said".

(Source: All Africa)

Friday, August 02, 2013 10:56:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Over 300 persons from more than 40 countries gathered for the event. Speakers and participants discussed, amended and adopted a framework and a plan of action for the GAPMIL which was prepared in advance through a global call for interest and a three-month online debate. An eleven-person steering committee comprising two people from each region was established. It includes six women (one a youth representative) and five men. Click here to view the details of the GAPMIL Framework and Action Plan.

High quality presentations were made by thirty eloquent speakers, seventeen women and thirteen men, on issues relating to MIL, journalism and intercultural dialogue.
Sessions sought to highlight the link between MIL, intercultural dialogue and journalism education, providing an opportunity for participants to discuss how journalism education and MIL contribute towards intercultural dialogue. Journalism education institutions were encouraged to building MIL and intercultural competencies into its pedagogical framework.

An important aspect of this debate involved a reflection on possible editorial guidelines on intercultural reporting, which will form part of a chapter in the forthcoming book on MIL policy and strategy guidelines. Sessions also served to preview the book recently published by UNESCO, entitled 'Model Curricula for Journalism Education: A Compendium of New Syllabi'. The syllabus on Intercultural Journalism was particularly highlighted for the benefit of the journalism educators present.
With Africa as central focus during the event, the African Chapter of the GAPMIL was also debated and launched by stakeholders from Africa.

Participants also had the opportunity to review and offer recommendations to improve draft model MIL Policy and Strategy Guidelines and the Global MIL Assessment Framework. These will be published later in the year.

Participants called for access to MIL competencies for all citizens and a complementary widening of the landscape especially for more community based media platforms such as radio, television, newspaper, libraries as well as investigative reporting of events so that citizens can be better empowered with information needed to make decisions and engage in intercultural exchange.

The growing influence of social media on societies, especially on our youth was noted. Participants urged authorities to harness these potential positives for civic empowerment and also address the risks by promoting national MIL initiatives. The challenges of basic infrastructures like power and broadband Internet facilities were underscored. As one of the speakers puts it, “…it is a good that we are debating media, media literacy, information literacy and intercultural questions… Sometimes we have the impression that media is different from libraries. I think that we should all sit together and think about how we should educate people to be informed... we should put our experiences/skills together in order to create national programmes that will help citizen’s at all social levels… to avoid being overwhelmed with over-information through social networks, being misinformed, being overwhelmed with advertisement propaganda, which divert attention… and could steer them towards separations and conflicts”. (Cecile Coulibaly, International Association of Francophone Librarians and Documentalists).

The event would not have been a success without the support of the Saudi Arabian, the Nigerian, and the Swedish governments. Practitioners in MIL, librarians, journalists, ICTs specialists, educators, journalism training institutions, civil society organizations, private sector, university professors, and state and UN representatives - who together formed a kaleidoscope of cultures - contributed to the success of the event.

UNESCO is grateful to all local sponsors as well as the experts from all over the world who could not attend in person but contributed to the online debates and the realization of GAPMIL.

Relevant organization can sign-up to be a part of the Global Alliance on MIL through this link: Complete survey to be associate with Global Alliance on MIL.

(Source: UNESCO)

Friday, August 02, 2013 10:45:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 26, 2013
International experts to coach applicants, select finalists amongst 600 entries from 88 countries

A panel of “Challenge Partners” from industry, international organizations, NGOs and academia, including major names such as Carrefour Enterprise Foundation, Ooredoo, Dupont Sustainable Solutions, the International Labour Organization, World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization will select and coach the best applicants from some 600 entries for the ITU Telecom World 2013 Young Innovators’ competition.

The competition, which recently closed its deadline for submissions, reached out to social technopreneurs across the globe aged between 18 and 26 with the aim of identifying projects with demonstrable potential for meaningful impact in addressing one of six crucial Global Challenges.

The Challenge Partners will use their expertise, prominence and experience on the ground to work with the best applicants in each challenge to refine their applications and ensure their innovative solutions are well adapted to meeting specific real-world issues.

At the end of a two-month mentoring period, the Challenge Partners will join the competition Selection Committee in announcing the ten winning finalists on 1 October. Challenge Partners will provide the finalists, who will travel to Bangkok to attend ITU Telecom World 2013, with qualified and informed mentoring before, during and after the event. Winning entries will be showcased during ITU Telecom World 2013 and finalists will also participate in networking, mentoring and pitching sessions, and win up to USD 10,000 in seed funding for their projects.

The Challenge Partners supporting each Global Challenge are:

- International Labour Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Ooredoo working to improve employment opportunities for young people and migrant workers

- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Young Professionals' Platform for Agricultural Research Development (YPARD) and Carrefour Enterprise Foundation working to reduce food and water wastage at individual and retail levels

- G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies and Aging 2.0 working to facilitate access to public services for the elderly

- DuPont Sustainable Solutions, Microsoft Lync, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) working to improve natural disaster prediction and response

- World Health Organization (WHO), heading the UN Decade for Road Safety, working to improve road safety for both drivers and pedestrians

- ITU IMPACT working to protect sensitive personal data and inspire the creation of local digital content

More on the Competition Entries:
The 600-plus competition entries came from 88 countries as diverse as Chile, Egypt, France, Lesotho, Nepal, Nigeria, the Philippines, Russia, St Kitts and Nevis, USA, Vanuatu and Yemen.

For the first time, applications were received from Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uzbekistan and Zambia, marking the truly global scope and appeal of the competition. The number of young women applying from around the world reached 20 per cent, including submissions from Afghanistan, China, Great Britain, Qatar, Venezuela and Zambia.

A detailed overview of the selection process and members of the Selection Committee can be found at http://world2013.itu.int/event/selection-process/

For information on ITU Telecom World 2013, please visit http://world2013.itu.int/ or contact:

Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
+41 22 730 5046
+41 79 249 4861
sanjay.acharya@itu.int

For more information on the Young Innovators’ Competition, please visit http://world2013.itu.int/participate/innovate/or contact young.innovators@itu.int

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Friday, July 26, 2013 10:48:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Young ICT Developers Community, an ICT network aimed at training young Nigerian professionals in web/mobile application, IT Security and network technologies has been launched by PortalS Network and Software Solution Limited in Lagos.

Emeka Onwenu, PortalS’ managing director (MD), said the community is in line with the Nigerian government’s YouWin initiative.

He told This Day the community is meant to promote technology acquisition, individual productivity and economic development.

Onwenu said: "PortalS is courtesy of the ongoing federal government entrepreneurship initiative to build creative businesses and individuals towards national development.
“The vision of the federal government in respect to the national development by 2020 truly demonstrates a sound objective proposition for a better future of growth and advancement, mostly as it affects the young entrepreneurs of which without a truly defined action-based strategy will only remain a forecast dream, hence the initiative to instill the knowledge in various field on ICT in the young ones".

The community is also pushing to create ICT social innovation hubs at secondary schools across the country.

(Source: Humanipo)

Friday, July 26, 2013 10:38:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Start Date: Jul 24, 2013
End Date: Jul 26, 2013
Venue: Geneva, Switzerland

Description:

The Division for Public Administration and Development Management of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DPADM/UNDESA in partnership with the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD)) is organizing a joint high-level capacity-development workshop and an expert group meeting on E-Participation: Empowering People through ICTs, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 24 to 26 July 2013.

The objective of the meeting is to bring together policy-makers, experts, and practitioners on e-participation from around the world, with the purpose of enhancing their knowledge on e-participation and contributing through discussions and sharing of experiences to the development of an online e-participation self-assessment tool METEP (Measurement and Evaluation Tool for E-Participation Readiness).

The Aide Memoire provides additional information.

For more information, contact:

- Mr. Vyatcheslav Cherkasov
Senior Governance and Public Administration Officer
Development Management Branch / Division for Public Administration and Development Management
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Email: cherkasov@un.org

-Mr. Deniz Susar
Governance and Public Administration Officer
Development Management Branch / Division for Public Administration and Development Management
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Email: susar@un.org

- Ms. Victoria Ceban
DMB/ DPADM/DESA
Development Management Branch / Division for Public Administration and Development Management
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Email: ceban@un.org

(Source: UNPAN)

Friday, July 26, 2013 10:33:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


An Indian technology firm, BarrierBreak, is adapting Western-designed technology that magnifies and reads aloud documents to assist visually impaired people, it was reported.
A Microsoft India spokeswoman said in the article that anti-discrimination laws are a key reason why disability-accessible products are available in developed countries. But this fact increasingly applies to developing countries too.

The key factor driving this change is Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 2006. It states that all governments that have ratified the convention will "take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others ... [to] information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems".

Furthermore, governments should "promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet … and promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost".

So far, 132 countries have ratified the convention — approximately two-thirds of which are developing nations. Thus anti-discrimination issues are now applicable to numerous developing countries.

Many of these are working to embed the convention's articles into national legislation and policies. In 2011, Sierra Leone became an African pioneer when its government passed the Persons with Disability Act. This outlines specific rights for full access by disabled people to the same services and information, including education, health and employment, as non-disabled people. The Cambodian government passed the Disability Bill in 2009, in anticipation of it ratifying the convention, which it did last year.
However, the next challenge is to implement this raft of ratifications and anti-discrimination laws effectively. The main reason often cited for a lack of implementation is inadequate resource allocation. But this is generally linked to insufficient political will.

Huge energy and effort have been exerted by civil society in particular to get convention ratifications and follow-on national laws onto the statute books. Disability movements around the world have often been behind the push towards ratification — and umbrella bodies such as the International Disability Alliance have helped coordinate and document their progress.

Disability movements are continuing to mobilize in many countries to lobby their governments on this — the process of complying with the convention offers opportunities to continue to press governments to move beyond legal commitments to action.

But the lack of locally adapted technology also hinders implementation, as shown by the BarrierBreak example: although the screen-reader technology includes 30 languages, none of them are native to India.

As new technologies come to market, they will increasingly need to ensure their full compliance with local disability accessibility laws.

(Source: SciDev Net)

Friday, July 26, 2013 10:20:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Gender equality is a basic human right enshrined in the United Nations Charter. In the year 2000, at the United Nations Millennium Summit, the Millennium Development Goals were established and signed by 189 heads of state around the world: a list of eight overarching goals for developing countries to achieve by 2015 was outlined. Within this list, Goal 3a sought to 'eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015'. Indicator 9 of this goal was to measure the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, in the ratio of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education. However, the targets set by MDGs and other global forums have largely been missed on the African continent, partly because in Sub-Saharan Africa the number of out-of-school girls has decreased more slowly, from 25 million in 1999 to 17 million in 2008, according to the World Bank (2011).

For many years, the education of the girl child has not been a priority in many parts of the developing world because of a number of reasons, ranging from cultural, biological and social. This disparity has been reflected in areas of politics, leadership and business which have for many years, with some recent changes, been dominated by men.

The birth and rise of new media is, however, changing the story for many girls in Africa who have been given an opportunity to compete with their male counterparts. A new generation of girls using technology to change their story is being born. An example from Uganda is the GirlGeekKampala, a group of young enthusiastic girls who have come together to encourage the culture of programming among female university students all over Uganda. Their goal is to facilitate favorable competition in developing applications for sale, to match their male counterparts.

Similarly, in South Africa, ShetheGeek is on a mission to empower women globally through training with technology and innovation. In Kenya, a fast growing technology base within East Africa, the school of Open Kenya initiative is creating positive impact and changing mind-sets (Creative Commons Blog, 2013). The initiative provides girls with peer mentorship, learning through the use of open educational resources, and using the Internet to objectively achieve their goals and actualize their ideas, while actively solving issues in their communities. Beyond individual efforts of girls trying to help fellow girls, institutions such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) strive to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide. Access to ICTs, the United Nations says, empowers women and girls to take their rightful place as equals in the world.

It is evident that investing in a girl child's education is empowering a girl to make informed decisions about her life, to aspire for greater goals in life beyond marriage and to compete favorably with her male counterparts in politics, business, leadership and other fields, with one main goal of creating positive social change and contributing to the development of her society or nation. It is therefore important for leaders to encourage the culture of tolerance and acceptance in men, of women who break even in politics and other male dominated professions and cease to look at them as competitors or threats but rather as companions and team players in achieving a better good for society.

"How Technologies Can Help with Investing in Girls Education" is one of the twelve opinion pieces featured in the eLearning Africa 2013 Report. To read more about the annual publication, please visit: http://elearning-africa.com/media_library_publications_ela_report_2013.php.

(Source: All Africa)

Friday, July 26, 2013 10:12:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


On 12th/7/2013, MTN Uganda, in partnership with the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) have re – established the Kampala Public Library (KPL) creating a one-stop centre for members of the general public and specific groups such as tourists and investors to utilize the facility to request for and receive information about Kampala city.
With the growing trends in technology, MTN Uganda has bridged the library’s digital divide and increased the utilization of information technology in the acquisition of modern knowledge for lifelong self-learning. The MTN Foundation has provided equipment and internet connectivity solutions to KCCA.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, the CEO MTN Uganda Mazen Mroué reaffirmed MTN’s commitment in providing ICT support to improve service delivery of the library and stated that the connectivity will create online linkages to the centre to increase its usage and visibility. This is also in line with the MTN Foundation’s corporate social responsibility areas for 2013 which include Education, Health and National priority areas.

KCCA’s Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi commended MTN Uganda for their contribution towards the expansion of the facility and stated that the company’s technological support will go a long way in creating a facility that will offer comprehensive and timely information about Kampala City.

KCCA seeks to expand the use of the current facility by introducing new uses for the existing areas and incorporating technological aspects, themes and other elements that will enhance the image of a modern area of information usage and consumption.

The Kampala Public Library fully revamped now boosts full free WiFi connectivity as well as brand new desktop computers to aid users of the facility get access to more online resources during their research or casual reads.

A member of the technical team from KCCA equally pointed to the construction of an Online Library Catalog to boost the full digitization of the library facilities.
MTN’s contribution equally went towards the remodeling of the children’s library, with donation of more reading facilities for children.

(Source: PC Tech)

Friday, July 26, 2013 9:49:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 18, 2013


The Western Cape government is planning to tap into children's hunger for technology by giving them tablet computers. Premier Helen Zille revealed her government's plans at the launch of a teacher training programme in Mitchells Plain yesterday.

This week more than 9000 grade 7, 9 and 12 teachers will undergo training in the third phase of the programme, which is to be implemented next year. They are being trained on pace of teaching, curriculum coverage and pupil assessment.

"Technology has become a very important component of education", said Zille.

"We have succeeded in getting a computer lab into every school in Western Cape - now we are looking at introducing telematics". Pupils will be able to download subject content and work out where they should be in the curriculum.

Zille said the provision of the tablet computers "will be costly but worth every cent". Western Cape's education budget for 2013-2014 is R15.6 billion.

(Source: Times Lives)

Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:41:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
UNESCO supported the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture to hold a workshop on Harnessing the Use of Open Educational Resources (OER) for the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT CFT) in Jakarta, Indonesia on 27 June 2013. The workshop focused on the potential of OER for supporting the rollout of the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers and its potential to contribute to Indonesia’s educational goals for building knowledge societies.

The Executive Chairman of the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO, Prof. Dr. H. Arief Rachman, highlighted in his opening remarks the importance of the development of OER - based teacher training tools for ICT integration, which makes the project activities relevant to real world problems. Prof. Dr. Rachman also underscored the need to ensure that Indonesia’s 2.7 million teachers are properly trained to integrate ICT effectively in their teaching. This UNESCO-supported workshop contributed to the Indonesian Government’s objectives to promote the use of ICT for the construction of knowledge societies, ensuring that teachers have the necessary ICT skills for quality teaching and learning.

The important work that Indonesia has undertaken in developing a policy on OER and teacher training standards for ICT CFT (in cooperation with Intel) was underscored by participants as an important basis for the development of project activities.

The discussions focused on the priority area of technical vocational education at secondary level. In this regard, it was agreed to focus the project activities on teacher education materials in this area.

The workshop gathered participants from the Ministry of Education, non-governmental organizations and the World Bank. Private sector partners involved in the development of ICT CFT, namely CISCO, INTEL and Microsoft, were also invited to participate in the event.

This activity is part of UNESCO’s continued efforts to promote 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). After the adoption by UNESCO of the Paris OER Declaration in 2012, the implementation of this activity in Indonesia, Kenya and Oman is supported by the Hewlett Foundation.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:36:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |