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 Monday, July 14, 2014



This is an annual special achievement award for outstanding performers and role models in Gender Equality and mainstreaming in the area of ICTs. Please note that this award is applicable for both women and men.
This is a ITU-UN Women Joint Award.

Background:
Women’s digital empowerment and their full participation in the information society is one of ITU’s key objectives. The 2010 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference strengthened Resolution 70 (Rev. Guadalajara, 2010) on “gender mainstreaming in ITU and promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women through information and communication technologies” and subsequently, the ITU Council, at its 2013 session, adopted the ITU Gender Equality and Mainstreaming (GEM) policy. 

To promote this policy, and recognize and reward ITU members and other Stakeholders who are leading the way in using ICTs to expand opportunities for women and girls, Secretary General has launched the annual GEM-TECH Awards, which will be conferred for the first time at the 2014 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-14) in Busan, Republic of Korea in partnership with UN Women and will inter alia celebrate and commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and its impending implementation review in 2015.

The first ITU-UN Women GEM-TECH Awards will be awarded in seven categories covering crucial topics of gender equality and mainstreaming in and through ICTs, and are open to all stakeholders working in related areas.

1) Objective: 
The ITU - UN Women GEM-TECH Award will demonstrate a commitment to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment through ICTs.

2) Format:
Open call to all Stakeholders working in the ICT Landscape.

3)Stakeholders Eligible to Apply for the Awards
Governments 
Private Sector
Civil Society
International Organizations
Academia

4) Award Categories – 7 Categories

1.ICT Applications, Content, Production Capacities and Skills for Women’s Social, Political Empowerment and Women’s Empowerment Linkages with Sustainable Development.
2.ICT Applications, Content, Production Capacities and Skills for Women’s Economic Empowerment and Poverty Reduction.
3.Promoting Women in ICT Sector - initiatives aimed at attracting, retaining and promoting women within the ICT sector and into decision-making positions (private and public sector).
4.Enabling Girls to Become ICT Creators - initiatives aimed towards providing girls with an opportunity to become not just active users but also creators of ICTs and content.
5.Closing the ICT Gender Gap - Ensuring ICT accessibility for women, such as digital literacy training and ensuring affordable and meaningful access to ICTs by women. Initiatives aimed at measuring the ICT gender gap including research and data on women’s engagement with ICTs and their impact.
6.Efforts to Reduce Threats Online and Building Women’s Confidence and Security in the Use of ICTs.
7.ICT and Broadband strategies policies, framework that promote women’s digital empowerment.

5) Timeline

STAGE I: 5 July : Launch of  the Award
STAGE II: 5 July- 5 September -Nomination stage (This award is open to Organizations and Individuals. Please note that self-nominations are welcome)
Propose a nominee here: http://www.itu.int/en/action/women/gem/Pages/award.aspx
STAGE III:  5 September- 5 October- Selection stage
STAGE IV:  21st October Announced at the PP-14

More details

Monday, July 14, 2014 7:02:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Innovative open source technology for emergency telecommunications

ITU’s Young Innovators Competition 2014 has launched the second of its 2014 series of challenges, soliciting innovations using open source technologies for disaster management and offering winners the chance to win up to USD 10,000 in seed funding, plus the opportunity to showcase their work at ITU Telecom World 2014 this December in Doha.

Challenge-2 asks 18-30 year old start-up founders from across ITU’s 193 Member States to submit their winning ideas via its dedicated crowdsourcing platform. It also seeks innovators with ideas for taking the iconic technologies of the “maker culture” – the community of do it yourself inventors, creators and designers – such as 3D printing or robotics and applying these to saving lives in disaster situations, together with low cost, low entry barrier technologies, to reach the world’s most vulnerable communities.

The deadline for submissions is 31 July 2014, 24:00 UTC+2.

“With their flexibility and adaptability, open source technologies have tremendous potential to be key disaster mitigation tools in situations where a timely response is vital, both to save lives as well as to help rebuild communities after a disaster has occurred,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “Innovations that are designed to save lives are critical in our quest to mitigate the devastating effect of natural disasters, and I urge young social entrepreneurs worldwide to use their skills in developing these technologies and apply their vision, ambition and creativity to meet this growing global challenge”.

About the Competition
First launched in 2010, this annual competition offers young people the chance to take part in workshops on entrepreneurial skills, opportunities to meet and network with leading ICT players, and to showcase their projects at the InnovationSpace, a dedicated show floor pavilion at ITU Telecom World 2014.

This year's competition comprises of a series of challenges aimed at solving real-life developmental issues through the innovative use of technology with effective social impact. The competition began with Challenge-1 on Local Digital Content, and will continue with further challenges in the run up to ITU Telecom World 2014 in December. Two start-ups will be selected as winners of Challenge-2 by a Selection Committee of experts and invited to attend ITU Telecom World 2014, along with the winners of the other 2014 challenges. Joining them will also be the finalists of the 2013 edition of the competition, who will report on progress of their winning projects.

Visit ideas.itu.int for more information on Challenge-2, to find out more on the winners of Challenge-1, and to apply or comment on submissions. You can also visit the Young Innovators Facebook page or contact us directly at young.innovators@itu.int.

ITU Telecom World 2014 will take place 7-10 December in Doha, Qatar. For more information on how you can be a part of this key event, visit telecomworld.itu.int

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Monday, July 14, 2014 6:54:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Introducing ICT innovations in the elderly care not only contributes to a better life for seniors, but also saves costs on social and healthcare systems. Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS, Joint Research Centre, European Commission) presented the preliminary findings of two case studies of ICT in long-term care from Scotland (UK) and the Limousine Region (France) at the Social Innovation Conference in Brussels in May 2014. The two cases studies are part of the ongoing project called “Long-term care strategies for independent living of elderly people (ICT-AGE)”.

Scottish Telecare Development Programme
The programme addressed the need to reduce healthcare costs of elderly people aged 65+ in 2006-2011. By installing remote emergency systems in elderly homes, the programme achieved €91 million of cost savings and increased the quality of life, safety and independence of more than 43, 000 users. It helped to reduce hospital admissions and stay length, admissions to care homes, and, caring tasks, thereby reducing stress for informal carers and increasing their ability to retain paid employment.

Home Automation and Advanced Telecare
The project in the Limousine region (Creuze, Corrèze and Haute Vienne Departments) in France began in 2010 and focused on preventing falls. Falls are a  major public health problem, costing an estimated €2 billion each year. Sensors, light paths, and alarm systems connected to a Telecare centre aimed to reduce the number of falls, and resulted in reduced hospital admissions, depression of the elderly, and their overall need for care. This programme saved the Corrèze Department an estimated €6.300-7.300 per person a year.

Key Success Factors
Public funding is necessary to support such business models. Nonetheless, other funding sources (user) also contribute to the sustainability of the business model. In addition, political engagement and local stakeholders’ involvement, extensive training to all involved actors and mainstreaming strategies prove to be crucial as well. It is important to run awareness campaigns and promote such projects to drive the development, deployment and adoption of ICT-based services and to inform societies about future solutions in elderly care.

Project website:ICT-AGE

(Source: Careplus)

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 3:34:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Japan’s Government will connect all hospitals, clinics and pharmacies nationwide as part of broader plans to address Japan’s ageing population problem, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has told FutureGov.

Yasushi Yoshida, Director General for ICT Strategic Policy Planning at the Ministry, told FutureGov that the government wants to increase the adoption of electronic health records by small and medium-sized hospitals. “Many big hospitals have already introduced electronic health record systems. But it’s not easy for medium to small hospitals to introduce this because of the expenditure involved”, he said.

The government is encouraging these hospitals to use a cloud technology to minimize costs: “We are recommending to medium to small hospitals to use more efficient systems using cloud, since the cost is lower”, he said.

Japan’s government faces the challenge of providing healthcare for a “super-ageing society” and the government is looking at how ICT can be used to collect and analyze healthcare Big Data to address the issue. The government has plans for a longer-term project to improve data collection and analysis by building a nationwide network connecting all hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and nursing centres.

Yoshida explained the current situation: hospitals are connected to a cluster of clinics around them, and there are 150 such clusters across the country. However, these clusters are not connected with each other and information flows only one way from the hospital to the clinics.

“In the future, we would like to connect all hospitals nationwide, including connecting the hospital-clinic clusters with each other”, Yoshida said. “We would like more hospitals and clinics to participate in the network. Information should flow both ways”, he added. The government also plans to include pharmacies and nursing centres in the network, as they are currently excluded from the clusters.

Although there is no official target for the completion of the network, Yoshida hopes to see it completed in the next five years, though he acknowledges that this will be a difficult goal to accomplish in this time frame.

(Source: FutureGov)

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 2:03:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The International Task Force on Teachers for EFA is a voluntary global alliance of EFA partners working together to address the shortage of qualified teachers needed to achieve universal primary education by 2015 and to provide a quality education for all.

The Task Force is holding a consultation on inclusion and equity in teachers‘policies and practices via an online discussion forum. Input from this consultation will feed into the drafting of a policy brief on this issue.

The following three questions will be asked to the participants in an effort to deepen the themes of inclusion and equity in policies and teaching practices:

1. On a daily basis, how can teacher help to promote equitable and inclusive education?
2. Are there equitable and inclusive teaching policies for marginalized children in your country? Are teachers involved in the implementation of such policies?
3. Which strategies should be put in place in schools to help teachers facilitate inclusion and fair treatment of marginalized children?

The International Task Force on Teachers for EFA is inviting institutions and experts from all regions of the world, including both developing and developed countries, to share the challenges, priorities and practices of their education systems and contribute to discussions and debates in the online forum. We also invite our members to extend the invitation to their respective network(s).

When, local time: Wednesday, 2 July 2014 (All day) to Thursday, 17 July 2014 (All day)
Where: France
Type of Event: Working group/Expert Meeting
Contact: m.lacasse@unesco.org

Further details

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 1:45:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


TOT has been expanding and developing its ‘Telephone for the deaf’ service to address the important need for personal communication tools for hearing impaired individuals, especially in situations where help is needed. There are now 500 telephone booths with the service installed nationwide, including 150 located in Bangkok.

To use the device, callers should go to a TOT public telephone that has an additional keyboard attached. Pick up the phone, insert a TOT public phone card and dial the designated number. The person at the destination must be using either a mobile phone or have a special phone provided by the TOT with a keyboard attached. Then, unlimited text can be sent at a cost of only 3 Baht per call. Once the caller is done he/she  just hangs up and removes the card.

TOT hopes that this service will facilitate hearing disabled individuals in being able to communicate through service equipped public and home phones. The language of the text message can be switched between Thai and English.

For more information the public can contact the TOT Innovation Institute by dialing the TOT hotline 1100, or access www.tot.co.th

(Source: National News Bureau & Public Relations)

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 12:46:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) today announced a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America Commitment to Action, valued at $3.71 million dollars, to engage 10,000 middle school girls in learning computing concepts. The announcement was made at the CGI America meeting in Denver.

NCWIT’s Commitment to Action will scale the successfully piloted NCWIT AspireIT initiative, which enlists technical high school or college women in designing and leading computing programs for younger girls. This innovative “near-peer” approach allows young women to become role models and build leadership skills while encouraging younger girls to pursue computing.

"This initiative was born from young women’s enthusiasm for technology and desire to pay it forward,” said Ruthe Farmer, Chief Strategy & Growth Officer of NCWIT. "Who better to invite girls to explore and experiment with technology, than the young women they look up to and aspire to be like? NCWIT AspireIT provides the national infrastructure needed to harness this energy and rapidly bridge the computing education gap for thousands of girls nationwide”.

Research shows that peer influences can have a positive effect on girls’ plans to pursue computing. “Near-peer” role models serve as real-life examples of other girls interested in technology and computing while reducing the effects of stereotype threat – reduced confidence and performance when one is reminded of gender stereotypes, such as “girls are not good at math or technology”. Find out more with NCWIT’s Girls in IT: the Facts (www.ncwit.org/thefactsgirls) report.

"Not only has leading an AspireIT program been a tremendous benefit for the students but I have also learned to challenge myself to take charge and inspire the girls through my love of technology,” shared Noor Muyhi, a computer science student at New Mexico State University and an NCWIT AspireIT Program Leader. “My goal is for every girl in the program to feel 110% supported and to leave the camp with a spark of curiosity towards technology fields".

The NCWIT AspireIT pilot has launched 70 programs, providing an estimated 115,000 hours of computing education to over 2,000 girls in 23 states. To fulfill the CGI Commitment NCWIT will engage 600 high school and college members of the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program and 250 partner organizations to co-create and deliver 400 computing-focused after-school programs for middle school girls across the country through 2018. Find out more at www.ncwit.org/aspireit.

Commitment partners include the Intel Foundation, which provided the initial startup funding for NCWIT AspireIT and has made a long-term investment in scaling the program, with additional support from Google, the Northrop Grumman Foundation, Microsoft, Sphero, the UC Irvine Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, and Tata Consultancy Services. Partners provide financial support, technical assistance, hardware and software, curricula, and volunteers to work locally with the programs.

Further details

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 12:39:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 27, 2014


Last week, Gayaza High School, a girls’ institution with a long history of excellence, showcased their e-Learning centre. Ronald Ddungu, the Deputy Head Teacher said they have adopted an inclusive approach to e-Learning where teachers have actively integrated technology and teaching.

Students can now access class notes andhomework and carry out research in a timely manner,allowing them to fully benefit from Uganda’s educational curriculm.

Ddungu said this innovative e-Learning initiative wonGayaza High School USD15,000 during this year’s Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain during March.

“The use of technology in schools in Uganda will help improve the delivery of the curriculum. Gayaza High School will work closely with other schools and mentor their teachers in adopting the use of technology in their work”, Ddungu said.

During a recent tour of the school, Mark East, General Manager of Global Sales and Operations at Microsoft, said, “The government of Uganda needs to set a policy and infrastructure for schools to access internet and technology because Information Technology is a tool that each student needs to have a right to.’

He said, “Teachers, like those in Gayaza, need to learn how to effectively integrate ICT into their curriculum and classrooms. It helps create immersive learning experiences that improve students’ experiences and skills through technology.”

Eastsaid Microsoft’s approach to e-Learning is a not a one-device-fits-all solution. With access to ICT in schools still unevenly distributed, schools across Uganda are at different levels of implementing e-Learning programs and therefore have different needs. “For instance, there is a high teacher absenteeism rate in Uganda, as reported by the BBC, meaning that 40% of public school classrooms don’t have teachers teaching in them,” he said.

The company recently launched the Microsoft4Afrika Virtual Academy, which delivers free IT training from Microsoft experts, and covers topics such as app development, coding, business intelligence and virtualisation.

Microsoft plans to continue delivering relevant, effective and scalable technologies, services and programs. As eLearning progresses in Africa, the company looks forward to continuing its efforts in improving learning for all.

(Source: Business Week Newspaper)

Friday, June 27, 2014 8:39:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
New, mainstreamapproaches and tools are needed to improve visual accessibility for people with low vision , according to a special article in the July issue of Optometry and Vision Science, the official journal of the American Academy of Optometry. “Visual accessibility makes an environment, device, or display useable by those with low vision,“ says Anthony Adams, OD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of the journal.

According to a review by Gordan E. Legge, PhD, of the University of Minnesota, vision science, in collaboration with other fields, has a key role to play in developing technologies and designs to promote visual accessibility for the millions of people living with low vision.

In recognition of his pioneering work on low-vision research and visual accessibility, Dr. Legge was named the 2013 Charles F. Prentice Award Lecture Medalist.  Established in 1958, the Charles F. Prentice Medal is awarded annually to an outstanding scientist who has contributed significantly to the advancement of knowledge in the visual sciences.

Low vision is defined as a chronic vision disability that adversely affects daily functioning and that is not correctable by glasses or contact lenses. It is estimated that there are between 3.5 million and 5 million Americans with low vision, and this number is expected to increase as the population ages.

In his Prentice Award Lecture, Dr. Legge—who suffers from low vision himself—proposed to “embed low-vision research more explicitly in the real world” in order to reduce barriers to visual accessibility. He shares examples of his research in two key areas: architectural accessibility and reading accessibility.

Architectural design has great potential to enhance visual accessibility for people with low vision. Dr. Legge gave illustrated examples of how low vision can make it difficult to navigate architectural spaces; these  obstacles and hazards may even change with the light at different times of the day.

His research includes the development of software tools to promote the design of visually accessible spaces. These tools reflect the impact of reduced visual acuity and contrast sensitivity, as well as predict whether architectural features can be seen by people with low vision. Dr. Legge writes, “We need practical models of low vision capable of predicting real-world object visibility”.
Dr. Legge’s work also includes efforts to increase reading accessibility for people with low vision. Advances such as electronic readers provide powerful new tools to improve reading accessibility, but there’s still a lack of knowledge of how best to use the features they provide. Research is needed to understand the interacting effects of variables such as display geometry, visual acuity, viewing distance, print size, and font.

Dr. Legge urges low-vision researchers to work with other disciplines—including software and hardware developers and design professionals—in solving the problems of visual accessibility. He writes, “Where we succeed, we will contribute to vision science by showing how vision functions in the real world, and we will find better ways to reduce barriers facing people with visual impairment”.

Further details

Friday, June 27, 2014 8:33:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


MTN Uganda, through the MTN Uganda Foundation, has unveiled a fully equipped,state of the art bus dubbed the “MTN Internet Bus“. The Bus, which is the first of its kind in Uganda, will be a vital tool in carrying out MTN Uganda’s vision of enhancing ICT Education across the country.

The MTN Internet Bus is equipped with sixteen high-end computer workstations, as well as access to High-speed Internet Connectivity Service powered by MTN 3G and 4G LTE technology and Wi-Fi coverage. The Internet Bus is estimated to have cost in excess of Ushs. 600 million andwas unveiled at a Press conference held at MTN’s Nyonyi Garden offices.

At the launch,  MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer Mazen Mroué said the introduction of the MTN Internet Bus is part of MTN Uganda’s new vision of delivering a “Bold, new digital world.“ The company aims to create a unique customer experience, drive sustainable growth and improve MTN customers‘ lives.

Mroué said the MTN Internet Bus, along with other ICT awareness initiatives throughout the country, will serve to develop the technological capacity of Ugandans and strengthen the nation’s economy.  This Bus also plays a vital in briding the gap between rural and urban areas by promoting computer literacy in rural zones.

Further details

Friday, June 27, 2014 8:27:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Savannah Fund is a seed capital fund specializing in USD25,000-USD500,000 early stage investmentsin  high growth technology (web and mobile) startups in sub-Saharan Africa. Initially focused on East Africa, the fund aims to bridge the gap between early stage/angel and venture capital investments  that currently exists in Africa. The Fund combines capital andmentoring networks, both in the region and from Silicon Valley through  an accelerator program, as well as a follow-up independent seed fund, to achieve its goal.

An experienced and technology savvy team, with members who have founded companies or are actively involved in angel investing, manages the fund. Members of the team have also run successful accelerator programs in the past and understand the unique Subsaharan African environment. Theyare backed and supported by local, regional and international networks of “angels“ and venture capitalists on whose expertise they draw to help startups succeed and grow into fully fledged regional or global companies.

They believe in the potential for Africa to become a global technology innovator by developing sustainable for-profit companies that both create jobs and make an impact. Take a look at their accelerator or connect with themon AngelList if you have a more mature startup.

(Source: Savannah-fund)

Friday, June 27, 2014 6:58:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



IITE, the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, aims to promote equal access to education and inclusion of the most vulnerable segments of society through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

IITE has strived to improve the access and quality of education for disabled persons by means of ICTs since 1999. Within this framework, the Institute has held a number of international expert meetings and workshops in partnership with well-known experts from various countries, including the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, Australia and the USA. This experience enabled the Institute to develop a specialized training course named: "ICTs in Education for People with Special Needs". A team of international experts from Italy, the Russian Federation, Australia, Denmark, and other countries, headed by Dr. Edwards (United Kingdom), developed this course.  The course presents the best international experiences in the field of general and specific ICT application in education for a wide range of people with special educational needs, as well as policy advice.

Policy changes and consolidated efforts of governments and civil society are necessary to reduce the extensive gap that exists in access to, and use of, digital technologies by people with disabilitiesICTs can both ease an individual’s access to life-long learning andcontribute to new career and business opportunities. ICTs also grant vulnerable groups and individuals access to the political, economic, scientific and cultural activities of a society, thereby helping to resolve social inequalities.

As part ofthe UNESCO initiative to promote a broader view of the concept of inclusive education, IITE supportspolicy dialogue to initiate the development of national e-inclusive strategies aimed at the following:

  • increasing disadvantaged and excluded groups` access to ICT infrastructure;
  • promoting basic ICT literacy and vocational training programs targeted specifically at the most vulnerable segments of society;
  • and supporting regional, sub-regional and inter-country cooperation and exchange of good practiceson the extension of ICTsto excluded groups.
ICTs offer great potential to support life-long learning for all groups of learners, including those with disabilities. The application of ICTs can compensate for the lack of natural functions, thus contributing to appropriate learning environments for students with disabilities.

The direct beneficiaries of the activities in this field are policy and decision-makers who are responsible for or involved in the development of educational policies and plans; experts in teacher training and vocational development; as well asteachers themselves.

(Source: UNESCO)

Friday, June 27, 2014 6:41:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 25, 2014


British Council is taking a lead role in the development of a unified curriculum for integration of ICT in education for the purpose of the rollout of the National Laptop Project. A joint workshop was held at the Kitengela Conference Centre & Resort Park, and brought together key stakeholders from the Jubilee Laptop Project (JLP) Consortium consisting of Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Ministry of Education, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Microsoft, Intel, Technology Partners, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, UNESCO, and Kenya Literature Bureau.

The national laptop project is expected to run from January 2014 by which time 50,000 teachers need to have been trained on ICT integration in the classroom, besides device assembly, applications uploading, content development and delivery of devices to schools among others. It is envisaged that the teachers training should be done by end of August 2013 before which there should have been induction workshops for technical teams, master trainers and training of trainers.

This writing workshop represents the first stage towards achievement of ICT integration capacity building for primary school teachers in preparation of the school laptop project. This meeting aimed to review existing content from various curricula on ICT skills and integration with a view to isolating relevant content. Thereafter, the involved stakeholders plan to rewrite each module with an emphasis to enhancing pedagogy for the teaching profession and improving learning outcomes. With this in mind, we hope to harmonize the ICT integration curriculum and adjust it within working objectives of the UNESO ICT competency standards. It is also key to note the aim of developing relevant manuals, ICT baseline survey tools and web-based collaboration systems for trainers.

Of particular importance was the time given to participants to interrogate the available content in detail and come up with a synchronized curriculum on key areas, some of which are good practice from the Badiliko and Spark a Child’s Digital Future projects. These areas include: school leader training, 21stcentury skills, basic ICT skills , internet, mail groups, social media networks, ICT integration in teaching and learning, ICT integrated lessons and managing environments, interactive digital content, safety, security and ethical issues, first line basic maintenance and support, assessment , monitoring and evaluation.

A harmonization curriculum team has since been established, and comprises 30 key stakeholders. It is envisaged that this team will address a number of key expectations mainly touching on: content format, identifying teachers for training of trainers and master trainers, structures for teacher management (support structure and types), consolidation of partners in curriculum harmonization, gap analysis,wholesome retooling of the teacher: online services (registration, pay slips, promotion, profile updates, casualty, real-time data, poll survey and collaborations),budget and sponsorship for capacity development and incentives: certification, professional development and promotion.

The teachers are the custodians of the ICT project, and will actually do the groundwork in terms of equipping students with these very vital IT skills. By directly involving them in these preliminary stages, they have a great opportunity to exercise ownership of the project. Having the teachers input at this early stages means that the final product content, execution, structures and workings are clear from the very beginning and resonate with their specific needs.

Through this initiative also, the government, will be able to aptly roll out the ICT project in line with its vision of bringing ICT skills to schools. By getting necessary input from all the key stakeholders, the government is guaranteed of getting an end- product that resonates with the people, by the people and for the people.

Source: British Council

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 1:20:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 19, 2014


UNESCO’s Institute of IT in Education (IITE) with the University of London  recently launched its first Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on "ICT in primary education". More than 7000 participants from 166 countries are registered, with over 3000 participants from emerging economies.

The MOOC is designed as a professional development course for teachers, head-teachers, leaders and policymakers in primary education, but is open to all with an interest in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The course team has instructors from 8 different countries.

The course will look at  why and how  teachers integrate ICT into primary education. It analyses examples from schools in different parts of the world, and brings professional teachers, head-teachers and policymakers together to share their best ideas and inspiring stories. The course materials were developed by a group of international experts, led by Professor Diana Laurillard of the University of London, based on studies carried out for UNESCO IITE.

The basis of the course is not a particular theoretical approach, but a collection of good and interesting experiences and examples of ICT in primary education from different countries across the world. It is based on the conviction that ICT, when used well, is a vital tool to help all children achieve their learning potential.

This first course, launched on 27 May 2014, is free and open to all. It runs for 6 weeks, and provides 4-10 hours of study each week, depending on the pathway the participant chooses to take. There is an option of receiving a certificate of completion, and/or a statement of accomplishment. Potential participants can see the course description and register here.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:57:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"Knowing how to code?" or "literacy of the XXI century? " - UNESCO's YouthMobile initiative and Intel Software  hosted a round table on this issue on Friday, June 13, the day of the5th edition of Futur en Seine (CNAM, Paris), with the support Cap Digital.



Learning how to code is  is no longer only about training engineers, but rather to give all citizens the means to create, work, and  manage a lot of information, and take a critical look at technologywhile having fun. In this context, “coding” must be seen as a new way to learn more than mere “coding techniques”.

With its new "YouthMobile" initiative, UNESCO wants as many girls and boy as possible to have the opportunity, through the code, to use technology to address local and global issues related to sustainable development. UNESCO and its partners strive to provide young people with the high level skills and confidence necessary for the development, promotion and sale of mobile applications.

Many volunteers around the world are already deploying “coding” trainings, but these programmes are often not easy for parents or teachers, rather than technicians, to replicate, translate, or adapt.

Intel Coding for Kids, an open source package of trainings and software incorporating international best practices in this field, meets the criteria of UNESCO's YouthMobile initiative. Educational and/or non-profit partner associations can freely adapt and build their own programmes, within the framework of international deployment.

In this approach, code is used as a means of artistic creation, and to facilitate understanding of social, scientific and environmental problems. The proposed pedagogical model is based on the peer-to-peer concept. The code is introduced very gradually and at each step the learner acquires ready-to-use expertise.

In addition, the round table organized by UNESCO and Intel Software will focus on other innovative approaches recently adopted in France, such as by Simplon.co and Ecole42, and will try to assess the feasibility and sustainability of larger deployments and similar initiatives, particularly in emerging countries.

The Futur en Seine festival will take place from 12 to 22 June 2014, in the heart of Paris and across the Île-de-France. For more information:http://www.futur-en-seine.fr/fens2014

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:50:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Ghana's Open Learning Exchange (OLE) is introducing innovative teaching and learning models which involve the use of affordable technology tools to make learning more pleasurable, and improve universal literacy. Local experts and politicians believe technology is the ultimate solution to alleviate the country's low literacy levels. Last year, former finance minister Dr. Kwesi Botchwey called on students to take advantage of technology to enhance their knowledge.

According to BizTech Africa, these tools include the Raspberry Pi server, which houses the OLE's Basic eLearning Library (BeLL).  A Raspberry Pi is a small computer that uses an ARM 11 processor running at 700MHz with 512MB RAM. It uses much less power than a PC, and takes up much less space. 

OLE said the BeLL system, which is powered by the Raspberry Pi, is designed to work on or off both the electric grid andthe Internet. This ensures that the most marginalised students in resource-limited areas have access to high quality learning resources. OLE said the Ghana National BeLL network will be used to update each of the School BeLLs periodically with new resources.

A feedback functionality worked into the BeLL system will then send usage data (such as pupils‘ and teachers‘ comments and ratings of the effectiveness of the resources) to the Ghana BeLL, which would make such data available to educational authorities, curriculum developers,and resource developers, among others.

This, OLE said, will provide unprecedented, rich data that can help improve the effectiveness of the learning materials and strategies to achieve universal child literacy.

Most of Ghana's Grade 6 schoolchildren still cannot read or write properly even after five years of primary education. The majority of Ghanaian adults' handwriting is almost unreadable and their reading skills in English are also often very poor. It is this alarming situation that prompted OLE Ghana to team up with World Vision Ghana to launch the Ghana Reads project.

OLE Ghana director Kofi Essien told the press that the Ghana Reads project, currently being piloted in 28 schools, provides low-cost tablets and hand-held technologies to school children. This project is backed by effective pedagogical and teacher support strategies to increase access to high quality, interactive learning resources in the classroom.
                                                                                                                                                                   
 (Source: OAfrica )

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:38:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Digital Literacy 2.0 (Dlit2.0) is a European project, funded as part ofthe Lifelong Learning Programme, that aims to help you use Web2.0 applications in your everyday life.

Web 2.0 can ease your daily life and will help you to
- stay in contact with family & friends
- find bargains and snips
- have a voice in public debate
- make use of services that are free of charge ... and much more.

DLit2.0 follows an ICT-based “train the trainer“ and “qualify the users“ approach. It sets out to develop and implement training programmes for staff in informal learning settings such as public libraries, community and care centres to enable them to use Web 2.0 to provide ICT based informal instruction and distance learning to socially disadvantaged people. Once they are trained, these staff members will enable new Internet users to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to make full and safe use of the World Wide Web, improving their motivation to learn and empowering them to participate in social life. Essentially, Web 2.0 provides learning opportunities and reduces educational barriers.

DLit2.0 compiles best practices, strategies and success criteria from different European countries into one comprehensive and innovative strategy, with special emphasis on innovative, non-formal learning approaches and collaboration models. The project reflects transnational, transsectoral and interdisciplinary cooperation and creates value by based on knowledge, empowering people in inclusive societies and ensuring that citizens have access to lifelong learning toolsto master "New Skills for New Jobs".

Further details

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:28:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Over 130 international delegates gathered in Singapore on 16 June 2014 to discuss innovative solutions for an ageing society in the new era of ICT-enabled growth and to create opportunities for people with disabilities to capitalise on the digital wave.

Jointly organised by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), Singapore e-Government Leadership Centre (eGL) and Institute of System Science (ISS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS), the workshop delved into ways to make ICT more accessible to the aged and people with special needs in order to enable them to participate in the digital economy.

Supported by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Waseda University and International Academy of CIOs (IAC), the event included government officials, academia, NGOs, VWOs and industry players from 24 economies.

"Governments today face higher expectations from citizens who use their best online transaction experiences from around the world, including that with the private sector as a yardstick for the quality of government digital services. Hence, it is no longer sufficient for Government to just provide and upkeep services online, but to innovate, and keep on innovating to raise the bar of public service and to enhance the service experience of citizens when they interact with the government", said Mr Amos Tan, Director, Strategy and Innovation Division (SID), IDA.

Consensus drawn at the workshop included the need for international cooperation and broad-based steps to be developed now, in particular the acceleration of innovation, design of secure and resilient environments, building strategic ICT capabilities, aligning policies with user-driven needs, promoting scalable solutions, harnessing data analytics for citizen participation, recognising the need for increased cross-cutting research and raising social awareness about ageing and disabilities.

"Learning from international best practices and the implementation of comprehensive strategies is a good start to address the needs of the elderly and people with disability in Singapore. We will continue to promote research and innovation of services in sectors such as healthcare, finance, training, transportation, community development, housing and e-government so as to provide an environment for the ageing and disabled folks with capabilities, opportunities, responsibilities and resources to maintain active participation and social inclusion. In addition, we advocate the use of design thinking to achieve good design to enable products, services or ICT for the elderly and people with disability", said Mr Lim Swee Cheang, Director of ISS.

The workshop concluded that to meet the challenges of the 21st century and to mitigate the social and economic impacts of people with special needs, economies must embrace the culture of innovation and enhance collaboration among governments, businesses and citizens. This includes social and organisational innovation, as well as the unlocking of information technologies through increased research and innovative new models.

(Source: IDA)

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:12:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, June 14, 2014


Announced at the World Economic Forum recently, Intel is partnering with the Rockefeller Foundation to further the She Will Connect initiative which aims to promote women in Africa and eventually other emerging markets’ tech scene.

A recent Women and the Web report suggested that, in developing countries, there are 25% fewer women than men online. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the gap rises to 43%. In light of this discovery, Intel launched the She Will Connect programme last year September which will aim to give women greater opportunities in this space.

The initiative strives to halve the digital gender gap in Africa, by empowering five million women through digital literacy programs, with initial pilots in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.

According to general manager of the Intel World Ahead Program, John Davies, “Technology in general and the internet in particular, has transformed the lives of billions of people. It opens up opportunities and possibilities that never could have been realized before. But women and girls are being left behind – which is why we are investing alongside other organizations to close the gap through Intel She Will Connect”.

As reported by CIO, this recent partnership will further help people from the She Will Connect programme with employment opportunities. Rockefeller Foundation Africa’s managing director, Mamadou Biteye, further explains the philanthropic foundation’s role.

The partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation will seek to connect those trained through the program to employment opportunities. Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa Regional Office elaborated on the Foundation’s role:

“We will work together with Intel to connect high potential but disadvantaged young women in our target African countries to online jobs through tools and training that will provide them with best practice guides to assist them in successfully accessing online jobs, earn an income and build their skills and digital work experience”.

Launched in 2013, Digital Jobs Africa is an initiative by Rockefeller Foundation that seeks to connect disadvantaged youth to jobs in the digital economy. “We will seek out more partnerships with pioneering private sector players who have a shared vision around addressing the youth employment challenge”, concludes Biteye.

(Source: Ventureburn)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:45:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Habaka Madagascar Innovation Hub hosted on Friday May 16 the Antananarivo StartUp Cup, offering cash and free incubation to winning startups.

The event, part of the global StartUp Cup initiative and supported by Orange Madagascar, offers three winners the chance to share US$3,100 as well as free incubation at the hub.
 
The overall winner will also go on to represent Madagascar at the next World StartUp Cup.

Andriankoto Ratozamanana, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) at Habaka, said the seven finalists were picked by a local judge based on lean startup criteria.

“The ideas we received are impressive indeed”, Ratozamanana said. “The tech startup scene in Madagascar is in its early age, that’s why we opted for the StartUp Cup model”.

The event was streamed live online in French and viewers can vote for their chosen startup online.

HumanIPO reported last year Habaka, which was founded in 2011 and registered as a non-profit in April 2013, launched the HARIASA National Technology Innovation Contest, looking to stimulate the creation of a startup ecosystem within the country.

Ratozamanana said innovation had the potential to be economically beneficial to Madagascar.

“Innovation will boost the growth of Madagascar’s economy because it will create local industry”, he said. “Naturally it can solve many local issues and our people will be proud to buy good quality local products or works in good condition in a local company that is very innovative and competitive”.

(Further details)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:38:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Rural communities in Lesotho deserve to be connected just like anywhere else in the world, according to Nthabiseng Pule, executive secretary at the Universal Service Fund (USF) of Lesotho.

Pule was discussing rural infrastructure at the 2014 SatCom and World Rural Telecoms Congress Africa event in Johannesburg, South Africa on 21th May.

“Some of the towers with the highest traffic are in the rural areas”, she said, while highlighting the challenges of making sure the mountainous country was covered by voice and data services.

“They [people in rural areas] make use of communication technology a lot because they want to sell their sheep and cattle and also track their mohair payments”, she said.

Pule said the government is trying to find alternatives to smartphones for internet provision.

“A smartphone’s power doesn’t last long, so we are looking for alternatives”, she said.

HumanIPO reported last month low-cost smartphones are key to internet penetration in Africa.

“Growth is going to come from mobile phones and particularly low-end smartphones that are starting to flood the market”, said Dave Duarte, South African entrepreneur and social media expert.

(Source: HumanIPO)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:31:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


A centre to train the youth in Information Communications Technology (ICT) has been officially opened in Koforidua, the Eastern regional capital.

The innovation centre which is a Government of Ghana-world Bank collaboration provides users with Internet, area for the assembling of hardware, software programmes, audio visual equipments to allow users interact with the world, a seminar room, among others.

The facility, which will be replicated in the remaining nine regional capitals, is also aimed at creating job opportunities for the youth.

Communications Minister, Dr.Edward Omane Boamah, who officially opened the centre said "all these innovation centres across the regional capitals will be linked up through the power of the internet and to the BPO centre at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle''.

The minister noted that the establishment of the innovation centre will enable business process outsourcing activities take place in all the regional capitals.

''The centre will help business outsourcing which hitherto happened only in Accra extended to the other regions'', he said.

In addition to the innovation centres, Dr.Omane Boamah stated that government is establishing twenty-one Community Information Centres (CIC) to add up to the eighteen it established last year.

"The CICs are a bit different from the regional innovation centres. It is a strategy to help diffuse ICT's to every nook and cranny of the country to engage our youth in a much more healthy way than what we have seen in the past and also give them decent Jobs through [provision of] appropriate skills in ICT'', he explained.

(More Information)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:27:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


In 2008, UNDP’s ICT Trust Fund —established with the Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology—joined forces with the World Health Organization, Vodafone Foundation and the Siwa Community Development and Environment Conservation Association to launch an initiative aimed at both eradicating female illiteracy and helping women to find new or better employment.

In addition to teaching 8,800 women how to read and write, the initiative is providing women skills and materials needed to take control of their lives. For example, the programme put a special emphasis on computer skills, so in addition to providing training in business development and problem solving, it equipped the participants with their own personal computers.

As a result, women enrolled in the programme learned to read and write, improved their agricultural and handicraft production abilities and acquired online marketing skills. Siwa women now promote their products through an online store.

Aware of prevailing social norms in the oasis, programme instructors brought the classes into women’s homes. They transformed the traditional tableya—a low, round, dining table around which rural Egyptians sit cross-legged and eat—into a so-called tabluter. A tabluter is a customized, ergonomic computer embedded in the tableya; the computer hosts a single central processing unit that can run up to four independent computers. The newly tailored tableya is foldable, making it easy to carry around from home to home.

In 2012 alone, the initiative trained 120 women on the device, in addition to 10 more who were taught how to be literacy instructors, ensuring the ongoing life of the project. Fatma Ibrahim was among the first group of women to complete their literacy programme on a tabluter.

The project team is currently training non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the Siwa governorate to use the tabluter to teach reading and writing. UNDP is also creating a business model for these NGOs so they can offer free literacy classes. UNDP and its partners are preparing to bring the entire initiative to five more oases in Egypt.

(Source: UNDP)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:23:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Nearly 20 years ago, the world came together in Beijing for the Fourth World Conference on Women. There, 189 governments adopted a visionary roadmap for gender equality: the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Some 17,000 participants and 30,000 activists pictured a world where women and girls had equal rights, freedom and opportunity in every sphere of life.

While much progress has been made in the past two decades, no country can claim to have achieved equality between men and women. It is time for the world to come together again for women and girls and complete this journey.

UN Women is launching a year-long campaign to re-energize the vision laid out at the Beijing Women’s Conference. Our goal is straightforward: renewed commitment, strengthened action and increased resources to realize gender equality, women’s empowerment and human rights. We call it: Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It!

The Beijing Declaration laid out actions to address 12 critical areas of concern for women and girls across the globe. Governments, the private sector and other partners were urged to reduce women and girls’ poverty, ensure their right to access education and training, safeguard their health – including their sexual and reproductive health, protect women and girls from violence and discrimination, to ensure that technological advances benefit all, and to promote their full and equal participation in society, politics, and the economy.

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action remains the most comprehensive global agreement on women’s empowerment and gender equality. If only it had been implemented!
Notwithstanding, today we can celebrate progress. More girls are going to school. More women are working, getting elected, and assuming leadership positions. But in all regions of the world, and in all countries, women continue to face discrimination because they are female.

We see it every day. In pay inequity and unequal opportunities at work… in stubbornly low representation of women leaders in the public and private sectors… in the continuing scourge of child marriage, and in the pandemic of violence experienced by one in three women globally – a number greater than the population of Europe.

Perhaps even more startling is the fact that if the Beijing negotiations occurred today, they would likely result in a weaker agreement. We all have a responsibility to keep pushing ahead for full implementation, because every time a woman or girl is held back by discrimination or violence, humanity loses.

Since the Beijing Conference, irrefutable evidence has accumulated showing that empowering women empowers humanity.

Further details

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:18:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 06, 2014
The Digital Enterprise programme provides free group training and face-to-face support for small-to-medium enterprises and not-for-profit organisations to help improve the way you do business and deliver services online.

The Australian Government is providing $16.8 million in grant funding to establish and support the Digital Enterprise programme in 69 communities across Australia.

The Digital Enterprise programme is helping small-to-medium enterprises to improve their productivity utilising new technologies, learn how to reach wider markets through an online presence, use videoconferencing more regularly and find ways to increase business efficiencies.

The programme is assisting not-for-profit organisations to build relationships with customers, clients and donors through social media and more efficient delivery of products and services using the internet.

A list of Digital Enterprise service providers is available to help you find your closest Digital Enterprise training programme.

Within the Digital Enterprise programme there is access to online training through the Virtual Advisor programme that is primarily assisting Indigenous Australians, small-to-medium Indigenous owned and operated enterprises, and not-for-profit organisations located in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia. Visit the Virtual Advisor programme page for more information.

(Source: Department of Communication – Australian Government)

Friday, June 06, 2014 9:38:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Nathan Han, 15, of Boston was awarded first place for developing a machine learning software tool to study mutations of a gene linked to breast cancer at this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public.
Using data from publicly available databases, Han examined detailed characteristics of multiple mutations of the BRCA1 tumor suppressor gene in order to "teach" his software to differentiate between mutations that cause disease and those that do not. His tool exhibits an 81 percent accuracy rate and could be used to more accurately identify cancer threats from BRCA1 gene mutations. Han received the Gordon E. Moore Award of US$75,000, named in honor of the Intel co-founder and fellow scientist.

Lennart Kleinwort, 15, of Germany received one of two Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards of US$50,000. Kleinwort developed a new mathematical tool for smartphones and tablets that brings capabilities to hand-held devices that previously required more sophisticated and expensive computing tools. His app allows users to hand draw curves, lines and geometric figures on the touch screen and watch the system render them into shapes and equations that can then be manipulated at will.

Shannon Xinjing Lee, 17, of Singapore received the other Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award of US$50,000 for developing a novel electrocatalyst that may be used for batteries of the future. Researchers have been looking for ways to make rechargeable zinc-air batteries practical, as they would be safer, lighter in weight, and have six times the energy density of lithium ion batteries, making them ideal for hybrid vehicles. Lee found that her activated carbon catalyst, which she made entirely from carbonized Chinese eggplant, greatly out-performed a more sophisticated commercial catalyst in stability and longevity tests and will be environmentally friendly and inexpensive to produce.

"The world needs more scientists, makers and entrepreneurs to create jobs, drive economic growth and solve pressing global challenges," said Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation. "Intel believes that young people are the key to innovation, and we hope that these winners inspire more students to get involved in science, technology, engineering and math, the foundation for creativity".

This year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair featured more than 1,700 young scientists selected from 435 affiliate fairs in more than 70 countries, regions and territories. In addition to the top winners, more than 500 finalists received awards and prizes for their innovative research, including 17 "Best of Category" winners, who each received a US$5,000 prize. The Intel Foundation also awarded a US$1,000 grant to each winner's school and to the affiliated fair they represent. Additionally, the Intel Foundation presented a select number of students with experiential awards, including the new 11-day trip to China to attend the country's largest national science competition, speak with researchers at Intel's lab in Shanghai, and visit the Panda Research Base in Chengdu.

A full listing of finalists is available in the event program. The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2014 is funded jointly by Intel and the Intel Foundation with additional awards and support from dozens of other corporate, academic, governmental and science-focused organizations. This year, more than US$5 million was awarded.

To learn more about Society for Science & the Public, visit www.societyforscience.org, and follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter.

To get the latest Intel education news, visit www.intel.com/newsroom/education, and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Further Information

Friday, June 06, 2014 9:23:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Touchscreens may have kicked-off a mobile computing revolution, but they didn't do much for the visually impaired. OwnFone, which launched a customizable mobile phone for kids and the elderly back in 2012, is now offering its stripped-down handset with braille or raised text contact buttons. The 3D-printed hardware lets you select up to four contacts that can be assigned to the device, making it ideal for emergencies and people who need to stay in touch with family or carers on a regular basis. It's available right now for a base price of £60, plus an additional monthly charge of between £7.50 and £15.00 per month -- depending on how much call time you want or need.

(Source: Engadget)

Friday, June 06, 2014 5:58:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 16, 2014
The first-ever Accreditation@IDA targeting innovative tech product start-ups launched

IDA Labs, located at IDA's headquarters at Mapletree Business City and the National Design Centre (NDC) were officially opened on April 24. The labs will serve as a place to experiment, collaborate and build innovative products and solutions that address real world challenges. A third lab to be housed in one of the National Library Board's libraries is also being planned.

A new Accreditation@IDA programme was also launched at the opening event. It aims to help innovative technology start-ups build their credentials so that they can be positioned as qualified vendors capable of handling projects by government agencies and large enterprises.

Companies that apply for accreditation will need to undergo technical assessments to ascertain their product's core capabilities and claims. IT service providers HP and Cognizant will provide the software testing tools, along with accreditation best-practices and methodologies, at an accreditation lab set up within IDA Labs@HQ.

The accreditation programme will be open for application in July 2014. Companies' financial performance and operational capabilities will also be taken into account in the process. Successful companies would be awarded an accredited status for 18 months.

To enhance market opportunities for accredited technology start-ups, IDA will be engaging potential buyers in the public and private sectors to support these companies. For example, IDA will facilitate Proof-of-Concepts and product demonstrations to potential buyers and stakeholders. In addition, the Government procurement process is being reviewed to facilitate Government's procurement from accredited companies and enable Accreditation@IDA to be considered in place of financial grading for start-ups.

"At IDA, we are constantly looking at different ways to help grow Singapore-based tech companies that have the vision to build tech products that address big challenges. IDA Labs and the Accreditation@IDA programme are two examples of how we want to help in practical ways to support the building of some great tech-product companies", said Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA.

As the support of industry partners is instrumental in growing tech talent and building tech companies and products, IDA Labs is partnering Red Hat to provide IDA Labs users with advice from Red Hat experts and the open source community. IDA Labs and Red Hat will also organise an international challenge to discover innovative technology projects that not only meet functional requirements, but also user-friendly and design-centric.

IDA Labs is also working with Intel to provide its latest technologies, R&D resources and technical expertise to IDA Labs users. Intel will also help local ICT companies bring their products to overseas markets via its global platforms.

IDA Labs' partnership efforts also extend to the Singapore Management University (SMU) Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The SMU community can use IDA Labs to test their ideas and eventually translate them into actual products and solutions. IDA Labs and SMU will facilitate the commercialisation of innovations, either through co-development or by adopting solutions to be used in government projects.

With the support of the Ministry of Education, IDA Labs will also be holding the Learn@Labs Day from 27 to 29 May. Students from different schools will have the opportunity to learn about and tinker with various technologies such as Arduino, Robotics and 3D Printing.

More than 150 guests attended the official opening and had the opportunity to view showcases and experiment with technologies brought together by IDA and IDA Labs' partners. Some of the showcases include the accreditation testing tools, Internet of Things (IoT) platforms and innovative tech hardware developed by students.

(Source: IDA)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:35:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL) builds and invests in Singapore and global infocomm technology start-ups. Managing more than S$200 million, we accelerate the development of start-ups in their formative phase, and invest further as they move towards growth and expansion. IIPL plays a central role in building a vibrant and sustainable ecosystem in Singapore for start-ups to flourish through our investments, partnerships across sectors and global reach.

We are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore.

What we do

Accelerator

In order to further stimulate the growth of home-grown, innovation driven tech start-ups, Infocomm Investments is working with corporations, universities and professional accelerators to cultivate promising tech start-ups at the seed and early stages. We bring promising tech start-ups to the accelerator programmes that are tailored to suit start-ups at different stages of maturity and/or industry verticals. We aim to build 500 Singapore-based high growth tech start-ups through such acceleration programmes over the next 5 years.

Potential partners and entrepreneurs who are keen to explore our accelerator programmes are welcome to contact us at info@infocomminvestments.com

Investment
Infocomm Investments invest alongside leading VCs to take companies to their next stage of growth. We target Singapore companies that are building a strong international presence or overseas companies expanding to new markets in Asia (from a base in Singapore.) Our investments cover various segments including Consumer Web, Mobile applications and Infrastructure, SaaS and Cloud Infrastructure, Games and Enterprise IT.
Equity-financing aside, we seek to add value to our portfolio companies through our wide network. We’ve helped companies recruit talent, connect with potential customers or partners, and bring advisors on board through strong relationships we’ve built over the past decade.

JTC LaunchPad @One-North
We are a significant participant in this initiative. Building on the success of Block 71, JTC LaunchPad @One-North is an initiative to further develop the area as Singapore’s start-up cluster. The space will provide start-ups with affordable and quality spaces which will help to seed their growth, catalyst networking and collaboration opportunities as well as build an even stronger start-up community in Singapore.

Community & Outreach
Singapore has become a strategic hub for many tech entrepreneurs to locate their business operations. At Infocomm Investments, we are committed to be an active member of the tech community, contributing in various ways to help build a strong pipeline of tech start-ups that have the potential to scale globally.

Sponsorship Support
At Infocomm Investments, we advocate and support appropriate events and activities that can benefit the innovation-driven, tech start-up ecosystem in Singapore. We would like these activities to have positive impact, in a quantifiable sustained manner, in one or more ways:

  • Building and growing start-ups into disruptive, significant businesses
  • Establishing and leveraging on relationships with the investor, accelerator, customer (or user), and media communities to propel start-ups
  • Identifying and channelling tech talent to the tech start-up ecoystem
  • Benefitting start-ups, entrepreneurs, technologists, incubators, accelerators, start-up mentors, investors, tech companies, user organisations, relevant agencies, entrepreneurship educators and students
This is a constructive way for us to work with partners across private and public sectors, in Singapore and globally, helping us to play a central role in building a vibrant and sustainable ecosystem in Singapore for tech start-ups to flourish.

You can contact our Marketing and Outreach Team at info@infocominvestments.com

  (Source: Infocomm Investment)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:27:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Grey Group Singapore (“Grey”) announced that the agency has developed two innovative mobile applications (“apps”) aimed at improving the quality of life of people with hearing disabilities. Developed with inputs and full support from the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf), the proprietary apps transform smart phones into intelligent devices that help the lives of people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing easier and safer.

Say it With Signs
Although smart phones are fast becoming ubiquitous devices in the hearing world, people with hearing disabilities has limited use of them as a communications tool, relying more on text messages and over the top (OTT) applications that deliver visual content.

This poses a challenge when there is difficulty for a caller to key in a text message, such as when the caller is driving or if the caller is a pre-school child. Say it With Signs helps address this challenge by processing audio messages during a phone call into digital hand signs displayed on the receiver’s mobile phone. The receiver of the call, who is a deaf person, can easily view this sign language on their mobile phones and reply to the caller via a text message.

Hearing Aide
Hearing Aide provides people with hearing disabilities with support during emergencies by processing ambient sounds and transmitting visual and kinetic notifications to the user. Upon recognizing a specific audio signature, the app will process this and notify the users of the impending danger via a 20 second vibration and a visual message displayed on the mobile phone screens.

This app is pre-loaded with 5 standard “alarms” or “alert sounds” such as, ambulance, fire brigade, police sirens, fire alarm and smoke detector. Users have the ability to customise the app according to their needs by adding sounds between 90 – 120dB into the databank of alert sounds and renaming labels of the notifications to warning messages they prefer or are familiar with.

SADeaf President, Dr Christopher Low Wong Kein shares, “These applications are breakthroughs for the Deaf community. At SADeaf, we are always on the lookout for innovations that can better the lives of our clients. Say it With Signs and Hearing Aide are certainly two applications that will fast become integral to our clients in their everyday lives. I have no doubt that our clients will be looking forward to have the apps installed on their phones. It was indeed a pleasure working with the highly creative and attentive team at Grey Singapore. We are glad that they have thought of the needs of people with hearing disabilities”.

(Source: GAATES)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:18:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


ECWT and E-SCN are pleased to announce a strategic partnership based on their mutual focus of equality and opportunities for youth within the ICT sector. This is specifically in line with the promotion of STEM and in particular CS education to girls, as well as increasing female representation in the ICT workplace.

E-SCN’s project and advocacy activities range from Digital Inclusion initiatives all the way up to workforce development projects, with an overall interest in reducing skills gaps, and youth unemployment. The Danish based network organization also has a strong focus on the recognition and use of the e-Competence Framework, which is a reference framework of competences applied within the ICT sector, that can be used by the individual ICT user, private sector, public sector, academia etc.

In recognition of the launch of this strategic partnership, E-SCN and their existing partners Carnegie Mellon University spin-off company, PROXCER, and Telecentre-Europe are making a donation to provide girls across Europe the opportunity to gain credentials and proof of skills within different areas of ICT.

PROXCER, based in Dublin, Ireland, is the only company in the world to deliver Authentic Examinations. Authentic Examinations are the heart of PROXCER’s method for evaluating the capability of an individual to write software accurately, by measuring the test-takers ability to program realistic problems in a professional environment, using a real programmer’s toolkit. The concept was developed and is used at world renowned Carnegie Mellon University, and spinoff company PROXCER is now bringing this opportunity to academia and private sector globally.

Through collaboration with E-SCN, PROXCER will be donating batches of SDE (Software Developer Examination) vouchers and preparation material to all National Point of Contacts of ECWT, so that a set of girls already engaged in ICT in many countries will have the chance to measure their skills.

Telecentre- Europa collaborating with ECWT already in connection with e-skills events, under mutual understanding of the benefits deriving from collaboration between two different but equal level strong EU umbrella networks, represents the European digital inclusion and digital literacy sector in Europe. Their members are focused on helping individuals get online, teach them basic and advanced digital skills and help individuals benefit from opportunities that the ICT sector can offer.

Telecentre-Europe, Microsoft, and E-SCN are currently engaged in a project which gives young people in formal and informal education, as well as unemployed youth, the opportunity to prepare for and take Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) and/or Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certifications. This project is now being extended to ECWT, where 400 girls will now have the opportunity to become certified in either MOS or MTA throughout Europe.


(Source: ECWT)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:06:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The European Commission is looking for Europe's best startups in this year's Tech All Stars competition. The lucky winners will have exclusive access to Europe's most prestigious startup events and will pitch to the likes of Sir Richard Branson and Chad Hurley.

European Commission Vice President @NeelieKroesEU said "Part of businesses success is making the right connections and the European Commission can help open doors. Finalists will get connected to EU funding sources, successful entrepreneurs and other influential people".

The competition is open to EU registered startups younger than 3 years, which have raised less than €1 million in external funding. Applications are open until May 22nd 2014.

Tech All Stars Competition
  • 10th-11th June 2014. Over two days, 12 finalists get to know London's vibrant startup scene, connect, learn and get inspired by successful entrepreneurs. Finalists will be trained and challenged in an eliminatory pitch battle and a distinguished selection panel will chose the top three.
  • June 12th Founders Forum London. Top three finalists pitch their startup to a world-class audience of tech leaders and investors. The best European startup will be elected, and the winner will be announced by Neelie Kroes
  • Summer 2014. The Grand Tech All Stars Winner will be panellist at the European Commission's Digital Agenda Assembly again rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers of the tech world.

Previous Tech All Star Winners include Irish company Trustev which offers real time, online verification using social fingerprinting technology (see MEMO/13/557) and Cognicor a Spanish start-up offering an automated complaint resolution service (see MEMO/12/472).

Background
StatupEurope is the European Commission action plan to strengthen the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs in Europe and contributing to innovation, growth and jobs. It is a Digital Agenda initiative supported by @NeelieKroesEU to help innovative tech companies start in Europe and stay in Europe.

Further Information

Friday, May 16, 2014 8:52:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Telecentre Academy (TCA), the capacity building arm of Telecentre.org Foundation, will soon be launching a new course entitled “Women, Entrepreneurship and ICTs”. Designed specifically for women with an enterprising spirit and an idea of what they want to start, the course seeks to equip participants with the necessary knowledge and skills in entrepreneurship and encourage them to pursue entrepreneurial activities.

Recognizing the gap between training initiatives focused on the use of ICT tools in the enterprise world and those full blown business administration courses that take much longer to complete, TCA developed its latest course offering in an effort to bridge this particular gap.

The course, which will delve into the practical aspects of starting a business, will be made available in English and Spanish and is expected to kick off in June in Europe and Africa. It will run for a period of 8 weeks or a total of 40 work hours. A self-directed and collaborative learning approach will be employed where the participants themselves will set their learning goals and link them to their enterprising activities. A tutor will be on hand to facilitate the learning process and guide them through the training and exercises.

All participants who will successfully complete the course will obtain a corresponding certificate from TCA. Through this course which was developed in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), TCA also hopes to build a community of practice where people who have taken the course can exchange knowledge, experiences, resources and good practices.

TCA will be offering the course for a minimal fee, the rate of which may vary per country. Some scholarships and discounts may be awarded depending on local demand.
Interested in partnering with TCA and introducing this entrepreneurship course to your network? Don’t hesitate to contact the TCA team.

Further information

Friday, May 16, 2014 7:01:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


1,700 High School Students Compete for More than US$5M in Los Angeles.

The world's largest high school science research competition, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public, comes to Los Angeles May 11-16. Approximately 1,700 high school students selected from 435 affiliate fairs in more than 70 countries, regions and territories will share ideas, showcase cutting edge research and inventions, and compete for more than US$5 million in awards. The full list of finalists is available in the event program (starting at page 47).

Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation, and Rick Bates, interim CEO and chief advancement officer of Society for Science & the Public, will be available for comment at the event. "Through the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Intel aims to empower students to develop innovations that positively impact the way we work and live", said Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation. "We hope the competition will not only shine a spotlight on the finalists' achievements, but also encourage more youth to embrace science, technology, engineering and math".

"By earning the right to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, student finalists have proven they have the capability and desire to become the leading scientists and engineers of tomorrow", said Rick Bates, interim CEO and chief advancement officer of Society for Science & the Public. "Intel ISEF is not only a chance to compete for awards but an opportunity to learn, be inspired, and share their research with fellow top young students from around the world".

To learn more about Society for Science & the Public, visit www.societyforscience.org, and follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter.

Further details

Friday, May 16, 2014 6:54:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Cisco is on a mission to make Kenyan girls embrace ICT careers and be part of the ever growing sector of the economy.

This comes amid reports by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that the number of school girls opting to study technology-related disciplines on the decline in most countries worldwide.

Cisco hopes to join ITU to champion the catalytic role a tech career can play in creating exciting, far-reaching opportunities for women and girls. The company recently hosted a ‘Girls in ICT Day’ for girls aged between 14-18 to hear about the vital role that ICT plays in employability today and how the Internet of Everything will create the jobs of tomorrow.

“Cisco has been involved in ‘Girls in ICT Day’ since it started four years ago. We understand the value of a diverse workforce, and believe that many more girls would pursue careers in ICT if they were better informed about the many different types of jobs available within the sector’, said Hital Muraj, Corporate Affairs Manager, East and Central Southern Africa.

The 26 girls from various institutions were mentored by representatives from from Global Peace Foundation, Safaricom and UNESCO, and encouraged to embrace ICT careers and reap from the male-dominated sector.

The Girls in ICT Day is an annual day of activities organized by the International Telecommunications Union aimed at improving the understanding of careers in ICT among girls.

To help inspire girls to consider a future in technology, ITU established the ‘Girls in ICT Day’ back in 2010 and supports the global organization of activities every year on the fourth Thursday in April. Currently in its 4th year, global momentum around Girls in ICT Day continues to grow with over 100 countries touted to hold events hosted by governments, private sector and NGOs in 2014.

This year Cisco will be hosting 2,500 girls at almost 80 of their offices worldwide and across 37 countries in EMEAR giving them the opportunity to network with each other and other role models to inspire them to consider an IT career.

During their visit to Cisco, students will be able to experience and engage with Cisco’s technologies for themselves, including collaboration platforms such as TelePresence and Jabber.

These platforms will enable interaction on the day and beyond with other Girls participating across the globe and of the leading women working within Cisco and its partners and customers.

“By 2020 there will be approximately 50 billion objects connected to the Internet. At its essence, the Internet of Everything is the networked connection of people, process, data and things…and is set to create an unprecedented level of disruption across industries, globally”, said Muraj.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Friday, May 16, 2014 6:45:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The latest ITU report, Digital Opportunities: Innovative ICT Solutions for Youth Employment, carries an important message for youth, the private sector, academia and government policy makers seeking to address youth unemployment: youth need digital skills if they want to get a job or start a business.

Digital literacy is effectively a prerequisite for employment and starting a business in all countries, and ICTs should be prioritized in all national youth employment and entrepreneurship strategies.

Firstly, how bad is youth unemployment?
According to the ILO Global Trends for Youth Unemployment 2013 report, 73 million young people were unemployed worldwide and three times as many are underemployed. A further 621 million youth are said to be “NEET” — not in education, employment or training. Youth make up 17 per cent of the world’s population and 40 per cent of the world’s unemployed.

High youth unemployment not only hampers economic growth, but for youth it can be a debilitating experience that affects their ability to lead productive and rewarding lives. Urgent attention is needed to address the plight of youth and provide them better opportunities for employment.

One of the causes of youth unemployment is a skills mismatch between what the market is seeking and what institutions of learning – both formal and informal – are providing. Many employers claim they cannot find people with the job skills they need. Youth without digital skills are being cut out of a growing number of job and business opportunities.

Policy makers reading this report could draw only one conclusion: To promote youth employment it is essential that youth in their countries obtain digital skills, including how to become ICT creators.

ICTs should be included in youth employment and entrepreneurship strategies for three key reasons:

1.More jobs and businesses require ICT skills
2.ICTs are transforming the way young digital entrepreneurs do business
3.There is an explosion of online learning opportunities and resources for job seekers and digital entrepreneurs

ICTs are transforming old market sectors including farming, manufacturing and the health sector, and creating new market sectors that didn’t exist even a few years ago, like social media management, gaming and the mobile apps economy. The demand for both basic and more advanced ICT skills cuts across all sectors, from agriculture and construction to education and service industries to ICT jobs themselves, in both developing and developed countries. Basic digital literacy is increasingly required just to find job listings and apply for a job.

What kinds of opportunities exist?
Youth with mid-level digital skills can earn wages through offshore services, such as information technology outsourcing (ITO) and business process outsourcing (BPO), crowdsourcing and microwork (task-oriented work opportunities for data entry, coding, tagging and other text-based tasks).  Mobile financial services like M-PESA are making it easier for young people to receive payment for services rendered. CrowdFlower is one example of crowdsourcing which hires people in more than 70 countries.

Youth trained as ICT creators are working developing apps, games and social network websites.  Since the iPhone was introduced in 2007, the app economy has generated roughly 752,000 app related jobs in the US and 530,000 jobs in the European Union as of 2013, according to Vision Mobile. While currently much of the apps development taking place in developing countries is for export to the US, Europe and Asia, it is expected that in a few years’ time, local demand in developing countries will reach the levels of demand in Europe and North America as smartphone penetration rises.  This will give rise to a need for apps development relevant to local languages and content.

New ways of working and learning
The report also highlights new ways digital entrepreneurs are working, such as tech hubs or app labs. These are business incubation spaces that provide solutions to young digital entrepreneurs: they provide Internet connectivity, support structures (including shared office space), mentorship and collaboration. Tech hubs and app labs are springing up throughout the developed and developing world including Applabs funded by the Grameen Foundation in Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia and Uganda.

Despite the fact that digital skills are not systematically being taught in all schools, the report recognizes that youth can obtain vital digital and business skills online. The report documents the explosion of new learning opportunities that can enable youth to get the right skills, including Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), open courseware and mobile learning as well as hackathons and mobile app competitions.  All of these opportunities point to the need to promote collaborative learning in digital skills development strategies.

The report includes a number of policy recommendations, including ensuring digital skills and collaborative learning is part of school curricula, hosting innovation and co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and funding app contests and competitions.

ITU’s Telecommunication Development Sector (BDT) has created a new Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Resources Database to assist young people to find and use these digital opportunities. This database contains resources for finding employment, becoming an entrepreneur, learning technical and soft skills, finding a mentor, searching for funding, networking, and many other valuable services.

Access the full report here and find out more about ITU’s work for Digital Inclusion and visit ITU’s Youth Employment Database.

(Source: ITU Blog)

Friday, May 16, 2014 5:41:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 08, 2014
CWIT Funds Computing Outreach Programs for Girls Nationwide.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) announced the 2014 program sites for NCWIT Aspire IT –- a national technology education initiative for middle school girls, supported by Intel, Northrop Grumman, and Google.

In 2014, NCWIT AspireIT will serve more than 1,300 middle school girls with over 50,000 instruction hours in computing and technology during workshops, after-school programs, and summer camps. NCWIT AspireIT capitalizes on a "near-peer", hands-on approach. Middle school girls learn programming, game design, robotics, e-textiles and more through programs created and led by young women in high school and college. NCWIT granted $123,500 to 46 local programs across 19 states focused on inspiring middle school girls to consider careers in technology.

"Our Aspirations in Computing community has thousands of tech-savvy young women who want to share their passions for technology with the next generation,” said Jennifer Manning, NCWIT AspireIT Manager. “They make wonderful role models, connecting and inspiring middle school girls in ways that adults can’t”.

NCWIT AspireIT is a component of NCWIT Aspirations in Computing, a talent development initiative designed to increase female participation in technology by providing structured, long-term engagement and support from middle school through high school and from college into the workforce. Find out more at http://www.aspirations.org.

(Source: NCWIT)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 10:10:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Hearing the doorbell, the fire alarm or a tap that has not been properly turned off are everyday situations that can become a problem for a person who is hard of hearing. The Tecnalia Centre for Applied Research has developed a tool to pick up and identify ordinary sounds that are produced in the home environment in order to help people with hearing disabilities.

It is a mobile phone app designed to assist people who have limitations of this type in their daily lives.

All the users have to do is download the app onto their Smartphones, which will inform or alert them in real time about the various sounds that are produced around them. The first version of the app is available free of charge at Google Play under the name MyEardroid. Being portable, its advantages are that it is available anywhere at any time and does not depend on fixed installations. What is more, it can be personalized and each user can select the sounds that are relevant to him/her. The alert is made by means of vibration, text or image.

The app could benefit anyone who is severely or deeply hearing disability by supporting them in the home, in a hotel room, at work or anywhere indoors. What is more, it will also benefit the people around them as these alerts will give them peace of mind.

After launching this APP, Tecnalia is aiming to go on adding new sounds and to identify other milieu in which the app could offer its users advantages.

Tecnalia is committed to one of the big future challenges: to improve people’s life quality, and one of its aims is to achieve this in the sphere of ageing and disability. So by applying new technologies, the research center is developing new support products and services that allow people with special needs and their carers to access information and services as well as to carry out their daily activities as independently as possible in order to improve their quality of life.

See the video presentation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65DnzrJBtuo

(Source: GAATES)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 10:02:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Singapore government will set up a S$8 million (US$6.3 million) Digital Inclusion (DI) Fund to raise the adoption of infocomm for low-income households, and encourage social innovations to help voluntary welfare organisations better manage the well-being of their beneficiaries with relevant technology, announced Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information.

“The Internet today is increasingly becoming a utility for individuals, households and organisations. The Government has been stepping up its efforts at digital inclusion to ensure that no segment of the community is excluded from the benefits that the internet can bring – for example, access to information and e-services”, he said.

The Government’s existing programmes include the NEU PC Plus Programme, Silvercomm Initiative and Infocomm Accessibility Centre reach out to students from low-income families, senior citizens and persons with disabilities respectively.

The DI Fund will help individuals and households level up and enjoy the benefits that come with advancements in digital technology as Singapore prepares to wire up as a Smart Nation.

For example, targeted households will benefit from home internet access to surf for information and perform digital voice calls.

(Source: FutureGov)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 9:38:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO literacy project for girls and women in Senegal (PAJEF) is becoming an attraction. Its innovative teaching methods and approaches have grabbed the attention of other countries, which also struggle with high illiteracy rates. This week (30 April–2 May 2014) 14 policy-makers and education specialists from Nigeria are in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, to learn more about the PAJEF experience.

Last month, a delegation from the Gambia came on a study visit, which generated interest from a number of countries, including Pakistan and Namibia.

The PAJEF literacy project has successfully implemented literacy courses through mobile phones, computers, the internet and television, which, coupled with vocational skills training, have proven effective in reaching out to illiterate women. It is a partnership between the Senegalese government, UNESCO and the multinational private sector company Procter&Gamble.

Launched in January 2012, the project aims to improve access to education for 40,000 neo-literate and illiterate women aged 15-55 years in Senegal before it ends in June 2014. Based on the success of the project in Senegal, a similar literacy project was launched in Nigeria in March 2014.

South-south cooperation
The Nigeria project seeks to accelerate and underpin national efforts to achieve Education for All. The aim is to benefit 60,000 girls and women in the Federal Capital Territory and Rivers State within the next three years.

The Nigerian delegation will visit literacy and tutoring classes, where adolescent girls are strengthening their literacy skills through vocational training. They will also visit a virtual class where girls and women are using learning application accessible through mobile phones and computers. They will experience the digital blackboard, the so-called ‘Sankoré kit’, which has been installed in all classrooms used for the PAJEF project since the end of 2013.

The delegation will have the opportunity to get familiar with the educational radio and television structure within the Senegalese Ministry of Education. They will also learn about the popular TV programme Diek ak-Keureum, which is delivering literacy courses specifically designed for a female audience and broadcasted during daytime on national TV.

Education transforms lives
Educated girls and young women are more likely to know their rights and to have the confidence to claim them. In the words of UNESCO's Director-General, Irina Bokova: “Girls education is a development multiplier and one of the most powerful transformational forces we have to build peace and social inclusion”.

In 2011, UNESCO launched “Better Life, Better Future”, a global partnership for girls’ and women’s education, which addresses two main areas requiring more attention – secondary education and adult literacy. It introduces programmes aimed at stemming the drop-out of adolescent girls in the transition from primary to secondary education and in lower secondary schools, as well as focuses on scaling up women’s literacy programmes through stronger advocacy and partnerships.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 9:14:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO held a four-day workshop on ICT for teacher training from 7 to 10 April 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya. This event is part of UNESCO’s continued efforts of promoting the application of ICTs to enhance the quality of and access to education, including the stimulation of production, sharing and access to Open Educational Resources (OER).

The workshop aimed at populating a knowledge deepening course for primary education teachers in Kenya with national and international OERs and thus builds capacity of participants to enable them to adapt and customise Open Education Resources (OER) and thus support deployment of the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers within the Kenyan context. Furthermore the workshop capacitated participants in instructional design principles, including ideal structure of a blended course delivered as professional development opportunity. Mr Andrew Moore, the facilitator of the workshop stated that “there is need for OER ICT CFT to complement the Kenya Governments One laptop per Child project as this will enhance its integration to the country’s education programme”.

The training attracted participation of Kenyan ICT CFT OER courseware developers from the Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Teachers Service Commission, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa, Kenya Education Management Institute, Kenya Institute of Special Education, Kenya Technical Teachers College, Strathmore University, and Inoorero University. Many, if not all of the participants found the workshop to be of great value and of great need for themselves or their respective institutions. Participants were ready to take on the challenge posed during the workshop and were eager to move on to integrating the concepts they had been taught into practical activities.

This workshop comes as a follow up of the workshop held from 18 to 22 November 2013 that took stock of existing ICT teacher training initiatives in Kenya and proposed the UNESCO project to focus on offering additional professional development opportunities to those teachers and school managers who had completed the initial ICT integration training. The UNESCO project will enable the Teacher Service Commission to offer ‘follow-up’ training at a slightly higher level using a different mode of delivery in order to contain costs for both the project coordinators and participants.

This activity is a direct follow-up to the 2012 World Congress on Open Educational Resources which released the Paris Declaration on OERs calling on Governments to openly license all educational materials produced with public funds. Supported by a generous grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (USA), UNESCO is working with the Governments of Kenya, Oman, Bahrain, and Indonesia to implement dynamic and relevant policies to guide and recognize teachers and learners to find, adapt, use, develop, and share open educational resources.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 8:52:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
International Girls in ICT Day was again sponsored by International Telecommunications Union on the fourth Thursday of April (which this year turned out to be 4/24/14). The initiative, launched by ITU with the purpose of raising awareness of the importance of involving girls in ICT fields, aims to promote the benefits that ICT careers may offer.

In 2012, many African nations celebrated International Girls In ICT Day. Organizations in at least 16 African nations participated the following year. This year, we note roughly the same number of events. Also, it is worth noting that we have observed more female-oriented African tech events during the course of the year – a testament to the lasting success of the official Girls in ICT Day.

By our count, at least 13 African countries held or will hold a gathering this month to get girls excited about ICT. Most events directly aimed to encourage girls to pursue careers in ICT.

Cameroon: Girls in Tech Cameroon celebrated in Yaounde, with an emphasis on professionalism.

Congo-Brazzaville: Femtic Congo, with the support of the telecoms regulator ARPCE, celebrated with a series of panels on ICT and employment.

Cote d’Ivoire: The Ministry of Posts and ICT (along with the Ministry of Solidarity, Family, Women, and Children) hosted an event with the organization Femmes & TIC.

 
 
Ethiopia: International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in collaboration with Africa Union Commission, UNECA, UNDP, UN Women, other UN Agencies and the private sector held an event in Addis Ababa.

The Gambia: Girls in ICT Gambia held a logo design competition and school debate on the importance of ICTs.

Ghana: The Ministry of Communications, with the assistance from other ministries, held an event in Koforidua (Eastern region).

Kenya: AkiraChix, for the second time, hosted a day-long event at iHub Nairobi for high school and university girls interested in ICT. Successful female entrepreneurs were on hand to share their experiences.

Liberia: The Ministry of Gender and Development held an event where iLab Liberia, among others, gave a presentation.

South Africa: Intel Africa and Girls Invent held a coding session for girls.

Uganda: The Commonwealth Peoples’ Association of Uganda, supported by the Government of Uganda, held an ICT-themed debate on April 9th.

Other posts, videos, and anecdotes about how African girls are utilizing technology were also shared under the hashtag #GirlsinICT.

Just because the official Girls in ICT Day is over doesn’t mean that we should forget about strengthening the involvement of girls in ICT! In Africa, girls generally have less access to a formal education, let alone one involving the latest technology. Providing girls with access to ICT (and role models to foster their passions) is vital if African nations are to become information-based societies.

(Source: Oafrica)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 4:07:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 30, 2014


UNESCO has published a report explaining how mobile technology is used to facilitate reading and improve literacy in developing countries. The report was published  on 23 April, on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day.

The report, Reading in the Mobile Era, highlights that hundreds of thousands of people currently use mobile technology as a portal to text. Findings show that in countries where illiteracy rates are high and physical text is scarce, large numbers of people read full-length books and stories on rudimentary small screen devices.

The report, the first-ever study of mobile readers in developing countries, provides valuable information about how mobile reading is practiced today and by whom.
Worldwide 774 million people, including 123 million youth, cannot read or write and illiteracy can often be traced to the lack of books. Most people in Sub-Saharan Africa do not own a single book, and schools in this region rarely provide textbooks to learners.

Yet the report cites data showing that where books are scarce, mobile technology is increasingly common, even in areas of extreme poverty. The International Telecommunication Union estimates that of the 7 billion people on Earth, 6 billion have access to a working mobile phone.

 Video: Interview with Mark West, one of the authors of the report

UNESCO’s study of mobile reading was conducted in seven developing countries, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Drawing on the analysis of over 4,000 surveys and corresponding qualitative interviews, the study found that:

- large numbers of people (one third of study participants) read stories to children from mobile phones;
- females read far more on mobile devices than males (almost six times as much according to the study);
- both men and women read more cumulatively when they start reading on a mobile device;
- many neo- and semi-literate people use their mobile phones to search for text that is appropriate to their reading ability.

The study is intended as a roadmap for governments, organizations and individuals who wish to use mobile technology to help spread reading and literacy. The report recommends improving the diversity of mobile reading content to appeal to specific target groups such as parents and teachers; initiating outreach and trainings to help people transform mobile phones into portals to reading material; and lowering costs and technology barriers to mobile reading.

(Source: UNESCO)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:41:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s minister of communication technology, has inaugurated Digital Girls Clubs in 12 federal government girls Schools across the country, which she said was aimed at empowering Nigerian girls and encouraging them to embrace careers in ICT.

The 12 pilots will impact 1,200 girls, with the clubs later set to be launched across all federal colleges, offering a curriculum teaching girls relevant technology skills.

“The Digital Girls Club is part of the Girls and Women initiative of the federal government geared at empowering Nigerian women and girls”, Johnson said. “The administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in a bid to empower women and girls in Nigeria created a gender empowerment scheme titled Girls and Women in Nigeria (G-WIN) with the sole aim of positively impacting and improving the lot of women and girls in Nigeria”.

She said Nigeria needed to increase the participation of females in ICT. “Getting more girls into ICTs is a task we are committed to at the Ministry of Communication Technology. We want to ensure that Nigerian girls are encouraged and empowered to embrace ICTs. It is critical to get girls to adopt ICTs so that they are not left behind in the digital revolution changing communities and nations across the globe”, she said.

“Our desire is that the Digital Girls ICT Clubs will empower Nigerian girls and lead to the development of an army of ICT compliant girls that will contribute to the economic growth and empowerment of Nigeria in the future”.

An online platform was also launched to serve as a tool for stimulating and empowering girls to embrace and adopt ICTs. “ICTs are powerful transformative tools that foster development and advancement of economies – whether developing or advanced. It is a useful tool for bridging the digital divide in most economies”, Johnson said.

“It also plays a crucial role in the socio-economic empowerment and development of communities and nations across the globe. It is the bedrock of development and the leveraging of this critical tool not only helps us create wealth and jobs, but it also enables development at all levels – health, agriculture, education”. She said the Ministry of Communication Technology was working hard to ensure Nigeria leverages the power of ICT to transition to a knowledge-based economy.

(Source: Humanipo)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:37:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
London Schoolgirls Build Mobile Apps in Tech City on Girls in ICT Day

The GSMA hosted an interactive app building workshop to celebrate Girls in ICT Day, the ITU’s annual global initiative to empower and encourage young women to consider studies and careers in ICT. A class of 13-year-old schoolgirls from east London school Bethnal Green Academy visited creative hub BL-NK in London’s Tech City to gain perspectives and insights from four successful women in technology and to build their own mobile apps.

Speakers at the event included:
- Maria Molina, Principal, Communications, Media & Technology, AT Kearney
- Ranwa Sarkis, Head of Sales Operations, Facebook
- Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA
- Lucy Paine, Junior Project Manager, Telefónica

Each speaker shared their personal experiences and offer words of advice to inspire the young female audience, a number of whom have yet to decide on their GCSE subjects. Members of the GSMA will also work with groups of students to mentor them for the day and share their own personal insights and experiences of working in the mobile industry. The aim of the event was to encourage these students to consider taking STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and to explore the exciting and varied career opportunities in technology.

“There is much more to be done to encourage girls to pursue learning in subjects such as engineering and computer science, which open up possibilities of working in exciting careers in technology,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA. “Mobile is a particularly dynamic and vibrant area right now and it can also open up career opportunities across a range of industry sectors, for example, creating connected cars, advancing mobile commerce or even designing the master plan for a smart city. We are delighted to support the ITU’s Girls in ICT Day to help develop those critical science, technology and math skills that can serve as a foundation for a variety of careers”.

“I warmly welcome the GSMA’s Connected Women initiative to help close the ICT skills gender gap and attract and retain female talent in the mobile industry. The continued growth and development of vital tech skills and expertise in London and our major cities will ensure the future of the UK digital success story,” said Joanna Shields OBE, Chairman of Tech City UK and UK Ambassador for Digital Industries. “Digital innovation is helping us reimagine entire industries, generate economic growth and create new jobs. I hope that today’s app workshop in Tech City will inspire local schoolgirls to study STEM subjects as foundation for future, exciting careers in the technology sector”.

A range of apps will be developed by the schoolgirls:

- Beat the Bullies – resources and videos to help children who are being bullied or who think their friends are in trouble
- Local Lowdown – activities to do in their local area including shops, socialising and maps
- My Digital Hero – pick someone they look up to (anyone from Lady Gaga to Emma Watson) and create an app dedicated to her, featuring videos, quotes and pictures
- Top Tech Tips – create a set of tips and tricks for new users of a specific technology (e.g. Facebook, iPhone)

The Connected Women programme is focused on creating global awareness of the business case for greater involvement of women in the mobile industry and to motivate the sector to take positive action. In addition to that workshop, the Connected Women programme has hosted other successful events in Barcelona, London, New York and Shanghai. To find out more about the GSMA Connected Women initiative, visit www.gsma.com/events/connected-women

(Source: GSMA)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:24:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Every year, the fourth Thursday in April is celebrated as International Girls In ICT Day, when a spotlight is put on encouraging and mentoring girls and young women to pursue careers in ICT. The day is set aside for events, workshops and classes to be held around the world under the International Girls In ICT Day banner.

In South Africa there’s been a few events, most notably at Intel’s Woodmead offices in Joburg where we dropped by to look in on the Girls Invent Tomorrow again as they hosted a coding workshop for a group of 20 senior high school girls in grades 10 to 12 from Westbury Secondary School.

Each one of these girls has chosen school subjects that fall within STEM, with a handful of them wanting to go into tech and programming in the near future.

The room is filled with excitement and eagerness as the girls are introduced to the basics of coding through a step-by-step tutorial using a coding program called Alice. Their “lecturer” for the day is Lebohang Modise, a developer from Microsoft who offeres talks and coding workshops across the country to young people.

“I’m here today to inspire these young girls to consider going into coding or any ICT related career because there aren’t many females in the industry”, Modise says. “I try to prepare them by telling them about my own experiences because I went into varsity only knowing the dictionary meaning of coding, had I known about programs such as Alice and how to use it, I would’ve been better prepared. So I think we may have started something here and if these girls can continue with this, it would be a plus”.

“Today’s event is about getting girls to understand what coding is about, because the world is changing and being a programmer is becoming a big thing,” explains Thuli Sibeko, co-founder of Girls Invent Tomorrow. “This is the first coding workshop we’re hosting for high school girls, we work with a certain company to identify girls from grade 10 to 12 in certain schools who are interested in STEM. The reason we are hosting these workshops is that we want to expose young girls to other careers and make them see that careers are not just about being a doctor, lawyer, nurse aand so on. The world is their oyster in terms of technology and we don’t want them to limit themselves in terms of what they choose when they leave school”.

Source: htxt Africa)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:14:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


DIGICEL Guyana was invited to participate in the events and activities leading up to ‘Girls in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Day’, celebrated in Berbice and Linden on the third Thursday in April.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a global effort being spearheaded by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to raise awareness of the need for more women to become involved in the ICT sector worldwide.

In Guyana, efforts are organized by the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU); and, as a local telecommunications giant, Digicel, along with other companies from the private sector and the NFMU, participated in two tech day camps in Berbice and Linden on April 8th & 9th respectively.
Ms. Adellie Lee, IT application specialist; Ms. Deepa Rohit, Quality Assurance Trainer, CC Tech; and Ms. Phoebe Joseph, Project Officer (Technical) made presentations to the girls. More than five hundred (500) girls from 15 schools within the two regions attended these tech day camps, and were enlightened by several female presenters from the ICT sector in Guyana.

At the camps, the girls were given prizes for asking and answering questions correctly at Digicel’s booth. One of the girls, Ramona Smart, a student from Berbice, in an invited comment, mentioned to Digicel how she felt about the tech day camps: “Today I learnt a lot about ICT; it was a great experience for me. I thought today would be very boring, but I’m really glad I came. I had so much fun, and I think (that) after today I will pursue a career in ICT”.

Girls in ICT Day will be observed on April 24th, 2014 under the theme “Expanding horizons, changing minds”, and it presents opportunity for girls and young women to get inspired about the ICT sector by listening to women role models in ICT.

(Source: Guyana Chronicle)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 2:58:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


A fun, FREE, interactive IT Career Showcase for Secondary School Girls Years 8 to 11.
3 and 4 June 2014
Location: Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood

The Go Girl Go for IT expo aims to encourage girls to take up careers in ICT – it brings together female role-models who work in a vast number of industries – from banking to television, multimedia to medicine, and much more. Speakers at the event will show that ICT careers for women are viable, enjoyable, global, and rewarding.

What will happen at the Go Girl event?
At Go Girl 2014, students will hear from and have the opportunity to talk to talented and inspirational role models with IT careers. There will be access to a wealth of information that will assist students in making informed IT career decisions.
The program includes a series of interactive presentations, and features a tradeshow where girls can talk in person to company representatives. Lunch is provided with entertainment.

Who should attend?
The event is open to all high school girls from years 8 to 11. We encourage all students to attend, regardless of the subjects they are currently studying.
It is also recommended that the following teachers/advisors attend:
 - Year 8, 9,10 and 11 Year Advisors
- Careers Advisors
- IT Teachers
- Business Teachers

Attendance at this event is free.
Visit www.gogirl.org.au for more information and to register

(Source:vicICTforwomen)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 2:52:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações

 

24th April 2014

Girls in ICT Day, an initiative backed by ITU Member States in ITU Resolution 70, will be celebrated this year on April 24th. The main goal is to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Portugal is joining these celebrations again by carrying out two initiatives at Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações | Museu das Comunicações:

- March and April - a school and university contest about ICT issues will take place at FPC | MC (What is the impact of the digital revolution for the professions in the future? Is it important to increase the number of women working in the ICT sector?)

- 24th April - a roundtable debate with the participation of women connected to the ICTs industry, the announcement of the school competition winners and the delivery of the prizes.

For more information see the following websites: Portuguese version of the site | ITU

(Source: FPC)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:17:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
- The device uses raised points to depict information from a computer
- Blind people can use the Incendilumen to control the computer
- It will allow blind people to open and close different windows

Argentinean students from the country’s National Technological University are developing a tablet-like computing interface for blind people.

They plan to develop a final prototype over the next two months and launch it in just over two years, as a joint venture with a technology firm based in Buenos Aires.

The device acts as an interface between the user and a computer, says Guido Muchiutti, one of the seven team members and the device’s inventor. He tells SciDev.Net that the product depicts information from the computer screen and allows the user to control the computer.

The prototype, named Incendilumen, which means ‘turn on the light’ in Latin, has a surface covered with 2,000 tiny rods that rise and fall to represent information such as graphics, buttons and windows.

“Our interface translates data so blind people can feel it by touching what appears on the screen, whether icons or words in the Braille system”, says Leonardo Hoet, a professor of from the same university and a member of the team.

Incendilumen was a finalist in the Argentinian technology and design contest Innovar 2012, and won funding from the country’s ministry of science to develop the product further. Leandro Sereno, president of the Association for People with Visual Disabilities in Argentina, who tested the prototype, is enthusiastic about the device.

“When it is ready it will be fabulous because, with it, blind people can feel what appears on the screen and interact with it”, he tells SciDev.Net. “For instance, we can use different windows, and icons to open them or close them, something currently impossible for us. It would be very useful for surfing the internet¨.

Ariel Lutenberg, a researcher in Buenos Aires University’s Faculty of Engineering, praises the device, but says that many challenges remain to ensure this Argentinian innovation succeeds.

“The problem is always going beyond the laboratory and getting a product to sell”, he says. “It means lowering costs, mass production and other complicated issues in countries like Argentina. Things are different in Silicon Valley or Israel, for instance”.

The Incendilumen team hopes to make the tablet as cheap as possible and available to both institutions and individuals.

See here a video by the Incendilumen team about the innovation (in Spanish): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRGSullF-i4

(Source: SciDev)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:05:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |