CtrlAltEsc: putting the org back in dot org
mandatethefuture.org ctrlaltesc.org mandatemagazine.org


Education

Environment

Gender

Health

IT For
Development

Peace

Poverty
 
» ctrlaltesc «
- Home
- About CtrlAltEsc
- Preferences
- Submit a Story!
- Search
- Vote!
- Newest Comments
- Authors
- Best of CtrlAltEsc
- Related Links
- Help!!

Sustainable Livelihoods »

MtFCard »
MtFCard

Currently on MtF »

Peace Education Forum

Dark Clouds for Asia

Budgeting Education

A Search For Better Worlds - the problem of migration

Far From Home: Migrant Workers

Whose War Is It, Anyway?

WSSD :: Poverty

WSSD :: Health

WSSD :: Peace

WSSD :: Gender

WSSD :: Environment

WSSD :: Education

Previously on MtF »

More »


Advanced Search »

 
EVENT 2002; ICT for Development Forum
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:30AM
from the ictdev dept.

MtF EVENT 2002 Guest Panelists EVENT 2002; ICT for Development Forum Welcome to EVENT 2002 ICT for Development Discussion Forum. For this segment we have three very well known experts as Guests Panelists: Dr.Philip Emeagwali, Dr.Sugata Mitra and James Moody!

Click Read More to see the questions and answers!

( Read More... | 12585 bytes in body )



EVENT 2002: Discussing Poverty
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:28AM
from the poverty dept.

MtF EVENT 2002 Guest Panelists EVENT 2002 Online Youth Forum will now move into an in depth discussion on Poverty. And to assist us in the discussion we have with us two world reknowned experts in Dr. Ismail Serageldin; co-chair of the Youth Employment Summit 2002 and Pattrice Le-Muire Jones; coordinator of the Global Hunger Alliance.

Click Read More to see the questions and answers!

( Read More... | 9484 bytes in body )



EVENT 2002: Gender Discussion
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:26AM
from the still-goes-on dept.

gender

Today, the third day of the EVENT 2002 Online Youth Forum will be dedicated to discussions on Gender issues. The forum is graced by the expertise of three very prominent activists and academics: UN special Rappoteur Dr.Radhika Coomaraswamy, Dr. Faustina Pereira and Linda Wolf.

Click Read More to see the questions and answers!

( Read More... | 8004 bytes in body )



EVENT 2002 Guest Panelists on Landmines
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:24AM
from the it-goes-on dept.

peace

Hello and Welcome to the second day of the Mandate the Future EVENT 2002 Online Global Youth Forum for Sustainable Development. Today we will focussing on Peace and Conflict resolution with special emphasis on Landmines. And to answer your questions we have three representatives from the world reknowned International campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL): Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, Jackie Hansen; Project Officer ICBL and Pakistani Landmine activist Sehrish Shaban.

Click Read More to see the questions and answers!

( Read More... | 7865 bytes in body )



EVENT 2002 Guest Panelists on Health!
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:22AM
from the the-saga-begins dept.

MtF EVENT 2002 Guest Panelists

Hello, and welcome to the Mandate the Future EVENT 2002 Online Youth Forum on Sustainable Development! Today's theme is Health and HIV/AIDS, and to answer the questions you asked, we have Dr. Usa Duongsaa, Anne Philpott from the Female Condom Project, and Dr. Leo Rebello.

Click Read More to see the questions and answers!

( Read More... | 8091 bytes in body )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#16
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:16AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Uday Rosario, Qatar.: How do you visualize from your experience and point-of view, a world order 100 years from now and highlight the values and the institutions

  • Visualized ideally
  • Possible achievements

Dr. Sugata Mitra: That's a tall order, Uday! I could go on and on about it for ever!

Here are some quick ideas.

We know for sure that a hundred years from now things will be at least as different as they were from a hundred years ago.

Think of 1902, what was the world like? Well, almost unimaginably different in some senses and quite the same in others.

I'll cut the thinking short and make some guesses.

I think we will be connected instantly, continuously and constantly with each other and our machines. The network will self organise rapidly. It will be a sentient creature of some sort. There will be no computers, simply because everything will have computers in them.

We would have understood the physics of consciousness and that would have changed education as we know it today into an engineering discipline.

Living things will be modified routinely, according to human design. Brains and bodies will be modified.

So what is that ideal future? Who knows what ideal is. Ideal for whom? For humans or for nature?

My wish is that we will find a way to have fewer numbers of us. We don't need six billion of us, unless we can colonize other worlds. Less human density will ensure more space (physical and mental) for all of us.

I wish we will understand desire and learn how to channel it for the acquisition of knowledge, rather than power or material comfort. That in turn would eradicate hatred, hopefully.

I hope children will have more control over the destiny of the world. That is always good insurance.

And finally, I hope some of us will still be alive. What is our hard earned tax money being used for medical research for, otherwise?

Dr. Philip Emeagwali: If you were to time travel to the future, I believe that you will discover a strange world. My intuition tells me that in the future:

  1. We will all look alike and it will be difficult to find the enemy when there is no visual difference between "them" and 'us.'
  2. People will exist in a collective sense - I will become you, you will become me. Your wife will become mine, and mine yours.
  3. You will discover people redesigning themselves. Our compelling urge to redesign ourselves is deep-seated and will remain so. We have embarked on a self-propelled evolution in which we are the creator and the created.
  4. People have conquered death. Dead people will be described as 'temporarily unconscious.' In the future, the death of the human body will be as insignificant as losing a limb in an accident.
  5. Our children will be digital. Since our letters are digital, our books are digital, our conversations are digital, the next goal is to create digital children.
  6. Some of our descendants will merely exist as human algorithms, pure thoughts, or electronic cockroaches.

James Moody: I never try to make predictions, as they are always incorrect. However, I do believe in preconditions for a strong and healthy global society. Good governance will be essential in 100 years time, and so will a recognition of the environment and the ways in which we must protect it. We must eradicate poverty (especially institutionalised) from the planet and have universal access to education and healthcare. I believe all of this is possible.

This is where ICT can help. By increasing communication between countries and developing knowledge (and information) industries we can start to understand both each other and the world that we live in much better. I believe that the more we know, the more likely we will be to act on that knowledge!

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... | 2 comments )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#15
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:15AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Youth Club for Nature Conservation, Ghana: If care is not taken, computers will greatly marginalize us folks in the rural areas. We will become the educated illiterate as we can't communicate with our colleagues in the urban areas, how do I send a mail through the internet when I don't even know how to switch a computer on and far more to do a simple word processing? It will be greatly favorable if we also at least get one Computer in this area to be powered by a Photovoltaic Cell, this will give us some insight into ICT, especially before every child complete the basic education program.

Dr. Philip Emeagwali: First, computers and the Internet are tools and are not what makes one literate and educated. Second, the rural areas in America have 100 million computers and the rural areas in Ghana will need more than one computer. Third, your request for solar-power computers implies that you need electricity more than computers.

James Moody: I totally agree, and I think that this is what the millennium goals, bridging the digital divide etc etc are all about!

After I finished university (1998) I was lucky enough to do some work in Vietnam looking into the whole information poverty thing and doing a needs analysis into getting the internet into schools there. As you may expect the technology was there, but the problem was the ongoing costs (connection, maintenance etc), mainly due to the sites remoteness. Your suggestion of sustainable energy sources, coupled with remote access to communications (e.g. satellites) is the way around this, but we are not there yet.

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... | 2 comments )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#14
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:14AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Agyirey-Kwakye, Ghana: It costs about 3,000 cedis to print a page letter and between 3,000 -60,00 cedis depending on service to post it to Europe or America which will take between 1- 4 weeks to get to its destination, unlike the internet, with 3,000 cedis depending on practice, one can take about 30 minutes to type and send the same letter with copies to several partners at no extra cost at takes within few minutes to hour to reach it destination as well as the response period. This makes the Internet the preferred choice in both national and international communication depending on the availability of the service. But the cost of installing this facility which pays off within a short period wards off most non-profit organizations especially youth and indigenous women groups

May I know how ready and willing the northern agencies are to assist their southern counterparts to access these facilities?

Dr. Sugata Mitra: As I have said before, it is not the northern agencies that will solve this problem. The local industry has to. We need viable business models that make it attractive for industries and governments to provide Internet access to everyone. In the end, that is the only way.

Come on you industry leaders, put on your thinking caps!

Dr. Philip Emeagwali: You need to prepare a business plan and then submit your proposal to potential investors. You can purchase books on writing business plans from amazon.com.

James Moody: I think that you have highlighted one area where there is huge potential, and this is in micro-communications. We need to have organisations who realise the potential of internet communications in developing countries and capitalise on this – I believe that Grameen Telecom is one such agency (but am unsure if they are yet to make a profit :) ). I think that the solutions need to come from developing countries who realise this potential, and then the northern agencies will be more ready and willing to set up the infrastructure.

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... | 2 comments )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#13
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:13AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Cheikhou Thiome, Senegal: Why is the Gap between Africa and the rest of the world is so high when it comes to the number of computers per family? What can be the new policy for African government to solve the problem?

Dr. Philip Emeagwali: A family living on $1000 a year cannot afford to purchase a $1000 computer. In other words, poor families cannot afford computers. Governments cannot afford to buy computers for every poor family. The solution is to increase the standard of living in Africa, and that is a complex and a different question.

James Moody: I think that the gap is so high because there are still many issues in Sub-Saharan Africa (such as illiteracy, poverty, HIV/AIDS and clean water) that we need to address – I believe that this is the region with the largest proportion of people living under $1/day and the region with the slowest growth on the planet. We seriously need to address these problems. ICT can be a good way to stimulate employment and growth, through it's unique properties of (still) being an emerging industry and less capital intensive that other industries, and the governments of Africa need to recognise this and assist with the development of knowledge based programmes for development.

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#12
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:12AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Sena Alouka, Togo: Dr Phillip, At a time when the whole southern countries, especially African countries are fighting against brain drain, I do not understand why you have not yet decided to come back and help Africa? Would you mind telling me, please what actually is your contribution to Africa so far? In the NEPAD African leaders have not identified ICT as a way of production and exportation. They just talk about developing it. Do you believe in our potentialities to produce technological items and sell them one day? Dr Phillip, At a time when the whole southern countries, especially African countries are fighting against brain drain, I do not understand why you have not yet decided to come back and help Africa?

Dr Phillip, At a time when the whole southern countries, especially African countries are fighting against brain drain, I do not understand why you have not yet decided to come back and help Africa?

Dr. Philip Emeagwali: My scientific contribution helps humanity --- Africa is 15 percent of humanity. Since science is universal, my conducting scientific research while living in Africa may not necessarily alleviate the brain drain problem.

On the other hand, the practice of medicine is local and it is important that medical doctors remain in Africa. Only 400 of 1600 Zambian medical doctors practice in Zambia. The number of medical doctors will increase four-fold if Zambia can solve its brain drain problems. The solution is to increase their salaries. It is not unusual for an African medical doctor to own a farm or operate a beer parlour to earn enough to feed his family.

We still have a brain drain when a medical doctor quits his profession to become a taxi-driver. We call it "internal brain drain." Similarly, if I return to Africa and engage in something other than scientific research, I will be contributing to Africa's internal brain drain.

Would you mind telling me, please what actually is your contribution to Africa so far?

Dr. Philip Emeagwali: My contribution is towards expanding our knowledge of computers and the Internet. For example, you used both a computer and the Internet to email your question to me and do things that you even take for granted. Therefore, my contribution is towards making life better for you and humanity. Since Africa represents 15 percent of humanity, Africa has a 15 percent share in the benefits of my scientific contribution.

In the NEPAD African leaders have not identified ICT as a way of production and exportation. They just talk about developing it. Do you believe in our potentialities to produce technological items and sell them one day?

Dr. Philip Emeagwali: NEPAD - New Partnership for Africa's Development - focuses on reform and trade while the root of the problem is education and knowledge for the masses. Since Africa does not have much to trade, NEPAD is applying band-aid to a bullet wound. It is the same old song and dance with a different beat. Only the political elite and a few intellectuals understand the meaning of NEPAD.

The hope and belief is that Africa will become equal to the west. Nnamdi Azikiwe envisioned a "New Africa" in his book "Renascent Africa" published in 1937. Kwame Nkrumah renamed it "Pan-Africanism." Leopold Sedar Senghor called it "Negritude." Thabo Mbeki called it "African Renaissance." Now OAU leaders call it NEPAD.

The key word in ICT Information and Communication Technology is "Information." Africa is an information poor society and therefore only trades in natural resources that are not renewable. We need to transform the continent to an "information affluent" society increasing the knowledge and skills possessed by the next-generation.

Since human resources are renewable the common sense thing to do is to increase the intellectual capital or collective knowledge of Africans. The intellectual capital of a nation increases by increasing the amount of education given to the masses. Intellectual capital is the engine that drives the economic growth of any nation. We cannot achieve a renaissance without educating the masses.

The river of knowledge flows downhill. If knowledge is a mountain, the collective knowledge in the United States is a taller mountain than that in Africa. The condition for Africa exporting technology is that it increases its technological knowledge to a level comparable to that of the United States.

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#11
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:11AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Leopold Armah, Ghana: I am a young Ghanaian worker, working in the area of Systems Development. I will be glad to know from the distinguished panelists the role Africa can and is playing in this Information and Communication Technology (ICT) driven world and whether ICT is the means for us to develop. And is yes what should we do to achieve that goal?

Dr. Philip Emeagwali: With 400 school-age children, Africa can produce the next-generation of information technologists. This can be accomplished when governments reduce their spending on military and white elephant projects and increase their education budgets. Instead of having six children, parents should consider having one or two children so that they can provide a better education for the next-generation.

Computers and the Internet increase productivity and certainly increase Africa's development pace. The bottleneck is that Africa is a consumer of technology, not a producer. It is best to both produce and consume technology. As consumers, technology increases productivity and the economic growth of the continent. As producers, we create millions of high-paying jobs.

Therefore, nations that both produce and consume technology grow more rapidly than those that only consume. In a manner of speaking, when nations that consume technology take one step forward, nations that both consume and produce it will have taken two steps forward. For this reason, the gap between the rich and poor nations widens with time.

James Moody: The Secretary General's Millennium Declaration illustrates the areas in which ICT can help development quite well in my opinion. It talks about ICT 1) being able to develop new industries, 2) enhancing existing industries and 3) allowing for industries which are not so capital intensive.

Africa can play a role in ICT, especially in the global world, but we also need to recognise that there are other pressing problems, such as HIV/AIDS and poverty (to name a few). There is not just one solution. However, if we see investment in education and ICT as an investment in the country (and the continent) then I believe that the situation will improve.

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#10
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:10AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Vamoosh, Online: How successful are IT and ICT development projects in the poorer nations in which the level of English education and accessibility to the same is minimal? What are the measures taken to overcome this problem and make the programs more 'useful'?

Dr. Sugata Mitra: English is critical to understanding and working with computers. Knowledge of English was probably the single most important factor why the South-East Asian countries could not get anywhere with software, while India did. Even technically excellent countries such as Japan, Taiwan and Korea got no where in the software industry. Similarly, France and Germany in Europe.

NIIT tried to translate all instructional material into Chinese, in China. It works, but the students want instruction in English!

English needs to be taught at the primary level, everywhere. It is the closest we have to a global language. The fact that it was invented in England is an historical event that is not important to the issue under discussion.

After all, gunpowder was invented in China, so shall we all go for local equivalents?

Dr. Philip Emeagwali: People cannot effectively use computers and the Internet without a good education. We have to invest in three things: education, education, and education.

James Moody: This is a hard one. As you know, for historical reasons English has been the overriding language of the internet, which can make it hard for non-English speakers to use all of the facilities that the net provides. However, languages such as Spanish and Chinese are catching up fast, and other languages are also taking hold.

There are some automatic translation facilities on the net (for example Altavista's babelfish) but they still have places to go. However, I am firmly convinced that if the need and the number of users are there, then there will be facilities for any language in the world on the net.

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#9
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:09AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Olumola Shola Kolawole, Nigeria: How Can We Urge a government to review its national policies; in order to remove regulatory and pricing impediments to Internet access in order to make sure people are not denied the opportunities offered by the digital revolution?

Dr. Sugata Mitra: Whoever provides Internet access has to incur a cost. That cost has to be recovered and a profit made so that someone has the motivation to provide the service. It cannot be free but it can be reasonable in a free market economy. People must pay for this, just as they pay for food. But first they must understand that there is a priority. They must want and need it. Otherwise they will continue to complain about the price.

Dr. Philip Emeagwali: There is no free lunch. People either pay for their Internet access directly at their local cybercafes or indirectly from taxes paid to the government. I prefer that internet users pay directly to cybercafes.

James Moody: There is a World Summit on the Information Society planned for 2003 where I believe that many of these issues will be raised on the international level. However there is no replacement for the work of NGOs and local groups to provide pressure on the national level. It is up to us to convince our governments of the importance of ICT, so that when they reach the international fora they have the will to actually make commitments and implement them.

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... | 2 comments )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#8
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:08AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Haruna Kuyateh, The Gambia: I will agree with some of my colleague that ICT is inaccessible to the disadvantaged youths, as some of them have never seen computers. Are international donors willing to help the rural communities with electrification/providing solar panel to enable the youths to have access to information technology at lower cost?

Dr. Sugata Mitra: If knowing how to use computers will enable the children to be better workers, the potential employers should pay for all this. That is, if they can see beyond the tip of their noses.

Solar panel based, rugged kiosk designs exist and are not expensive (US dollars 3000 ?). You may find donors, but why not try the local industry, parents, government first. If it works, the international money will come to you instead of your asking them.

James Moody: I think that more needs to be done in this area, as I believe that access to ICT is essential for the development of a nation. There are some international donors that I know of focussing on ICT (such as the Markle foundation) and some companies (such as Oracle) who have had programmes in this area.

However, we also need to recognise that there are other pressing concerns that need to be addressed. 20% of people on the planet do not have access to safe drinking water, over 20% live in poverty and illiteracy rates are still extremely high – donors recognise that addressing these issues are also prerequisites to development.

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... | 1 comment )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#7
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:07AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Youth Club for Nature Conservation, Ghana: As a newly trained teacher, I learnt computing and although I will like to teach pupils in my local school basics of computing as the cost involved in accessing this is very expensive and beyond the reach of almost all kids in this school, the cost of acquiring even a used computer for the teaching of these pupils has put my ideas at bay as my salary does not even meet by basic needs, all efforts to get an agency to help me in the realization of this goal has also proved futile, what then should I do as I have wished to help this disadvantaged kids but my efforts are not yielding any encouraging results?

Dr. Sugata Mitra: Use what you have. Your knowledge. Computing can be taught with sticks, stones, shadows and games. Show the community what you have taught. If it is good, someone will come and give you what you want.

Well, that's what I think and not everyone agrees with it!

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... | 3 comments )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#6
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:06AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Venetian Blind, Online: Us in the developing world thank the lord for piracy! Say you get telecentres going, teach kids English, they grow up to be experts in IT, but where would we as a country go if we can't afford software? So where do anti piracy laws fit into ICT development? Or should I not be asking you this?

Dr. Sugata Mitra: Probably not, but I will have a bash at it anyway!

I think software should be priced according to demand. The more the demand, the less the cost. Indeed, this happens in most cases. We can afford 10 dollars (US) worth of a CD full of software in most countries. If we can't afford a 3000 dollar package, that shows a bad business model. There is plenty of free software for every imaginable use. There is the open source movement. Software does not have to be pirated. It is only because of habit that we do so.

It is a contest of intellect, not wealth. If the developing countries lose, they deserve to.

Dr. Philip Emeagwali: Thanking the lord for software piracy makes as much sense as thanking him for ocean piracy. Software counterfeiting is as illegal as drug trafficking and self-defeating in the long-term. It is self-defeating for an African government to issue directives to hungry people to invade farms and harvest crops that they did not cultivate. The farmers will go on strike and stop cultivating. Similarly, software piracy could force software developers to go on strike and stop creating new software. Like authors, artists, and musicians, software developers are paid through royalties. How will you feel, as a musician, if I duplicate your songs and refuses to pay a royalty? Will you continue to produce hit songs if all listeners refuse to pay royalty? If developers are not paid for their sweat and tears, they will stop producing new software and the developing world will have nothing to steal.

The bottom line is that without anti-piracy laws to protect and reward the investments made by developers, the growth of the information and communication technology will slow down and thousands of technologists will be laid off from their jobs and billions of dollars will be lost in tax revenues.

James Moody: This is a really great question, as it raises a large number of issues regarding the protection of Intellectual Property and it involves not just software – the recent court cases in South Africa regarding AIDS drugs are a testament to this.

There are a few things to remember. The first is that IP protection is not universal, as every country that it is registered in costs the registering company money. As such there are many cases were a country can copy IP without breaking the law, as long as the IP is not sold to a country where it is protected.

However, as you point out there are cases where there is international copyright on software etc. I do believe that it is important to uphold the law, as a legal framework and good governance are essential to development. However, the international community should recognise the benefits that cheap or free software has for development, and maybe there should be agreements in place where the international copyright laws allow ‘home use' software copying where it will facilitate development. The companies producing the software wouldn't be losing any money (as no-one is paying for it at the moment) but they would get heaps of recognition for the service that their software is providing. What do you think?

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... | 1 comment )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#5
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:05AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Asamoah owusu akyaw, Ghana: The intervention of the computer age has come to marginalize the rural youth from their peers in the city centers on their socio-economic aspect of their lives towards development. What is the view of the north/developed partners towards leveling the playing field.

Dr. Sugata Mitra: The gap rural and urban youth is not very wide in the developed world, so it is not their problem. It is the problem of the developing world, and we have to solve it our way and using our means. There is enough money to solve it, if we see the problem correctly and want to solve it.

However, what the developed world does have a problem with is intellectual poverty. This is a global problem. We need to define it, study it and eradicate it as quickly as possible. I believe more young minds are dying than bodies. They are dying everywhere, from the pavements of Panvel to the nail salons of Palo Alto.

James Moody: I would love to see a world where you can participate in the global community no matter where you live, and if we have opportunities in rural areas we can alleviate some of the pressures on the cities. There is some focus on this in my country (Australia) where there is a debate over increased rural communications, and I hope that this will also be the case in developing countries as well.

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#4
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:04AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Bijay Bhatt, Nepal: How can the digital divide be narrowed in communities where resources are scarce and the language barrier is an inhibiting factor?

Dr. Sugata Mitra: It is cheaper to build a brick kiosk into a wall than to set up a primary school. If the government supports a reasonable VSAT or similar connection to the Internet, the children will do the rest.

They are not held up by language. In any case, if there are enough of them, the Internet will quickly cater to them in an appropriate manner. This is what we must realise about content in a connected, self organising network.

Dr. Philip Emeagwali: Digital divide can be narrowed by reducing poverty in Asia and Africa. Solving the language barrier creates another problem. While English is the language of choice on the Internet, it will hasten the extinction of thousands of indigenous languages. By the end of this century, 90 percent of the world's language could become extinct. The culture, customs and knowledge embedded in these languages will also become extinct. As we embrace the languages of former colonial masters, the world losses valuable information passed down by word of mouth over several generations. The extinction of any language is an irretrievable loss to humanity. If the early years of educational instruction are not in an indigenous language, then that language is headed for extinction.

James Moody: I think that the more pressing issues is scarcity of resources, and it is essential that we address this (as well as illiteracy, poverty and sanitation). However, ICT can also be seen as an investment into helping to solve this problem, such as in India where ICT contributes as much as 10% to GDP. Governments need to recognise this.

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... | 2 comments )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#3
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:03AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Tom Poe (online): Hello: I have a request, which might be sort of a question, maybe. I put up a web page in April of 2000, with a reprint of Dr. Mitra's article as it appeared in Businessweek, and posted to the GKD mail list. The purpose was to support the rationale for moving forward with a project that would seemingly place computers in kiosks across a country, one per village. The article remains one of the most inspiring articles I have ever come across. I tried [pathetically, I'm afraid] to reach Dr. Mitra and request that he visit the project, and decide whether the "model" presented might be of some use to his group. At this time, if you speak with him, please request that he visit: http://www.theworldccr.org/kiosks.htm and also http://www.theworldccr.org/kids.htm. If the ideas as presented stir some questions, or ideas for him, I would be happy to discuss the project further. My email address at this time is: [email protected] . Since 1998, I have followed mail lists which discuss various issues surrounding the "Digital Divide". Without exception, these lists refuse to entertain concrete proposals for moving donated computers from developed nations to developing nations. My impression/belief, in light of the project at kiosks.htm, above, continues to insist that what we have are a whole lot of "consultants" who fear they lose income by solving a problem. When a solution is presented, regardless of the commission involved, it becomes more important to perpetuate a problem and thus, ensure employment, than to move to action. Dr. Mitra has an opportunity to demonstrate to the world just how easy it is to close the "Digital Divide", given the resources. I think we should give him the resources.

I have a request, which might be sort of a question, maybe. I put up a web page in April of 2000, with a reprint of Dr. Mitra's article as it appeared in Businessweek, and posted to the GKD mail list. The purpose was to support the rationale for moving forward with a project that would seemingly place computers in kiosks across a country, one per village.  The article remains one of the most inspiring articles I have ever come across/i<>. 

Dr. Sugata Mitra: Thank you very much for your kind words, and for putting the article up.

I tried [pathetically, I'm afraid] to reach Dr. Mitra and request that he visit the project, and decide whether the "model" presented might be of some use to his group

Dr. Sugata Mitra: I can be contacted at [email protected] and would be happy to see the project if I can.

At this time, if you speak with him, please request that he visit http://www.theworldccr.org/kiosks.htmand also http://www.theworldccr.org/kids.htm.  If the ideas as presented stir some questions, or ideas for him, I would be happy to discuss the project further. Since 1998, I have followed mail lists which discuss various issues surrounding the "Digital Divide".  Without exception, these lists refuse to entertain concrete proposals for moving donated computers from developed nations to developing nations.  My impression/belief, in light of the project at kiosks.htm, above, continues to insist that what we have are a whole lot of "consultants" who fear they lose income by solving a problem. When a solution is presented, regardless of the commission involved, it becomes more important to perpetuate a problem and thus, ensure employment, than to move to action.

Dr. Sugata Mitra: You are probably right, at least partially, but lets not blame the consultants too much. When it comes to primary education, I have found very few people interested in the subject. Of course, they don't say so, because it is not right to say so.

Politicians are not interested because the “pay off” is too far away (15 years) Teachers are not interested in it, there is no money in it. The few who have, don't have resources NGOs are often not interested for the reasons you have stated. Parents are interested but want the children to learn the way they learnt when they were children

We have seen recently, how primary education, in religious hands, can be used as a weapon of war. Maybe, we will realise that this war has to be fought in the primary learning space, and not by confiscating pocket knives from old ladies in airports!

Dr. Mitra has an opportunity to demonstrate to the world just how easy it is to close the "Digital Divide", given the resources.  I think we should give him the resources.

Dr. Sugata Mitra: I promise I will use it in the best interest of children, to whatever extent I can.

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#2
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:02AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Dan Linder (online): Natural Curiosity: Dr. Mitra and the Hole in the Wall Experiment What sort of sites were the kids going to? Were they browsing to "expected" sites (local/regional pages, toy/games), or were they going to unexpected sites (finiancial, world news/politics)? I know if a 100% free internet kiosk were setup in a local mall, you would have kids going to porn sites for the curiosity and/or shock value. Was this a problem with your study group? I read the original article and was intrigued by the comment of kids "networking" and passing information around to each other -- have they progressed even further since the original article was written? Is the demand for the kiosk great enough that the local government would get involved in putting up more? If you do need more systems, what is your expected class of computer that you would like to use today? I.e. a Pentium 2 333 with 64MB RAM, or do the kids seem to be needing/wanting more? Here in the USA, there are lots of child-oriented programs to help with reading, math, spelling, etc. Is this sort of software of interest to your kids? I am unsure of the availability of non-English versions of this software.To wrap up, I wish you continued success in your experiment and I hope the kiosks are able to be left in place (and upgraded!) as time goes on.

What sort of sites were the kids going to? 

Dr. Sugata Mitra: Disneyworld.com, Naidunia.com (newspaper), other sites related to movies, news and games.

Were they browsing to "expected" sites (local/regional pages, toy/games), or were they going to unexpected sites (financial, world news/politics)?

Dr. Sugata Mitra: Sometimes to unexpected sites, such as news sites during the Afgan war and the WTC attacks, Horoscopes and inexplicably, to technical sites on Java etc.

I know if a 100% free Internet kiosk were setup in a local mall, you would have kids going to porn sites for the curiosity and/or shock value.

Dr. Sugata Mitra: Are you sure? Who will go? Are they children?

  Was this a problem with your study group?

Dr. Sugata Mitra: Rarely. We have 42 computers now in 13 locations in India. So far we have a couple of locations there have been access to pornographic websites. Invariably the accesses are by adults and older “children” (above 13 years old). Also, always in locations that were not in public view.

8 to 13 year olds, our target, have complained about this and are not interested in it.

I read the original article and was intrigued by the comment of kids "networking" and passing information around to each other -- have they progressed even further since the original article was written? 

Dr. Sugata Mitra: They do so verbally, or by travelling to another kiosk. They do not have access to email. They are unaware of webmail. I haven't yet had the courage to tell them about it!

Is the demand for the kiosk great enough that the local government would get involved in putting up more?

Dr. Sugata Mitra: So far, the government of Delhi has put up 30 computers in six kiosks. They may put more. Others have spoken about it, but we need action….

If you do need more systems, what is your expected class of computer that you would like to use today? 

Dr. Sugata Mitra: Only the best will do. P4, 1.6 GHz, 256Mb RAM….

I.e. a Pentium 2 333 with 64MB RAM, or do the kids seem to be needing/wanting more?

Dr. Sugata Mitra: Web and CD content demands the latest machines, maybe we could go down a notch or two, but they will run into software that demands more.

Here in the USA, there are lots of child-oriented programs to help with reading, math, spelling, etc.  Is this sort of software of interest to your kids? 

Dr. Sugata Mitra: Very much so. They love it and seem to handle the English as well! We need lots of it.

I am unsure of the availability of non-English versions of this software... To wrap up, I wish you continued success in your experiment and I hope the kiosks are able to be left in place (and upgraded!) as time goes on.

Dr. Sugata Mitra: Thanks very much. I do hope so too. We are now setting up 66 more computers in 22 locations all over the country. Lets see what happens.

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... | 1 comment )



EVENT 2002: ICT Questions#1
posted by rudy on Friday June 28, @04:01AM
from the ictdev dept.

IT for development

Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, Bangladesh: What would be the impact of the Telecenters to our rural community? How would it be cost effective? What should be the main concern of establishing these centers? Why are the donors are not concerned about the funding of these Telecenters?

Dr. Sugata Mitra: I don't know what exactly you mean by a telecenter. I will assume you are referring to an attended pay phone kiosk, such as the Public Call Offices (PCOs as they are commonly referred to) that are very common in India.

This was a huge success in India. These kiosks increased the penetration of phones and usage of phones in India by an enormous amount.

Impact on rural communities:

  • Increase in entrepreneurs
  • Availability of a public phone
  • Increase in phone usage
  • Increase in additional services such as photocopier, fax machine etc.

Cost effectiveness:

  • The owner of the kiosk gets a commission on the regular phone bill. I think its around 20%
  • This results, usually, in a good monthly income in addition to paying for the expenses of running the kiosk
  • The user (customer) is not charged anything extra for making a call over the regular telocom company charge
  • Since people tend to gather at the kiosks, other businesses can be run from there. Such as sales of photocopies, sending faxes, sale of stationary, etc.

Main concerns for establishing a telecenter:

  • Space should be adequate (say 35 square metres)
  • It should be in a safe, public location
  • There should be adequate ventilation and seating
  • Phone lines should be maintained properly
  • There should be a good billing machine
I don't know why donors are not funding these in Bangladesh.

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... | 1 comment )



EVENT 2002:Poverty Question #18
posted by rudy on Thursday June 27, @04:18AM
from the poverty dept.

poverty

Cheikhou Thiome, (Senegal): What are the main forms of poverty in the world? How can "Sustainability" be the solution to eradicate poverty?

Pattrice Le-Muire Jones: Different academic experts categorize the forms of poverty in different ways. Some divide according to the cause of the poverty (such as urban unemployment or rural landlessness) while others divide according to the effect of the poverty (such as homelessness or hunger). I myself do not think very much about categories of poverty but instead try to concentrate of accurately analyzing each particular case.

Instead, I want to turn to your second question, which reflects a common misunderstanding about the idea of "sustainability." Sustainability itself does not solve poverty. Rather, sustainability is an attribute or quality that any proposed poverty reduction program may or may not have. Sustainability means simply that the project, whatever it is, can be maintained for a long time without depleting resources. In agriculture, for example, sustainability means projects which keep the soil healthy and do not deplete the water supply. A sustainable agriculture project might or might not reduce poverty, depending on how it is structured. For example, a wealthy farmer might elect to use more sustainable techniques to produce luxury goods for wealthy people. This would improve the environment but would not reduce poverty. However, if a group of impoverished farmers decide to use sustainable agriculture to improve their crop yields while also ensuring that their land will remain vital for many years to come, then that would reduce poverty.

[ or Read Discussion! ]

( Read More... | 3 comments )



 
« Mandate the Future EVENT 2002

Meet the EVENT 2002 Guest Panel! Click the links below to read the questions asked from our expert Guest Panelists, and their answers!

  • Dr. Philip Emeagwali, Dr. Sugata Mitra and James Moody answer questions on ICT for Development

  • Anne Philpott, Dr. Usa Duongsaa and Dr. Leo Rebello answer questions on HIV/AIDS

  • Jackie Hansen, Jody Williams and Sehrish Shaban from the ICBL answer questions on Landmines

  • Dr. Faustina Pereira, Linda Wolf and Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy answer questions on Gender Issues

  • Pattrice Le-Muire Jones and Dr. Ismail Serageldin answer questions on Poverty

See Volunteer Youth Task Forces that were inducted into the VoYoTaFo Hall of Fame!

want to know more?
email us!

[ Home | About CtrlAltEsc | Preferences | Submit a Story | Search | Vote! | Newest Comments | Authors | Best of CtrlAltEsc | Related Links | Help!! ]

privacy policy
editorial policy
A Worldview International Foundation project