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Monthly Archives: August 2011

new educational opportunities afforded by ICTs in Africa/EMEA

new educational opportunities afforded by ICTs in Africa/EMEA

One of the world’s most serious problems is the widening gap between rich and poor, wherein a small percentage of the global population enjoys unprecedented affluence amidst widespread global poverty that may actually be getting worse. One aspect of this disparity in wealth is the digital divide, the enormous differences in access to modern information and communications technology (ICT). Millions across Africa, Asia, and Latin America struggle daily to survive in dire poverty, while others in the industrialized world enjoy the conveniences provided by modern communications technologies, work in offices made more efficient and effective through the use of new technologies, and take advantage of new educational opportunities afforded by ICT.
One of the most unfortunate by-products of the digital divide is its negative impact on educational efforts throughout the developing world. Digital technologies provide exciting new opportunities for students in the industrialised world to obtain large amounts of current information on almost any topic, to communicate their thoughts in dynamic new ways, and to work more efficiently than ever before possible. Without access to the benefits of ICT, students in less developed countries may fall even further behind their peers in other nations.
Hence Thinglobal/Thinetworks solution that enables shared resource computing has created a huge opportunity for automation in various sectors that require virtual desktop infrastructure that include education,health and government especially in Africa.
The digital divide within:

Yet another digital divide exists within every nation, between an affluent minority and the rest of the population.
The very limited ICT resources of the least developed countries are concentrated in the hands of a very few, so that ICT access for the vast majority is extremely limited or non-existent. Among Botswana’s wealthiest 20% of the population, 11% had telephone access, but among those in the next quintile (60–79th percentile), who are economically better off than most of the population, less than 1% did. For the rest, there was no phone access whatsoever (World Bank, 2000). This aspect of the digital divide needs to be addressed just as seriously as do the aforementioned gaps in ICT development between industrialized and non-industrialized nations.
Very tiny percentages of the population in most Asian countries have accessed the Internet. In fact, in two-thirds of these Asian nations, less than 1% of the population has ever used the Internet.

The critical issue of cost:

Not only is technology in short supply within developing countries, but the costs for Internet service and automation are often significantly higher than they would be in an industrialized country.
It is clear that in countries where utilisation levels are lower, corresponding costs for connectivity are higher.
Of course, high costs discourage online access, so this situation is yet another critical aspect of the digital divide problem. Until the costs for Internet and automation service can be reduced in poor countries, levels of online access are not likely to increase very significantly. However, at the moment, the telecommunications services of most developing countries are monopolistic, outmoded, inefficient organizations that provide low levels of service at rates they
themselves can establish rather arbitrarily. Deregulation and privatization of telecommunications sectors are very much needed throughout the developing world, to introduce competitive pricing and more efficient models of
providing service (International Telecommunications Union,

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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF SOLAR POWER INSTALLATIONS AND ICT INTERVENTIONS

UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF SOLAR POWER INSTALLATIONS AND ICT INTERVENTIONS

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are contributing to the achievement of development goals in diverse and ever-expanding ways. They are used to increase the effectiveness and reach of
development interventions, to enhance good governance and to lower the delivery costs of many public and private services. When used appropriately, ICTs facilitate the creation and strengthening of new economic and social networks with the potential to advance and even transform the development process. ICTs are increasingly applied to interventions in such critical sectors as education,health, agriculture and disaster management.
A number of crosscutting issues arise in almost every application of ICTs to development processes. These include equity in the access and use of ICTs by competing social groups; the capacity to reorient ICTs to multiple uses; ensuring information flows across the barriers of illiteracy and limited access; production of meaningful content for distribution
via ICTs; and the challenge of utilizing ICTs in areas where infrastructure such as electricity and technical support are
notably lacking. A growing number of organizations seek to apply ICT best practices in unelectrified areas, but are faced with the questions of how to adapt those practices to the conditions in rural and remote areas and how to meet ICT energy needs given the limited availability of financing.
To help answer these questions, this guide describes a variety of energy
systems that can power small-scale ICT projects in off-grid areas and identifies practical ways to reduce the costs of those systems. Informed selection of ICTs can net savings of thousands of dollars for off-grid projects by reducing the need for energy. Simply using energy efficient shared resource computing solutions instead of desktop systems
can reduce the net investment in an offgrid telecenter by over US$15,000. One of the primary goals of the discussion is
to raise awareness of the relationship between ICTs and energy, and the
financial benefits of considering energy needs early in the process when
planning ICT programs in unelectrified areas.

2 Small-Scale Power Systems

There are a number of ways to power small-scale ICT installations in locations that are not served by the electricity grid. Typically, the easiest and least expensive solution from the end user’s perspective is to
arrange for the extension of the electricity grid to the project site. The cost of grid extension increases with the distance from the grid at a rate of several thousand U.S. dollars per kilometer . Therefore grid
extension often starts to become economically prohibitive farther than three to five km from the grid.
When grid extension is not an option, a standalone or distributed power system can be installed to generate electricity at a location close to the site where the electricity is needed. (For those who require an
introduction or refresher to the basic concepts and terminology of electricity and power generation, Annex 1 contains a brief review of these topics.) Examples of small-scale, standalone power systems
include generator sets powered by diesel, solar PV systems, small wind systems, and micro-hydro systems.
The cost of providing power in off-grid locations is influenced by the technology, the size or capacity of the system, and the ongoing operating costs of fuel and maintenance.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

ICT challenges identified by young people in Africa and Shared Resource Computing as a Game-changer.

Apart from poverty, most youth listed the lack of ICT policies for teachers, inaccessibility to Internet services in many schools, the lack of ICT curricula in their teacher training colleges and the lack of ICT literacy that plague their teachers.
Other drawbacks were erratic power supply, lack of government commitment to provide technological support and school regulations that prohibit students from using mobile phones. The participants suggested that mobile phones could be used to record lectures in class.
They put forward several extra recommendations, that ICT studies should be incorporated in all subjects to motivate teachers into using computers and that ICT should be a compulsory subject in all schools.
They argued that social media like Facebook, Wikipedia, blogs and Twitter are very useful means of collaborative learning, developing practical skills, sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas for increasing the students’ learning capacity.
For science subjects, they said ICT-supported learning is relevant because students can clearly see the working tools for practical or laboratory lessons when for example they study physics and the working of human body organs such as kidney and heart in biology lessons.
Our interviewer grouped the students into two camps for a fruitful dialogue. There were contending views on ICT-supported learning but they eventually agreed that ICT-supported learning should become the backbone of effective and efficient youth learning.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Uncategorized