Education is one of the best ways to eliminate global poverty. Yet more than 100 million children are not in school this year. UNESCO has launched a global coordination action week from April 24-30, 2006 for highlighting the issues relating to gaps in education. CSDMS too is part of this global campaign. We are planning to hold an Asian Conference on Digital Learning from April 26-28 at Bangkok along with the Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Information and Communications Technology of the Royal Thai Government. There are five universities, which have joined as Institutional partners, as are numerous agencies working in the field of ICT for development. These include private sector players, academia and practitioners of Digital Learning. We invite each of the readers to be part of this campaign to show your commitment. The question arises, why choose a technology driven platform for delivering education? First and foremost, is the need to fill the huge gap in the teachers required to fulfill the Millennium Development Goal of ensuring Universal Primary Education by 2015. The shortfall of teachers required number a whopping 30 million, to supplement the current 60 million teachers. Unless the teaching profession gains social respect, and the preparedness to train the students towards a knowledge economy, we will be facing a bigger divide in developing countries. In a number of places online courses delivered in remote areas may be able to substitute the dearth or teachers. Learning is a continuous process, and with new skill sets required, mid-career upgrading of skills required for employed people, digital learning tools and technologies could prove its worth. It has the potential to go beyond the classroom, and on to corporate and workers’ spaces. The online delivery in corporate training is predicted to overtake higher education usage in developing countries. This sector is emerging as an industry and is likely to grow up to US$ 150 billion by 2025. Thus there should be a multi-stakeholde interest, not only for the educators and the decision-makers within governments, who are mandated, to ensure that education, as a fundamental right, is provided to every citizen, but also to the corporate world, to respond to the need of the hour. It also makes business sense to do so. We look forward to hearing about your experiences and thoughts on how best to contribute.
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