News Asia
June 2006

News Asia

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Microsoft stretches IT drive in rural Sri Lanka
Compared to many Asian countries, Sri Lanka’s IT drive has been lagging behind with IT literacy recording only nine percent and to uplift the IT penetration levels and awareness in  rural communities, Microsoft Sri Lanka further strengthening its commitment to community outreach in  Sri Lanka, through a contribution ofRs 16.5 million to fund basic  technology and job training to empower under-served people with  new skills for better employability. The grant will be utilised in IT capacity building exercises at grass  roots level and will be channeled to InfoShare Ltd, a Sri Lankan NGO  that focuses on ICT for development. Microsoft’s contribution to  InfoShare will help fund hardware,
software, development of Industry  specific IT curriculum, technical advice, helpdesk support and  connectivity at the VTA Centres. Under the project, Microsoft has also made copies of its ‘Unlimited  Potential’ Curriculum available, which will be implemented at 60 sites.

eTUKTUK takes internet and radio to the Sri Lankan village
The Kothmale Internet Listeners Club in Sri Lanka in association with UNESCO, the MJF Foundation and Suntel has launched the eTUKTUK  at the Kothmale Community Radio Station.  Kothmale Community Radio (KCR) has been serving as an interface between the rural communities in the  central hill region of Sri Lanka and new communication technologies  Hishammuddin Hussein said this  was to ensure there was no wastage under  the Ninth Malaysia Plan. The days
when it was emphasised providing schools with computers, laptops or  LCD projectors are over. From now on, it will be ensured that only  schools that are eligible and have the  facilities receive the equipment. Next year, the ministry would carry out a  survey on future teacher requirements before offering places for teaching degrees in universities.

Walk for school in Sri Lanka
Sixth form students from Sidmouth College took part in a sponsored walk during their Easter break, to raise  money for ICT equipment for one of the re-built Sri Lankan schools backed by Sidmouth’s Rotarians. The 15-mile walk along the Undercliff  between Seaton and Lyme Regis, accompanied by head of sixth form  Geoff Wake, replaced a planned visit to Thambaddia School on the east coast of Sri Lanka, which the college has been supporting during its rebuild. The idea of the trip is to take ICT equipment, but, more importantly in some ways, to be able to show the people how to use the software that will be donated.

Indian students to study in Bangkok
Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Bangkok, will have tie up with  Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) in the Indian  through its Community Multimedia Centres (CMC). This innovative  approach to content delivery and  radio production is in line with the station’s commitment to increasing access and participation to new and  traditional ICTs (Information
Communication Technology) while  providing a voice and expression to the community it serves.  The eTUKTUK is a self-contained mobile telecentre and radio  broadcasting unit housed within a tuk-tuk, or three wheeled motorcycle,
a favoured form of transport common  hroughout South Asia. A laptop computer is located inside the vehicle as is a battery operated printer,
amera, telephone and scanner.  Internet is provided via a CDMA enabled wireless connection and electricity is provided via a generator  which in turn charges a battery that is used to provide additional power for  short periods of time.  The weekly route of the eTUKTUK is broadcast over the Radio to inform
the listeners as to the location and time that it will arrive in their  community. The mobile design of the eTUKTUK provides access to the  most geographically remote areas of the Kothmale region.

ICT audit for schools
A company has been appointed to carry out an independent audit on the effectiveness of the development of information and communication technology in schools in Malaysia. Education Minister Datuk Seri  state of Karnataka from the next academic year commencing inAugust. A Memorandum  of Understanding (MoU) will be signed  with VTU soon. The understanding between the two universities will provide an opportunity  for VTU graduates to pursue their post-graduation in AIT and  the AIT students belonging to 50 countries will study in engineering colleges of Karnataka. The  understanding covers two-stage master’s programme, integrated  engineering and joint research. There are 2,000 students in AIT  and 80 among them are Indians. The university has teachers from 30 countries. 

USD one million tech assistance from ADB to support ICT in education
Asian Development Bank (ADB) grants USD 1 million technical assistance to support innovative Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in education in developing countries. The technical assistance will help carry out studies to support the development of policies and  strategies in the area of ICT in education, focusing on the  contributions the innovations can make to improving the quality of and access to education. The asistance  will also carry out pilot studies on e-textbook development and  e-teacher training in Bangladesh, Mongolia, Nepal, and Samoa, where  ADB has ongoing related projects. To disseminate the technical  assistance results and promote the sharing of ideas about e-learning innovations, the assistance will support the ongoing series of international conferences on ICT in education.

EU, China to link up high-speed electronic networks
Communication and collaborationamong 45 million researchers and students  across Europe and China will be greatly facilitated by a new Sino- European high-speed network connection. Co-funded by the European Union, China and European National Research and Education Networks, USD 5.67 million-ORIENT (Oriental Research Infrastructure to European NeTworks) project will
benefit all Sino-European research, including radio astronomy, sustainable development, meteorology and grid computing, by helping to step up the flow of information between Europe and China. Access to applications such as telemedicine, digital libraries and e-learning will help the general public, as well as the research community, to build academic and cultural links between Europe and China and an open exchange of opinions and expertise between Chinese and European researchers. Military Academy to be upgraded to university

The Malaysian Military Academy will be upgraded into a university and be
e-Learning supplements face-to-face teaching: OECD According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) survey of institutions in 13 countries

e-Learning has yet to revolutionise teaching in universities.
It has more impact on administrative services such as admissions, registration,
fee payment and purchasing than on the fundamentals of classroom teaching and learning. The OECD survey has found that e-Learning typically supplements rather than replaces face-to-face teaching. The OECD says universities are considering how to unleash the potential of e-Learning. The challenges are to use the technology to teach in new and effective ways to get academics and technical staff to work together and to reduce costs by using open standards software, by replacing on-campus teaching and by encouraging peer and automated learning.

known as National Defence University. The university plan was a  follow-up to the forces’ current e-learning long distance education programme called K-Force conducted with the cooperation of Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UNITAR) since 2002. Efforts will also be continued to establish cooperative programmes with other local and foreign universities to broaden  opportunities for further education for Armed Forces personnel. The  K-Force programme offers four
types of courses that award a degree or diploma in either  information technology or business management. K-Force was introduced to create a  lifelong learning culture among military  personnel. So far, 218 officers and 621 members of other ranks had signed up for the programme with  153 expected tograduate with diploma and 34 with  degree this year.

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