China’s ICT ready to boom
Information and communication technology (ICT) is one of the most dynamic market sectors in China’s economic boom. End-user IT spending in China passed $119 billion in 2005. This data includes all ICT spending as reported by ICT providers. To put into perspective, India, with a comparable population size, spent $35 billion on IT in 2005, while Japan, with a population less than a-tenth the size of China’s, spent more than $292 billion.
China is by far the largest market in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) in terms of total enterprise IT spending. With a current market size of more than $80 billion, nearly 80 percent of China’s spending on IT, and a 7 % CAGR, the Chinese telecom sector is an extremely significant part of the country’s IT industry. Despite being the world’s fourth-largest economy (when measured in U.S. dollars) and second-largest when measured using purchasing power parity (PPP), the Chinese market can be very disappointing.
According to the Communication University of China, the country has a domestic audience of over 1.2 billion radio listeners and 1.2 billion television viewers. It has 282 radio stations, 314 television stations and 1,913 broadcasting stations at the municipal level. CCTV, the country’s largest TV station, has 14 channels, including English and international channels, and broadcasts via satellite feeds to over 90 percent of the country.
OLE Nepal gaining ground
Open Learning Exchange (OLE) Nepal is a Nepali non-governmental organisation dedicated to assisting the Government of Nepal in meeting its Education for All goals by developing freely accessible, open-source ICT-based educational teaching and learning materials.
OLE Nepal’s goals include the development of high-quality free and open-source interactive digital learning materials that conform to Nepal’s national curriculum and to implement a plan to provide universal access to primary and secondary school level ICT-based teaching-learning materials
OLE plans to develop core open-source digital learning materials for grades two and six in math and English, develop a virtual library of learning materials, teacher training, monitoring and evaluation and to help the government launch the One Laptop Per Child project pilot at a public school on the outskirts of the Kathmandu Valley in April 2008.
Khmer language ICT textbook released
The Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) has launched a new Khmer language ICT textbook that will be used by all public teaching institutions in Cambodia. The book marks the change to use computer software in Khmer language in all schools, phasing out software in English and French. The Secretary of State also inaugurated the Low Cost Computing Research Laboratory for Education, a new research laboratory that will study the issue of sustainability of computer facilities in schools.
Both activities are part of the Open schools programme, a joint initiative of the Ministry and the Open Institute NGO that aims to improve the quality of education in Cambodia through the use of ICT. The Open Schools Programme is a three-phase project that will mainly develop and implement a Master Plan for ICT in Education.
CISCO Networking Academy opens at Abu Dhabi University
The College of Engineering and Computer Science at Abu Dhabi University (ADU) announced the launch of a Cisco Networking Academy in cooperation with Cisco Systems, which will open its doors in February 2008.
The Cisco Networking Academy (Netacad) utilises a blended learning model, integrating face-to-face teaching with a challenging web-based curriculum, hands-on lab exercises and Internet-based assessments. Academy graduates will be prepared for networking and IT-related careers in the public and private sectors, as well as for higher education in engineering, computer science and related fields.
Full literacy by 2015 may be unrealistic for India
With the current national literacy rate being 64.8 %, there is a serious question mark on the government’s flagship educational programmes. The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), the country’s official census agency, said the literacy rate grew at a mere 1.5% per year. However, government officials claim they will maintain a steady growth of 5% every year till 2015 to attain complete literacy by 2015.
The UNESCO, in a report, unequivocally stated that India would miss the bus of ending illiteracy by 2015, pointing to huge disparities between urban and rural areas. Nearly 70 % of the country’s illiterate population belongs to the eight states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. All these states have not shown any major improvement in the Government’s flagship programmes, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for All), for universalisation of elementary education in a time bound manner, and the National Literacy Mission.
But 13 states – Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Orissa, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar – have a literacy rate below the national average of 64.8%, according to data published by the Directorate of Adult Education.
Even prominent educationists have apprehensions about the Government’s claim of full literacy by 2015 and the way in which the entire exercise is being carried out