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Ambassador of the Swiss Confederation to open computer classroom

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Andre von Graffenried, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Swiss Confederation to the Republic of Poland and Republic of Belarus will open a computer classroom in Chechersk School soon. The classroom was built up with the assistance of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) as part of the project “Information and Communication Technologies for Development in Chernobyl Contaminated Areas”.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation is a branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation in charge of the international cooperation. Together with other federal institutions the SDC is responsible for the general coordination of actions in the field of development, cooperation with Eastern European countries, and also rendering of humanitarian aid.

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The project “ICT for Development in Chernobyl Contaminated Areas” has been implemented in Gomel region since 2003. So far 11 schools of Bragin and Dobrush districts have been provided not only with computer equipment, but also with the Internet access. The Internet expenses are covered by the SDC. Students now have the opportunity to exchange information: within the framework of the project eight schools have developed own websites and update them regularly. Teachers of those schools completed their training at the Republican Center for Internet Education.

The aim of the SDC's project is to eliminate the actual digital divide between rural and urban areas and to offer children and adults, residents of the Chernobyl-affected regions, an opportunity to improve their life quality. In 2006 the SDC established cooperation with the Ministry of Communications and Informatization, Beltelecom and Svyazinforservis Co. The cooperating parties equip computer classrooms and provide the Internet connection for rural schools of Mogilev and Gomel regions. Beltelecom is supposed to provide the Internet connection using the xDSL technology. Svyazinforservis will undertake current Internet expenditures.

The opening of the classroom in Chechersk may be regarded as outgo to a new qualitative level: 15 schools of the Krasnopolye, Cherikov, Kostyukovichi, Bykhov, Slavgorod, Kormyany, Khoiniki, Vetka, Narovlya, Loev and Yelsk districts will be provided with the Internet connection by the end of 2006. An extensive training program for local teachers is planned in cooperation with the State Center for Internet Education.

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