South East Asia: Reaping the Benefits of ICT

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South East Asian nations have common challenges when it comes to implementation of Iinformation and Communication Technologies in education. Two of them emerge as cross-cutting issues. First is the need for addressing the diversity of a large population in terms of their educational and economic levels and second is the need for these nations to associate ICT with the need for development for millions of its poor people.

Most of the countries in the region have a long way to go as far as EFA Goals are concerned. There is lot to be achieved as far as expansion of primary and secondary education is concerned, especially in countries like Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. Moreover, almost all the countries in the region are afflicted by major disparities like gender, wealth and ethnicity, which have a direct bearing on education.

A number of interventions are addressing these challenges in an innovative manner by strategically deciding on tools for reaching out and also by creating user-driven content. As eASIA 2008 ICT4D conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is fast approaching, it has been our endeavour to focus on some of these interventions in the region in this issue.

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Examples like the CI Xi Peasants’ Information Network in a Chinese town clearly show how merging distance education with real-time information needed by farmers can effectively improve farmers’ productivity and skills. From the interview of Room to Read COO, it is clearly evident  how engaging the local community in any initiative leads to a successful social innovation and also reaps massive benefits for the entire community.

In our usual fare of Corporate interventions and viewpoints, we have a commentary on higher education and an interview on Autodesk’s initiatives for engineering and design students in China.

Our next issue will carry forward the discussion on more such ICT4E initiatives in the region. So readers, keep a watch!

With this, we also take this opportunities to  invite you to eASIA 2008 conference and exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 11 to 13 November 2008.

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