Asia News – November 2008

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Asia Online named finalist in Red Herring’s Top 100 Asia Awards

Asia Online, a firm that is dedicated to eliminating information poverty by bringing world’s knowledge to every person through its unique online Translation Technology Platform, has been shortlisted in the 2008 Red Herring Top 100 Awards.

Established in January 2007, Asia Online had already made a big impact on the global market. In April 2008, the firm unveiled its powerful online Translation Technology Platform that uses advanced artificial intelligence to not only translate over 200 language-pairs, but also learns from humans as they proofread and edit documents.

Philippines DepEd heads SEAMOLEC governing board

Philippines Department of Education (DepEd) Technical Service Director Mari Paul Soriano was recently appointed as chair of the Governing Board of Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation – Regional Open Learning Center or SEAMOLEC. The Indonesian-based center of excellence has recognised his role in accelerating DepEd’s computerisation programme and the provision of ICT infrastructure for digital literacy.

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The DepEd Chief said that Soriano’s appointment is ‘a boost to education, and will help make the regional center’s educational programmes more relevant to the Philippine setting.’ The mission of SEAMOLEC is ‘to serve one million clients by 2010.’ It is currently developing a network called SEA EduNet for sharing open educational resources and building online learning communities among Southeast Asian educators.

Intel empowers education week with added knowledge & technology

Intel EM Limited, in collaboration with the Secondary Education Modernisation Project of Sri Lankan Ministry of Education, has donated Classmate PCs and a Wi-Fi Zone to Dharmaraja College in Kandy. The Classmate PCs were handed over to the school by Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha who also felicitated over 100 Master Teachers trained under the Intel  Teach Programme.

The event was held as part of ICT Day, a feature of the Education Week celebrations of the Central Province, which commenced with Teachers’ Day on October 6, 2008. On ICT Day, students learned the importance of ICT, job opportunities in the sector, and workshops held at district level.

Pakistan to provide free IT education in government schools

Pakistan’s Senior Provincial Minister Raja Riaz Ahmed has said that the government has launched an educational development programme to improve infrastructure facilities for raising the standard of education. The government plans to provide all the required facilities to promote primary and secondary level education at government schools.

Raja Riaz said the government would facilitate free IT education by setting up computer labs in 4,574 secondary schools. He also said that the government had allocated a sum of Rs 2.5 billion ($53.2 million) for the improvement of government schools, and a total of Rs 1 billion ($21.3 million)  for maintaining these schools.

Schools in Nepal demand roll-back of education tax

The Institutional Schools’ Association Nepal (ISAN) has submitted a seven-point memorandum to the Nepal’s Ministry of Education, demanding the government to roll back the decision to impose 5% education service tax (EST) on schools.

The ISAN said that the provision of education service tax was against the ‘Education For All’ slogan of the government and Interim Constitution-2006, which advocates free education as the fundamental right of all Nepali citizens. ‘By introducing EST, the government is legalising the commercialisation of education sector, which means that the government is trying to escape from its responsibility of providing education to its citizens,’ the memorandum stated.

Bangladesh wins 6 Manthan awards

Bangladesh has won six prizes in the prestigious Manthan Award for best ICT and digital content development in South Asia. UNDP sources said among 13 categories, Bangladeshi organisations got awards in five- e-culture and entertainment, e- enterprise and livelihood, e-government, e-localisation and m-content. The award winners are Unnayan TV and Youth Voice (e-culture and entertainment), Jeeon-IKB (e-enterprise and livelihood), (e-government, Hoimonti (e-localisation) and Cellbazaar (m-content). Of the 32 awards in 13 categories, India bagged 22, Afghanistan one and Sri Lanka three

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