Friday, July 29, 2005

Bangalore Chosen as India Headquarters for UN Technology in Education Initiative

Bangalore Chosen as India Headquarters for UN Technology in Education Initiative

India’s Silicon Valley, Bangalore, has been chosen as the India headquarters for the United Nations “Global e-school and Communities Initiative” (Gesci), a special campaign to promote the use of technology in education.

Under the Gesci programme, diverse educational and community development projects and best practices will be developed in Bangalore for the benefit of all countries. Working with the Indian Information Technology and Education ministries, Gesci will facilitate policy support, technical assistance and global resources for the initiative. Gesci is expected to assist India to achieve the goal of primary education for all by 2010, five years ahead of the UN deadline stated in the Millennium Development Goals.

The Gesci initiative was established by the UN ICT Task Force in 2003. It aims to be a member of a consortium of interested parties involved in ICT in education projects, including national governments, donor countries, the private sector, local communities and international organizations.

The role of ICT in education is limited by the absence of content development and means of taking advantage of the wide range of devices available. For example, while it is technically possible to combine satellite technology with memory and audio devices to create libraries containing relevant educational materials for rural areas in developing countries, such technology has not yet been utilized in the context of education. The Gesci initiative therefore seeks to build partnerships between the ICT, media, and entertainment industries in order to find ways to put existing technology to educational uses.

Gesci aims to encourage and support e-school initiatives under the leadership of local education and IT ministries, and to enable countries to plan and connect to global partners who can provide expertise or financial support. Currently conducting activities in Bolivia, Ghana, Namibia, and India, the Gesci initiative has drawn attention to the fact that ICT in schools has impacts that go beyond the classroom, yielding enormous benefits to local communities in the form of employment, adult education, health, business services, communication, and e-government.


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