November 2007

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ICT sector not growing up to the mark in Bangladesh

According to finding in a survey conducted by Jobs IRIS Bangladesh, the ICT sector has grown approximately 22 per cent in the past two years, while the mobile phone sector alone has witnessed 180 per cent growth for the last one year.

The poor growth in ICT re-emphasises the continued necessity of a highly skilled human resource pool in the ICT sector in the country. ICT graduates are not gaining the skills required by the private sector.  The ICT topics taught widely do not always align with the needs and priorities of private sector. Students learn the requisite theoretical and technical skills but not how and where to apply them.

At present, there are over 40 universities and 60 colleges offering ICT courses at the Bachelors and Masters levels in the country.

Malaysia To Support International Dialogues On Education
Malaysia has pledged its full support for international dialogues seeking to pursue the global commitment of “Education For All” (EFA).

Outlining its vision in vying for a seat in the 58-member Unesco Executive Board, Malaysia hopes to contribute its experience and expertise to Unesco, which has been mandated by the United Nations to coordinate international efforts to achieve the EFA by the year 2015.

Apart from identifying best practices and benchmarks, Malaysia is also prepared to share its knowledge in teacher training, curriculum development and the use of information and communications technology (ICT) to increase access to quality teaching. Malaysia will also contribute inputs in improving access to students in rural and remote areas and in facilitating regional linkages and cooperation in areas like educational research and development and in the dissemination and sharing of information.

High school education in Philippines via the Web
The Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) in Philippines says it is making progress towards its goal of making public high school education completely accessible over the Internet.

A project by the commission called “e-eskwela” (electronic school) aims to digitise the entire high school curriculum as an alternative to taking it in the normal classroom setting. Of the total 80 modules (20 for each year of high school), around 40 have been digitised and made available online. The e-eskwela project is part of a larger ICT for Basic Education project that attempts to develop e-Learning components for primary and secondary public school education.

Teachers question Chinese firm's role in Cyber-Ed deal
What does a Chinese company that manufactures X-ray machines and other state-of-the-art airport security equipment got to do with the government's Cyber Education Project (CEP)? Militant teachers in Philippines raised the question as they asked the Department of Education to explain the details of the memorandum of agreement with China covering the $460-million CEP.

The agreement requires the DepEd to team up for the project with Tsinghua Tongfang Nuctech Company (Nuctech), a Chinese company that has “no expertise in satellite-based distance learning. The DepEd has repeatedly said the CEP will be undertaken in partnership with the Beijing-based Tsinghua University, which is recognized for its expertise in the use of ICT for distance education. But the memorandum was signed not by Tsinghua but by the chairman of Nuctech.

The CEP aims to fill the gaps in the education system by using satellite technology to deliver key learning concepts and other educational services to every school in the country through TV screens.

COA finds P329-M textbooks unused
Some P329 million worth of textbooks, information and communication technology (ICT) products, computers and instructional materials are lying around in the offices of school officials or in stockrooms, destroyed by molds, according to the Commission on Audit (COA) in Philippines.

In its 2006 audit report on the Department of Education, the COA disclosed that 2.5 million copies of textbooks or instructional materials costing around P186.96 million have remained undistributed for reasons ranging from oversupply, deficiency in contents to scarcity of funds, and vehicles for delivery.

The COA report also highlighted the P138.84 million worth of computers which were either reported missing or underutilised due to lack of technical resources and facilities to operate the computers. The ICT packages worth P115 million was being used for administrative purposes instead. Each package consisted of 349 units of computers, compact discs (CDs), workbooks and teacher's manuals as aids of instruction for English, Math and Science for elementary schools, and English, Chemistry and Geography for high school. 

The DepEd justified this by saying that the computer supplier did not provide the teachers training to operate the computers. It also said that most of the CDs could not be installed.  

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