Egypt spends $10 million to widen computer access
Egypt is investing more than $10 million from a debt-swap agreement with Italy in a new two-year program to boost computer access, promote computer literacy in schools and adult literacy, and improve livelihoods.
Though Egypt is a leader in the Arab region in information and communications technology (ICT), relatively few Egyptians have access to a computer or the Internet. The new ICT for Development Program will provide thousands of Egyptians with access to the Internet and its resources.
The initiative is implemented through the Egypt ICT Trust Fund, a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) initiative, and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is overseeing it with UNDP support. The initiative builds on Technology Access Community Centers, a program supported by UNDP that has helped poor, remote communities gain access to computers and the Internet.
The project will provide pupils in 50 schools with special courses in computer literacy through the Smart Schools network, which has set up e-learning links between schools. This initiative will be a first step towards making all Egyptian students computer literate by introducing an ICT learning package. If successful, it will be used as a standard course for teaching computer literacy in all preparatory schools and to use ICT in learning.
It will also set up mobile Internet centers that will visit schools and community centers in remote parts of the country and teach basic computer and Internet skills. The program will establish a community portal on the Internet, which will offer access to information on issues of interest to citizens and local communities, such as employment opportunities, citizens rights, health, education and business data. It will create electronic libraries to collect and store information on communities and foster the use of ICT for research in local communities.
Another component, the ICT for Illiteracy Eradication initiative, will use multimedia CD-ROM technology to teach people to read and write. The CD-ROM will be distributed through an IT Club network, schools and civil society groups. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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