[Telecentres] Text and podcast of Andy's plenary remarks

Andy Carvin ACarvin at edc.org
Wed Feb 23 10:35:44 GMT 2005

Hi everyone,

Below is the text of my remarks in this morning's intergovernmental
plenary, on behalf of the education, academia and research taskforce, and
the telecentres caucus. I have published a recording of my remarks,
available in OGG and MP3 formats.


Thanks to everyone who offered input on the text. -andy

A Joint Statement from the Education, Academia and Research Taskforce
and the Telecentres Caucus

Presented by Andy Carvin, Digital Divide Network
Palais des Nations, Geneva
23 February 2005


Madame Chair, thank you for the opportunity to speak.

We, the members of civil society's education, academia and research
taskforce and the telecentres caucus, have come together to address the
importance of the proper financing of educational ICTs and human capacity
building.  ICTs can be a key tool in achieving universal primary education,
while wired schools and non-formal learning institutions such as
telecenters can play a major role in addressing the development agenda of
the MDGs.

When considering appropriate financing mechanisms for bridging the digital
divide, do not neglect the role that schools, universities and non-formal
educational institutions such as telecentres play as a community hub for
building local knowledge, and integrating marginalized communities into the
information society.

Schools, universities, telecentres, libraries and other learning
institutions all have an existing infrastructure that focus on the future
-- the potential of our children and young people. If properly financed,
this infrastructure can serve as a backbone for bridging the digital
divide.  These institutions offer direct benefit to the young people of the
world, who cannot afford to be left on the wrong side of the digital
divide; their long-term wellbeing and prosperity are at stake.

However, it is not enough to finance infrastructure initiatives only-
educational capacity building such as professional development for teachers
and curriculum development must also be addressed simultaneously. Learners
must have access to curricula that is linguistically and culturally
appropriate, including open courseware.

Moreover, there is a natural synergy that exists between ICT-enabled
schools, telecentres and similar institutions. Schools should be financed
so they too may serve as community-based telecentres, while telecentres can
serve as educational institutions in themselves. This notion of
multi-purposing should be addressed when making decisions on investing
funds to bridge the digital divide.

As digital divide initiatives are financed, communities must have a vested
interest in the success of these institutions if they are to succeed in the
long-term. Financing models that embrace bottom-up approaches will help
foster educational ICT initiatives that address the development needs of
each community.

We also encourage further investment in the development of local open
courseware initiatives. Open courseware offers an educational model for
promoting open access, cultural and linguistic diversity, and a spectrum of
teaching and learning styles. These initiatives should be networked for
worldwide capacity building.

With these ideas in mind, we offer the following amendments to the chapter
regarding financing mechanisms:

Paragraph 14: Change the phrase "capacity building" to educational and
human capacity building;

Paragraph 15, last clause: change to: ...as a tool for the achievement of
the Millennium Development Goals.

Paragraph 21, last sentence: change the phrase "poverty reduction
strategies" to "education and poverty reduction strategies";

Paragraph 23a:  Change to: ICT capacity-building programmes, materials,
tools, educational funding, curriculum such as open courseware, and
specialized training initiatives, especially for regulators, educators and
other public sector employees and organizations.

Paragraph 24h, end of the last clause, change to: "especially in the public
sector, including education."

Thank you very much.

Andy Carvin
Program Director
EDC Center for Media & Community
acarvin @ edc . org

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