23 February 2016

Ethiopia: Equipping Schools With ICT

Nowadays, Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) plays a peerless role in offering quality education across the world. Countries are paying due attention to ICT infrastructure expansion to teach their citizens knowledge and skills through communications devices.

Similarly, recently, the Ministry of Education and Inspur Group Company Limited signed about 20 million USD contract agreement for commissioning of educational infrastructure and services for 300 secondary schools and ten universities.

Speaking at the signing ceremony held at the Ministry's Office, State Minister for General Education Dr.Tilaye Gete said that Ethiopia is moving very rapidly to access equity in the education sector in the past 20-years. It was happened the great commitment of the government and the combined effort of the public in general.

Dr.Tilaye further said that Ethiopia has already deployed over 26 million students in the formal education system. " We have a vision of becoming middle income country. To meet a middle income country, one of the basic profile is educated citizen of the country. In connection to this, we would like to build technology driven society. Quality education is at the center pieces of Ethiopian education currently," he said .

The state minister further said that Ethiopia is now implementing the five-years education sector development Programme as part of GTP-II. "We have a package known as General Education Improvement Programme. One of the components is expanding ICT in education sector.

Teacher Development, School Administration and Leadership, Curriculum Development, Civic and Physical Education are the components in the general education. The government has tried to mobilize resource from development partners across the globe which cost around 550 million USD. A huge amount of money will be devoted to school grant," Dr.Tilaye added.

One of the components is the provision of text books to the students. "We have nearly published nearly 65 million text books for secondary schools in seven mother tongue." Apart from that, the Ministry has been working in upgrading nearly 200 thousand teachers from certificate to diploma, from diploma to degree and from degree to masters levels. Furthermore, "The government has decided to create technology driven society. Our economic development in one way or another will be dependent upon how we are better in technology infrastructure, the way we are connected with the entire world. In an attempt to do that the subject given as one discipline in the secondary schools. I hope in the near future we will move down to the upper primary schools," he stated.

But if the nation does not introduce the technology in all schools, it cannot create a fully technology driven society. "We expect in the programme nearly a million secondary school student and 100 thousand university students and teachers will be benefiting. Now we are thinking the system will be implemented in the coming 18 months.

We have around 2,622 secondary schools in the country and Educational Private Cloud Infrastructure and Services are distributed proportionally. But in the regions there are three criteria, all secondary schools need to address internet access, have power supply and accessibility to the road.

Inspur Group Company General Manger to Ethiopia Richal Wang on his part said that the company is the state owned enterprise in China. "We appropriate and we have confidence. The company has rich and profound experiences in China and African countries . We believe that we will do this job to increase tremendously to improve the education system to this country."

According to Information and Communication Technology Ministry document, the Ethiopian Government has made the development of information and communications technology (ICT) one of its strategic priorities.

The recognition by the Government of ICT as the key driver and facilitator for transforming Ethiopia's predominantly subsistence-agriculture economy to an information and knowledge-based economy and society, effectively integrated into the global economy.

The government has already been active in interconnecting schools, agricultural research institutions, districts and promoting applications that bring efficiency in delivery of public services.

Some of the achievements include the launch of a Government Portal, a Justice Information System, a Driver and Vehicle Management Information System, a National Records and Library Management Information System, a Public Sector Human Resources Information System, a Trade Registry System, and an Exam and Placement System.

Ethiopia has also been working towards stimulating the demand for the underlying infrastructure by increasing access to the public sector network.

The government's strategy that was approved in 2011 envisages the implementation of 219 services comprising of 79 informational and 140 transnational services over a five-year period.

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