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Published on April 9, 2008

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INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA - CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES TO THE ACADEMIC COMMUNITY :  INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA - CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES TO THE ACADEMIC COMMUNITY G.O.AJAYI INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS UNIT OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY, ILE-IFE, NIGERIA Slide2:  The following statements were made by Dr. Sue Rhee, the ECA Consultant on Technology Centre for Africa (TCA) during the African Development Forum held in Addis Ababa: A population the size of the United Kingdom joins the Internet Community every six months. Internet traffic doubles every 100 days. This month, another 18 million people will join the Internet community. There are 7 new people on the Internet every second. By the end of this year, the Internet will carry more information than all the telephones in America. Every fourth person on the web is buying something - right now. This month, over half a billion dollars will be spent over the Web. One day, there won’t be any paper money. The web has more uses in its first five years than the telephone did in its first thirty. One day, the Internet will make long distance calls a thing of the past. It took radio technology 38 years to reach the first 50 million users, for PC, it took 16 years to reach the 50 million user mark, TV took 13 years, whilst Internet took just 4 years. Slide3:  GENERAL SITUATION IN AFRICA. Left out of the global information society. Has 12% of world population, but 2% of world’s main telephone lines and 1% of Internet hosts. Lowest annual growth in teledensity of any developing region. Has 35 of the world’s 49 least telecommunication developed countries of the world. Total number of telephone in Africa is less than those in Tokyo. Slide4:  GENERAL SITUATION IN AFRICA(CONTD). Average level of income is the lowest, but cost of installing a telephone line (somewhat labour intensive ) is the highest. Highest profit per telephone line and large waiting period (in some cases up to 9 years ) for telephone service 52 out of 220 public universities and some private ones have full Internet connectivity. 186 research institutes in 36 countries - no adequate connectivity in most of them. Slide5:  INTERNET Initiatives in Africa Examples Carnegie corporation http://www.carnegie.org Dutch Ministry of Co-operation (DGIS) http:/www.dgis.nl InfoDev http://www.worldbank.org/html/fpd/infodev International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/ifla/ USAID http://www.usaid.gov Regional Informatics Network for Africa (RINAF) Node at NACETM, O.A.U, Ile-Ife COPINE (Cooperative Information Network Linking Scientists, Educators, Professionals and Decision Makers) ICTP/OAU Academic Radio Computer Network Project Slide6:  Most of these initiatives are not focused on universities and research centres. African Virtual University May not be the eventual solution The use of Virtual Laboratories for training academics (at Pre and Post Doctoral levels) in Africa will improve the overall standard of education in African Universities. Slide7:  AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT FORUM (ADF) ADDIS ABABA, OCTOBER 24-28, 1999 THEME: The Challenge to Africa of Globalization and the Information Age Sub-themes: Globalization and the Information Economy Information and Communication Technologies for Improved Governance Strengthening Africa’s Information Infrastructure Democratizing Access to the Information Society Special Session on the Use and Development of ICT in Higher Institutions in Africa Meeting of International Agencies on Higher Education Slide8:  NEED FOR ACADEMIC INFORMATION NETWORK ACTIVITIES IN AFRICA: 220 PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES AND SEVERAL PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES OVER 200 RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS FEW INITIATIVES TO CATER FOR THE ACADEMIC COMMUNITY NEED FOR ACADEMIC INFORMATION NETWORK ACTIVITIES IN NIGERIA: POPULATION:OVER 100 MILLION 37,000 PRIMARY SCHOOLS 6000 SECONDARY SCHOOLS 125 TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS (41 UNIVERSITIES) 50 RESEARCH CENTRES 15 FEDERAL TEACHING HOSPITALS 705 GENERAL HOSPITALS 700 HEALTH CENTRES 3,500 DISPENSARIES Slide9:  HISTORICAL BACKGROUND ON ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES Slide11:  Brain Drain - Local or National Level Better remuneration in private industries & government agencies Role of Governments - Policies & remuneration No relationship between industry jobs and research jobs Slide12:  Brain Drain - International Level Caused by Economic Recession Pre and Post Doctoral Level Poor teaching and research facilities Future effects (about 10 years time) Other academic staff Better remuneration Lack of academic challenge Slide13:  INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Global Information System INTERNET Electronic Journals Los Almos Preprints Universities in Developing Countries IT is a must! Slide14:  COMPUTER IS A VERITABLE INTERFACE BETWEEN ACADEMIC AND AN OCEAN OF INFORMATION, DATA AND OTHER RESOURCES ON THE GLOBAL NETWORK OF NETWORKS. MODERN INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES OFFER A WEALTH OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR VARIOUS FORMS OF EDUCATION E.G. DISTANCE COLLABORATION, TELE-EDUCATION, TELE-TRAINING, VIRTUAL LABORATORIES, ETC. ICT HOLDS GREAT PROMISE FOR AFRICA WITH ITS EXCEPTIONAL CULTURAL HERITAGE AND ENTERPRENEURIAL POTENTIAL FOR CONTRIBUTION OF INFORMATION CONTENT. IMPACT OF ICT ON EDUCATION AND CULTURE ENCOURAGEMENT OF CONTENT DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA WILL PROJECT THE RICH AFRICAN CULTURE, ENCOURAGE TOURISM FOR ECONOMIC GAINS FOR AFRICA. Slide15:  THERE IS URGENT NEED TO DEVELOP INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATION IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS TO CREATE NECESSARY TOOLS FOR ACADEMIC WORK AND RESEARCH TO WITHSTAND THE DEMANDS OF THE 21ST CENTURY. THE INTERNET PROVIDES NECESSARY TOOLS TO ACADEMIC WORK. INTERNET FACILITIES SUCH AS ELECTRONIC JOURNALS AND TEXT BOOKS ARE HIGHLY VALUABLE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES SUCH AS AFRICAN COUNTRIES WHERE SHORTAGE EXISTS. HOW CAN THE GENERALISED VIRTUAL LABORATORY OR COLLABORATORY INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH BE UTILISED BY DEVELOPING COUNTRIES? DEVELOPMENT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Slide17:  BRAIN DRAIN AND THE DIASPORA GROUP BRAIN DRAIN HAS RESULTED FROM MIGRATION OF EXPERTS FROM AFRICA. EFFORTS ARE BEING MADE AT VARIOUS FORA FOR AFRICA TO BENEFIT FROM THE DIASPORA GROUP THROUGH ICT. VARIOUS DIASPORA GROUPS CAN MAKE THEIR SERVICES AVAILABLE TO AFRICA THROUGH ICT WITHOUT NECESSARILY RETURNING TO AFRICA. TRANSFORMATION OF BRAINDRAIN TO BRAINGAIN BY USE OF ICT - TWAS CONFERENCE DAKAR DECLARATION Slide18:  MAJOR ISSUES TO BE CONSIDERED SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH COLLABORATION SOUTH-SOUTH AND SOUTH-NORTH SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE DATA BANKS, ETC. ICT INFRASTRUCTURE, DEVELOPMENT AND USAGE VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY Slide19:  MAJOR ISSUES TO BE CONSIDERED (CONTD.) ICT AND EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS IN AFRICA AND THE THIRD WORLD INFLUENCE ON TERTIARY AND OTHER LEVELS OF EDUCATION TEACHING, RESEARCH AND LEARNING USING ICT INFLUENCE OF ICT ON CURRICULA DISTANCE EDUCATION, THE VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY AND VIRTUAL LABORATORY TRAINING IN ICT Slide20:  ICT, LITERACY AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT TELE-CENTRES MULTIPURPOSE COMMUNITY CENTRES RURAL DEVELOPMENT ECONOMY HEALTH EDUCATION ENTERTAINMENT MAJOR ISSUES TO BE CONSIDERED (CONTD.) THE CHALLENGE OF THE 21ST CENTURY Slide21:  SCIENTISTS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES SHOULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE GLOBALISATION OF THE INFORMATION TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF RESEARCH COLLABORATION. RESEARCH COLLABORATION AT NATIONAL, REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEVELS CAN BE ENHANCED USING ICT. ADEQUATE ICT INFRASTRUCTURE ENABLES SOUTH-SOUTH AND SOUTH-NORTH COLLABORATION TO BE ACHIEVED. ACCESSIBLITY TO UP-TO-DATE SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE HAS BEEN SIMPLIFIED BY INFORMATION NETWORK. INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES CAN ONLY BE SUSTAINED IN THE SOUTH, IF BOTH ACADEMIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS ARE INVOLVED IN ICT DEVELOPMENT. SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH COLLABORATION Slide22:  ICT AND EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE THIRD WORLD ICT WILL BE THE MAJOR DRIVING FORCE OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY AND ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THIS MILLENNIUM. YOUTHS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, NEED TO BE EDUCATED IN PREPARATION FOR THIS CHALLENGE. ICT SHOULD BE INTRODUCED AT PRIMARY, SECONDARY AND TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS. THERE IS NEED FOR DEFINITE NATIONAL POLICY TO INTRODUCE ICT TO VARIOUS EDUATIONAL LEVELS. Slide23:  EXISTING PROBLEMS IN INTERNET DIFFUSION. Poor and inadequate telecommunication facilities. Poor level of computer literacy, even within the academic community. Poor computer facilities. Poor level of awareness of Internet facilities in the academic community. Very poor level of awareness of Internet facilities amongst policy makers , government officials , and the ruling class I general. Poor level of telematics education in Africa. Slide24:  EXISTING PROBLEMS IN INTERNET DIFFUSION(contd). Regulatory maters, especially monopoly in the telecommunication sector and obsolete unproductive regulatory framework. Licensing procedures for value added services, when allowed are antiquated and kill incentives and urge to invest in the sector. Mundane issues such as cultural erosion, pornography, privacy, security, loss of revenue are often amplified by government controlled media as opposed to promoting empowerment via networks. Slide25:  EXISTING PROBLEMS IN INTERNET DIFFUSION(contd). At the sub-regional and regional levels, there are no plans for network backbone that connects African countries. Lack of co-operation and co-ordination amongst the few African experts in system management and development. Absence of strategic information. e.g.. for better health, functioning industry, prompt social services, transparent governance, sustainable environment and development. Minimum involvement of universities , research institutions in network building and diffusion in Africa. Slide26:  STRATEGY TO ADOPT FOR SOLUTION Removal of dead hand of monopoly . Creation of an information friendly regulatory environment. Enabling arrangement for competition to allow the free flow of the needed capital and human resources, both domestic and international for development. Privatisation and further liberalization of the telecommunication industry are absolutely essential. Slide27:  STRATEGY TO ADOPT FOR SOLUTION(contd) Internet training and awareness campaign and education is required at national and sub-regional levels Internet awareness campaign to educate policy makers about the benefits of the services available on the global information network and the current state of isolation of Africa. A conference for this class is desirable. Telematics education should be encouraged Slide28:  STRATEGY TO ADOPT FOR SOLUTION(contd) Local network to be established providing e-mail and access to local databases. Existing software can be easily employed. This type of network does not require international connectivity. National network to be established with facilities to access national databases. Priority should be given to the establishment of Academic Computer Network with Internet connectivity in each country. Slide29:  STRATEGY TO ADOPT FOR SOLUTION(contd) Enabling environment for closer collaboration between technical personnel with the decision makers to be created . Training at national and local levels for capacity building. Government monopoly telecommunication industry should be discouraged from becoming Internet providers in order to prevent the escalation of fees for network services. Slide30:  STRATEGY TO ADOPT FOR SOLUTION(contd) National information policy to be formulated taking into consideration new technologies available. Enhancing the role of the media in diffusion of information technology, especially Internet connectivity. Slide31:  “an electronic workspace for distance collaboration and experimentation in research or other creative activity, to generate and deliver results using distributed information and communication technologies” -VL Expert Meeting, May 1999, Iowa State University William Wulf defined collaboratory as “centre without walls”, users can “perform their research without regard to geographical location-interacting with colleagues, accesssing instrumentation, sharing data and computational resources, and accessing information in digital libraries”. DEFINITIONS OF VIRTUAL LABORATORY Slide32:  Research collaboration carried out over a distance Remote Computing Data and application sharing DEFINITIONS OF VIRTUAL LABORATORY (CONTD) Slide33:  VIRTUAL LABORATORY (VL) TOOLS OVERVIEW E-mail FTP WWW Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) Coordination of the work of many persons on one entity Workflow management Management of file collections associated with an object or an event Joint authoring of documents e.g. Publication by multiple authors Chat Text equivalent of a telephone call Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Slide34:  VIRTUAL LABORATORY (VL) TOOLS OVERVIEW (Contd.) Whiteboard Exchange of visual information eg. Text and drawing sketches (or formulae as pixelmaps) on a board. Mbone Tool Whiteboard Exchange of simple text and simple graphics (pixelmaps) and drawing primitives e.g. Line, circle, etc. scientific symbol capabilities essential for VL. Internet telephony (IP telephony) audio compression and transmission in IP packets. Video Conferencing Similar problems to IP telephony (audio part based on same tools) Examples: Netscape Conferencing, Microsoft NetMeeting, ProShare, etc. Mbone Tools Collection of real-time media distribution programs Slide35:  TAXONOMY OF VIRTUAL LABORATORY TOOLS Organizational Foci a large scale research facility composed of a network of laboratories a network of research tools with remote access a network of scientists Two major communication tool classes person-to-person communication in a network of scientists person-to-equipment communication to control a network of tools (Person-to-Experiment) Teleoperation Teleprogramming Slide36:  1. WHOLE EARTH TELESCOPE (WET) REARCH Operated for 10 years Produced 15 Ph. D.’s 20 telescopes linked with coordination Two “runs” per year EXAMPLES OF VIRTUAL LABORATORY IN INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH COLLABORATION Slide37:  2. VITAMIN A AND ITS ROLE IN INFECTION Countries involved: United Kingdom, S. Africa, Pakistan, Ghana, Guatemala, Nepal, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Nigeria (Obafemi Awolowo University, Dept. of Community Health - Dr. Adelekan) Started in 1996 in 10 countries Country Group of 2 to 6 members with a Group Leader First meeting of Group Leaders in London in Feb, 2000 to consider draft report Final Meeting later this year at the International Life Sciences Institute, Washington DC, USA for final report. Slide38:  Central Laboratory with Analytical Section UV Spectrometer, Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, UV Scanning Spectrophotometer, High Performance Binary Gradient System, Gas Chromatograph System with keyboard Photomicroscopy section with an Electron Microscope, a Scanning Electron Microscope and Compound Light UV and Fluorescence Research Microscopes General equipment section with ovens, centrifuges, ultra centrifuges, ice making machines, freeze dryers, etc. Centre for Energy Research and Development (CERD) 9MV FN Tandem Accelerator CENTRAL LABORATORY AT THE OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY, ILE-IFE, NIGERIA Slide39:  To be Used by Local relevant departments and researchers Other Universities and institutions. Ability to also access real Laboratory equipment From Remote Terminals Located in Other Laboratories in Nigeria Outside Nigeria INTERNET and Network connectivity through the OAUNET CENTRAL LABORATORY Slide40:  Virtual Laboratory may provide Staff training in African Universities and Research centres. Improved level of University education in Africa. Reduce Brain Drain Slide41:  VIRTUAL LABORATORIES FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. Based on improving information networks Providing collaboratory research at the national level or south - south or south - north. Pre and Post Doctoral Research work Participation in some major international scientific research projects Accessibility to sophisticated equipment in the north Accessibility to relevant electronic publications Slide42:  EXAMPLE - OAU Participation in the Climatological Conference that took place at the ICTP in June 1999 Almost real time participation of scientists in some universities in Nigeria Scientists assembled at OAU, Ile-Ife Low bandwidth technology WEB, shared white board bi-directional audio Total bandwidth used was below 30 kilobits per second. Slide43:  EXAMPLE - Ph. D. Programme at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Ph.D. programme in Mathematics started as a collaboration with the ICTP Only for past students of the ICTP Diploma programme in Mathematics. AIMS to reduce migration to the north Provide cost effective and high level Ph.D. training Slow down Brain Drain To be based on Satellite Technology Slide44:  DATABASES AND DISTANCE RESEARCH COLLABORATION Local efforts in Developing countries to develop local databases. INTERNET availability of such databases Poor UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) A training seminar on the conversion of CDS/ISIS data bases into web format so as to make data bases in Africa available on the web. June 21-25, 1999 AISI (African Information Society Initiative) of UNECA. Slide45:  Databases in Nigeria Science database Water Resources and Rural Development National databank Raw Material Research Council database for Science and Technology Agricultural Sector Databases. Meteorological database Medical Database DATABASES AND DISTANCE RESEARCH COLLABORATION - EXAMPLE Slide46:  Role of Data Bases in Distance Research Collaboration Excellent tools for distance research collaboration at National or International levels Provide mutual benefits for developed and developing countries Slide47:  TRAINING REQUIRED FOR VIRTUAL LABORATORY Training for network provision Training in Virtual Laboratory technology Training of scientists on the use of the virtual laboratory facilities. Slide48:  SUMMARY SOME OPPORTUNITIES Improvement of the academic system through Information Communication Technology – tele-education, tele-medicine, distance collaboration, etc Restructuring of teaching/learning methods using ICT R & D utilizing powerful tools offered by ICT South-South and South-North research collaboration Transformation of brain drain to brain gain Use of Virtual University to supplement traditional universities Use of Virtual Laboratory (VL) technology as research tools. Slide49:  SUMMARY (CONTD) CHALLENGES Integration into the global information society with tremendous advantages Participation in the information Communication Technology (ICT) Revolution Development of adequate human resources for sustainability of ICT Reduction of the gap between the developed and the developing countries Reduction in the brain drain syndrome Development of contents (including academic) for ICT Participation of the academic community in R & D in ICT ICT is considered as the last chance for the developing countries Slide50:  CONCLUSION Tremendous benefits to developing countries. Improved Pre and Post Doctoral research training. Improve manpower development in Universities and research centres. Improve participation in high level state of the art research work. Make available central research facilities at virtual laboratories. Reduce Brain Drain

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