A schoolteacher in Guatemala
wants to find out how other teachers are using computers in their history
classes. A high school principal in Botswana is curious about how others
have dealt with the administration issues that arisen around her school's
computer lab. A staffer to the Education Minister in Thailand needs more
data on the impact of computer investments on learning. All three want
to know where they stand relative to others worldwide.
Read more about the project
and our continuing progress at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/gnre/.
Working with the Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation of the Government of Panama, ITG is working together with local stakeholders to initiate policy change and implementation in support of more effective use of information and communication technologies. Panama's unique attributes, inlcuding its position at the crossroads of the America's, canal (including vast associated and undeveloped lands and a significant proportion of global trade passing through it), numerous undersea fiber optic cables, substantial banking industry and service economy, progress oriented population, vast tourism potential and urban-rural disparities, make it a challenging and exciting environment to work in.
With the project only recently underway, our current focus is supplementing past research to identify the key action areas, foremost among them are a national ICT strategy and the Internet Para Tod@s program to integrate technology into the formal education system.
As Panama gears up to invest tens of millions of dollars in installing computers and Internet in over 600 of its public schools, this analysis examines the primary challenges the project faces, with particular focus on developing an institutional structure that would be politically, operationally and financially sustainable in Panama's complex socio-political environment.
The Sustainable Access in Rural India project (SARI) seeks to show that viable markets exist for information and communication services in rural poor areas by inventing and deploying innovative technologies, assessments, and business models. The ultimate goal is to link these activities to sustainable human development objectives. SARI's founding partners include the edevelopment group at the MIT Media Lab, the TeNeT Group at IIT-Madras and the I-Gyan Foundation.
There has been a great deal of enthusiasm about the value of information and communications technologies but precious few unqualified successes and little or no rigorous evaluation. The SARI project counts on a collaborative and interactive research agenda. The key research areas include: 1) technology, applications and content, 2) assessing social and economic impacts, 3) and business models for financially viable and self-sustaining access.
Through the development and introduction of appropriate and enabling technologies and applications, SARI will foster economic development and improve health and learning. It will do so in a financially sustainable way, even as it reaches into the poorest and most disadvantaged communities. SARI's diverse partnership of universities, non-profits and the private sector has begun to implement a unique project that will begin by wiring approximately one thousand neighboring rural villages in each of two Indian districts.
Why connect so many villages? SARI's magnitude is essential because it will allow us to benefit from the Network Effect, which will be far more empowering than a few connections placed only in more urban areas. The large number of users helps support financial viability by aggregating demand, develops richer content and community by integrating and aggregrating people, and provides a powerful environment for research.