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Techknowlogia Journal 2000 Mac April

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!!!! 1 !!!! TechKnowLogia, March/April, 2000 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

www.TechKnowLogia.org

Volume 2, Issue 2

March/April 2000

Thematic Focus: Access to Information and Knowledge

5555 Is the Divide Digital

Wadi D. Haddad, Editor

There is now a genuine concern about the "digital divide." But narrowing the divide - publishing a newspaper
in every village, placing a radio and TV in every household, putting a computer in every classroom, and wiring
every building to the Internet - does not automatically solve the problem. The most serious divide is in the
extent and quality of human knowledge and learning.

7
7
7

7 Email to the Editor

Read what your colleagues have offered as feedback on the last three issues of TechKnowLogia.

9
9
9

9 Why be Wired? The Importance of Access to Information and Communication Technologies

Kerry Stephen McNamara, Senior Knowledge Management Officer, World Bank Institute

Access to information and communication technologies – and the ability to adapt those technologies to local
needs – is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity. This article outlines the scope of the problem, how to tackle it,
how to ensure improvements in the lives of the poor and what the international community can do.

12
12
12

12 Measuring up Access

Prepared by Lesley Anne Simmons, Communications Officer, Global Knowledge Partnership Secretariat,
World Bank Institute

This article presents data on the degree to which the people of most countries of the world have access to
the tools and skills of the information age.

16
16
16

16 Rural Access: How Can Connectivity Contribute to Social and Agricultural Development?

Don Richardson, Ph.D.,TeleCommons Development Group

Telecommunication services are important “lubricants” for rural and agricultural development, and while they
are not a development panacea, their contribution can be significant – where they are available.

!!!! 2 !!!! TechKnowLogia, March/April, 2000 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

www.TechKnowLogia.org

21
21
21

21 TechKnowNews

Tony Blair Focuses on Learning as Key to Digital Economy ♦ Asia's IT Revolution Exposes Serious Skills
Shortage ♦ Multipurpose Community Telecenter in Africa ♦ Need Fuels Continued Growth of Corporate
Universities ♦ Internet Use in Asia to Explode by 2005 ♦ New Internet Training Materials Available from
ITrain ♦ On-Line Debate on Global Poverty, Social Exclusion, Inequality ♦ World Bank Group and SoftBank
to Invest in Internet Enterprises for The Developing World ♦

23
23
23

23 FM Radio Stations: Broadcasting with the Sun

David Walker, Educational Specialist, The Commonwealth of Learning

This article describes community-based low powered FM radio stations, some powered by solar energy, and
how they can be used successfully.

25
25
25

25 Information Technology for the Masses: Can It Be TV?

Claudio de Moura Castro, Chief Education Adviser, Inter-American Development Bank

Technology follows the tracks of wealth. Television may be an exception. This article focuses on two cases
from Brazil: Globo Rural and Pequenas Empresas e Grandes Negócios (Small Enterprises and Great Deals).

28
28
28

28 School Connectivity: Wishful Thinking or Wise Action?

Sam Carlson, Robert Hawkins, World Links for Development Program

This article describes a pilot project in Uganda which links via the Internet secondary-level students and
teachers around the world, in order to improve educational opportunities, develop youth employment skills for
the 21st

Century, and build global awareness and understanding.

32
32
32

32 A High-Tech Twist: ICT Access and the Gender Divide

Mary Fontaine, The LearnLink Project, Academy for Educational Development (AED)

This article discusses a subset of the digital divide - a snapshot of a phenomenon that is emerging as an
issue of substance in its own right: the gender divide.

37
37
37

37 Grassroots Libraries: A Base for Lifelong Learning

Aya Aoki, Adult Outreach Education Thematic Group, The World Bank

Grassroots public library systems can serve as a powerful mean to promote literacy and a lifelong learning
environment for both children and adults. Examples are provided.

40
40
40

40 The Full Story: Full-Text Publications on the Web

Gregg B. Jackson, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Coordinator, George Washington University

The Internet is now the largest library in the history of the world. This article steers you to Internet sources
that provide the full text of books, reports, journals, and newsletters.

42
42
42

42 The Information Revolution and the Digital Divide: A Review of Literature

Sonia Jurich

!!!! 3 !!!! TechKnowLogia, March/April, 2000 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

www.TechKnowLogia.org

The author reviews the literature in search of answers to the questions: Who benefits from the ICT
revolution? Why is it so important to embrace the digital revolution? Is there no hope for those on the other
side of the divide?

45
45
45

45 e-Lectronic Access to Information: A Research Review

Sonia Jurich

Four summaries of research on the use of electronic documents for information seeking and retrieval.

48
48
48

48 Korea: Can Edutopia Become a Reality?

Insung Jung, Ph.D., Korea National Open University

The author describes a national strategy of easy access to education by anyone at any time and place, and
how Korea National Open University is implementing it.

51
51
51

51 Open-Source Software: Untapped Opportunities?

Rafael Chargel

Open-source is the term used for designated software that is publicly available in source code form, rather
than as final product. This article presents best known examples and outlines rationale, limitations and
potential for developing countries.

53
53
53

53 On the Move

Upcoming Events: Conference, Seminars, Exhibits, Training Courses, etc.

56
56
56

56 A Phone is a Phone is a Phone? …Well, Not Really!

Sandra Semaan

What are the types of wireless technologies and what can mobile phones do?

58
58
58

58 WorthWhileWebs

This article offers a selection of websites that make access to information and knowledge easy.

60
60
60

60 High Speed Internet Access: The Future for the World and the Implications for Developing
Countries

Lawrence Wolff, Inter-American Development Bank

The author summarizes the five options for Internet access, their costs and notes what appears to be most
feasible for developing countries.

!!!! 4 !!!! TechKnowLogia, March/April, 2000 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

www.TechKnowLogia.org

62
62
62

62 Wake Up and Smell the Coffee…Remotely? The Internet Home

Sandra Semaan

A fully Internet enabled home: controlled via the Internet and accessible from anywhere.

64
64
64

64 UNLP: Universal Networking Language Programme

Sandra Semaan

The article describes an electronic language for the Internet, which is being developed with the goal of
enabling people from around the world to communicate in their native languages.

66
66
66

66 The Global Knowledge Partnership

Lesley Anne Simmons, Communications Officer, Global Knowledge Partnership Secretariat, World
Bank Institute

GKP is an informal partnership committed to sharing information, experiences and resources, and to
promoting broad access to, and effective use of, knowledge and information.

67
67
67

67 InfoChange

Jody Olsen, InfoChange Foundation

InfoChange is a non-profit organization that helps move forward the goal that everyone should have access
to information through technology, and that, without this access, basic education will remain limited.

Editorial Calendar for Years 2000 and 20001

YEAR 2000

January/
February

March/
April

May/
June

July/
August

September
/October

November/
December

Higher
Education

Access to
Information
& Knowledge

Basic
Education for
All

Skill
Formation

Learning
Never Ends
(Lifelong)

Teacher
Support
and
Training

YEAR 2001

January/
February

March/
April

May/
June

July/
August

September
/October

November/
December

Manageme
nt of
Education
Systems

Science and
Math
Education

Enterprise
Training

Social
Studies

Early
Childhood
Development
and Parental
Education

Language
Education

! 5 ! TechKnowLogia, March/April, 2000 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

www.TechKnowLogia.org

Wadi D. Haddad, Editor

If Not Digital, Then What?

The thematic focus of this Issue is: Access to Information
and Knowledge
. With the remarkable advancements in in-
formation and telecommunication technologies (ICT), there
is now a genuine concern about the "digital divide", the gap
between the ICT "haves" and the ICT "have-nots." There is a
good justification for this concern and the figures show it at
every level. But narrowing the divide - publishing a newspa-
per in every village, placing a radio and TV in every house-
hold, putting a computer in every classroom, and wiring
every building to the Internet - does not automatically solve
the problem. The most serious divide is in the extent and
quality of human knowledge and learning
. It is not digital;
it is educational.

It is necessary but not sufficient to provide avenues to infor-
mation and knowledge. What is more important is to em-
power people with appropriate educational, cognitive and
behavioral skills and tools
to:
! access the information avenues efficiently, effectively
and wisely;
! acquire knowledge and internalize it;
! apply knowledge to better understand the changing
world, to develop their capabilities, to live and work in
dignity, to participate in development, to improve the
quality of their lives, and to make informed decisions;
and
! upgrade their knowledge continuously and systemati-
cally.

The Digital Divide … An Educational Emergency

Advancements in ICT have revolutionized the world econ-
omy. Information can now be collected, analyzed and com-
municated with increasing speed through dramatic innova-
tions in information technology, rapid international commu-
nication and transportation capacity, and massive technologi-
cal connections across national boundaries. Any service that
can be digitized and transmitted can be produced and sold
anywhere. Together, with economic developments, these
advancements are producing a new worldwide economy that
is global, high speed, knowledge driven, disciplinarian, and
competitive. Countries have to meet the competitiveness
challenge in terms of agility, networking and learning, and to
arrange production to achieve quality, productivity and flexi-
bility. The good news is that, with the potential of human

development and advanced technologies, developing coun-
tries can leapfrog. The bad news is that this process is not
automatic. On the contrary, unless conscious efforts are
made, countries are likely to be marginalized. There is an
educational emergency for:
! A workforce that has the foundation to enhance the
quality and efficiency of product development, produc-
tion and maintenance, and the flexibility to acquire the
new skills required for new jobs; and
! A cadre of highly-trained scientific, technological and
processing personnel, including some with sophisticated
research skills, who can fully understand developments
in the material, scientific, technological, managerial and
social areas and who can take the lead in their assess-
ment, adaptation, and local applications.

The globalization of the economy and its concomitant de-
mands on the workforce requires a shift to an education that
enhances the ability of learners to access, assess, adopt and
apply knowledge, to think independently, exercise appropri-
ate judgment and collaborate with others to make sense of
new situations. The objective of education is no longer sim-
ply to convey a body of knowledge, but to teach how to
learn, problem-solve and synthesize the old with the new. It
is worth noting, also, that the emerging economy will no
longer be centrally created and controlled by governments.
This environment, which will be dominated by private sector
and not government jobs, will place a premium on creativity,
initiative and entrepreneurship.

Access Anytime Anywhere

The above demands require two changes in our educational
behavior. Firstly, the need for continuous access to informa-
tion and knowledge makes learning life-long, and the tradi-
tionally neat distinction between learning and work unreal.
Education thus becomes a continuum, with no marked be-
ginning and end. Secondly, the process of learning cannot be
confined to the traditional classroom. The architecture of
education services and the allocation of resources have to be
planned accordingly. No longer should countries view for-
mal educational institutions as the sole educators, or the only
institutions worthy of financial investment. Other channels,
from interactive radio to educational television to offerings
of virtual schooling over the Internet, or Intranet, to commu-
nity learning centers, to training schemes, will have to be
figured into the equation.

! 6 ! TechKnowLogia, March/April, 2000 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

www.TechKnowLogia.org

Access Channels and Educational Achievement

The model of education that was developed for the industrial
age cannot effectively achieve the educational empowerment
in the information age. With the tools of ICT, we should be
able to evolve the conventional model of:
! A building,
! A student
! A teacher (as provider of knowledge), and
! A set of textbooks and some audio-visual aids.

Into a new model of:
! A knowledge infrastructure (print, audio, video, digital )
! A learner
! A teacher (as a tutor and facilitator), and
! Multimedia materials

It is in this model, that the digital divide becomes an educa-
tional divide, and bridging it becomes a human need, an edu-
cational necessity, and a global urgency.

***

An Update….

This is the fourth issue of TechKnowLogia, and we are
pleased to report that the Journal is now read in 149 countries
covering all the regions of the world. Total readership based
on individual and institutional subscribers, including browser
and PDF versions, is approximately 20,000. In addition to
downloading the PDF version of the Journal, our readers are
spending significant time on the web, actively utilizing the
browser version of the Journal. Our tracking system has
shown that, for the month of January 2000, the web regis-
tered approximately 160,000 successful hits.

We have introduced in this issue a new feature, "Email to
the Editor
." We have also made a number of improvements
on the site, and we will continue to do so, to make it as user
friendly as possible.

In order for us to continue to offer the journal free to our
subscribers, we are inviting organizations, institutions and
firms to co-sponsor one or more issues of the Journal and/or
advertise their products and services in the Journal. (For
more information on how to sponsor or advertise, please
click on the respective buttons on the home page.)

We hope that TechKnowLogia will continue to be a useful
resource for you about the potential of technologies for
knowledge dissemination, effective learning and efficient
education services. We also hope that you will continue to
introduce it to your colleagues and friends.

TTeecchhKKnnoowwLLooggiiaa™™

Published by

Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

In collaboration with

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO )
Organization for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD )

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF:
Wadi D. Haddad, President, Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD:
Thomas Alexander
, Director, Employment, Labour and Social
Affairs Directorate, OECD
Gajaraj Dhanarajan, President & CEO,
The Commonwealth of Learning
Dee Dickenson, CEO, New Horizons for Learning
Alexandra Draxler, Director, Task force on Education for the
Twenty-first Century (UNESCO)
Jacques Hallak, Director, Int'l Bureau of Education
Pedro Paulo Poppovic, Secretary of Distance Education, Federal
Ministry of Education, Brazil
Nicholas Veliotes, President Emeritus,
Association of American Publishers

ADVISORY EDITORIAL COMMITTEE:
Joanne Capper
, Sr. Education Specialist, World Bank
Claudio Castro, Chief Education Adviser, IDB
Dennis Foote, Director, LearnLinks, AED
Gregg Jackson, Assoc. Prof., George Washington Univ.
James Johnson, Deputy Director, GIIC
Frank Method, Dir., Washington Office, UNESCO
Laurence Wolff, Sr. Consultant, IDB

GUEST EDITORIAL ADVISER:
Kerry Stephen McNamara,
Senior Knowledge Management
Officer, World Bank Institute

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS:
Jarl Bengtsson
, Head, CERI, OEDC
Sonia Jurich, Consultant
Glenn Kleiman, VP, Education Development Center
Dan Wagner, Director, International Literacy Institute

MANAGING EDITOR:
Sandra Semaan

GENERAL QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS

Info@KnowledgeEnterprise.org

FEEDBACK ON ARTICLES

TechKnowLogia@KnowledgeEnterprise.org

EDITORIAL MATTERS:

TechKnowLogia@KnowledgeEnterprise.org

SPONSORSHIP AND ADVERTISING

Sandra@KnowledgeEnterprise.org

ADDRESS AND FAX

Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.
P.O. Box 3027
Oakton, VA 22124
U.S.A.
Fax: 703-242-2279

! 7 ! TechKnowLogia, March/April, 2000 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

www.TechKnowLogia.org

Technologies: A Window for Transforming
Higher Education
Jan/Feb 2000

Thank you for your article. I would refer you to a book by
Lewis J Perleman titled "Schools Out" for his view of the
future of all levels of education. Right or wrong, I think he is
on to something. If the educational system doesn't do it
someone else will out of nothing but the desire to survive.

I recall listening to a salesman of "programmed texts" 40
years ago. All the faculty was present. The conversation
afterwards took the same paths you mentioned for the
electronic technology. We are going to lose our jobs, etc. I
think I was the only one who experimented with the
programmed texts in the school. The resistance is certainly
there.

I recall one of the best math classes I ever had was one in
which there was no teacher except Mallory who authored a
text in Algebra 1. I attended a small high school with about 8
people enrolled in the class. The teacher/principal simply
assigned us all the problems in the book and returned to his
office to principal. My success in the class was attested to
when I transferred to another larger school in another town,
enrolled in Algebra 2, trig, solid geometry and didn't even
break my stride. In fact I could keep up with the top of the
class. The text wasn't programmed, just well written. I could
go on about small class size, motivation, small school and
the like but I learned from that experience that at least in
some instances one doesn't need a teacher physically in the
classroom. In fact it could be a detriment. I had to think
through the material. On the other hand I had a geometry
class with a teacher and it worked out quite well. Point being
that one can learn with or without teacher if motivated and
given the opportunity.

However, that is just one class out of a curriculum. Now I
read that we are evolving into a paradigm where students
design their own curriculums. I simply ask, where do these
students gain all this wisdom to know how to chart a proper
path toward a desired goal? Has culture produced no
wisdom? Are events whizzing past us so furiously, vis-a-vis
Toffler in Future Shock, cultural wisdom is garnered from

the crystal ball of the future? Does the past have no
credence? If so why study history?

Thank you again for the article,

JIM SUMNER
United States

I read your abstract in the TechKnowLogia online Journal. I
would agree with a lot of what you said. The problem for a
lot of rural people is one of costs. One being the low density
of people. This makes it difficult to bring broadband over
wireline (copper or fiber) at an attractive price. Governments
are asking for the business case first. When it can be done
then the local content is lost because of the need to centralize
and save staffing costs to offset high bandwidth. Where the
rural areas can show savings they are often marginalized by
the institutions or politely rebuffed by endless committees.
Satellite can bring content to large amounts but it is
impractical to do realtime classes over satellite. One way to
do this is by radio with a return audio feed or a lower
bandwidth two way audio on dedicated links. Another way is
to move faculty into the field and have them teach and
mentor from the field. This forces faculty to become users of
the system from necessity and will spread the knowledge out
to the regions. Then the faculty will bypass the endless
committees to work with the rural people and students to get
broadband to the rural areas. Some things gain importance as
one moves away from the cities. The city can be used for
centralization of paper work. (people to correct, collate books
etc etc.)

As we plan to do a virtual high school with teachers in the
field teaching and mentoring to students in 5 communities
this spring we hope to keep learning from other people in
TechKnowLogia. Maybe someday we can submit our
experiences in Northwestern Ontario.

…. Keep up the good work.

DAN PELLERIN
Network Operations, Northern Chiefs Tribal Council,
Canada

©Corel

! 8 ! TechKnowLogia, March/April, 2000 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

www.TechKnowLogia.org

If Technology is the Solution, Where is the
Problem? Nov/Dec 1999

Your editorial "If Technology is the Solution, Where is the
Problem?" is so very vital. I wish every school
superintendent and school board would read it. I noticed that
your comments were aimed at shifting from skills to the
learning process. I agree with you on that issue. I must ask
though, do we need to completely eliminate skill acquisition
from the process? Is there not yet a place for vocational skills
to be acquired? We are short thousands of truck drivers,
networking people, people who know how to code computer
programs, wire buildings, plumb them, & build them. Where
do these skills fit into your paradigm?

Thank you for the time,

JIM SUMNER
United States

The Editorial by Wadi D. Haddad was excellent. However,
there is one additional factor and that is societal acceptance
of an idea. We know that American and world society in
general believe that computers and Internet can increase
learning. Therefore that battle is partially won. One of the
greatest weaknesses as Wadi points out is the development of
the courseware to go into the system. The United States
government has abdicated this responsibility both at NSF and
USED for the past two decades. Great curricula are created
by inspired visionaries capable of bringing content and
technology together.

FRANK B. WITHROW
Director of Development, ABLE COMPANY
United States

Searching the Web for Educational Research
and Evaluation
Nov/Dec 1999

Excellent article "Searching the Web for Educational
Research and Evaluation." In plain English, with a wealth of
material for the new user of the web for research (like me)
and a superb set of questions and warnings on how to use
evaluate and use someone else's research. Many kudos.

JANET KERLEY
Monitoring and Evaluations Specialist, USAID
United States

General Feedback

Just a quick note to congratulate you on the Journal -- it is a
really important addition to the field, and has already given
me several useful references for my work.

Senior Education Adviser
UNICEF, United States

I am truly happy to see how profound an impact your work
and this website has on those of us who believe in
technology for education and development.

Communications Specialist
AMIDEAST, Washington, D.C., United States

Thank you very much for the subscription. I have read some
of the articles (including your editorial) and found them
extremely interesting. This publication has a lot of potential
and I will mention it to colleagues and World Bank
developing country clients that I come in contact with.
Principal Informatics Advisor
The World Bank

My heartiest congratulations for your excellent web site and
Journal. I have already entered my application for a
subscription, and am recommending that all English-
speaking members of our staff also subscribe. I am sure the
Journal will be of great professional interest and benefit to all
of us.

Ministry of Education, Brazil

As the smell of the turkey roasting this Christmas Day
afternoon wafts up into my work area, I just wanted to pass
on my thank you and kudos on how much I have enjoyed
reviewing and reading the TechKnowLogia site! …I have
found it extremely interesting and useful. Well done!
Principal, School District, Canada

…I sincerely consider TechKnowLogia a superb product
representing a new frontier of thinking in the information and
knowledge-technology-society nexus.

Fellow
Harvard University, United States

I found not only an enjoyment in the articles for this issue,
but a serious contribution to the new thinking around tertiary
education for developing countries, as well. Most of our
future development has to do with making no mistake in
designing the educational systems for this century in our
countries. I am from Colombia, but living in Mexico with an
extended mission for other Latin American countries, in
order to assist governments in designing new learning
systems propulsed by information technologies.
TechKnowLogia is becoming the intellectual driving force.

Director,
Global Thinkers,Mexico

To submit feedback regarding articles appearing in any
of the TechKnowLogia issues, please send an email to
TechKnowLogia@KnowledgeEnterprise.org, or go to
the Reader Feedback section on the TechKnowLogia
website at www.TechKnowLogia.org

!!!! 9 !!!! TechKnowLogia, March/April, 2000 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

www.TechKnowLogia.org

Why be
Why be
Why be

Why be Wired?
Wired?
Wired?

Wired?
The Importance of Access to Information and Communication Technologies
The Importance of Access to Information and Communication Technologies
The Importance of Access to Information and Communication Technologies

The Importance of Access to Information and Communication Technologies

Kerry Stephen McNamara

Senior Knowledge Management Officer
World Bank Institute1

A Luxury or a Necessity
A Luxury or a Necessity
A Luxury or a Necessity

A Luxury or a Necessity

To judge by the attention that the Internet has received in the
past year, one could be forgiven for believing that “getting
wired” is now the solution to all problems, the magic bullet,
the source of all wealth and wisdom. And indeed, in recent
months there has been much talk about the dangers of falling
behind in the Internet age, of the emerging “digital divide”
both within and between countries. Dire predictions abound
that poor communities and nations will be left behind by the
information revolution, and new projects emerge everyday to
narrow the “divide”.

Skeptics reply that poor communities and countries have
much more serious problems. 1.2 billion people lack access
to safe and reliable water supplies. About 3 billion lack
access to basic sanitation facilities. Hunger and disease are
rampant. War and civil strife still deprive millions of people
of their basic daily needs. Why should we choose Pentiums
over penicillin, wireless technology over water pumps?

The choice is not that stark; but the challenge is. In the 21st
century, access to and effective use of information and
knowledge will be the critical determinant of successful and
sustainable development for individuals, communities, and
nations. New information and communication technologies
open vast new opportunities for poor communities and
nations – access to the world’s store of information and
knowledge; increased efficiency and profitability for
governments and private companies; a stronger voice, locally
and globally, for non-governmental organizations; a
reduction in the isolation and poverty of rural communities.
At the same time the advent of these technologies can widen
the gap – in life chances, in economic conditions, even in
basic health and well-being – between those who have access
and those who don’t. Access to information and
Access to information and
Access to information and

Access to information and

communication technologies – and the ability to adapt
communication technologies – and the ability to adapt
communication technologies – and the ability to adapt

communication technologies – and the ability to adapt

those technologies to local needs – is no longer a luxury; it
those technologies to local needs – is no longer a luxury; it
those technologies to local needs – is no longer a luxury; it

those technologies to local needs – is no longer a luxury; it

is a necessity.
is a necessity.
is a necessity.

is a necessity.

The Scope of the Problem
The Scope of the Problem
The Scope of the Problem

The Scope of the Problem

Of the 6 billion people on the planet, 3 billion live on less
than $2 per day. The majority -- roughly 60 percent -- live in

rural areas, and not surprisingly, few of them have ever made
a telephone call. According to the International
Telecommunications Union, over 80 percent of main
telephone lines are in urban areas. Some point out that new
technologies, such as wireless and satellite communications,
create opportunities for poor countries to “leapfrog”
technologically, moving directly to more advanced digital
technologies that can reach a wider range of people. Yet
Yet
Yet

Yet

there is increasing evidence that the
there is increasing evidence that the
there is increasing evidence that the

there is increasing evidence that the gap
gap
gap

gap between rich and
between rich and
between rich and

between rich and

poor countries, and communities, in terms of access to
poor countries, and communities, in terms of access to
poor countries, and communities, in terms of access to

poor countries, and communities, in terms of access to

information and communication technologies is widening.
information and communication technologies is widening.
information and communication technologies is widening.

information and communication technologies is widening.

While some poor countries are improving their citizens’
access to these technologies (or even simply to dial tone),
often with the latest technologies such as cellular, the pace of
the improvement is much slower than the pace of
technological (and communications) change in richer
countries. So even though these countries might be moving
ahead on access, they are falling further behind. Over half of
India’s 600,000 villages, for example, still lack even one
working telephone.

The access gap is not just a problem in rural areas. Even in
large cities, the poor have little access to information and
communication technologies, and irregular access to simple
telephone service. Just as importantly, the poor have less
access to the training and skills that come with these new
technologies and create new jobs and opportunities. Thus
even in cities, the spread of new technologies can widen the
gap between rich and poor, between those who have access
to and know how to use effectively these new technologies
and those who don’t. The challenge then, is not to provide
The challenge then, is not to provide
The challenge then, is not to provide

The challenge then, is not to provide

the poor access to phones and computers; it is to help
the poor access to phones and computers; it is to help
the poor access to phones and computers; it is to help

the poor access to phones and computers; it is to help

them make these new technologies into tools of their own
them make these new technologies into tools of their own
them make these new technologies into tools of their own

them make these new technologies into tools of their own

economic, social and political empowerment.
economic, social and political empowerment.
economic, social and political empowerment.

economic, social and political empowerment.

The simple argument that “the poor can’t afford these
The simple argument that “the poor can’t afford these
The simple argument that “the poor can’t afford these

The simple argument that “the poor can’t afford these

technologies and services” has often served as an excuse
technologies and services” has often served as an excuse
technologies and services” has often served as an excuse

technologies and services” has often served as an excuse

for complacency.
for complacency.

for complacency.

for complacency. In fact, there is growing evidence that
people even in the poorest communities would be willing to
spend modest sums for telephone and other communications

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and information services if they were available. In poor
communities where these services do become available
(through a centrally located payphone or phone shops, or a
community access center such as a “telecenter”), they are
used eagerly – to contact relatives, to learn about crop prices,
to request government services, to get health or agricultural
information, to learn new skills. Even the poorest have
information and communication needs that they have
traditionally addressed in ways that are just as costly in terms
of scarce resources (such as time).

Why is it so difficult, in our age of rapid technological
Why is it so difficult, in our age of rapid technological
Why is it so difficult, in our age of rapid technological

Why is it so difficult, in our age of rapid technological

innovation, to assure even simple telephone service, let
innovation, to assure even simple telephone service, let
innovation, to assure even simple telephone service, let

innovation, to assure even simple telephone service, let

alone access to the Internet and other
alone access to the Internet and other
alone access to the Internet and other

alone access to the Internet and other

information/communication technologies, for the vast
information/communication technologies, for the vast
information/communication technologies, for the vast

information/communication technologies, for the vast

majority of the world’s poor?
majority of the world’s poor?
majority of the world’s poor?

majority of the world’s poor? Several factors contribute to
the slow progress. In many developing countries (as in a
still-considerable number of richer countries) telephone
monopoly operators (often government-owned or controlled
operators) have felt little incentive or desire to find ways to
serve the poorest and most isolated communities, believing
that they simply could not afford to do so. Even in those
markets where telecommunications services have been
liberalized and competition has been introduced, a number
of impediments remain. Traditionally, the costs of installing
and maintaining telecommunications infrastructure have
been high enough to make investment in such infrastructure
commercially unsustainable in poor neighborhoods without
some form of government support or cross-subsidy from
profitable services. The problems are even more acute in
rural areas, where infrastructure costs are multiplied, as are
the technical challenges of reaching distant and remote areas.
International investors have tended to shy away from
telecommunications markets in most developing countries,
because of a combination of inadequate (or hostile) policy
and regulatory frameworks, the perceived risk and
uncertainty of such markets, and a belief that there was not
enough commercially sustainable demand to warrant
substantial new investment.

New technologies are helping to change this. In many
developing countries, the growth of cellular telephone
service has made it possible to “leapfrog” technologically,
avoid the traditional sunk costs of “land line” service, and
roll out service to new customers more quickly. Indeed, in
several developing countries (such as Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire
and the Philippines) more than 50% of phone “lines” are
mobile. Innovations in cellular phone technology, wireless
local loop, and satellite technology hold out hope for rural
and traditionally inaccessible communities as well. Yet
progress is slow and results are spotty. This is mainly
because, as we sometimes forget in our attention to new
technology, the real challenges are not technical; they are
, the real challenges are not technical; they are
, the real challenges are not technical; they are

, the real challenges are not technical; they are

challenges of policy, strategy, vision, investment, and
challenges of policy, strategy, vision, investment, and
challenges of policy, strategy, vision, investment, and

challenges of policy, strategy, vision, investment, and

public-private partnership.
public-private partnership.
public-private partnership.

public-private partnership.

Tackling the Access Problem
Tackling the Access Problem
Tackling the Access Problem

Tackling the Access Problem

The first step in tackling any problem is getting a clear
understanding of its dimensions and nature, and this is
certainly the case with the access problem. At the World
Bank, we begin with the principle that, particularly in this
time of enormous technological innovation and vast new
investment in information/communication technologies,

market investment and private sector innovation should be
market investment and private sector innovation should be
market investment and private sector innovation should be

market investment and private sector innovation should be

the first recourse for expanding access.
the first recourse for expanding access.
the first recourse for expanding access.

the first recourse for expanding access. At the same time,
given our fundamental commitment to fighting poverty, we
should aggressively address those cases where, even with
technological innovation and private investment, poor
communities are still likely to be left behind. Ongoing
research suggests that we should distinguish between two
overlapping (and shifting) but distinct “gaps”; the market
efficiency gap, and the access gap. The "market efficiency
gap" refers to the gap between telecommunications services
that are currently commercially viable in a given community
or nation and those that would be commercially viable if only
we could correct certain factors that limit or distort markets.
In these cases, our role is to work with our client
governments to put in place the policy and regulatory
changes that will encourage private investment and
innovation, carefully target public investment to seed and
enable this private initiative, partner with the private sector to
increase their confidence and help them deal with the risks of
investing in these markets, and put attention and resources to
those other societal factors (including education) that
reinforce both the growth of an innovative market economy
and the effective use, by individuals and by governments, of
these new technologies.

Yet even if we get all of these things right, there will be
groups in any society – particularly the poorest and most
geographically isolated – who will not be reached in the near
future by affordable and commercially sustainable
telecommunications and information services. This “access
gap” is also of fundamental concern to us, because even our
role in creating economic growth and private innovation is
rooted in our fundamental commitment to fighting poverty.
To assure that even the poorest have access to these new
tools and resources that can improve their lives in
immeasurable ways, we need to resort to creative approaches
to matching their modest but real need (and willingness to
pay) for these services with the current technological
possibilities. One approach that has been tried in a number
of countries in the past few years is community-based
telecommunications services – community phone shops or
“telecenters”, ranging from a simple phone kiosk to a
classroom-sized community access center with phones,
computers, Internet access, and appropriate training. And the

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well-known Grameen Phone experiment with providing cell
phones to poor women who in turn sell use of the phone to
their neighbors has demonstrated that innovation in our
business models is as important as technological innovation.

Even aggregated at a village level, providing information and
telecommunication services to poor and isolated
communities faces continuing challenges. First, in many
villages a public phone already exists; yet the national
monopoly operator has no particular incentive to service the
phone regularly, so it rarely works. Even local innovators,
such as phone shop operators, are at the mercy of the
telecommunications service provider. A further challenge is
assuring that our experiments and pilot projects in providing
rural access are sustainable and do not have the perverse
effect of crowding out local private entrepreneurship (as
some have argued is the case with many of the recent
“telecenter” projects supported by international agencies).

Access for Whom? Access for What?
Access for Whom? Access for What?
Access for Whom? Access for What?

Access for Whom? Access for What?

There is a further challenge as well. Even if we could bring
access to information and telecommunications services to
every village on the planet, how can we assure that these
tools serve to empower, and improve, the lives of the
poorest? Particularly once we get beyond basic telephone
service and think about access to the Internet, how can we
help poor communities and countries develop and share
content in their languages, relevant to their challenges and
interests? This means encouraging the growth of indigenous
initiatives and networks that help the poor reach out to and
learn from each other, through the full range of technologies
from radio to the Internet, and that foster the growth of local
content in a variety of languages.

This concern with local content, and with enabling poor and
isolated communities to learn from each other, reminds us
that, when we speak about access, what we really mean is
when we speak about access, what we really mean is
when we speak about access, what we really mean is

when we speak about access, what we really mean is

access to information, knowledge, and communications
access to information, knowledge, and communications
access to information, knowledge, and communications

access to information, knowledge, and communications

opportunities, not access to one specific service or
opportunities, not access to one specific service or
opportunities, not access to one specific service or

opportunities, not access to one specific service or

technology. Tools are just tools.
technology. Tools are just tools.
technology. Tools are just tools.

technology. Tools are just tools. In our rush to wire every
village, we sometimes forget that already-widespread
technologies (such as community radio) could do a lot more
to empower people with information and knowledge if we
only encouraged their broader use. Some of the same
constraints that face the higher-end technologies (policy and
regulatory restrictions, government monopolies, institutional
and political cultures that inhibit the free flow of
information) restrict even the effective use of simpler

technologies as tools to empower people with information
and knowledge. Bearing this in mind helps to focus our
attention on those areas where the international community
can be most effective.

What Can the International
What Can the International
What Can the International

What Can the International
Community Do?
Community Do?
Community Do?

Community Do?

Projects to provide access to the Internet and telephone
services for rural and poor communities are very popular in
development agencies at the moment. Wiring villages and
schools is hot. We learn a great deal from these experiments.
Yet they risk distracting us from the tougher issues where
our attention should perhaps be focused. They also reinforce
the supply-driven, project-focused tendencies of our
agencies; it is easier to quantify the “success” of ten
telecenter projects than the slower, more difficult and more
complex success of helping to create the policy, regulatory
and investment environment in which thousands of
telecenters could bloom. Finally, they cause us to blur the
two “gaps” spoken of earlier -- the market efficiency gap and
the access gap -- by encouraging us to provide solutions
based on the second gap in environments where the first gap
is really the issue.

If we have learned anything from the revolutionary changes
in the global economy in the past few years, it is that
technological innovation can expand the range of who has
access, how quickly, and to what information, faster than we
could have imagined a few years ago. Our goal is to assure
that this revolution encompasses and empowers all, even the
poorest in the most remote village. To do that, we have to
carefully balance two tasks. The first is to make room for,
and build a nurturing environment for, this innovation in
developing countries, so that the market-driven information
revolution can spread around the world. This requires
working closely with the governments in these countries to
make the difficult choices and changes -- in policy and
regulatory regimes, in public investment in infrastructure and
education, in national information flows -- that will help
grow the digital economy within their borders. The second is
to find ways – through a combination of public investment,
public-private partnerships, community based solutions, and
technical innovation – to assure that no one is left behind by
these changes. It also requires that we who work in
international development agencies ask ourselves tough
questions about whether our usual approaches and our
favorite projects are having the maximum positive impact on
these changes.

1

The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the author and should not be
attributed in any manner to the World Bank, its affiliated organization members of its Board of Executive Directors or the
countries they represent.

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Measuring up Access

Prepared by Lesley Anne Simmons
Communications Officer
Global Knowledge Partnership Secretariat, World Bank Institute

We believe that, given the chance to take advantage of the information revolution, people can
improve their economic well being and empower themselves and their communities to participate in
their own development. Most of the world’s poor, especially those in developing countries, aren’t
benefiting from the powerful and positive changes that speedy and easy access to knowledge and
information is bringing to better-off countries. Access to knowledge is essential if the poor are to
improve their lives and the lives of their children. Helping knowledge-poor groups gain access to
knowledge and the technologies to harness it, contributes to improving people’s lives, the natural
environment and resource base, people’s health, children’s education, the global business climate,
and the global economy. It benefits everyone.

Many things indicate the degree to which people and their countries are participating in the
information age. For citizens to be knowledgeable and informed they need to know what is going on
in their community, their country, and in the world around them. For those who are literate and live
in urban or semi-urban areas, newspapers provide such information. But for those who are not
literate, or who live in more remote areas, radio is a more accessible source of information and
communication. Television is another measure of people’s access to information as well as
entertainment. Television is mostly accessible to people living in urban areas but satellite
technology is increasingly bringing it to more remote areas.

Sharing knowledge and communicating with others depends on access to telephones — and for
those in the remotest areas, only mobile telephones can keep them reliably in touch. And access to
modern technologies and the skill to use them — personal computers, and especially those that
allow easy, regular, and affordable access to the Internet — is of growing importance.

At the country level, we can measure countries’ engagement in building their knowledge base by
comparing how many scientists and engineers are trained for, and employed in, research and
development, and by the numbers of patent documents issued for new inventions.

The indicators presented here illustrate the degree to which the people of selected countries have
access to the tools and skills of the information age. They include data on the number of:

! daily newspapers in circulation
! radio receivers in use for broadcast to the general public
! television sets in use
! telephone lines that connect a customer’s equipment to the public switched telephone network
! users of mobile telephones (using cellular technology)
! personal computers in use
! Internet hosts, or computers connected to the worldwide network.

The data are extracted from the World Bank’s World Development Report, 1999/2000 (table 19).
These in turn are selected from more than 500 indicators included in the World Bank’s annual
World Development Indicators. More information about the data, including technical notes and data
sources can be found in the World Development Indicators and the World Bank’s other statistical
publications.

©Corel

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Internet

per 1,000 people

hosts

Daily

Television

Telephone

Mobile

Personal

Per 10,000

newspaper

Radios

sets

main lines

telephones

computers

people

Economy

1996

1996

1997

1997

1997

1997

January 1999

Albania

34

235

161

23

1

..

0.30

Algeria

38

239

67

48

1

4.2

0.01

Angola

12

54

91

5

1

0.7

0.00

Argentina

123

677

289

191

56

39.2

18.28

Armenia

23

5

218

150

2

..

1.01

Australia

297

1,385

638

505

264

362.2

420.57

Austria

294

740

496

492

144

210.7

176.79

Azerbaijan

28

20

211

87

5

..

0.21

Bangladesh

9

50

7

3

0

..

..

Belarus

174

290

314

227

1

..

0.70

Belgium

160

792

510

468

95

235.3

162.39

Benin

2

108

91

6

1

0.9

0.02

Bolivia

55

672

115

69

15

..

0.78

Botswana

27

155

27

56

0

13.4

4.18

Brazil

40

435

316

107

28

26.3

12.88

Bulgaria

253

531

366

323

8

29.7

9.05

Burkina Faso

1

32

6

3

0

0.7

0.16

Burundi

3

68

10

3

0

..

0.00

Cambodia

..

127

124

2

3

0.9

0.06

Cameroon

7

162

81

5

0

1.5

0.00

Canada

159

1,078

708

609

139

270.6

364.25

Central African
Republic

2

84

5

3

0

..

0.00

Chad

0

249

2

1

0

..

0.00

Chile

99

354

233

180

28

54.1

20.18

China

..

195

270

56

10

6.0

0.14

Hong Kong, China

800

695

412

565

343

230.8

122.71

Colombia

49

565

217

148

35

33.4

3.93

Congo, Dem. Rep.

3

98

43

1

0

..

0.00

Congo, Rep.

8

124

8

8

0

..

0.00

Costa Rica

91

271

403

169

19

..

9.20

Côte d'Ivoire

16

157

61

9

2

3.3

0.16

Croatia

114

333

267

335

27

22.0

12.84

Czech Republic

256

806

447

318

51

82.5

71.79

Denmark

311

1,146

568

633

273

360.2

526.77

Dominican Republic

52

177

84

88

16

..

5.79

Ecuador

70

342

294

75

13

13.0

1.26

Egypt, Arab Rep.

38

316

127

56

0

7.3

0.31

El Salvador

48

461

250

56

7

..

1.33

Eritrea

..

101

11

6

0

..

0.00

Estonia

173

680

479

321

99

15.1

152.98

Ethiopia

2

194

5

3

0

..

0.01

Finland

455

1,385

534

556

417

310.7

1,058.13

France

218

943

606

575

99

174.4

82.91

Georgia

..

553

473

114

6

..

1.27

Germany

311

946

570

550

99

255.5

160.23

Ghana

14

238

109

6

1

1.6

0.10

Greece

153

477

466

516

89

44.8

48.81

Guatemala

31

73

126

41

6

3.0

0.83

Guinea

..

47

41

3

0

0.3

0.00

Haiti

3

55

5

8

0

..

0.00

Honduras

55

409

90

37

2

..

0.16

Hungary

189

697

436

304

69

49.0

82.74

India

..

105

69

19

1

2.1

0.13

Indonesia

23

155

134

25

5

8.0

0.75

Iran, Islamic Rep.

24

237

148

107

4

32.7

0.04

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Internet

per 1,000 people

hosts

Daily

Television

Telephone

Mobile

Personal

Per 10,000

newspaper

Radios

sets

main lines

telephones

computers

people

Economy

1996

1996

1997

1997

1997

1997

January 1999

Ireland

153

703

455

411

146

241.3

148.70

Israel

291

530

321

450

283

186.1

161.96

Italy

104

874

483

447

204

113.0

58.80

Jamaica

64

482

323

140

22

4.6

1.24

Japan

580

957

708

479

304

202.4

133.53

Jordan

45

287

43

70

2

8.7

0.80

Kazakhstan

30

384

234

108

1

..

0.94

Kenya

9

108

19

8

0

2.3

0.23

Korea, Rep.

394

1,037

341

444

150

150.7

40.00

Kuwait

376

688

491

227

116

82.9

32.80

Kyrgyz Republic

13

115

44

76

0

..

4.04

Lao PDR

4

139

4

5

1

1.1

0.00

Latvia

246

699

592

302

31

7.9

42.59

Lebanon

141

892

354

179

135

31.8

5.56

Lesotho

7

48

24

10

1

..

0.09

Lithuania

92

292

377

283

41

6.5

27.48

Macedonia, FYR

19

184

252

204

6

..

2.56

Madagascar

4

192

45

3

0

1.3

0.04

Malawi

3

256

2

4

0

..

0.00

Malaysia

163

432

166

195

113

46.1

21.36

Mali

1

49

10

2

0

0.6

0.00

Mauritania

1

150

89

5

0

5.3

0.06

Mexico

97

324

251

96

18

37.3

11.64

Moldova

59

720

302

145

1

3.8

1.17

Mongolia

27

139

63

37

1

5.4

0.08

Morocco

26

241

160

50

3

2.5

0.20

Mozambique

3

39

4

4

0

1.6

0.08

Myanmar

10

89

7

5

0

..

0.00

Namibia

19

143

32

58

8

18.6

15.79

Nepal

11

37

4

8

0

..

0.07

Netherlands

305

963

541

564

110

280.3

358.51

New Zealand

223

1,027

501

486

149

263.9

360.44

Nicaragua

32

283

190

29

2

..

1.47

Niger

0

69

26

2

0

0.2

0.02

Nigeria

24

197

61

4

0

5.1

0.03

Norway

593

920

579

621

381

360.8

717.53

Pakistan

21

92

65

19

1

4.5

0.23

Panama

62

299

187

134

6

..

2.66

Papua New Guinea

15

91

24

11

1

..

0.25

Paraguay

50

182

101

43

17

..

2.18

Peru

43

271

143

68

18

12.3

1.91

Philippines

82

159

109

29

18

13.6

1.21

Poland

113

518

413

194

22

36.2

28.07

Portugal

75

306

523

402

152

74.4

50.01

Romania

..

317

226

167

9

8.9

7.42

Russian Federation

105

344

390

183

3

32.0

10.04

Rwanda

0

102

..

3

0

..

0.00

Saudi Arabia

59

319

260

117

17

43.6

0.15

Senegal

5

141

41

13

1

11.4

0.21

Sierra Leone

5

251

20

4

0

..

0.03

Singapore

324

739

354

543

273

399.5

210.02

Slovak Republic

185

580

401

259

37

241.6

33.27

Slovenia

206

416

353

364

47

188.9

89.83

South Africa

30

316

125

107

37

41.6

34.67

Spain

99

328

506

403

110

122.1

67.21

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Internet

per 1,000 people

hosts

Daily

Television

Telephone

Mobile

Personal

Per 10,000

newspaper

Radios

sets

main lines

telephones

computers

people

Economy

1996

1996

1997

1997

1997

1997

January 1999

Sri Lanka

29

210

91

17

6

4.1

0.29

Sweden

446

907

531

679

358

350.3

487.13

Switzerland

330

969

536

661

147

394.9

315.52

Syrian Arab Republic

20

274

68

88

0

1.7

0.00

Tajikistan

20

..

281

38

0

..

0.12

Tanzania

4

278

21

3

1

1.6

0.04

Thailand

65

204

234

80

33

19.8

3.35

Togo

4

217

19

6

1

5.8

0.24

Tunisia

31

218

182

70

1

8.6

0.07

Turkey

111

178

286

250

26

20.7

4.30

Turkmenistan

..

96

175

78

0

..

0.55

Uganda

2

123

26

2

0

1.4

0.05

Ukraine

54

872

493

186

1

5.6

3.13

United Kingdom

332

1,445

641

540

151

242.4

240.99

United States

212

2,115

847

644

206

406.7

1,131.52

Uruguay

116

610

242

232

46

21.9

46.61

Uzbekistan

3

452

273

63

0

..

0.10

Venezuela

206

471

172

116

46

36.6

3.37

Vietnam

4

106

180

21

2

4.6

0.00

Yemen, Rep.

15

64

273

13

1

1.2

0.01

Zambia

14

121

80

9

0

..

0.31

Zimbabwe

18

96

29

17

1

9.0

0.87

World (weighted
Averages)

..

380

280

144

40

58.4

75.22

Low income

..

147

162

32

5

4.4

0.17

Excl. China & India

13

133

59

16

1

..

0.23

Middle income

75

383

272

136

24

32.4

10.15

Lower middle income

63

327

247

108

11

12.2

4.91

Upper middle income

95

469

302

179

43

45.5

19.01

Low & middle

..

218

194

65

11

12.3

3.08

East Asia & Pacific

..

206

237

60

15

11.3

1.66

Europe & Central Asia

99

412

380

189

13

17.7

13.00

Latin America & Carib.

71

414

263

110

26

31.6

9.64

Middle East & N.
Africa

33

265

140

71

6

9.8

0.25

South Asia

..

99

69

18

1

2.1

0.14

Sub-Saharan Africa

12

172

44

16

4

7.2

2.39

High income

286

1,300

664

552

188

269.4

470.12

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Don Richardson, Ph.D.

Director, TeleCommons Development Group*

Access for What?

Despite many views to the contrary, from the vantage point
of a member of a rural community in a developing country,
getting connected with phone lines, payphones, and even
Internet services is not a luxury or an "inappropriate" use of
technology for development. For a rural person, getting
connected is a means for sharing the wide range of
communication options available to urbanites.
Telecommunication services are important “lubricants” for
rural and agricultural development, and while they are not a
development panacea, their contribution can be significant –
where they are available.

For rural people, access to a reliable telecommunication
service represents:1

• a means for making better and more informed decisions,
• a means for accessing the services (health, education,
information, etc.) that enable urban people to improve
their lives,
• a means for staying in contact with friends and families
who migrate to urban areas for work and education,
• a means for facilitating the transfer of funds and
resources from overseas workers and urban family
members to their relatives in rural villages – a significant
means through which rural people can alleviate
conditions of poverty,
• a means of communication that is dramatically less
expensive, less arduous and less risky than alternative
means of communication involving the physical
transportation of people or information, and which can
free up money and time that can be invested in
productive and income generating pursuits,
• and a means for linking rural businesses and agricultural
endeavors to the trade, transportation and commerce
systems of urban areas and to the global marketplace.

Rural People are Not Stupid

The real challenge for enhancing rural connectivity lies with
the urban-centered governments, businesses and agencies
that have for so long ignored or placated the desires of rural
people to get connected to the world. The challenge is not
technical or financial, but political and ideological.
Unfortunately, because so many rural people do not have
access and are not connected, we do not often hear their
voices on this issue (or on countless others!).

Many urban people, and many of those who make decisions
about allocation of development resources, take the privilege
of connectivity for granted. Until one has experienced the
daily difficulties and knowledge access deficits faced by the
"great un-wired" of the world, then one has no business
deciding what is, or should be, in their best interests. Those
of us who advocate for improved rural telecommunication
infrastructure and applications in rural and remote areas of
developing countries are used to hearing urban decision-
makers question the drive for rural connectivity. "Shouldn't
the recipients of rural development project interventions be
getting more appropriate technology?" "Isn't this just another
case of pushing Western technology at people who will be
overwhelmed or culturally damaged by it?" Rural people are
not stupid. In developing countries they are quite adept at
appropriating Western technologies for their own goals and
objectives. Rural people have every right to desire and
demand the tools that help improve quality of life, health,
prosperity and cultural vibrancy. For people in rural villages,
"politically correct" stances on the inappropriateness of
telecommunication technologies, such as village telephones,
as tools for rural development can be frustratingly myopic.

Rural Access is Good Business

Another challenge is the widespread belief that there is no
business case for establishing rural telecommunication
systems in developing countries. This is an out-dated market

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view that continues to impede the advancement of rural
access. Evidence continues to mount that where
governments are serious about promoting universal access to
telecommunication services, and follow through with
programs that optimize commercial viability and promote
liberalization of telecommunication markets, private sector
telecommunication operators are able to provide reasonably
priced and effective service to rural communities. Countries
such as Chile, Peru, Venezuela and Colombia have
demonstrated that rural telecommunication markets can
support commercially viable businesses if provided with
supportive regulatory conditions (Alvarado, 1999).

In a recent study of the Village Phone program of the
Grameen Bank in Bangladesh (TeleCommons Development
Group, 2000), rural telephone services were shown to be
very profitable, when properly deployed to ensure that a
single phone can be accessed by hundreds of local villagers.
Typical Village Phone operators generate gross revenue of
over $125 USD per month with most telephone
communication focused on maintaining ties to family
members (44%) and facilitating transfers of funds from
overseas workers and family members working in the capital
(42%). Public Calling Offices (PCOs) operated outside of
the Village Phone program, in larger rural centers, typically
generate about $1,000 USD gross revenue per month, with
one rural telecommunication operator reporting that it
generates as much revenue from 1,500 rural PCOs as it does
from 12,000 urban-subscriber GSM cellular telephones.
Another Bangladeshi rural telecommunication operator
reported individual PCO revenues of up to $6,000 USD per
month with some individual PCO telephone lines in service
for over 18 hours per day.

In rural regions with significantly lower population densities
than Bangladesh, rural telephone services have also proven
to be commercially viable. In northern Ghana, for example,
a telecommunications feasibility study (TeleCommons
Development Group, 1999) has demonstrated sufficient rural
demand to mobilize a consortium of Ghanaian and
international investors to create a new rural telephone
operator to provide a purely commercial response to this
demand. Plans include deployment of wireless local loop
infrastructure together with franchised communication shops
(telephone and email) at the village level.

Participatory Planning

Despite the positive impacts and the evidence of commercial
viability of rural access, there are some dangers in pushing
for rural connectivity at any cost. It is possible for any
technology to be used inappropriately if the technology is
beyond the control and influence of those who would use it.
Solutions for rural connectivity are best developed with and
for rural people. Rural people must be enabled to participate
in making decisions about how and where
telecommunication technologies will be put to use. Access
to the technologies, and influence on their use, must be
equitable across the diverse groupings within rural
communities (including gender, class, ethnicity, age and
wealth). To be sustainable, rural telecommunication
technologies need to be designed with rural people as active
participants in strategizing, planning, implementing and
evaluating.

The Village Phone program in Bangladesh provides some
strong evidence for the need to develop solutions with and
for rural people. In rural Bangladesh, men prefer to use
telephones owned and operated by male operators, but will
use telephones operated by women. However, rural women
prefer female operators and are very unlikely to use a
telephone operated by a man. The Village Phone program
was developed with participation from Grameen Bank
members, 95% of whom are women. By placing most of the
Village Phones in the hands of women who operate them
from their homes, the program is able to ensure “universal
access” to telecommunications for both women and men.

Email and the Web

Despite the glamour and glitz of the World Wide Web, rural
telecommunication users are more likely to make use of
voice telephone services or basic electronic mail. In Senegal,
for example, a network of thousands of privately operated
communication shop franchises provide rural people with
access to telephones, and in larger centres, access to
electronic mail. In Ghana, the Internet Service Provider,

A young boy in rural Bangladesh uses a Grameen
Telecom Village Phone to talk to his father who is
working overseas in Saudi Arabia

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Village Phone operator
using a Grameen
Telecom GSM cellular
phone in rural
Bangladesh

Africa On-line, partners with existing telephone
communication shop owners to provide computers and
Internet accounts to enable anyone, with users paying on a
per-message basis. There is very little evidence of
significant use of the World Wide Web in rural areas of
developing countries, however the Web can be an effective
tool in the hands of government line agencies and NGOs that
serve the rural poor.

McConnell (1998) reports that among 20 rural and
agricultural development oriented non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) surveyed in Uganda that had full
access to the Internet’s World Wide Web, 30% reported that
they either seldom or never took advantage of the resource.
Those that are able to use the Web report many specific
benefits:

Many of the organizations that reported using the
World Wide Web stated that they found it helpful in
order to have access to information directly related
to their own programmes. The Uganda Rural
Development and Training Programme (URDT), an
organization working in rural, western Uganda, has
used the Internet to acquire information on
appropriate technologies which can be used to assist
local villagers. In one example, the organization
used the Internet to acquire information on solar
panel energy, as well as solar panel product and
pricing information, which was then presented to the
villagers. With the information concerning their
energy options before them, the stakeholders were
able to assess their options and make the decision
that best suited their means. The result was the
purchase of 130 solar powered units to provide
energy and electric light to fellow villagers for the
first time ever.

McConnell, 1998 (p. 10)

Among the key obstacles making it difficult for rural
development NGOs to use the Internet, as revealed by
McConnell (1998), is the cost of engaging a telephone line
for long periods of time in order to search the Web for
information. Average costs for engaging the phone line in
Uganda are approximately US$ 0.11 per minute. Accessing
electronic mail requires only minimal connection time, while
“web surfing” requires substantial on-line time, particularly
in areas of developing countries where antiquated
telecommunication systems can dramatically slow download
speeds. Even those NGOs that used the Web expressed
reluctance to use the resource more often due to the time and
cost involved, preferring electronic mail as their primary
Internet tool.

The Power of the Telephone

Despite the power of the telephone, there is little evidence of
development agency or NGO programming which takes
advantage of its features. As rural telephone systems in
developing countries emerge and are improved, many
opportunities for value-added, development-oriented services
emerge. The information needs in rural areas of developing
countries are immense and present huge challenges to
government services, NGOs, educational agencies and others
that are attempting to assist rural people in gaining access to
critical knowledge. For example, around the world,
agricultural extension systems are undergoing processes of
decentralization. At the same time, funding cuts are reducing
the availability of extension workers and extension services
in rural areas. Meanwhile, agricultural market economies are
developing rapidly and many rural agricultural stakeholders
lack access to the knowledge and information required to
effectively participate in agricultural market economies. Yet,
in the author’s experience, very few agricultural extension
fieldworkers in developing countries even have access to
telephones in their rural offices, and there seems to be no
known attempt in developing countries to employ the
telephone as a tool to help agricultural producers to access
information.

The telephone is one “access” tool that is often ignored,
perhaps because many of us in the developed world have
come to take it for granted. When a public telephone or a
community-based communication center comes to a rural
town or village, the good old telephone is seen as a
remarkable advance in communication technology. In North
America, Europe and Australia during the early part of this
century, the telephone was, and still is, a critical tool for
enabling agricultural stakeholders to communicate with one
another and share knowledge. Farmers who have access to
telephones make significant use of this simple device for
accessing extension information, communicating with peers,
organizing events, obtaining market prices and market
information, buying and selling inputs and commodities, and
accessing information about credit and financial
opportunities.

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In many agricultural regions of the developed world,
extension services have made very good use of the telephone
to provide voice-based agricultural helplines to supplement
or replace face-to-face extension visits. With the advent of
the Internet and advances in web-based computer databases,
extension experts working with networked computers can
now provide very accurate, timely and specific information
to the voice information requests they receive over the
phone. In North America, it is not uncommon for
agricultural researchers to provide similar services directly to
farmers over the telephone.

The Telephone and the Internet

Similar services have not yet been made widely available in
developing countries. Here is an area where the telephone
can be married with Internet tools very effectively
(Richardson, 1999b). For example, a handful of trained
extension experts, backed by agricultural researchers and
networks of input suppliers, marketing organizations and
others, could provide prompt and accurate voice answers to
questions they receive from farmers over the telephone.
Initial agricultural knowledge and information needs
assessments could determine key information needs and
knowledge gaps that would generate frequently asked
questions. Well-researched answers to probable frequently
asked questions could be present in an on-line web-based
database available to the extension experts, regardless of
their physical location. As such a service develops,
frequently asked questions can be tracked and additional
researched answers added to the database. Very specific
questions with answers not in the database would be referred
to other extension experts or the agricultural research
community for follow-up and reply to the information
requestor. An on-line list of experts, their specific fields of
expertise, availability for fielding questions, email addresses,
fax numbers and telephone numbers would be instantly
available to information providers through the database.
Such a service could also be applied to subject matters such
as health, forestry, fishing and natural resource management.

Universal Access

Donors or governments throwing money at the problem of
poor rural connectivity will not directly increase rural access.
As clearly stated by Intelecon Research (1999),
commercially viable “rural networks and services can be
planned to yield high per-line revenues and a good return on
investment if the supply strategy and service retailing
concepts are optimized to the situation. But the pessimistic
perception [that rural telecommunication services will never
be commercially viable] is difficult to shake and, until
recently, led to a general attitude that rural networks should

always be financed by grants or concessional packages.”
Governments and donors need to give their attention to
reforming and liberalizing telecommunication policies and
enabling regulatory agencies to provide a fair and transparent
playing field. This will enable prospective rural
telecommunication operators to negotiate fair deals to
interconnect with existing telephone systems, negotiate fair
revenue sharing agreements among operators and charge
service fees that suit the calling patterns (often weighted
toward incoming calls) of rural areas.

The International Telecommunications Union has called for
efforts to meet the long-term goal of providing "universal
access" to telecommunications. “With over 40 million
people waiting for a telephone line world-wide and with
some least developed countries having telecommunication
penetration levels up to 200 times below that of developed
countries, universal access stands as one of the key issues
confronting governments around the world” (ITU, 1998).
According to James Bond of the World Bank, “as concerns
communications for the rural and urban poor, there is a large
overlap between the 75% of the world's population who have
no access to telephones in any form, and the 3 billion people
who live on less that $2 a day,” (Bond, J., 1998).

The technologies for achieving universal access exist and all
evidence suggests that they are now inexpensive enough to
commercially viable rural telecommunication systems. The
barrier for universal access is not technical, it is tied directly
to market structures and regulatory systems. The key
challenges we face are finding ways “to harness the
enormous creativity and the financial clout of the private

Participant in a rural connectivity workshop in
Zamboanga, Philippines making plans for Internet
networking among rural and agricultural
development organizations

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sector, to roll out broad bandwidth global connectivity that
does not leave the poor out of the loop” (Ibid).

References

Alvardo, J. 1999. Funds for rural telecom development:
experience in Latin America. Intelecon Research,
Vancouver, Canada.
http://www.inteleconresearch.com/pages/forum2.html

Bond, J. 1998. “Opening Remarks," proceedings of the
Global Connectivity for Africa Conference, Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia. http://www.un.org/Depts/eca/globalc/index.htm

Intelecon Research. 1999. Rural telecom finance: where is
the bottleneck? Intelecon Research, Vancouver, Canada.
http://www.inteleconresearch.com/pages/forum1.html

ITU. 1998. World Telecommunication Development
Report: Universal Access, 4th

Edition, Geneva.
http://www.itu.int/ti/publications/WTDR_98/index.htm

McConnell, S. 1998. NGOs and Internet Use in Uganda:
Who Benefits? Paper Presented at the Cultural Attitudes
Towards Communications and Technology (CATaC '98)
Conference, London, England, U.K. August 1-3, 1998.
http://www.telecommons.com/uploadimages/catac2.doc

Richardson, D. 1997. The Internet and Rural & Agricultural
Development: An Integrated Approach. Food and
Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
http://www.telecommons.com/uploadimages/Integrated.htm

Richardson, D. 1998. Rural Telecommunications and
Stakeholder Participation: Bridging the Gap Between

Telecommunication Experts and Communication for
Development Practitioners. In Richardson D., & Paisley, L.
1998. The First Mile of Connectivity: Advancing
Telecommunications for Rural Development Through a
Participatory Communication Approach (op cit.).
http://www.fao.org/WAICENT/FAOINFO/SUSTDEV/CDdi
rect/CDan0025.htm

Richardson, D. 1999a. The Virtual Research and Extension
Communication Network (VRECN). Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
http://www.telecommons.com/uploadimages/VRECN.htm

Richardson, D. 1999b. Voice and Web Rural Helpline for
Agriculture: Proposal Brief. TeleCommons Development
Group, Guelph, Canada.
http://www.telecommons.com/uploadimages/AgLine.htm

Richardson, D. & Paisley, L. 1998. The First Mile of
Connectivity: Advancing Telecommunications for Rural
Development Through a Participatory Communication
Approach. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations, Rome, Italy.
http://www.fao.org/WAICENT/FAOINFO/SUSTDEV/CDdi
rect/CDre0025.htm

TeleCommons Development Group. 1999. Upper East
Region, Ghana, Rapid Market Appraisal. Unpublished
research report. SR Telecom, Ottawa, Canada.

TeleCommons Development Group. 2000. Multi-media
Case Study of Grameen Telecom’s Village Phone Initiative.
Canadian International Development Agency, Ottawa,
Canada (Forthcoming – http://www.telecommons.com ).

*

Author note: The author is a principal consultant and Director of the TeleCommons Development Group, a consulting agency
specializing in community development enhanced through telecommunications. He is also an Associate Graduate Faculty
member of the Faculty of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph, Canada. Email: don@tdg.ca
Web: www.telecommons.com .

1

The following points are based on research conducted by the author and the TeleCommons Development Group
(www.telecommons.com), including rural telecommunication impact assessments and commercial viability studies in
Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, Ghana, Haiti, India, Peru, the Philippines, Senegal, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Zambia, and
Zimbabwe during the last decade (Richardson and Paisley, 1998; Richardson 1997, 1998; 1999a; TeleCommons Development
Group, 1999; 2000).

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TTeecchhKKnnoowwNNeewwss

Tony Blair Focuses on Learning
as Key to Digital Economy

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has outlined the reforms he
claims Europe needs in order to build a thriving digital
economy. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland, Blair said the need for reform in education is
paramount. "In an economy dominated by information and
knowledge, education is king. Not just in school or university
but throughout life," he said. He held up Britain as an
example. "A whole network of adult learning centres are
being established, with incentives provided to upgrade skills,
and a new University for Industry established through the use
of Internet technology to give adults the skills they need." To
read the entire article, go to http://www.silicon.com/a35401.

Asia's IT Revolution Exposes
Serious Skills Shortage

An information technology revolution sweeping across Asia
is causing an acute shortage of skilled labor that may limit
the region's rebound from an economic crisis. The New
Economy, fuelled by the new technology wave of digital
networks, software and new media is forcing many firms to
restructure and reconfigure to survive. "With technology
driving the economy, amplified by the e-commerce craze and
knowledge-based activities, the missing piece of the puzzle is
skilled human resources," said Wong Yit Fan, Standard
Chartered Bank's chief economist with Southeast Asia.
Wong foresees a long gestation period to gear up the local
workforce through training and education because of
constraints like government budget deficits and lack of
expatriates who had quit during the financial crisis of mid-
1997. Foreign talent is not an option due to the nationalistic
sentiments borne out of the recent financial recession.
Countries most likely to succeed in the New Economy need
to upgrade the skills and would require large investments in
education at all levels from the public and private sectors as
well as the overhaul of the education sector in many cases.
(Agence France Presse, 2/1/00)

Multipurpose Community
Telecenter in Africa

In Mali, a pilot Multipurpose Community Telecenter (MCT)
project has been set up in Timbuktu. This is a three-year
project, which started in May 1998. The project is run by
technical staff and a steering committee, which includes the
mayor, business people, artisans, librarians, health workers,
women's associations and other members of the community.
The hope is that at the end of the project, it will be run by the
community. There is also the hope that the project will
expand to 701 rural communities. After the pilot phase the
estimated cost of running MCT in other rural communities
will be around US $3,175. The pilot telecenter is equipped
with 11 computers. It serves 4 regions with an approximate
population of 200,000 people. It offers copying, telephone,
fax, and Internet services. A major emphasis of the telecenter
is to provide training to artisans to set up their web page to
sell their handicrafts with the hope that this will help develop
new global markets. The telecenter also serves a wide range
of other community groups, such as teachers, rural radio
animators, students and librarians. Another important area of
service is support for healthcare. Telecenter staff train health
workers in using the computers and the Internet to do
research. Also, health workers in outlying areas
communicate with doctors using the Internet. Keeping the
community's limited income in mind, services are subsidized.
There are also special discounts for women and children.The
telecenter website is :
http://www.tombouctou.org.ml.
Birama Diallo, the MCT country coordinator is at
Diallo@sotelma.ml. (Courtesy of Bytes for All)

Need Fuels Continued Growth of
Corporate Universities

The number of corporate universities has more than
quadrupled in the past five years -- to more than 1,600. And
last year, according to Corporate Training magazine, U.S.
corporations spent more than $60 billion in employee
training. "The drive for improved efficiency and the huge
merger activity has fueled this growth," said one corporate
training pro. "CEOs are very frustrated that they can't

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implement their strategy and they need to get everybody on
board. Corporate universities help reinforce the company's
goals and values." In a tight labor market, such facilities (real
and virtual) also help retain good workers and attract others.
"I would expect we'll continue to see more such corporate
universities among major employers," he continued. "For
companies with less than 1,000 employees, it's hard to justify
these types of corporate universities. But for major
companies trying to adjust to today's market, it's really
becoming essential." (Chattanooga Times/Free Press 23 Jan.
2000) http://pb1-2.newsreal.com

Internet Use in Asia to Explode by
2005

A new survey finds that the amount of people using the
Internet in Asia will increase by 422 percent in the next six
years and will number 228 million by 2005. Authors of the
survey, London based Philips Group, estimate that there are
currently 43.6 million Asians online and predict that by
2006, that figure could be 370 million, representing a 62
percent increase on current figures. While the majority of
users will be concentrated in Japan for the next few years, by
2005, Internet use in China will surpass that in any other
country in the region. By 2005, 37.6 percent of Asian
Internet users will be Chinese, representing 85 million users.
Another survey by IDC finds that despite the fact that Asian
users would rather surf the Web in their native language, a
growing number are going to English language Web sites.
http://www.newsbytes.com/

New Internet Training Materials
Available from ITrain

ITrain is a collection of Internet training materials for
instructors and students. The materials offer an interactive
approach, engaging students in the learning process and
supporting instructors in the customization and planning of
the courses. The materials have been developed by the ITrain
Collective, a multi-cultural group of Internet trainers with
work experiences from around the world. ITrain began as a
project of the International Development Research Centre
(IDRC). Bellanet, an international initiative working with the
development community to increase collaboration by
providing advice and assistance on more effective use of
information and communication technologies (ICTs) actively
supports ITrain and oversaw the development of the two
most recent ITrain modules, "Effective Internet Searching"
and "List Facilitation." In the future, Bellanet will continue
to update and add to the collection in collaboration with its
partner organizations.
http://unganisha.idrc.ca/itrain/index_e.html

On-Line Debate On Global
Poverty, Social Exclusion,
Inequality

In September 2000, the World Bank will publish its once-in-
a-decade 'Poverty World Development Report' (WDR).
During February and March 2000, there will be a global
online discussion of the draft. Its conclusions will be fed to
the report's authors. The World Bank's research reports and
journals are highly influential on development thinking and
programmes. They achieve wide distribution, major press
coverage and are frequently cited. The WDR is the Bank's
flagship publication, with over 150,000 copies printed and
many distributed free. This is the first time the World Bank
is widely circulating a draft WDR. The draft WDR was
posted in January on the web at:
http://www.worldbank.org/poverty/wdrpoverty/ .

To sign up for this e-consultation, send email to
wdrconf@gn.apc.org

World Bank Group And Softbank To
Invest In Internet Enterprises For
The Developing World

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is joining with
SOFTBANK CORP. of Japan to spawn startup Internet
companies in some 100 developing countries. The initiative
is based on IFC’s long experience of private sector
investment in developing countries around the world, using
project finance to build the businesses that are the foundation
of sustainable growth in developing economies; and
SOFTBANK’s market leadership in taking Internet
businesses international and at replicating successful models
in other countries.

SOFTBANK, a Japan-based global Internet company, and
IFC, part of the World Bank Group, will invest US$200
million to found SOFTBANK Emerging Markets (SBEM) to
incubate Internet-related businesses in developing countries.
IFC will also join SOFTBANK’s recent Latin America- and
China-focused Internet investment funds, bringing the total
commitment to global Internet development to $500 million.

The fund will nurture new Internet enterprises both by
investing seed money and by providing an array of
technological, legal, and management support to quickly turn
ideas into solid businesses.

For press release, see:

http://wbln0018.worldbank.org/news/pressrelease.nsf/

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FM Radio Stations:
FM Radio Stations:
FM Radio Stations:

FM Radio Stations: Broadcasting with the Sun
Broadcasting with the Sun
Broadcasting with the Sun

Broadcasting with the Sun

David Walker
Educational Specialist (Educational Technology/Media)
The Commonwealth of Learning

This article describes community-based low powered FM radio as part of the work the Commonwealth of Learning (COL)
has undertaken in different regions of the Commonwealth. The radio projects are just one element of an overall strategy
by COL that develops and researches creative and effective media and technology-based models under the banner of an
initiative called the Commonwealth of Learning Media Empowerment (COLME)*

Overview of the Station
Overview of the Station
Overview of the Station

Overview of the Station

Radio is a very powerful technology that can allow
information to reach large sectors of the population quickly
and economically. Due to national broadcast regulations in
many countries, community radio stations have not
developed. Also the cost of transmitters, infrastructures, and
equipment, has placed most potential community
broadcasters at a disadvantage, especially those in the remote
rural areas. There is a distinct information gap to the rural
corners of some countries resulting from the lack of service
by national broadcasters who in some cases have weak or
non-existent signal coverage. Under COLME, portable FM
radio systems have been tested and implemented as part of
media project work over the past three years. The station
configuration that was first developed has, with input and
data gathered from the field, aided the manufacturer in
altering the station to address each community’s need. The
station configurations range in price from three to five
thousand dollars US including all elements: antenna,
transmitter, console, mixer, microphones and CD and tape
decks (Figure 1). The stations can be powered by 12 V DC or
120/240 AC.

Figure 1 – A station in its
watertight carrying case (on
the consul starting on the left
top

the

gooseneck
microphone, below is the
mixer, top right are two tape
decks, below are two CD
decks). The transmitter and
power supply, not pictured,
are housed under the consul.
The consul is removed from
the carrying case when in
operation (see Figure 3 for
operational mode).

Key Elements to Success
Key Elements to Success
Key Elements to Success

Key Elements to Success

There are a number of technological factors that are
important in the initial needs analysis before a station can be
considered. First, the physical landscape must be conducive
to an FM signal to reach the intended target audience
especially if rebroadcast of the origin station signal is not
possible due to cost or licensing regulations. If the landscape
is mountainous then there will be difficulty in the signal
reaching a large radius of users. Second, the station target
audience must have radios or access to radios. Third, there
must be a situation where there is a steady flow of content
and a regular broadcast schedule. Fourth, the station must be
targeted to the local users so that they can directly relate to
the content, language, and situations discussed.

In the feasibility stage before station implementation, certain
conditions must exist to improve the element of
sustainability. In-country stakeholders are identified for each
of the stations. Their role is to insure that the infrastructure
for FM radio is in place, and that all licensing and issues
pertaining to community broadcasting are dealt with.

Another important factor is that the broadcasts are in
languages that are used daily in the local community level.
The national or regional stations do not have the capacity to
aim linguistically or at the level of information detail for
rural community issues. Community-based stations can be
effective if well managed in providing information and
training directly to the community. In the case of the
COLME installed community station in Uganda, it was
imperative that the station be able, by law, to rebroadcast
Radio Uganda in the event of important political
announcements. Therefore, among the technological
upgrades in the design of the station, in addition to the
interface for telephone calls, extra microphone inputs for
group discussions, and a more powerful transmitter, a facility
for radio rebroadcast of the national government station, (in

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Uganda, Radio Uganda) and international broadcasters (such
as the BBC) was implemented.

The overriding factor to the success of these stations has
been the proper community access and ownership, which
was paramount in the initial project design. If the station is
or becomes an integral part of the voice of the community
and local interest groups have an equal say in the information
that is disseminated via the station, then there is a lesser risk
of failure in the long-term sustainability of the station. This
can be achieved with good station management that works
with community leaders and committees including both
political and community leaders.

The local stakeholders, with the aid of COLME, will provide
an going evaluation of the stations via listener surveys and
media expert evaluation. Workshops will be given in
production and survey techniques that will aid broadcasters
with improving programming to suit the needs of the
community. Local broadcasters will be tapped to train in
advanced broadcasting techniques and program development
that will improve community radio personnel.

A Solar Station on the Move
A Solar Station on the Move
A Solar Station on the Move

A Solar Station on the Move

Apac, Uganda is located in the northern region of Uganda.
This COLME project was a cooperative effort with the
Minister of State and Tourism, The Right Hon. Akaki, to
work with community leaders to implement an FM radio
station in the Apac region. The COLME feasibility study
revealed several limitations with the electrical infrastructure,
which was not reliable. This was a result of load sharing
throughout the country (Apac would not receive power for
several days). The power was also not usable for electronic
equipment due to the dramatic power fluctuations.
Therefore, it was decided that in order to maintain a reliable
broadcasting schedule and develop the station as a center
point to community activities by different groups, Radio
Apac would be operated entirely by solar power. This would
free the project from the constraints of the electrical situation
and the tariffs associated with it. A configuration was
determined, in consultation with a solar distributor in
Kampala, to allow the station to stay operational during the

eighteen-hour broadcast day. Eight solar panels and seven
deep cycle batteries were installed at the station, which now
provide lighting and all the station power requirements for
daily broadcasting (see Figures 2 and 3). The life span of
solar installations is over a decade with low maintenance
costs.

Conclusion
Conclusion
Conclusion

Conclusion

Community radio will continue to grow globally with the
convergence of satellite and Internet systems and low cost
media formulas that allow for participation by disadvantaged
groups. The COLME initiative will continue to research and
develop projects that will work in partnership with in-
country stakeholders to develop new modes of community
involvement and access to technology.

* COLME strives to:
! Provide new skills in the use of technology for the disadvantaged.
! Provide media models that will stress local participation and transfer of knowledge and skills.
! Provide opportunities for disadvantaged groups to participate and benefit from new technology and media based initiatives.
! Create a capacity for dialogue among government sectors, institutions and different interest groups.
! Create a research base and body of knowledge that can be utilised by Commonwealth governments, organizations and communities as
models for media and technology based initiatives.

The projects underway via the COLME include computer-based software systems and networks, radio, and video production models.
Information concerning these projects can be obtained from:

The Commonwealth of Learning Web: http://www.col.org/colme
Or from the author at: dwalker@col.org Tel (604) 775-8235, Fax (604) 775-8210

Figure 3 – Radio Apac, 92.9 FM on air, powered by the sun

Figure 2 – Installing the solar panels

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Information Technology for the Masses:

Can It Be TV?

Claudio de Moura Castro

Chief Education Adviser,
Inter-American Development Bank

The Landscape

Both programs are part of the regular offerings of the Rede
Globo, a Brazilian media enterprise that is rated as the
world’s fourth largest TV network. Both are completely
commercial programs, run for profit by an entirely private
conglomerate. In other words, while this article will try to
suggest that they are socially useful, they are entirely paid for
by advertising, like any other program run in commercial
TV.

Brazil is a highly diverse country, classified as middle
income but offering extreme inequality among its 160
million inhabitants. Yet it has a single language and a
relatively homogeneous culture, so the same programs can be
transmitted and understood throughout the territory.

The poor and the rich Brazilians have something in common:
close to 90% of the population has access to TV sets. This
market, covering over 100 million spectators, has generated a
major TV industry, making Brazil one of the top exporters of
soap operas.

If there are TV sets, millions glued to them and a
sophisticated production capability, then it makes much
sense to use this combination to benefit education and
training. Much sense indeed, since Brazil has been

chronically short of quality education and training – and
extension services, in the case of agriculture, the focus of one
of the programs. The Globo formula is simple: high quality
image, good technical content, appropriate style and
language, all of this targeted to farmers and small
entrepreneurs. Where vocational schools and extension
services fail to reach, TV may fill the gap.

Globo Rural is the oldest program, having been on the air for
20 years and Small Enterprises for 8 years. Notice that a
somewhat equivalent program in the United States (Money
Hunt) is only three years old and broadcast on public
television, rather than private (even though programs on
hobbies and house improvement are common and quite
successful).

The formula for both programs is quite similar. The
programs cover a range of areas that might be of interest to
farmers and small entrepreneurs. The core messages focus on
teaching practical lessons and offering ideas for new
activities, technologies, or markets.

Globo Rural

Farmers want to know about droughts, early rains, prices of
commodities and other such germane subjects. The program
does comply with short spots on those issues. But a core

The digital divide seems to be for real.
Technology follows the tracks of wealth. It goes
where money has arrived. Those who use
technology are the haves and, being the haves,
get even more from privileged access to
technology. Only rarely does technology go the
other way, reaching the have-nots. Television
may offer some interesting counter examples,
particularly since it is a technology that is in
many cases targeted to the masses.

This article focuses on two cases from Brazil:
Globo Rural and Pequenas Empresas e Grandes
Negócios
(Small Enterprises and Great Deals).

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formula remains in place and dominates the program: how to
improve crops, fix problems, adapt technologies and reduce
losses in farms.

The program invariably takes place on a farm that has
adopted the proposed solution. The message emerges from
interviews with farmers, agronomists and extension workers.
Occasionally, a researcher in his laboratory may also be
interviewed. The “before” situation is compared with the
“after,” when the innovation has been adopted and the
advantages discussed. The costs are sometimes presented and
the technical procedures receive a lot of attention. The goal is
to teach practical lessons that can be adopted by the
maximum number of farmers. Credibility comes from the
interviews with real farmers in their real farms.

The image is highly professional and full of shots of the local
landscapes. The talk is simple and to the point, there is no
technical gibberish. The music is, suitably, Brazilian country.

Below are a few examples of topics treated:

• Management of natural forests in the Amazon. The
program reports a pioneering effort to introduce
management techniques suitable to small farmers. The
land is divided into ten plots, selectively cut: one per
year. Hard data on yield and revenues are also presented.
• Bananas are very fragile crops and traditionally more
than half of the harvest is lost due to improper handling.
A farmer explains every step he took to reduce the
damages and losses. It also shows how an extension
worker helped the farmer in each step. There is also an
interview with a banana growing expert and the farmer's
final comments boasting his overall reduction in losses.
• A farmer explains a simple method to get rid of ticks in
his cattle.
• A relatively long clip displays a farmer who employs his
nine daughters to work on his property using very
traditional methods. The entire background description
of what is going on is in rhymes, sometimes presented as
poetry, sometimes as music. This one is not to teach
methods but rather to present a picturesque case of the
many and various methods that can benefit Brazilian
farmers.

In parallel with the TV program, there is a magazine
following exactly the same line and with the same name (on-
line version: www.globoruralon.com.br). Given the nature of
the printed media, there are more technical data, more
statistics and a greater variety of subjects. Significant space
is devoted to answering technical questions sent in by
readers. This is the "Ann Landers" column of Globo Rural:
advice for real-life problems. Each month, 140,000 copies of
the magazine are sold.

Small Firms, Great Deals

Throughout the past century, Brazil has devoted most of its
energy to the development of large enterprises. And indeed,
it has been quite successful: the country boasted one of the
fastest rates of growth. However, while large enterprises
remain critically important to the country’s economy, their
ability to create employment to all the active population
progressively became sorely inadequate.

Lately, it has become crystal clear to all that small
enterprises are the best bet for absorbing surplus labor. But
they can do this only if they become more efficient,
competitive and productive than they have been in the past.
Hence, the health of small firms is a critical element for the
prosperity of the country. The Small Enterprises program
responds to these efforts to improve efficiency and promote
the growth of these firms, raising their profile and lime-
lighting their potential.

The formula is not much different from that of Globo Rural.
In fact, one can easily see that a winning solution was
transposed to another sector. The half-hour programs present
innovations, show spectators how to contact specialized
government agencies, promote web sites that help small
exporters and so on. But the main thrust of the program is to
show examples of successful small entrepreneurs or good
ideas that can be adopted by other would-be entrepreneurs.
Below are a few examples:

• A man who transforms the metal sheets of recycled cans
into sculptures of animals. The clip starts in his
backyard, full of colorful or shiny toucans, roosters,
alligators and many other animals. It then moves on to
show how he works the sheet metal and the tools he has
created to shape them into feathers, animal skin and so
on. The following part shows how he managed to get an
exclusive contract to decorate a supermarket chain and
the economics of selling his art. It ends with an
interview with the supermarket buyer discussing the
economics of selling in small enterprises.
• Another craftsman created a simple cooler for beer and
soda cans: press a lever and one can at the time is
released without opening the box. After this
demonstration, the clip mentions that the inventor is
looking for partners or entrepreneurs who might want to
manufacture or commercialize his idea.
• A small manufacturer has produced a pizza oven on
wheels that can be transported anywhere. It works from
bottled propane for outdoor operation or from electricity
for indoor use. After presenting the price of each pizza
chariot, several customers who purchased it are
interviewed and the costs of raw pizzas and the sale
prices are presented, as are typical uses and monthly
revenues generated.

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• A firm has taken an American product and adapted it to
Brazilian conditions. It is a display or exhibit kit for
posters and samples of products that unfolds. After use,
the contraption can be easily collapsed for storage in a
rollaway plastic container (that looks like a narrow trash
can). Again, prices are shown, as are the consumers of
the product.

Like in the case of Globo Rural, there is a companion
magazine with the same name that goes with it (online
version: www.Pequenasempresason.com.br). Presently,
120,000 copies are being printed every month. The magazine
shows hundreds of products, ideas, offers, and prospects of
new business. The January (2000) issue has the following
headline on the cover: “Open your firm now: 51
opportunities waiting for you, 20 business ideas costing less
than US$10,000, 16 machines to get your business started
and, the month’s 15 good ideas."

Understandably, management techniques and problems are
perhaps, the most common subjects featured in the magazine.
The January issue has a piece on how to deal with arrears and
customers who do not pay, how to open a firm, how to avoid
the common causes of bankruptcy and so on. Considerable
space is also devoted to answering technical and economic
questions from readers.

Brazil is the third country in the word in number of
franchises. Accordingly, the franchise business is one of the
most common subjects, both for the TV program and the
magazine. Indeed, one of the standard features of the
magazine is offering examples of franchises. The same issue
features franchises that have succeeded and become heavy
weights.

Again, given the nature of print media, the magazine, more
so than the program, is a market place for ideas, products and
services. In addition to references to all firms and products
described, it provides substantial space for paid classified
ads.

Do They Work?

What is the ultimate meaning of these two programs? A
harmless and useless effort to help farmers and small
entrepreneurs? Entertainment for them? A significant
contribution to real life productivity?

Unfortunately, there has been no effort to evaluate the impact
of either program, even though Globo Rural has aired for 20
years. The producer is a commercial media network. For it,

impact is measured by the bottom line, i.e., cost of
production versus advertisement revenues.

What can we say about socio-economic impact? Something,
but not too much. First of all, the programs are slick, well
done, and the image is refined. But they are, by no means,
entertainment. The programs are serious and direct. It is hard
to imagine anybody watching them for fun. It makes sense to
assume that advertisement contracts would not flow if there
were no audience. Therefore, size of audience gives some
suggestions as to how the programs are perceived by
spectators.

Recent phone surveys (roughly extrapolated to cover the
universe of spectators) suggest that around 4.5 million TV
sets are tuned to Globo Rural on Sunday mornings. Consider
that 20% of the Brazilian population lives in rural areas and
that about half are working adults (the target audience). This
means that if the potential audience for the program is mostly
located in rural areas, there would be about 15 million people
(including all those who do not have a TV set) tuned in. In
other words, in very rough terms, one third of the working
rural population watches the program. Conceivably, the
audience is a much larger proportion of those owning TV
sets. Even accounting for gross errors in these estimates,
such audience for a program teaching farming techniques is
extraordinary.

Small Enterprises also has a considerable audience, although
of lesser magnitude. The audience reaches close to two
million spectators. This is also quite impressive for a
program of its kind and it is only the huge figures for Globo
Rural that make it look less remarkable. But, of course,
Small Enterprises is also a younger program.

To sum up this somewhat inadequate evaluation, it makes
sense to suggest that programs with little entertainment value
will only be watched if they offer something that is useful. If
around 4.5 million watch one and close to two million watch
the other, year after year, their allegiance seems to be telling
us that they are learning something useful indeed. Otherwise
they would simply vote with their feet (better said, with their
fingers, changing channels). By the same token, private
advertisers are willing to continually sponsor the relatively
expensive production of both programs. They too must be
getting something in return. The bottom line, it seems, is that
these programs are an effective way to support farming and
small enterprises. We only regret that initiatives that appear
to be so productive remain so long without a serious
evaluation of their ultimate impact.

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Wishful Thinking or Wise Action?

Sam Carlson, Manager
Robert Hawkins, Country Coordinator
World Links for Development Program

The World Links for Development program (WorLD) is an
initiative of the World Bank Institute to expand the opportu-
nities of education technology to developing countries.
WorLD’s primary objective is to link via the Internet secon-
dary-level students and teachers around the world, in order to
improve educational opportunities, develop youth employ-
ment skills for the 21st

Century, and build global awareness
and understanding. WorLD is currently working in 18
countries around the world and is planning to expand to an
additional 5 countries by July 2000. Specifically, WorLD
works with Ministries of Education to connect secondary
schools to the Internet, train teachers in the pedagogical uses
of information technology and project-based learning appli-
cations, assist schools to establish links with other schools
from around the world, and monitor and evaluate the impact
that this intervention has on teaching and learning.
http://www.worldbank.org/worldlinks

The Story of Uganda

In many countries in which WorLD is working, the first step
-- establishing reliable and cost affordable Internet connec-
tivity -- can be the most challenging. The WorLD program
in Uganda provides an interesting case study of the chal-
lenges and successes of working to establish connectivity on
the digital frontier.

In 1997, the World Links program selected 10 pilot schools
based on criteria set forth by the Ministry of Education, a
local steering committee and the World Links program. The
school selection criteria stipulated that eligible schools
needed to have the basic infrastructure (electricity, access to
telecommunications, and a secure classroom for a lab), a
vision of how to integrate the technology into their teaching
and learning process, and a business plan for sustaining the

recurrent Internet and telephone costs. This last requirement
limited school selection to those schools within a local phone
call to an Internet Service Provider – which excluded most
schools outside of the Kampala area. While schools within a
local telephone call to an ISP would pay US$144 per month
for 60 hours of access, schools outside of this local call range
would pay an exorbitant amount of US$720 per month.

Based on these criteria, the steering committee selected the
10 schools for the program and each of the schools got busy
with computer lab preparation and phone line installation.
Once the infrastructure requirements were fulfilled, the
World Links program procured, refurbished, and shipped one
hundred 486-computers that the World Bank donated to the
program. Local private sector partners were then contracted
to install the equipment and make the final configuration for
the schools to access the Internet. “Dial to connect to Inter-
net” should have been the final bridge to cross. The tele-
communications infrastructure, however, failed
at a large
number of the schools -- dropped lines and misconnections
left 6 of the 10 schools without connectivity. While the fixed
line infrastructure was relatively reliable for analog voice
connections, the lines and the exchanges could not carry
data. With over half of the schools unable to establish reli-
able connections to the Internet, another path needed to be
forged.

Upon the heels of telecom liberalization in Uganda, two cel-
lular telephone
operators received licenses to offer services.
The World Links program approached one of the providers –
Celltel Uganda – to determine if the private sector company
would be interested in partnering with the program to help
the schools establish Internet connections over the new ex-
panding cellular infrastructure. The company agreed to pro-
vide one hour of free airtime to the schools per day. The
schools could now at least establish a 9600 kbps link using
cell phone technology to send and receive email messages.

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Web surfing, however, over this speed would only be possi-
ble for the most patient of teachers.

While all 10 of the schools had successfully established some
degree of Internet connectivity, the infrastructure limited the
speed at which teachers and students connected to the Inter-
net, and the amount they paid for recurrent costs limited their
online time to one to two hours per day. In order to address
these limitations, the program had to adjust to help the teach-
ers maximize their offline use of the technology and still be
able to fully participate in the collaborative nature of the pro-
gram.

The WorLD program instituted three technology adjust-
ments
to allow teachers to save time and resources while still
incorporating the technology into their teaching and learning.
The first technology adjustment involved implementing store
and forward email on their local area network. Each of the
teachers would send mail off-line to the server in their school
and the server would call the Internet Service Provider (ISP)
3 or 4 times a day to send and receive emails for the entire
school. Proxy web software was also implemented which
would save copies locally of frequently visited web pages, so
that repeated online connections were not necessary. Finally,
each school was provided with an internal web server that
could house both locally developed and web-based content
on the local area network. These adjustments, along with
training on how to manage a classroom in this environment
and maximize offline time, assisted teachers to fully partici-
pate in collaborative projects with others from around the
world.

While these technology adjustments helped as an intermedi-
ary fix, the teachers wanted faster and more frequent access
to the Internet. Spread spectrum wireless technology pro-
vided the only way to bypass the deficiencies of the existing
fixed line infrastructure and the slow data rates of the cell
phone link. The first WorLD school in Kampala – Makerere
College School – has successfully implemented this technol-
ogy. With a capital outlay of US$1,500, the connection has
worked flawlessly. The school pays the Internet Service
Provider US$250 per month and pays the telephone company
nothing for dial-up charges – the school now has a 24-hour
high speed connection to the Internet at the same costs that it
had paid for slow, unreliable, limited Internet access over the
dial-up connection.

The WorLD program is now preparing to expand this initia-
tive to reach a larger number of schools as well as experi-
ment with VSAT technology in rural areas. This wireless
connectivity pilot aims to connect at least 11 schools to some
form of wireless connectivity, train teachers and students in
maintenance of the equipment, and monitor and evaluate the
results of the pilot to determine the technical and financial
sustainability of the various solutions. The pilot envisions

testing 2 variations of wireless connectivity solutions. These
solutions are as follows: 1) stand alone VSAT connectivity;
and 2) a combination VSAT and spread spectrum terrestrial
wireless connectivity. Also, there may be scope for addi-
tional schools up country to participate in the pilot with just
HF radio connectivity.

The pilot also plans to test a number of sustainability mod-
els
for schools to recoup the recurrent costs of this higher
level of connectivity. With 11 schools participating in the
pilot, the monthly recurrent costs for sharing a 64kbps space
segment come to US$114 per school per month. The poorer
rural areas that participate in the pilot will need to develop an
innovative plan to support these costs. The following are a
few of the ideas that will be tested during this pilot.

•••• Training in exchange for equipment. WorLD schools
might pay off capital investment costs through provision
of training to teachers and community groups (a form of
in-kind payment). In this model, the schools would
agree to train a predefined number of teachers in their
area for free, in exchange for the purchase and installa-
tion of the wireless infrastructure.
•••• E-commerce links with local entrepreneurs. In this
model, a rural school connection would be partially, if
not fully, supported by local entrepreneurs in exchange
for access to the infrastructure and support in developing
electronic content to market and sell their goods.
•••• Telecenter training model. In this model, the schools
would be obliged to open their facilities to the commu-
nity after school hours to train individuals in computer
literacy and provide email accounts and access to Inter-
net information.
•••• Linkage to local ISP to rent facilities as a local node.
In this model, a contract would be arranged between the
school with a VSAT ground station and a national ISP.
The ISP would pay for the capital costs and a portion of
the recurrent costs in exchange for use of the school fa-
cilities and free student internships.

Educational Benefits

As a result of the establishment of this connectivity in Ugan-
dan schools, the following is a summary of the principal
benefits that teachers and students derive from participating
in the WorLD Program:

•••• WorLD opens classrooms to a world of educational
resources:
The Internet provides a near infinite source
of information, and many of the educational resources
on the Internet are free. For many schools in Uganda
which have no access to libraries, museums or even
textbooks, this simple access to educational resources is

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phenomenal. Teachers can access and use a variety of
lesson plans, activities, databases, and resource materials
in every possible subject matter. They can use real
video footage of chemistry or biology experiments in
their classrooms. They can access texts of literature they
may never find in their own country.

•••• Facilitates teaching and learning for teachers: Teach-
ers in developing countries generally have very little op-
portunity to exchange ideas, lessons, and activities with
each other in their own country, much less with teachers
outside their nation’s borders. Moreover, because li-
braries are usually poorly stocked with outdated resource
materials, if they exist at all, teachers must often rely on
their own textbooks, or even memories, as their sole
source of information.

The introduction of WorLD Program promotes teacher
exchange, both domestically and abroad; helps over-
come teacher isolation, permitting distant teachers to
collaborate, complement each other’s strengths, access
subject matter expertise, resources and high-quality
learning activities; provides access to other lesson plans,
activities and teaching techniques (both within the same
country and internationally); supports group learning
activities, allowing collaboration among schools for
collection and analysis of data, email, etc.; offers ad-
ministrative support for attendance, accountability, man-
agement of educational supplies (e.g. textbooks, etc.);
and facilitates teachers’ need to address students with
different learning styles or special needs.

•••• Improves students’ learning and motivation: By en-
gaging in collaborative Internet-based projects, WorLD
students can learn more and learn faster, and enjoy their
classes more. They can become independent learners
and self-starters, broadening their horizons in all sub-
jects, but particularly about the world beyond their
community. They certainly develop a more positive at-
titude towards computers, and towards technology in
general, and acquire workplace competencies that in-
clude working with resources, acquiring and evaluating
information, working with others in groups or teams,
and understanding complex relationships and systems.
Perhaps most important, they learn how to learn.

•••• Preserves local culture and contributes to the body of
world knowledge:
The use of the Internet is not just a
one-way street, with developing countries receiving in-
formation from elsewhere. Equally, if not more impor-
tantly, is the opportunity to promote and preserve local
culture by producing materials for worldwide consump-
tion. In the past, non-Africans wrote much of what was
written on Africa for worldwide consumption. The
Internet presents an unparalleled opportunity for Afri-

cans to produce and disseminate their own view of the
world to the world, their own history, music, art, religion
and philosophy at virtually no cost. It can also be used
to encourage students to reach out into their own com-
munities in order to record and preserve traditions for
posterity.

•••• Improves internal efficiency of the education system:

In addition to the improvements in student learning
mentioned above, many school systems have noted a
marked increase in school attendance, and a decrease in
drop-out rates after a period of sustained use of comput-
ers and the Internet in the classroom. This appears to be
linked to increased student interest, possibilities for self-
learning and perceived improvement in employment
prospects both from students and parents. Given that
low student throughput is of the greatest challenges of
many African school systems, this is an important factor
to consider and measure.

•••• Encourages progressive pedagogy: The WorLD
schools which have most effectively integrated informa-
tion and communications technologies (ICTs) into their
classrooms have noted a fundamental shift in pedagogy
to the type of teaching that has proven most effective
towards promoting learning among students. The edu-
cational process changes from top-down, teacher-
directed, passive, rote-based instruction to bottom-up,
student-centered, project-based, interactive learning.

•••• Enhances opportunities to build community links:

Many of the current collaborative education projects un-
dertaken by WorLD Program schools rely on students
reaching out into their community to obtain information,
conduct surveys and interviews, and bring in local ex-
perts to enhance the teaching and learning of various
subjects. In addition, because schools may in fact be
the first point of entry for ICTs in many developing
country communities, there are countless opportunities
for the school and its surrounding community to mutu-
ally support one another. From students reporting to lo-
cal farmers on crop prices or weather patterns, to train-
ing others in the use of computers; from schools opening
their doors after school hours to provide Internet access
to the community (and even generate revenue to recover
costs) to students and teachers providing their services to
local businesses for web site creation in return for
“sponsorship” of their school.

Educational Impact

In 1998, the WorLD Program contracted with SRI Interna-
tional’s Center for Technology in Learning to design and

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implement a comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation
component. The objective of this component is to provide
the World Bank and educational ministries of participating
countries with information about results and implementation
of the program as well as the challenges faced by students,
teachers and administrators.

The evaluation was conducted at the end of the 1999 school
year in five of the currently 15 participating countries: Chile,
Paraguay, Peru, Senegal and Uganda. (In 2000 this evalua-
tion will be expanded to 12 WorLD countries). In total, 26
WorLD schools with 20,000 students and 1,200 teachers and
administrators were asked to evaluate the impact of the pro-
gram upon student learning and the impact of computers
within the WorLD program.

The highest rated impact of the program was students' ability
to get better jobs upon graduation. Moreover, a large number
of students indicated that they had acquired the technological
and communication skills they needed to succeed in the in-
formation economy.

A large majority of teachers agreed that students improved
their information, communication, collaboration, technologi-
cal skills, and attitudes as a result of their participation in the
WorLD program. Teachers and administrators also con-
curred that they too acquired new skills and attitudes in both
technology and pedagogy as a result of participating in the
program.

The results of the SRI Center for Technology in Learning's
study prove that information technology holds the potential
for making a significant contribution to world educational,

economic, and cross-cultural development. The WorLD
program intends to thoroughly integrate the SRI Monitoring
and Evaluation component into its services to help the pro-
gram meet its biggest challenge: turning these early suc-
cesses in the classroom into sustained educational progres-
sion. SRI International aims to leverage these early accom-
plishments to stimulate new educational reform efforts and
capitalize on those already in place within each country.

Conclusion

World Links has successfully piloted school connectivity in
20 schools in Uganda over the past two and half years. The
equipment and connectivity is functioning, schools are pay-
ing the recurrent costs and maintaining their equipment,
teachers are training others both in their schools and commu-
nities, classrooms are engaging in collaborative projects with
other schools around the world, and teachers and students are
motivated and active learners. The number of beneficiaries
of the program however is limited -- a digital divide threatens
Uganda. The challenge over the next two and a half years
will be to build from this base of motivated and skilled
teachers and students to reach the majority of schools that are
still unable to participate in this community of educators.
World Links plans to work with the Ministry of Education to
extend the reach of the program through expanded wireless
technologies, train a larger number of teachers through in-
service and pre-service training by using the champion
teachers presently engaged in the program, and continue to
facilitate collaboration and information sharing across all
stakeholders in the education sector.

DistanceLearning to beOffered Throughout MiddleEast via Egyptian Satellite

The Egyptian Ministry of Information recently signed a Letter of Intent with VirtualAcademics.com, Inc. (VADC), an Internet
Educational Holding company that owns and operates "distance learning" universities. This agreement will provide VADC
with access to Egypt's communication satellite system to provide Distance Learning in Arabic and English throughout the
Middle East.

VADC offers training and degrees in six languages including English, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic to
students from 43 countries around the world. The degrees vary in specialty and are accredited and licensed. VADC also oper-
ates one of the largest international educational portals on the Web and through this site students and corporate clients can ac-
cess over 1000 degree and training programs from a variety of institutions. This agreement will expand VADC into all 22
Arabic speaking countries throughout the Middle East.

VADC plans to initially offer courses in English as a second language (ESL) and computer training courses, including Micro-
soft Certified Systems Engineer certifications.

For the complete story, see: http://www.businesswire.com

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A
A
A

A High-Tech Twist:
High-Tech Twist:
High-Tech Twist:

High-Tech Twist:

ICT Access and the Gender Divide

By Mary Fontaine

The LearnLink Project, Academy for Educational Development (AED)

"Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
"I've had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended tone, "so I can't take more."
"You mean you can't take LESS," said the Hatter. "It's very easy to take MORE than nothing."

Alice in Wonderland

Sources

Information for this article comes from a variety of sources.
A few simple web searches yielded over 200,000 sites related
to the topics of "women" or "gender" in computing and
telecommunications.2

When narrowed to the developing
world, of course, the number of sites decreased significantly,
as did the quantification of the data. Many new articles and
books on ICT access and use, as well as the digital divide,
are also available, with some attention to gender issues. In
addition, active web sites, listservs and online discussions,
launched and run mainly by women, are underway around
the world. Many were prompted by a strategic objective that
grew out of the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women to
increase the "participation and access of women to
expression and decision-making in and through the media
and new technologies of communication." In preparation for
the upcoming Special Session of the General Assembly for
the Beijing +5 Review in June 2000, UN agencies,

governments and NGOs worldwide are exploring issues
surrounding women and ICTs, and virtual communities
dedicated to women in development are linking individuals
and groups around the world on an unprecedented scale.3

Drawing on information from these sources, this article will
provide a quick summary of the issues confronting ICT
access, capacity and usage among women in developing
countries. This will be followed by a brief comparison of
worldwide trends with LearnLink's4

experience in Ghana,
where community learning centers (CLCs) are providing
people in three cities with access to ICTs.

It is worth noting that while anecdotal information about
gender issues and ICTs is plentiful, hard data are not. Given
the apparent extent of the gender divide in developing
countries and the serious nature of the issues, more attention
to gender in project design is needed, as is more rigorous
tracking, monitoring and evaluation of ICT projects and
better analyses of results.

The same old story?

While efforts are underway to increase ICT access, improve
capacity and enable usage for all—or at least for more—
questions are arising about how well those efforts are
reaching women in developing countries. It's the same old
story, in some ways, with a high tech twist. Early returns
suggest that women are neither participating in nor benefiting
from the efforts at anywhere near the same level as men.
The familiar and still formidable constraints are again rearing
their ugly heads—poverty and illiteracy, lack of time,
insufficient skills—with "technophobia" and male-
dominated, corporate control of technology added to the list.
Accompanying the questions and constraints are the
continuing debates about the relative value of "Women In
Development"-type initiatives vs. "gender mainstreaming" as
responses. Noteworthy progress notwithstanding, after a
quarter of a century of exploring, analyzing, debating and

Unequal access to information and communication
technologies (ICTs)—a.k.a. the digital divide—is a
rapidly emerging concern in the international
community. Both computerization and connectivity are
spreading faster in developing countries than any
technological advance in history. However, the gap
between the haves and have-nots is also growing,
threatening to leave the latter excluded from the
powerful networks that already are influencing the
shape of the new century. As Castells explains, the
global economy "does not include all people in its
workings, although it does affect directly or indirectly
the livelihood of the entire humankind."1

The purpose of
this article is to discuss a subset of the digital divide - to
provide a snapshot of a phenomenon that is emerging as
an issue of substance in its own right: the gender
divide
.

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experimenting with approaches to meeting women's
development needs, we still face daunting difficulties and
dilemmas when it comes to striving for gender equity.

It is important to note that ICT usage is still a relatively new
phenomenon that is changing rapidly. Information available
today is better viewed as a snapshot of the situation, the
details of which may change by tomorrow.

Common cross-continental constraints

Generally speaking, the constraints to women's access, usage
and capacity vis-a-vis ICTs are similar in many respects
regardless of geography. On all continents, for example,
poverty precludes access, and illiteracy, lack of education
and skills, and language limit capacity and, therefore, usage.
Psychological barriers, perhaps due to the perception of
technology as a male domain, include ambivalence and even
fear—technophobia—accompanied by a lack of information
about the possibilities and potential of ICTs and a lack of
confidence about mastering them, even among women who
might have access. Of course, it is the most marginalized of
women who are least likely to have access-minorities, the
poor, non-speakers of mainstream languages, the elderly, and
the disabled.

Training in the use of ICTs—by knowledgeable trainers—is
a serious shortcoming. For the most part, women have little
or no previous experience with technology, and many feel
confused when confronted with the sudden appearance of
computers and the Internet. Merely getting access to the
hardware or connecting groups to the Internet without an
adequate introduction to what it is and how it works - and in
the absence of policies or guidance about usage, etiquette or
communication techniques - is proving insufficient to
promote intelligent usage. To effectively introduce and
integrate ICTs at an organizational level, the group's "entire
range of communication capacities needs to be
strengthened."5

At both the personal and organizational
levels, who assists with the capacity strengthening also can
be an issue, especially if all the technical "experts" are
males-and many are young. As one woman explained, "We
find that mainly women over forty, who are just learning to
use their computers, feel really uneasy when a young boy is
the one in charge of hands-on-training."6

A similar concern, which also spans continents, is the ability
of organizations new to ICTs to handle too much
information. As one contributor to a recent online discussion
group explains:

Many organizations leap, in the space of a few weeks,
from a situation where updated information is hard to
come by to one where they have an excess of information
that they don't have experience in handling, don't know

how to weed out what's useful to them. Also, many
organizations have difficulties in processing, storing and
disseminating their own information, which means their
presence in virtual communities is relatively ineffectual.7

With the vast majority of Internet and World Wide Web
material posted in English, language is a constraint as well,
so much so that some organizations are calling on the United
Nations to promote, support and facilitate the development of
affordable, easy to use and far more effective translation
software. See Universal Networking Language article,
TechKnowLogia, March/April 2000.

Outside of urban areas, women in developing countries are
far less likely to come into contact with ICTs and tend not to
perceive a need for them. In some places, this is due to a
lack of telephones, electricity and infrastructure. In others, it
is because women often control indigenous, traditional and
popular forms of media which, many caution, should not be
ignored in the rush to embrace computer facilitated
communication. As one woman explains, "For generations
rural women have been active participants in social
communication networks using indigenous communication
methods for information exchange and knowledge sharing.
This rich cultural and creative environment should...be
strengthened. The preservation of traditional forms of
communication and new information technology are not
mutually exclusive."8

Other concerns about ICTs, expressed by women in both
developed and developing countries, relate to the ownership
of telecommunications. As a participant in a worldwide
online discussion forum explained:

Since the further deregulation of telecommunications in
the U.S., there have been several huge mergers as
companies try to seize all the possible pipelines in which
digital communications might be operated.... the
'broadband' highway is only in the business districts of
major urban centers. Huge swaths of the country [U.S.],
especially the mid-west and the poorer working class
communities outside of central business districts,
already have limited access to the new "broadband
networks." Our concern is that this "digital divide" will
only increase as these major "broadband" highways will
be operated as corporate businesses, with the ability to
restrict access, or set the conditions of access for
everyone involved. This restriction will not only operate
at the tollgates, i.e. getting on to the Internet. But
because of the monopolization going on, it will occur at
the level of browsers and search engines, too, restricting
content or information itself. For example, none of the
search engines provide more than 20% of the available
sources on the Internet, which means they are already

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making many choices about what is available to people
using their services.9

In addition to these constraints to ICT use by women, their
reluctance to use ICTs even when they do have access is also
cited as a problem. While commentators from developing
countries attribute the reluctance to an ignorance of the
possibilities, some in high-income countries are less patient.
"Is it necessary to hold multimedia-style 'Tupperware' parties
[to convince women] to purchase a computer instead of
beauty products or useless clothes."10

The same yet different

While the constraints to ICT use among women worldwide
are similar, the difference in usage rates is significant. By
the summer of 1998, for example, women in the United
States accounted for more than 40 percent of the 42 million
Internet users in the country, up from 10 percent just a few
years before.11

This tremendous increase in usage among
U.S. women is interesting because a common theory
regarding nonuse is that those who do not produce or
construct a product are less likely to use it. As one
researcher suggested, "Women tend to experience technology
differently...and if those experiences are not addressed during
'construction,' then women are more likely to feel intimidated
by new information technologies and resist learning about
them and using them."12

There is no question that U.S.
women are "underrepresented in every aspect of computer
culture, from programming to product design to everyday
use."13

Indeed, computer science is clearly a masculine
domain, where "women comprise just 7.8% of science and
computer engineering faculties," for example, "and only
2.7% are tenured."14

Yet U.S. women who have access are
using ICTs enthusiastically, and there seems to be no
evidence to suggest that they "would respond differently to
computers if they were designed and programmed by
women."15

There are few statistics indicating the prevalence of ICT use
among women in developing countries, and we have no way
of knowing if the trend experienced in the United States will
be replicated elsewhere, assuming that ICTs become widely
accessible. At present, it is probably safe to assume that
women in developing countries are less likely to have access
than men, less likely to have opportunities to develop usage
capacity than men, and, perhaps, less likely to use ICTs even
when they do have access.

At the same time, there are indications about how women in
the middle- and low-income countries are using these
technologies where they are available. One trend that is
emerging is based on organizational, collective usage.

Networking is empowering

Rooted in the notion that "Sisterhood is powerful" - a slogan
that swept the globe - the women's movement of the latter
half of the 20th century adopted networking as its primary
means of organization and operation. Today, women's
organizations on all continents are starting to take advantage
of ICTs to continue that tradition - to collect, synthesize,
disseminate and, to a lesser but growing degree, produce
information. In this way, those without access to ICTs are
starting to benefit from the knowledge that flows to those
with access. As a participant in a recent discussion forum on
Women and Media explained:

If a road is built to my remote village, I will benefit
whether or not I use that road to travel. If my
community/network/organization gains access to the
Internet, and uses it innovatively, I may benefit even if I
never use a computer...information being received
through e-mail and redistributed through other circuits
illustrates this sort of strategy.16

The other "circuits" used to redistribute information may
include traditional communication channels such as popular
theater and community radio, demonstrating a creative
blending of old and new technologies. Through this
repackaging of Internet-delivered information, it is possible
to reach much larger numbers of women, including those in
remote areas where the prospects for ICT access are remote.

Around the world, NGOs with ICT access also are using
mailing lists and email for advocacy and activist purposes.17
Through targeted marketing, for example, groups are
flooding officials, stakeholders and decision makers with
messages in support of positions favorable to women or
public protests against perceived injustices-a breakthrough in
communication in light of the persistent difficulty in getting
mainstream radio, television and newspaper media to cover
"women's issues." These efforts are beginning to link
organizations around the world, leading to the creation of
virtual communities focused on specific development issues
and the forming of alliances enabling greater participation in
international fora and decision-making.18

While women's access to information and communication is
increasing through these collaborative collection and
dissemination schemes, there is less activity in the
production of information. This field is fertile, however, for
the future. With some skill sharpening and, perhaps,
translation service, those who currently are collecting
information also can produce it, drawing on local networks
for valuable content. Another possibility is software
development and the production of inexpensive multi-media
material, which ICTs can facilitate.

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At the organizational level, a new role for NGOs is managing
the telecenters and community learning centers (CLCs) that
donors are supporting to increase ICT access in the
developing world. Three of these are operating in Ghana
through the USAID-funded LearnLink project.

Ghanaian women online

LearnLink's experience with community learning centers
(CLCs) in Ghana reflects some of the trends summarized
above. Located in three Ghanaian cities, the centers tracked
ICT usage, by gender, over a nine-month period. In general,
the experience indicated that the higher or newer the
technology, the less likely women were to use it. However,
evidence also suggests that, over time, women warm to the
online environment and move steadily from word processing,
for example, to the World Wide Web.

The managers of the NGOs that run the CLCs in Kumasi,
Cape Coast and Accra are all women, an intentional decision
designed to encourage women to patronize the centers. Yet
nearly three times as many men as women have registered.
The usage pattern mentioned above also indicates a male bias
toward higher technology and a female bias toward lower.
For example, of those visiting one of the centers over a nine-
month period, from November 1998 to August 1999, 1,904
men browsed the Internet compared to only 253 women. It
is noteworthy that Internet usage by women grew steadily
during this period, from only one woman in the first month
to 85 in the ninth. Email traffic also was tracked, with a
similar result. Women sent a mere 13 percent of the number
of messages sent by men. While the percentage of male and
female participants registering for typing, word processing
and database courses were similar, it is not surprising that the
percentages registering for a course called Internet
Orientation were skewed in favor of the males.

To further promote ICT usage among women, one of the
NGOs organized a Women's Week, during which women in
Kumasi were invited to sample the center's wares. Targeted
marketing to organized groups and institutions, such as
NGOs, state agencies and religious groups, included flyers
attached to invitation letters promising a free email address,
one free email, and a 10 percent discount to those registering
for a program at the CLC. With 212 women arriving over a
five-day period, the event was successful in the short term,
though the number of women returning to the centers
dropped off slowly during subsequent weeks. The center in
Cape Coast is planning a similar event now, taking into
account the lessons from the experience of its counterpart in
Kumasi.

According to LearnLink's Resident Advisor in Ghana, most
of the women who frequent the centers are students, not
working women. He cites as the three major constraints to

women's use of the centers a lack of time, a lack of support
from their male family members, and an element of
"scientechno-phobia."

The CLCs will continue creative outreach to women and
women's organizations, soon offering an Open Day for the
Central Region Association of Female Entrepreneurs.
Assuming that the initial lack of interest in the Internet is in
part due to unfamiliarity with what it is and does, the day
will focus on sensitizing invitees to the use of the Internet.

A happy ending?

It may be the same old story, and the difficulties still may be
daunting. But there is a determination to solve the twin
problems of ICT access and usage for women that is growing
horizontally - on a planetary scale - and even vertically, from
the top down through donor attention and the bottom up
through women's groups worldwide. As participants in one
of the multinational discussion groups put it:

If we can't deal with what is happening today, then the
problems are being compounded for tomorrow. The
lack

of

gender

perspective

in
Information/Communications Technology means that
women will find themselves shut out of information
sources, less qualified for employment, unable to access
more education, and unable to create and control the
technology. We'll be virtual second class citizens [and]
our struggle for equality will be set back and much,
much more difficult.19

This is the "boy's party" of the century, girls, and we are not
invited."20

A woman uses a computer provided by the
LearnLink CLC project in Ghana.

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ENDNOTES

1

Manuel Castells, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, Volume I, "The Rise of Network Society," Blackwell Publishers,

1996, p.92.

2

As such searches are accustomed to do, one revealed a site devoted to jokes about Why a computer is better than a woman
("because computers don't make you meet their parents, or ask you to call them in the morning, or because you can shut a
computer down when you're tired of it") - perhaps a telling commentary on the need for continued attention to the issue. (URL
withheld at author's discretion).

3

See, for example, http://sdnhq.undp.org/ww/women-media for a list of web sites.

4

LearnLink is a five-year Indefinite Quantities Contract (No. HNE-1-00-96-00018-00) of the U.S. Agency for International
Development, funded by the Human Capacity Development Center in the USAID Global Bureau, the Africa Bureau, and other
USAID Bureaus, offices and missions. It is operated by the Academy for Education Development (AED). For more
information on LearnLink's activities, see http://www.aed.org/learnlink/ .

5

This and many of the following quotes are from the Virtual Working Group on Women and Media-with a special focus on
ICTs as they impact women's lives-sponsored by WomenWatch and facilitated by Women Action 2000 during November and
December, 1999. The Group's goal is to analyze, at a global level, which of the objectives from the Beijing Platform for
Action, Section J, have been realized and which still need attention. Recommendations from the Working Group will be
compiled for inclusion in a report to be submitted by UN WomenWatch at the 44th session of the Commission on the Status of
Women in March 2000. To access the Group's archives, go to: http://sdnhq.undp.org/ww/women-media .

6

Ibid.

7

Ibid.

8

Ibid.

9

Ibid.

10

Ibid.

11

Dan Schiller, Digital Capitalism: Networking the Global Market System, The MIT Press, 1999, p. 139. (Note: Some of the
most sophisticated tracking of Internet usage comes from the advertising world. In the case of women, Schiller quotes Procter
& Gamble remarking that "the vast majority of [women Internet users] represent the target audience for most of our brands").

12

Ruth Anne Corley, Women, Technology and the Internet: How will the three get along? Working Papers in Communication Technology
and Culture, Carleton University, 1994.

13

Leslie Regan Shade, talk given at Community Networking: The International Free-Net Conference, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada,

August 17-19, 1993.

14

Ibid.

15

Ruth Anne Corley, Women, Technology and the Internet: How will the three get along?

16

The Women and Media Working Group on the Beijing Platform for Action.

17

For a sampling of ways in which women are using ICTs for these purposes, see "40 activist ways of using the internet" at
http://www.womenspace.ca/Campaign/Activism/activistways.html .

18

Sally Burch, "Latin American Women Take on the Internet," http://www.connected.org/women/sally.html .

19

The Women and Media Working Group on the Beijing Platform for Action.

20

Ibid.

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Grassroots Libraries: A Base for Lifelong Learning

Aya Aoki*

Literacy is a fundamental skill that allows one to access a variety of information and knowledge
resources and to continue learning throughout one’s life as an independent learner. In order to promote
literacy and a lifelong learning environment for both children and adults, public library systems can
serve as a powerful mean for the goal. Several bridges need to be built and strengthened to take
advantage of library services in education for children and adults. Such bridges include: 1) a closer
linkage among school, library, community, and publishing industry at local levels; 2) a conceptual bridge
between education for children and education for adults; and 3) closer communication and collaboration
among stakeholders at national and international levels, including libraries and resource centers,
research and practice organizations, governments and international organizations.

Linking School, Library, Community, and
Publishing Industry

In order for the public library system to be better utilized in
education for children and adults, especially for neoliterates
and people with limited literacy skills, libraries need to work
closely with schools, communities, and publishing industries.

South Africa’s READ program, started in 1979, is supporting
learners in rural primary, secondary and tertiary levels
throughout South Africa for skills development in reading,
writing, and accessing information technology, to help them
become independent, lifelong learners. In collaboration with
educators, librarians, teachers, and parents, READ develops
and assists using inexpensive teaching and learning materials
in libraries and classrooms. READ program provides a wide
range of services including curriculum and teaching methods
development, and teacher training, following the six-step
strategy: 1) initial program presentation and consultation
with schools and libraries; 2) systematic resource provision
after consultation and training; 3) training for principals,
subject teachers, librarians, supervisors of teachers and

librarians, and community workers; 4) day-to-day school
based support; 5) motivational programs and events for
students and teachers; and 6) assessment and evaluation for
further development and assistance. According to READ’s
learners’ achievement survey, students at schools
participating in READ program are ahead of control school
students in their reading and writing ability. The staff of
READ has been involved in similar education efforts in
Lesotho, Nigeria, and Tanzania to share their experiences.

Agence Intergouvernementale de la Francophonie promotes
literacy in French speaking countries in Africa through
assisting public reading rooms for rural populations to help
their social and cultural communication and community
development, and through Centres de Lecture et Animation
Culturelle (CLACs) or reading and cultural centers for
students and teachers. At CLACs, students and teachers can
consult and borrow books, magazines, journals, and
educational toys and games, provided by the Agency, while
the buildings, equipment and volunteer teachers (usually
from primary schools) are supported locally. The CLACs
project started in 1986 and by the end of 2000, there will be

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some 180 centers in 16 countries. The second generation of
the CLACs is francophone centers for multipurpose cultural
development including rural radio services. The centers are
focusing on areas of health, education, and agricultural
advice, and also offer rural micro credits, radio programs,
and cinematic and information technology skills training.

Proposed World Bank assisted projects in Bangladesh and
Indonesia intend to support development of grassroots
libraries through working closely at the local level to
effectively involve the community, to utilize existing
resources, and to reflect the needs of beneficiaries in the
projects. The proposed project in Indonesia will support
development of existing village based community libraries,
youth libraries, and libraries at the Islamic mosques, Hindu
temples, and Christian churches.

The support will focus on book purchases, reading
promotion, training programs and other activities. The
country has a fair amount of publications and publishing
industry, which is expected to grow as the literate
environment is enhanced. The proposed project in
Bangladesh plans to support enhancing grassroots libraries to
eventually transform them into continuing education centers
that introduce to learners various new and existing
continuing education opportunities in the community. Prior
to the design of continuing education centers offerings, the
project is supporting beneficiary and stakeholder needs
assessment as well as assessment of existing local human and
physical resources that can be utilized for continuing
education efforts in the locality.

Educating Parents with Their Children

The second bridge that needs to
be strengthened is to link
education for children with
education for adults, which are
often administered separately.
Several programs adopting the
concept of family education show
the effectiveness of such a
linkage for both children and
their parents.

The Family Literacy Program in the UK targets both children
and parents with limited literacy skills. It was established in
1993, aiming to enhance parents’ own literacy skills, to
improve parents’ ability to help their children with the early
stages of learning to read and write, and to boost young
children’s acquisition of reading and writing skills. The
program is comprised of three sessions: parents-only
sessions, children-only sessions, and parent-child joint
sessions. In parents-only sessions, in addition to literacy and
numeracy courses, they organize visits to local libraries and
discuss games and literacy related activities adopted easily
with low cost at home with their children. The children-only
sessions for children aged between 3 and 6 year olds,
emphasize writing, talking and reading through games,
dramatic play, including play library, and collaborative
poetry writing. In the joint sessions, parents work with their
own children and share stories and books, write poems and
make alphabet scrap-books together. The assessment of the
program participants showed improvements in vocabulary,
reading and writing skills for both children and parents, with
a variety of other benefits for parents such as growth in their
confidence, improvements in social skills, and involvement
in children’s school activities. The experience of the Family
Literacy Program in the UK reveals the effectiveness of the
strategy to target children and parents together.

The Mother-Child Education Program (MOCEP), originally
started in 1983 in Turkey, targets children and mothers,
aiming to foster cognitive and psychosocial development in
the home environment and to promote school readiness for
children. MOCEP reaches children and parents right before
the children start formal schooling and lasts for 25 weeks.
The group meetings are held once a week in adult education
centers in each district. The program consists of three
components: Mother Enrichment, Reproductive Health and
Family Planning, and Cognitive Training Program. The first
two components involve group discussions to encourage
mothers' self-confidence and to increase their sensitivity to
the cognitive, social and emotional development of the child
and to support them in preparing a preferable home
environment. The program to foster children’s cognitive

The proposed project in Indonesia will support
development of existing village based community
libraries, youth libraries, and libraries at the Islamic
mosques, Hindu temples, and Christian churches.

©Corel

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development is done using worksheets for various daily
exercises to be used by the mothers together with their
children that take about 15-20 minutes to complete. The
exercises include pre-literacy (recognition of letters and letter
sounds), pre-numeracy skills (recognition of numbers,
addition and subtraction), language development, and
concept formation (direction, size, place, etc.) among others.
In addition, interactive shared book reading activities are
given particular emphasis using picture story books. The
program evaluation indicates positive effects on children’s
pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills and initial school
success and adaptation, mother-child interaction and their
attitudes toward school and mothers’ self-esteem.

Collaboration for Narrowing the Information
and Technology Gaps

The third bridge to be made is to strengthen communication
and collaboration among libraries and resource centers,
practitioners and researchers, governments, NGOs and
international organizations, in order to narrow the current
information and technology gaps between the haves and have
nots.

The

Adult

Learning
Documentation and Information
Network (ALADIN) initiated
by the UNESCO Institute for
Education (UIE) in Hamburg in
1998 aims to support a global
knowledge network among the
stakeholders listed above, and
to support developing adult learning libraries and resource
centers in lower income countries. The membership of
ALADIN consists of ninety adult learning documentation
centers and information services from various regions,
including the International Council for Adult Education and
the World Bank. The Network is working towards (1)
internationalizing and localizing good practices through an

analytical description of good practice cases and
dissemination, and through adopting applicable elements of
good practices in each locality, (2) disseminating in multi-
format (paper, radio, TV, E-mail, Website, CD ROM, etc.) to
reach the population without advanced technology, and (3)
serving as information brokers between researchers/
practitioners and policy makers.

The Adult Outreach Education Thematic Group of the World
Bank is supporting efforts to promote global gains in literacy
and to help developing grassroots libraries through
partnerships. The International Literacy Day working group,
consisting of representatives from the preeminent
organizations dedicated to literacy, including the
International Reading Association and the US Library of
Congress, was formed in 1999 to advance advocacy efforts
for literacy and to motivate media, public and private sectors,
and the general public. The partnership with the New York
Public Library is exploring the knowledge and skills transfer
to other countries in developing community libraries,
especially in the area of staff training.

References

Bekman, Sevda (1998). A Fair Chance: An Evaluation of
The Mother-Child Education Program. Mother
Child Education Foundation. Istanbul: Yapim
Matbaasi.

Brooks, Greg; Tom Gorman; John Harman; Dougal
Hutchison; and Anne Wilkin (1996). Family
Literacy Works: The NFER Evaluation of the Basic
Skills Agency’s Demonstration Programmes. The
Basic Skills Agency. London: Commonwealth
House.

READ (1999). Annual Report 1999. Read Educational Trust.
Braamfontein, South Africa: Creda Press.

*

Adult Outreach Education Thematic Group, Human Development Network - Education, The World Bank

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The Full Story:
Full-Text Publications on the Web

Gregg B. Jackson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Coordinator,
Education Policy Program, George Washington University

The Internet is now the largest library in the history of the world. It is also a strange library. Currently it has far
more short abstracts, summaries, and references to important sources, than it has the full text of those docu-
ments. Sometimes an abstract or summary is all that is needed, but at other times the full text of a document is
needed to ascertain details and get the full story. This article will steer you to Internet sources that provide the
full text of books, reports, journals, and newsletters. All these will be referred to in this article as “documents.”

SCOPE

The focus is on documents that are distributed in full-text on
the World Wide Web or by e-mail. Some of the sites offer
full-text materials for free and others charge a fee that is usu-
ally paid with an international credit card. Many of the ref-
erenced sites will have materials only in English, but several
offer materials in other major languages. Most of the sites
will allow you to access not only current issues of periodicals
and recent reports, but also several years of earlier issues and
reports. Some of the documents are available only electroni-
cally, but others are electronic versions of documents also
distributed in print.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

Advantages of Electronic Text

Instant Access

Cost Efficient

Searchability

Easy Storage

Disadvantages of Electronic Text

Reading Immobility

Inability to make notes on text

Obsolescence of Storage Media

A few precautions are in order. First, most of these portals
try to link to everything within their domain of interest,
without screening for quality. They link to first-rate material
as well as to false and misleading material. Second, URLs
are changing rapidly. If a given link does not function, try
truncating the right portions of the URL to each forward

slash (/) to find a live site that may steer you to the new
URL. Alternatively, use another of the listed sites to try to
find the same document. Third, text is available on the web
in two main formats, HTML and Adobe Acrobat .pdf files.
The former downloads fastest. The latter includes all the
original graphics, but Adobe Acrobat Reader software must
be installed on your computer to read the documents. It can
be download for free from:
http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html

ALL FORMS OF PUBLICATIONS

Eldis

Eldis is the best portal to information on the web that is rele-
vant to national development. It currently links to about
2,800 web sites of organizations involved in development
and to 5,000 documents available in full-text.
www.ids.ac.uk/eldis/eldis.html

The Internet Public Library

This is a major portal to full-text documents on the web. The
periodicals are listed in alphabetical order by title, but can be
searched by subject headings and subheadings. “Education”
is a subheading under “Social Issues and Sciences.” Books
can be searched by author, title, keywords, and the Dewey
classification scheme.
Periodicals:

http://ipl.org/reading/serials/index.html

Books:

http://ipl.org/reading/books/

Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC)

This is the premier North American system for searching for
reports, journal articles, and conference papers on education.
With rare exceptions, the system does not provide the full-
text of the documents electronically, but three other organi-
zations do so for fees.
For documents to which ERIC assigns a number starting with
ED, contact:

ERIC Document Reproduction Service

http://www.edrs.com

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For journal articles to which ERIC assigns a number starting
with EJ, contact either of the following two vendors by e-
mail:

Carl Uncover Document Delivery Service

sos@carl.org

ISI Document Solutions

ids@isinet.com

TechKnowLogia

The journal that you are currently reading offers many links
to web sites with full-text documents of particular interest to
those interested in education and training within developing
countries. Particularly see the “WorthWhileWebs” of Vol-
ume 1, Number 2 (November/December, 1999).

JOURNALS, MAGAZINES, AND
NEWSLETTERS

Electronic Journal Access

This appears to be the largest portal to periodicals that are
available in full-text on the web. The periodicals are listed in
alphabetical order by title, but can also be searched by the
U.S. Library of Congress Subject Headings, such as “educa-
tion” and subheadings under it. The focus of each periodical
is briefly described.
http://www.coalliance.org/ejournal/

E-Zine-List

This is another large portal to periodicals on the web. The
periodicals are listed in alphabetical order by title, but can
also be searched by keywords such as education (121 titles),
science (89 titles), and health (180 titles). Brief descriptions
of the content and editorial policy are provided for many of
the journals and magazines. Several listed periodicals are
published in languages other than English.
http://www.meer.net/~johnl/e-zine-list/

Northern Light

Northern Light is a search engine that also provides access to
the full text of selected publications. Most are related to
business and management, but some deal directly with edu-
cation. After examining the abstract, you can view and
download the full text for a fee that varies from $1.00 - $4.00
(U.S.) and can be charged to an international credit card.
http://www.northernlight.com

ABI/Inform (also known as ProQuest)

This is a large database of periodicals in business and man-
agement, with some coverage of education periodicals. It
allows powerful searches and includes the full text of about
half the articles that it indexes. This is a proprietary system
operated by Bell and Howell, and is not accessible except
through organizations that subscribe. Some universities and
large libraries do subscribe.
http://www.umi.com

EBSCO

This is a broad-ranging index and full-text collection of
scholarly and professional periodicals. About half of the
journals are available in full-text. EBSCO has limited cover-
age of journals dealing with education, but good coverage of
those dealing with health and business topics. This is a pro-
prietary system operated by EBSCO Information services,
and is not accessible except through organizations that sub-
scribe. Some universities and large libraries do subscribe.
http://www.epnet.com

View From Internet Valley

This site lists the 100 most influential periodicals on comput-
ers. These periodicals offer a way for computer technicians
to stay up-to-date and a few of the periodicals deal with the
policy implications of technology.
http://eye.hooked.net/netvalley/archives/apr99/magrank1.html

BOOKS AND REPORTS

On-Line Books Page

This site tries to link to most books that are available without
charge on the WWW. It currently links to more than 10,000
books. Most are older books with expired copyrights that are
of historical or literary importance, but recently published
books will increasingly come available on the web.
http://digital.library.upenn.edu/books/

netLibrary

This organization provides access to a growing collection of
trade, reference, scholarly, and professional books published
by some major commercial publishers and many university
presses. Currently, it has only about a hundred books on
education theory and practice, but this organization is ex-
panding its collection rapidly. Currently a one-year individ-
ual subscription costs $29.95 (U.S.).
http://www.netlibrary.com/

Books on the Internet

This site links to many university and research organizations
with collections of books on the web.
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/Libs/PCL/Etext.html

RESOURCES ON ELECTRONIC
PUBLISHING

Journal of Electronic Publishing

This is a scholarly journal on electronic publishing.
http://www.press.umich.edu/jep/03-01/

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography

This site would be of interest to those wishing to publish
materials electronically.
http://info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/sepb.html

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The Information Revolution and the Digital Divide
The Information Revolution and the Digital Divide
The Information Revolution and the Digital Divide

The Information Revolution and the Digital Divide

A Review of Literature
A Review of Literature
A Review of Literature

A Review of Literature

by Sonia Jurich

In the early 1990's, Tim Bernes-Lee developed the global
hypertext system - the World Wide Web - with an aim to
provide a common space where information could be shared
without barriers. The expansion of the Web may have
surprised even its creator. In less than ten years, the online
population has grown to 180 million individuals across all
continents, while an estimated 250,000 sites are added to the
Web each month (www.net-surfin.com/page4.htm). Rapid
expansion is not unique to the Web. Computers, a strange
word some fifty years ago, are now common household
items and integral parts of educational systems in many
countries. At the end of 1998, more than 40 percent of the
households in the United States owned computers and one-
fourth had Internet access (NTIA, 1999). In October 1999,
90 percent of all Canadian schools were online; four out of
ten students had used e-mail during the previous school year;
and 30 percent had designed their own web sites
(www.nua.ie/surveys). Scholars, journalists and practitioners
reacted to the rapid development of the new information and
communication technologies (ICTs) with high expectations
and equally great concerns. All recognize the technology’s
potential to overcome geographical and cultural barriers and
bring needed improvement to people’s lives all over the
world. At the same time, fears have mounted that this
potential is not being tapped. Instead of fostering a new
equilibrium among countries, the ICT revolution may be
widening the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots,”
and creating a divide that may prove extremely difficult to
close.

Who is benefiting from the ICT
Who is benefiting from the ICT
Who is benefiting from the ICT

Who is benefiting from the ICT
Revolution?
Revolution?
Revolution?

Revolution?

The Industrial Revolution divided the world into two large
blocks. While the industrialized countries amassed
significant wealth and power, those countries that were
unable to change their pre-industrial forms of production
experienced mounting economic and social problems.
Starting in the industrialized countries, the ICT revolution
seems to be perpetuating this divide. In 1998, 88 percent of
all Internet users lived in industrialized countries, home to 15
percent of the world’s population, while South Asia, with

one-fifth of the world’s population, had less than one percent
of the users. The United Kingdom alone had 10.5 million
Internet users, compared to one million in the whole African
continent (Black, 1999). In 1994, when the Web started to
spread through the world, the average telephone density in
industrialized countries was 52.3 per 100 habitants,
compared to 5.2 in developing countries (Mike Holderness,
in Loader, 1998). Even at accelerated rates of investment,
the fastest growing economies of Asia, South America and
Eastern Europe may need two decades or more to reach the
telephone penetration rates of the industrialized countries.
For the slower-growing economies, it may take a century or
more (Credé & Mansell, 1998). The information
“superhighway” in the poorest countries, writes Trevor
Haywood, “is more often than not a long and tortuous dirt-
track miles from a made-up road which itself is miles from
the nearest medical centre or school.” (in Loader, 1998, p.
24)

This digital divide exists not only between nations, but also
within individual countries. A recent study on the
telecommunications and information technology gap in the
United States shows that computer ownership and Internet
access are strongly correlated with income and education.
Households with annual incomes of $75,000 and higher are
about nine times more likely to have a computer at home and
twenty times more likely to have access to the Internet than
households at the lowest income levels. Although access to
electronic resources has been steadily increasing in all social
strata in America, the differences are also increasing. For
instance, between 1997 and 1998, the digital divide between
individuals at the highest and lowest education levels
increased 25 percent and between those at the highest and
lowest income levels increased 29 percent (NTIA, 1999).

Besides income and education, variables that influence the
divide include geographic location, race and ethnicity.
Regardless of income, U.S. families living in rural areas are
less likely to have Internet access when compared to families
living in urban areas. Similarly, Blacks and Latino
households are approximately one-third as likely to have
home Internet access compared to Asian/Pacific Islander
households and two-fifths as likely as White households
(NTIA, 1999). A telephone survey with 5,813 randomly

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selected households found that Whites are more likely to
own a home computer compared to Blacks, even when
controlling for differences in education. Only at the top
income levels, the racial differences disappear. At the top
income levels, Blacks are more likely to use computers and
graduate from college than Whites (Novak & Hoffman,
1998). Larry Irving, U.S. Assistant Secretary for
Communications and Information, calls the digital divide
“one of America’s leading economic and civil rights issues”
(NTIA, 1999).

If access to computers and the Internet is not equally
distributed in a country as wealthy as the United States, what
does that say about developing countries, many of which are
struggling to meet the survival needs of their populations?
Africa, a continent with a population of approximately 740
million, has 14 million phone lines, 80 percent of them in
only six countries (Black, 1999). Without telephone access,
the Internet becomes a distant dream. Even when the
infrastructure exists, access may not be economically viable.
In India, for instance, where the average annual income is
approximately US$140, it may cost US$ 1,600 to buy a
personal computer with Internet connection. In addition,
phone bills costs may exceed US$ 200 per year (Noronha,
1999). In 1995, Ghana, with 17 million inhabitants, had 140
Internet subscribers, who paid an average annual subscription
charge of US$1,300, the equivalent to a journalist’s salary
(Credé & Mansell, 1998). Access is also hampered by
language barriers. Four-fifths of the Web sites are in
English, a language understood by only one in ten people on
the planet, observes Jane Black in a special report for BBC
News Online. Large segments of the developing countries’
populations are illiterate, even in their own language (or
languages). In Benin, for instance, more than 80 percent of
the population speaks one of the 71 local dialects, 60 percent
are illiterate, and only 19 percent can speak and read in
French, the official language. (Black, 1999).

Why is it so important to em-
Why is it so important to em-
Why is it so important to em-

Why is it so important to em-
brace the digital revolution?
brace the digital revolution?
brace the digital revolution?

brace the digital revolution?

In this new information society, raw material and cheap labor
can no longer sustain economies (indeed, they have not
sustained economies for more than a century, as attested by
the industrial divide). ICTs were instrumental to the creation
of a flexible economy where production can be located at any
point of the globe. Knowledge, rather than labor, is the key
element for sustainable development in this global economy.
By enabling fast and low-cost collection, processing and
dissemination of information, the new technologies have
become essential to economic growth. ICTs also promote
international cooperation and provide powerful tools for
research and development (Loader, 1998; Krogt, 1999). The
Africa Real Time Environmental Monitoring Information
Systems (ARTEMIS) is a good example of the use of ICT to

fight one of the greatest problems in Africa, famine. An
international project supported by the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO), ARTEMIS uses satellites and near
infrared sensors to detect photosynthetic activity taking place
within a particular area. With this information, researchers
can identify levels of vegetation in different areas and
provide early warnings of potential areas of famine. In
Ghana, satellite-gathered information on types of soil and
human occupation is being combined with data on malaria
prevalence and intensity to examine variations in malaria
transmission. This information is instrumental to more
efficient health education and planning for disease
eradication (Credé & Mansell, 1998). Education is another
area where the new technologies are proving essential,
particularly in bridging a shortage of personnel and
connecting scattered populations (for in-depth discussions on
this topic, please refer to the previous issues of
TechKnowLogia).

Is there no hope for those on
Is there no hope for those on
Is there no hope for those on

Is there no hope for those on
the other side of the divide?
the other side of the divide?
the other side of the divide?

the other side of the divide?

In contrast to previous technologies, ICTs have the ability of
developing at a very fast pace while bringing costs down, a
characteristic that may prove essential for developing
countries. For instance, the more the telecommunication
infrastructure spreads and the number of users increases, the
lower the investment costs and service fees, which enables
the further expansion of services, increased numbers of users,
and still lower costs. From 1995 to 1997, the UN
Commission on Science and Technology for Development
organized a working group to study the impact of ICTs in
developed and developing countries. Although recognizing
the seriousness of the divide, the group found signs that even
poorer countries are benefiting from the digital revolution.
Some of the group’s observations include the following:
(Credé & Mansell, 1998):

!

A wave of privatization in the telecommunication
sector across the globe has stimulated competition
at both national and international levels

!

The significant expansion of the market for ICT
services and equipment in Southeast Asia is helping
the local economies and pushing technology further
ahead.

!

The opening of the Eastern European economies has
contributed to the fast expansion of the
telecommunication infrastructure and technological
growth in these countries.

!

Developing countries have been able to take
advantage of the latest technologies without having
to go through “stages of development.”

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!

Public, private, national and international efforts
that provide intellectual and financial resources for
ICT-related projects are multiplying across the
globe.

!

Creative solutions and ingenuous initiatives are
helping to overcome logistic obstacles; for instance,
the Community Telecentres Project of the National
Farmers Union in Zambia is building local ICT
centers to facilitate communication and provide
information to small-scale agriculture producers.

!

Governmental investment in capacity building, such
as those initiated by the Dominican Republic and
Colombia, ensure technology access to the
academic community, thus fostering local research
and development.

!

Many developing countries, particularly those in
Southeast Asia, have been able to exploit the
flexibility of the ICT production and become
producers themselves; for instance, South Korea is
now a leading producer of computer memory chips,
while Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan
are important suppliers of electronic products,
including personal computers.

Governments have an important role in guiding their
countries through the digital revolution. For instance, both
China and India have invested heavily in new technologies,
but under different political directives. While the process in
India has been centrally controlled, China promoted a
flexible policy that provided regional governments and
partnerships with decision authority. As a result, China has
now a digital telephone network of 55 million main lines,
while India’s network comprises less than 12 million main
lines, of which 87 percent are digital. From 1996 to 1997,
Internet usage grew by 298 percent in India and by 820
percent in China. With a population about one-fifth larger,
China had six times as many Internet hosts as India (Credé &
Mansell, 1998).

Using Krogt’s terminology, physical access to the new
technologies is not enough. It is equally important to ensure
economic and cognitive access by improving infrastructure
and services, and investing in professional development and
education. Partnerships between public and private
organizations, research centers, universities and financial
institutions are essential in accomplishing such an ambitious
agenda. The digital revolution can either bring the world to
a new era of shared wealth, or it can further a divide that is

already much too wide. Technologies are only instruments,
and as instruments, ICTs have incredible potential. It is up to
us to make them work for a better world. According to
Krogt (1999), “No actor alone has the combination of vision,
power and resources needed to guide the revolution in such a
way that it advances the general good and let's not forget that
PEOPLE make it work.”

References
References
References

References

Black, J. (1999). Information rich-information poor,
bridging the digital divide. International Institute for
Communication and Development. Available at:
http://www.iicd.org/search/show-entry.ap?entryid=39808&part=all

Bernes-Lee, T. (1999). Weaving the Web. San Francisco,
CA: Harper Collins.

Credé, A. & Mansell, R. (Eds) (1998). Knowledge societies
. . . in a nutshell: Information technology for sustainable
development. Ottawa, Canada: International Development
Research Centre and the UN Commission on Science and
Technology for Development.

Krogt, S. van der (1999). The Role of ICT in Harnessing
Sustainable Development and Knowledge-based Societies.
Keynote address at the Thirteenth Annual National
Conference on Science and Technology of the Scientific
Research Council, Kingston Jamaica. Available at:
http://www.iicd.org/search/show-entry.ap?entryid=40448.part-all

Loader, B. D. (Ed.) (1998). Cyberspace Divide: Equality,
agency and policy in the information society. London:
Routledge.

National

Telecommunications

and

Information
Administration [NTIA] (1999). Falling through the net:
Defining the digital divide. A report on the
telecommunications and information technology gap in
America. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce.
Available at: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/fttn99/fttn.pdf

Noronha, F. (1999). Indian experiment shows how slum-kids
speedily take to computers. International Institute for
Communication and Development. Available at:
http://www.iicd.org/search/show-entry.ap?entryid=4050&part=all

Novak, T.P., & Hoffman, D.L. (1998). Bridging the Digital
Divide: The impact of race on computer access and Internet
use. Project 2000, Venderbilt University. Available at:
http://ecommerce.vanderbilt.edu/papers/race/science.html

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eeee---- LLLL e c t r o n i c
e c t r o n i c
e c t r o n i c

e c t r o n i c AAAAc c e s s t o
c c e s s t o
c c e s s t o

c c e s s t o IIII n f o r ma t i o n :
n f o r ma t i o n :
n f o r ma t i o n :

n f o r ma t i o n :

A Re s e a r c h Re v i e w
A Re s e a r c h Re v i e w
A Re s e a r c h Re v i e w

A Re s e a r c h Re v i e w

By So n i a J u r i c h

Exchange of information is a phenomenon as old as
humanity. From foot couriers to electronic mail, information
exchange has gained in speed, outreach, precision and
reliability. The past fifty years have been particularly
significant for the areas of information and communication.
New technologies, such as satellites, computers, and the
Internet, are challenging our concepts of space and time, and
redefining the words “global” and “immediate.” Researchers
are trying to understand the impact of these technologies in
our lives and the ways people are reacting to them. We
present here four summaries of research that address the use
of electronic documents for information seeking and
retrieval. Reijo Savolainen, from the University of Tampere,
Finland, focuses on the use of the Internet to obtain
information in job-related and other contexts. Bridget
Booske and François Sainfort, from the University of
Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A., study the use of electronic
documents (e-documents) to obtain information in decision-
making contexts. Lee Komito, from the University College
Dublin, Ireland, uses qualitative methodology to study
employees’ preferences between e-documents and paper-
based documents. The last summary moves the focus from
the people who seek and use the information to the intrinsic
qualities of electronic information-retrieval tools. Michael
Gordon and Praveen Pathak, with the University of
Michigan-Ann Arbor, U.S.A., analyze the retrieval
effectiveness among different World Wide Web search
engines.

The role of the Internet in information seeking. Putting
the networked services in context by Reijo Savolainen.
Information Processing and Management, 35: 765-782,
1999.

Fo c u s
Fo c u s

Fo c u s

Fo c u s: Research shows that the strengths of electronic
sources as tools for information seeking are their easiness of
updating, modifying and manipulating data and the speed of
search. On the other hand, printed formats have the
advantage of being easier to transport and rooted in our daily
routines. This research focuses on whether the Internet is
replacing other media as an information-seeking tool and the
criteria for such a replacement.

Me t h o d s
Me t h o d s
Me t h o d s

Me t h o d s: The researcher conducted 23 theme interviews
with Internet users in Finland, in spring 1997. Participants
were recruited through an online paper. Reflecting the
demographics of the online population, the participants were
mostly university students and white-collar workers. The

two-hour interviews focused on the following themes: the
reasons for becoming a network user, patterns of service
utilization in the job and outside it, problems with network
usage, the role of network services in the individual’s life,
and the future role of the Internet in society. To support the
qualitative data from the interviews, the researcher used
results from a 1996 national survey of 1,080 Finn
households.

Fi n d i n g s :
Fi n d i n g s :
Fi n d i n g s :

Fi n d i n g s :

♦ At the time of the research, only 3 percent of the survey
respondents had utilized the Internet to seek practical
information.

♦ Males, low-income level participants and those with
high education levels were more likely to use the
Internet for information seeking than females, people
with high income levels, and those with low education
levels.

♦ The Internet was most frequently used for
communication (e-mail, discussion groups) than
information seeking.

♦ In the context of information seeking, participants used
the Internet mostly to “stay up to date” and monitor
daily events.

♦ Research participants cited the following criteria to
choose networked services over other media for
information seeking: easiness of accessing a huge
amount of data at low cost, savings in time and money,
the chance to consult with experts, and greater
independence of when and how to seek the information.

♦ The factors that make traditional media more attractive
than networked sources were: lack of computer or
computer skills; insufficient quality control (information
may be outdated or unreliable); technological glitches
(slow response time, frequent breakdowns); and the
chaotic nature of the Internet.

♦ Printed newspapers are still preferred to their online
versions, because: they are easier to read (participants
found it inconvenient to read long texts on the screen),
tend to have more news and more in-depth coverage of
news and, most of all, reading the newspaper is a well-
established part of the individuals’ daily routines.

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Relation between quantitative and qualitative measures
of information use, by Bridget C. Booske & François
Sainfort. International Journal of Human-Computer
Interaction
, 10 (1): 1-21, 1998.

Fo c u s
Fo c u s
Fo c u s

Fo c u s:The analysis of information use in any medium
raises issues of quantity (how much information can a person
handle?) and quality (which criteria are used to define quality
information?). Answers to these questions are essential for
improving the effectiveness of the new information and
communication technologies. The research funded by the
U.S. Health Care Financing Administration, focuses on the
use of electronic documents to obtain information in a
decision-making process.

Me t h o d s
Me t h o d s
Me t h o d s

Me t h o d s: A group of 201 individuals were offered
alternative hypothetical health care plan scenarios using a
Windows 3.1-based computer system. The sample was
randomly selected from a population of 70,000 state
employees with experience in health plan choice. The
software was programmed in Delphi as the front end to reach
Microsoft Access databases. Participants could search the
database by plan, by attribute (such as costs, services offered
etc.), or any combination of methods. The quantity of
information was arranged in levels, from general to detailed,
and participants could move easily from one level to another
and back. Researchers collected information on number of
screens visited, amount of time spent per screen, overall
amount of time spent in the search, and number of redundant
visits to the same screen. In addition, participants were
asked their reactions to the process and their satisfaction, or
frustration, with the information received.

Fi n d i n g s
Fi n d i n g s
Fi n d i n g s

Fi n d i n g s:

♦ On average, participants accessed only 20 percent of the
available information and spent no more than 45 seconds
on each screen (including redundant visits); 70 percent
of all participants considered the amount of information
about right.

♦ In general, participants who stated that there was not
enough information available had either failed to take
advantage of all the available information or were
interested in information that was not in the plan; also
participants who considered choosing a health care plan
a difficult task were more likely to state that more
information was necessary for a decision-making
process.

♦ Participants who thought that there was enough or too
much information were more likely to have a higher
percentage of redundant visits to the same screen and
have spent less time per screen.

♦ Twelve percent found the information difficult to
understand and less than 20 percent reported difficulty
using the information; older participants had more
trouble understanding and using the information than
younger participants.

Paper “work" and electronic files: defending professional
practice, by Lee Komito. Journal of Information
Technology
, 13: 235-246, 1998.

Fo c u s
Fo c u s
Fo c u s

Fo c u s: Organizations are moving toward the use of
electronically stored data over paper-based documents for
many reasons, such as reducing costs, improving safety of
data, standardizing data input and automating work. The
transition from paper to electronic documents is technically
easy, and does not alter the categories and general format of
the information. However, acceptance of e-documents is not
smooth, and the resulting systems are not as effective as it
would be expected. This research examines some of the
factors that influence people’s reaction to electronic
documents.

Me t h o d s
Me t h o d s
Me t h o d s

Me t h o d s: The research is a case study of the use of a Lotus
NOTES database within a department of the Irish Civil
Service that examines citizens’ claims for services or
benefits. The methodology included three months of
participant-observation of work practices and social
interactions in the office, tape-recorded interviews with all
staff members (thirty in all), and analysis of logs of e-mail
traffic over a two-month period.

Fi n d i n g s
Fi n d i n g s
Fi n d i n g s

Fi n d i n g s:

♦ Overall, staff expressed satisfaction with the
introduction of the new system. The staff dealing with
queries from the public reported that NOTES reduced
time in finding the status of cases, facilitated prompt
responses to the public, and made the work less
repetitive and more interesting. Staff responsible for
examining the claims stated that the workload had
increased, since they had to do all the word processing
and control, but expressed satisfaction with their greater
control of the work and improved quality.

♦ The information sharing and work collaboration features
of NOTES were rarely used and the paper file remained
as the “document record” par excellence.

♦ Staff suggested that the paper files provided a “hidden
story” of the case that was considered vital in the
decision-making process (the scribbled notes on the
margins of the document, the number of papers included
in the file and their order of inclusion, etc). This meta-
information was absent in the electronic documents;
although NOTES allowed for the inclusion of notes and
other types of information, these features were not used.

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♦ The ethnographic research showed that staff organized
and manipulated the paper file as something belonging
to them; the paper file also provided them with the
ability to control how much of the information they
wanted to share and with whom to share; they lacked
this control power in the electronic documents.

Finding information on the World Wide Web: the
retrieval effectiveness of search engines by Michael
Gordon & Praveen Pathak. Information Processing &
Management
, 35: 141-180. 1999.

Fo c u s
Fo c u s
Fo c u s

Fo c u s:The average number of pages in search engine
indexes and subject directory catalogs on the Web vary from
2 million to 100 million, with most major engines containing
between 25 and 50 million pages. Also, many search
engines employ a variety of advanced techniques that make
searching the Web different from more conventional
information retrieval activities. This research focuses on the
quality of Web search engines when used by expert searchers
to address specific research-related information needs.

Me t h o d s
Me t h o d s
Me t h o d s

Me t h o d s: Highly experienced searchers conducted queries
on eight popular search engines addressing research
questions posed by 36 faculty members. The searchers were
requested to explore the Web engines as much as possible to
respond to each faculty’s detailed research questions. The
faculty members evaluated the quantity and quality of the
documents found in relation to their initial request. The eight
engines searched were: Alta Vista, Excite, HotBot, Lycos,
Magellan, Open Text and Yahoo! (a subject directory, rather
than a search engine).

Fi n d i n g s
Fi n d i n g s
Fi n d i n g s

Fi n d i n g s:

♦ Absolute retrieval effectiveness of Web search engines
is low; in a group of ten documents returned,
approximately half of the searches returned just one
relevant document and the majority returned five or
fewer.

♦ Precision varies among engines and number of
documents retrieved; overall, Alta Vista, Open Text and
Lycos were the top performers, and Yahoo! was the
lowest.

♦ The overlapping of documents across search engines is
almost nil; 93 percent of the documents were retrieved
by a single search engine regardless of the number of
documents retrieved (only 7 percent were found in more
than one engine).

♦ Faculty receiving the best results had used highly

specific vocabulary (such as gage repeatability or
sequential analysis of variance).

Co n c l u s i o n s
Co n c l u s i o n s
Co n c l u s i o n s

Co n c l u s i o n s

The papers summarized above show that electronic
communication has yet to fulfill the promises of its
supporters, or the horrors of its detractors. It has neither
taken over the place of other media as an instrument of
information and communication, nor eliminated the need for
traditional, face-to-face contact. “Although the internet
offers a new repertoire of information sources, the changes
seem to be less dramatic, at least as far as information
seeking is concerned,” summarizes Savolainen (1999, p.
779). This is in part due to technological shortcomings, as
reflected in Gordon & Pathak’s study of Web-based search
engines. According to these authors, individual search
engines cover no more than three to 34 percent of the Web.
Meta search engines enable users to issue a single query that
is then sent to different engines. However, relevant
documents may be lost in the process of aggregating the
URLs returned into a unified list. To improve the results,
searchers must use more than one engine, and explore each
engine exhaustively. As any researcher can attest, this has
been the process used in literature reviews for a long time.
The main difference is that the Web allows us to do most of
the process from home, while the old reviews required
continuous visits to libraries and archives (what we still must
do, after exhausting the Web). As researchers start using the
Web with more frequency, the quality of engines will
probably improve, or specific research-focused engines will
appear, making the Web more research-friendly.

The human factor, though, is more problematic. In the three
studies on use of e-documents, the usefulness of e-systems
was related more to users’ characteristics, than to systems’
features. Demographic characteristics, interests and, most of
all, habit, were common variables influencing how people
evaluated the e-systems in both Savolainen’s and Booske &
Sainfort’s research. Komito’s study is an excellent example
of the complexity of human behavior. Despite all the
advantages of the electronic system, the office staff did not
change their allegiance to paper document. Technically, the
system was almost perfect, but it did not offer the one
variable that proved essential for the staff: control over
information. “If managers want to provide the benefits of
electronic systems, they must address the organizational
factors which militate against these systems,” concludes
Komito. Her conclusion is pertinent to most situations.
Technology is as good as the people who use them, says the
old cliché. To make the new technologies more efficient and
more helpful to users, we must understand and address the
factors that interfere with their use. Research is key to this
understanding.

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KOREA: Can Edutopia Become a Reality?

By Insung Jung, Ph.D.
Korea National Open University

Edutopia is “an education welfare state—a soci-
ety of open and lifelong education to allow each
and every individual equal and easy access to
education at any time and place.”

A National Strategy

In the 1990s, Korea developed and implemented the concept
of an “Edutopia,” intended to create an open and lifelong
learning society. To overcome the problems with the current
education system, which is too rigid and uniform to meet
individual students’ learning needs, a new system for the 21st
century was suggested to prepare people for the information
and globalization age.

The government’s plans and action strategies have been de-
veloped according to suggestions made by the Presidential
Commission on Education Reform since 1995. The Com-
mission, which operated from 1994 to 1998, defined the goal
of the Korean Education System in the 21st

century as an
“Edutopia,” meaning “an education welfare state—a society
of open and lifelong education to allow each and every indi-
vidual equal and easy access to education at any time and
place.” In 1997, the Commission recommended the estab-
lishment of a virtual university, a national credit bank system
and the use of advanced technologies in education as a possi-
ble means of realizing this Edutopia.

This strategic plan enjoys unanimous societal consensus; few
have even raised issues about its cost-effectiveness or effi-
ciency. There is almost universal support for the elements of
this plan, which include: establishment of an information
infrastructure by 2005, development of a multimedia data-
base, training in the use of advanced technologies, and the
use of information technologies to educate the next genera-
tion. Most importantly, there exists a national aspiration for
Korea to become a world leader in the future information
society. Newspapers echo this consensus with slogans, in-
cluding one that urges: “We fell behind in the industrial
revolution, but let us lead in the information revolution.”

Since then, the introduction of information and communica-
tion technology has been seen as a barometer of national
competitiveness and quality of life. Thus, informatization—
the process and outcome of introducing and implementing
information and communication technology in the society—
is being pursued as a national development strategy for se-
curing leadership in the world economy in the information
age of the 21st century. Due to the national efforts for infor-
matization, the PC penetration rate in 1998 rose to 20 percent
of the population, with a total of 9 million PCs supplied.
Moreover, the number of subscribers to PC online services
and Internet hosts was approximately 6 million and 3 mil-
lion, respectively. Korean newspapers recently reported that
more than 4 million Koreans were using the Internet services
in 1999 and among the Internet users, 73% were male and
27% female.

Implementation Measures

The active implementation of the above plan came with the
establishment of the independent Bureau of Educational In-
formation and Technology (BEIT) in 1996, and the Korea
Research and Information Center (KRIC) and the Korea
Multimedia Education Center (KMEC) in 1997. Using gov-
ernment funds, KRIC has established and/or linked many
digital libraries and provided information services for profes-
sionals in higher education with its own server and network
system to which all higher education institutions are now
linked. Online journal articles, research papers, academic
databases and other academic materials are provided to pro-
fessors and researchers in Korea. Membership is required,
but no individual or institutional payment is necessary for the
use of KRIC’s services at this time. They will charge mem-
bership fee later—perhaps starting next year.

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The Korea Multimedia Education Center (KMEC) supports
implementation of virtual education in primary and secon-
dary schools and provides online teacher training. Using
government funds, KMEC conducted various activities such
as researching the current use of technology in schools, im-
plementing technology initiatives in schools, developing on-
line learning materials for teachers, students and parents,
supporting schools in creating their homepages, and provid-
ing a comprehensive educational Internet service called
EduNet. KMEC’s network system is connected to a national
information superhighway—a high-speed information net-
work system throughout the nation—and operates its own
server system. In April 1999, KRIC and KMEC were united
as the Korea Education and Research Information Services.
In 1998, the government initiated the Virtual University Trial
Project (See TechKnowLogia, January/February 2000) under
which 65 higher education institutions and five private com-
panies have used advanced technologies to deliver their in-
struction and training.

Higher Education’s
Response:
Korea National Open
University (KNOU)

There have been tremendous changes in higher education to
respond to government policies in harnessing information
and communication technologies for flexible and lifelong
learning. A typical case is KNOU.

Korea National Open University (http://www.knou.ac.kr)
was founded in 1972 as a branch of the Seoul National Uni-
versity, offering a two-year junior college program to less
than 30,000 students. Initially, the purpose was to provide a
two-year college education to high school graduates who
were unable to attend a traditional university. But as the de-
mand for higher education grew and conventional colleges
and universities were unable to accommodate this demand, a
more cost-effective approach was sought resulting in the first
national distance teaching college using TV and radio broad-
casts.

KNOU intends to be a cutting-edge open university in an
effort to differentiate itself from other conventional universi-
ties in the use of advanced technologies. Major strategies
include five elements:

1. Online Database and a Multimedia Digital Library

In 1992, KNOU started an initiative to develop and imple-
ment text-based database services for its students and to pro-
vide the opportunity for two-way interaction through three
nationwide PC network systems. As a result, a database with
supplementary learning materials for more than 300 courses

(60 percent of all courses offered by KNOU) was developed.
Using the database services, students could obtain supple-
mentary learning materials for each course, updated news of
their departments and other information in the KNOU
Weekly News. Also, a PC network was added as a formal
channel for students to ask questions of their instructors and
to interact with other students. This initiative inspired other
higher education institutions to use PC networks for their
instruction as well.

As the use of the Internet has become popular in higher edu-
cation since the mid-1990s, KNOU established a multimedia
digital library system on the Web in 1997. With technical
and financial help from IBM, this new initiative digitized
KNOU’s TV and radio programs and integrated them into a
teaching and learning platform so that students could study
their courses in a multimedia format on the Web.

The digital library system has two main functions: authoring
and instructing. Using the authoring function, professors or
instructional designers can create a standardized Web-based
course, which integrates digitized KNOU TV or radio pro-
grams, graphics and text materials. The instructional func-
tion of the digital library system allows students to study
online materials on the Web. Students can access the digital
library through the Internet from any location and at any
time; they can watch KNOU’s TV or radio programs on the
Web, read supplementary notes written by the professors and
interact with their professors. All KNOU TV, radio, and
cassette programs—760 hours of video and 4,730 hours of
audio materials—were digitized in 1998 and stored in the
digital library system. KNOU will add lifelong educational
CATV programs to the digital library system this year, thus
allowing the public to access its digital library system and
take Web-based lifelong educational courses.

2. Connecting the Nation Via Videoconferencing Net-
work to Increase Interaction

In the fall of 1995, KNOU launched a project to research the
use of the information superhighway with funds from the
Ministry of Information and Communication. As a result, an
interactive videoconferencing network was introduced for
educational programs in the geographically scattered regional
and local study centers. Using this network, the project con-
nected 14 study centers, introduced interactive tutorial ses-
sions, held meetings among university members in different
places, encouraged open discussions among students, faculty
members and general citizens, and created non-degree pro-
grams such as teacher training programs using the system.
This videoconferencing system uses for transmission a com-
mercial T1 line (a digital carrier available for high-volume
voice or data traffic and for compressed video).

In 1998, more than 74 of the 288 KNOU courses which re-
quire eight-hour face-to-face sessions delivered their instruc-

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tion sessions using the videoconferencing system, saving
traveling costs for KNOU professors and honoraria for part-
time lecturers who would otherwise provide face-to-face
lectures in regional study centers. In addition, directors and
other staff of regional study centers met using the videocon-
ferencing system, thus saving traveling costs. Some profes-
sors at the main campus in Seoul delivered special tutoring
sessions to students in other provinces and provided consul-
tation via videoconferencing. Since the videoconferencing
system connects major provinces in Korea, the Ministry of
Education uses the system to deliver important messages to
the Provincial Offices of Education, or to hold seminars for
teachers all over the nation.

3. Establishing a CATV Channel to Provide Lifelong
Education

A cable TV channel for distance education, called the Open
University Network (OUN), was founded in September 1996
to promote open and lifelong education at the higher educa-
tion level. With modern digital broadcasting facilities and
about 80 staff members, OUN has been providing programs
of regular degree courses to KNOU students and lifelong
education courses to the general public to meet their needs
for higher education and retraining. About 40 percent of
OUN’s broadcasting time is allocated to lifelong education
programs for adults. This cable TV channel was exchanged
with a satellite TV channel in March 1999 in order to expand
distance education services to those who live in remote areas
where cables have not been installed. Using this satellite TV
channel, KNOU is now able to provide its lifelong educa-
tional programs to about 9 million people in the nation who
registered for the satellite TV system, without much increase
in transmission costs.

4. Joining A Consortium and Offering Web-Based
Courses to Share Resources

In February 1998, KNOU joined the Virtual University Trial
Project, initiated by the Ministry of Education. It also joined
a consortium known as the Korea Virtual University Con-
sortium (KVU), which consists of eight conventional univer-
sities and KNOU. The nine member universities of the KVU
collaborate in designing Web-based virtual courses for their
students who wish to study using the Web. KNOU provides
the faculty members of the eight other universities with con-
sulting services in the areas of instructional design, and de-
velopment and evaluation for Web-based courses; it runs
staff development training seminars, and lends its production
facilities and videoconferencing system to the other member
universities.

The KVU provided 41 Web-based virtual courses in the
spring of 1998 and 39 courses in the fall. Over 2,000 stu-
dents from the member universities took these virtual courses
in 1998; one-third were KNOU students. To develop and

deliver high-quality Internet courses to the students, an inde-
pendent virtual education team and a cyber administration
office were created. In 1999, the KVU will develop several
lifelong, non-degree virtual education programs for adults
who are not students of the member universities.

5. Establishing an Integrated Web-Based Support Sys-
tem to Improve Student Services

KNOU has used a computerized management system since
1985 to support its administration and student services. In
1997, KNOU launched a self-financed project to upgrade the
existing system and build an integrated Web-based support
system to provide effective administrative and instructional
services to university staff and students. The system in-
cluded databases of profiles and, records of students and
staff, credit files, curriculum logs and syllabi, and other ad-
ministrative and educational records. Using the system,
which also is linked to the database of online learning mate-
rials and library services, students may review their grades,
apply for a transcript or certificate, download course materi-
als, reserve books or articles in the library, and meet online
counselors for academic or psychological help. University
staff may use the system to receive relevant information for
their work and to communicate with each other.

Conclusion

One of the important lessons from the Korean experience is
the need for an integrated network system linking the educa-
tional computer network to the national information super-
highway. In most countries, the Ministry of Education is
responsible for building an educational computer network
system, and the Ministry of Information and Communication
is charged with establishing the national information super-
highway. The failure of these two ministries to collaborate
may result in a disconnect between the educational network
and the national information infrastructure, or a slower speed
or high costs in the Internet connections.

On the other hand, an integrated network system would pro-
vide learning environments in classrooms, homes and work-
places where multimedia materials are used, and remote
learners and schools would not be excluded by technical
limitations. The government should develop a vision for an
integrated network system that addresses both the network
infrastructure needs of a society and the education use of a
national information superhighway.

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By Rafael Chargel

Open-source is the term used to designated software that is
publicly available in source code form, rather than as final
product. By making the source code public, the software
developer enables other programmers to modify and expand
the original product. Indeed, some developers even offer
bonuses for people who will improve and redistribute their
software. Open-source software is generally copyrighted and
its license may include notices of authorship and restrictions
to preserve the open-source status and control development.
In contrast to commercial licenses, open-source licenses do
not restrict the use, modification and redistribution of the
product.1

The use of open-source software is more prevalent than usu-
ally thought. According to David Niemi, only a small pro-
portion of software development is geared toward commer-
cial use. The vast majority represents software developed for
internal uses of both public and private organizations and
many of these have open-source licenses. Some open-source
products eventually become commercial, while commercially
developed software may become open-source. Netscape, for
instance, decided to go open-source with its Navigator 5.0
browser, although it is using a license that entails more con-
trol of the development and the trademarks than usual open-
source licenses. Many of the most fundamental software
running the Internet are developed as open-sources, includ-
ing: Apache, a program that powers more web services than
Microsoft and Netscape together; InterNet News (INN),
which handles the majority of Usenet News on the Internet
and in many corporate Intranets; and WU-FTPD, the most
popular File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server on the Internet.

Best Known Examples

Probably, the two better known examples of open-source
software are UNIX and Linux. UNIX is an operating system
initially developed by University of California, Berkeley,
under the BSD license (a license that requires notice of copy-
right and authorship). Most commercial versions of the pro-
gram are based directly on the original source code or borrow
heavily from it. Linux, the most popular non-Microsoft op-
erating system, was originally created in 1991 as a school
project by Linus Torvalds, then an undergraduate student in
Finland. The system has had the contribution of thousands
of independent programmers around the world and many for-
profit companies. It is under the General Public License
(GPL), which forbids restrictions on derived or redistributed
products. Linux can support diverse platforms, from the
smallest Palm Pilots to supercomputing clusters of 64-bit

Digital Alphas.2

Eric Raymond, a developer of much open-
source software, refers to the successful development of Li-
nux as a "great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and ap-
proaches . . . out of which a coherent and stable system could
seemingly emerge only by a succession of miracles."3

Free-For-All?

Although the bazaar image fits well the open-source commu-
nity, far from being a free-for-all environment, the commu-
nity obeys a set of shared rules and regulations that protects
ownership, while ensuring public access. These non-written
rules define who can modify the software and in which con-
ditions, how it can be redistributed and by whom, and how
transfer of control can occur. Public legitimacy is an essen-
tial value of this community. In an environment where co-
operation is a required condition for success, prestige is both
a personal reward and a guarantee of further cooperation.
For the open-source community, the concept of personal
property, as the exclusive right of use and disposition of a
good, is replaced by a system of prestige, honor and respect
that is closer to the values of tribal societies than to the ex-
pected rewards of capitalism. Indeed, Raymond compares
the notions of property in open-source software to the Eng-
lish laws of land tenure.4

By changing the rules that govern
private property, an essential element of capitalist societies,
the open-source community may have initiated a social
movement of unsuspected consequences. However, the
open-source community is already divided between two
groups: those who argue that any commercialization of open-
source products violates the very principles of the movement,
and those who are flexible about commercialization of the
software.

The Rationale

Why did a company like Netscape move into the open-source
realm? In part, it may be trying to reach a new sector of the
public, specifically those with expertise in programming. In
part, though, this move may reflect a wise cost-saving meas-
ure. By opening the source code of a software to the public,
companies ensure a better product without investing large
amounts of money in staff and development time. This also
provides a more efficient way for other companies to develop
software that uses an open-source platform, because they
have easy access to the source code. Open-source organiza-
tions can create profit through support services, such as in-
stalling and adapting the product to individual customer
needs and providing technical support. For skilled consum-

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ers, access to the source code enables them to have a product
that they can adapt to their needs, independent from the pro-
ducer's sustainability. Since open-source software are sub-
mitted to massive independent peer review for code and de-
sign, they are generally more reliable and of better quality
than commercial products, where the pressure to put the
product in the market generally curtails the review process.
Raymond also observes that the lack of authority that perme-
ates the open-source community favors a synergistic dia-
logue that is not possible in commercial environments, which
tend to be characterized by relationships of power. This
open dialogue promotes a better scrutiny of design flaws and
a greater variety of corrective solutions.

Limitations

One of the most important limits for the expansion of open-
source software is the platform requirement. The majority of
this type of software is written for non-Window systems,
mostly UNIX and Linux. Microsoft's control of the PC mar-
ket imposes significant limitations on other operating sys-
tems but, although small, the number of Linux users is
growing rapidly. Some open-source developers are also en-
tering the Microsoft realm and are using Windows NT as a
secondary target. Another important limitation is the fact
that open-source software requires a high level of technical
expertise for its use and maintenance. If technical glitches
appear, the user has no vendor to ask for support, although
many open-source organizations offer some type of technical
assistance. In view of the general lack of quality of the tech-
nical support offered by commercial organizations, this
limitation may not be so severe. A 1997 survey conducted
by InfoWorld appointed the Linux user community the "Best
Technical Support" of the year. In addition, there are com-
panies specialized in providing technical support for open-
source software users. The superior quality of open-source
software, the possibility of customization, and the availabil-
ity of reliable support, make it an enticing option for small
and large businesses. According to David Niemi, "it is diffi-
cult to quantify the overall impact or even usage of open-
source software, but it is clear that both are widespread and
greatly underestimated by the general public."

Potential For Developing Countries

For developing countries, the open-source movement has the
potential to curtail some obstacles toward full use of com-
puter-related technologies. Two of these obstacles are the

cost of software and the value of royalty fees. The vast ma-
jority of commercial software comes from the United States
and other developed countries with high-powered currencies.
Such software arrives in developing countries at inflated
prices. In addition, the payment of royalties is a source of
economic drainage and political contention. Open-source
software is obtained at no purchase cost and does not require
royalty payments. They are more readily adaptable to the
technological conditions and needs of the different countries
than commercial software. They also do not have the re-
strictions on reduplication common to commercial software.
For instance, rather than buying one packaged software for
each of their computers, a group of small business owners in
Burundi can hire a skilled programmer to configure an open-
source material to their specific needs and reduplicate the
product to be installed in all their computers. In the end,
they have a better service for less cost and without infringing
on national or international laws. The programmer will not
be isolated in this endeavor. He (or she) can rely on the
open-source community to ask questions and share discov-
eries and concerns. More important, this process stimulates
the expansion of local skilled workforces by creating more
jobs and increasing training opportunities. The situation is
advantageous for all those involved.

Many developing countries have skilled programmers, and
the United States has been importing them for a few years.
For these countries, the costs of software and hardware,
rather than the lack of skillful workforces, are the main barri-
ers to the expansion of computer-related technologies. The
open-source movement has the potential to break some of
these barriers and contribute to a more democratic distribu-
tion of the technological wealth.

An Internet Societal Task Force (ISTF) is organizing a
working group to study the use of open source software as a
way to facilitate Internet access for developing countries and
economically disadvantaged people within developed coun-
tries. The group plans to establish a clearinghouse of infor-
mation about open source software, and work with local gov-
ernments, international organizations, community activists
and private companies to promote the development and use
of open source material (for more information see Ngenge,
Wawa. Open Source Software as a Tool for Development,
18/01/2000, at www.iicd.org/search/show-entry.ap?entryid=4127)

1. For more information on this topic, see Software for Public Interest, http://www.delian.org and the Open Source Definition,
http://www.opensource.org/osd.html.
2. An in-depth and clear review of open source software can be found in David Niemi (1998), Open-Source Software: What is it? Why use
it? And what's gotten into Netscape? at http://www.tux.org/~niemi/opensource/customer-case.html .
3. Eric S. Raymond (1998), The Cathedral and the Bazaar, at http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar .
4. Eric S. Raymond, Homesteading the Noosphere. This book has a thorough discussion of the rules that regulate the open-source movement
and how these rules are maintained in place. The book is the second in a trilogy that starts with The Cathedral and the Bazaar and ends with
The Magic Cauldron. These and others of his writings can be found at http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/writings .

! 53 ! TechKnowLogia, March/April, 2000 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

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Upcoming Events: Conferences, Seminars, Exhibits, etc….

MARCH 27-29, 2000

Launching & Creating Learning Portals: The Next
Wave in Web-Based Distance Learning

Chicago, Illinois, USA
http://www.iqpc.com/0320/0320learningportal.htm

This conference explores using web technology to deliver
training and information across an organization and establish,
refine and implement effective learning environments using
portal technology. It will demonstrate how to develop a
learning portal for: optimizing corporate knowledge and
learning; building and managing a granular knowledge base;
collecting, filtering and disseminating corporate knowledge
through a central site; creating an enticing learning
environment; empowering subject matter experts to create
learning modules; and identifying the bottom line impact of
implementing a corporate learning portal. It will feature
what Cisco Systems, Inc., Charles Schwab, Lotus
Development Corporation, and other industry leaders are
doing to leverage today's portal technology to deliver
training and manage organizational learning.

APRIL 12 - 14, 2000

Fifth Annual Teaching in the Community Colleges
Online Conference

Theme: "A Virtual Odyssey: What's Ahead for New
Technologies in Learning?"
http://leahi.kcc.hawaii.edu/org/tcon2000

Registration provides full access to all online conference
activities, including keynote presentations, conference
papers, email announcements, discussion forums, virtual
tours, pre- and post-conference activities, etc. This is a great
conference with a wealth of original research and opinion
pieces for teaching practitioners.

MAY 3-6, 2000

Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for
Distance Education (CADE)

Université Laval - Quebec City, Canada
http://www.ulaval.ca/aced2000cade/index.html

The Conference will address some of the following
questions: Keeping IT Learner Centered: Is It Possible?
Explore the many facets of the following questions: How to
take advantage of the potential of IT in distance education?
The information highway - a training or information tool?
Where does the learner stand in the new learning
environments? The Internet and the Web - tools for
learning... and for teaching? This conference will be of
interest to educators and support staff in high schools,
colleges, technical institutes and universities who want to
learn how to keep IT learner centered.

MAY 24 - 27, 2000

WEM - The World Education Market

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
http://www.wemex.com

WEM was created to open up opportunities for business
expansion and relationship-building on a global stage. Top-
level executives, decision-makers, international buyers and
industry leaders will buy and sell educational resources,
systems and expertise, to build partnerships and to create
solutions to the educational challenges of the new
millennium. National Pavilions will be present from Canada
(Industry Canada, Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade), France (Agence EduFrance, CFME-
ACTIM), and the United Kingdom (British Educational
Suppliers Association) and more are being developed for
Argentina, Chile, China, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands,
Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan and Thailand,
among others. The WEM Conference Program will be
addressing major issues impacting the world of education
today, as well as providing practical workshops on adapting
content to reflect local needs and circumstances, and
information on how to sell, buy and produce materials in the
international marketplace.

JUNE 26-JULY 1, 2000

ED-MEDIA 2000: World Conference on Educational
Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

! 54 ! TechKnowLogia, March/April, 2000 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

www.TechKnowLogia.org

http://www.aace.org/conf/edmedia

ED-MEDIA 2000--World Conference on Educational
Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications is an
international conference organized by the Association for the
Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). This
annual conference serves as a multi-disciplinary forum for
the discussion and exchange of information on the research,
development, and applications on all topics related to
multimedia/hypermedia and distance education. ED-MEDIA,
the premiere international conference in the field, spans all
disciplines and levels of education and attracts more than
1,200 attendees from over 50 countries.

AUGUST 2 - 4, 2000

16th

Annual Conference on Distance Learning &

Teaching

University of Wisconsin - Madison, Wisconsin, USA
http://www.uwex.edu/disted/conference/

The conference features keynotes and more than 125
workshops, roundtables, and information sessions that
examine critical success factors in using technology,
including: Best practices for effective applications; Practical
planning guidelines; Successful teaching methods and course
designs; Techniques for faculty development and learner
support; Innovative approaches, solutions, and research
findings; The new distance learning marketplace; and The
future of online learning. The estimated cost to register for
the conference is $295 and includes program materials,
proceedings, box lunches, breaks, and receptions. A booklet
with all sessions and registration information will be
available in May 2000. Call 608-265-4159 to be added to the
conference mailing list. An electronic version of the brochure
will be accessible at the web address listed above.

SEPTEMBER 23-25, 2000

The 28th Research Conference on Communication,
Information and Internet Policy

Alexandria, Virginia, USA
http://www.tprc.org/

The purpose of the conference is to acquaint policy makers
with the best of recent research and to familiarize researchers
with the knowledge needs of policy makers. The conference
is hosted by Telecommunications Policy Research
Conference (TPRC), a nonprofit organization and an annual

forum for scholars engaged in publishable research on
policy-relevant telecommunications and information issues,
and for public- and private-sector decision makers engaged
in telecommunications and information policy. TPRC is now
soliciting proposals for papers for presentation at its 2000
conference. Proposals should be based on current theoretical
and/or empirical research relevant to the making of
communication and information policy, and may be from any
disciplinary perspective. TPRC welcomes national,
international, or comparative studies. For subject areas and
more information, refer to the web address listed above.

OCT 18-21, 2000

New Approaches in Higher Education: The University
College Conference

Bermuda College, Bermuda
http://www.bercol.bm/w/events/ucmainpage.html

Explore the University College model for Bermuda in the
21st century. A group of thinkers, practitioners,
administrators and politicians from around the world have
been invited to meet in Bermuda, to share information and
document what is happening with this tertiary education
model around the world. Of particular interest is how the
University College Model relates to distance education and
small island states.

OCT. 30-NOV. 4, 2000

WebNet 2000: World Conference on the WWW and
Internet

San Antonio, Texas, USA
http://www.aace.org/conf/webnet/

WebNet 2000 -- World Conference on the WWW and
Internet is an international conference organized by the
Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education
(AACE) and co-sponsored by the WebNet Journal - Internet
Technologies, Applications & Issues. This annual conference
serves as a multi-disciplinary forum for the exchange of
information on research, development, and applications of all
topics related to the Web. This encompasses the use,
applications and societal and legal aspects of the Internet in
its broadest sense. WebNet 2000 will be of interest to all
who plan to use the Internet to access information,
communicate or conduct transactions or, who are developing
applications for the Internet, including the WWW, Intranets,
and Extranets.

To advertise your conferences, seminars, exhibits, and training courses,

go to the "How to Advertise" section on the TechKnowLogia home page, found at:
www.techknowlogia.org.

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ADVERTISEMENT

CROSSROADSOFTHE

NEWMILLENNIUM

LEARNINGATTHECROSSROADS•CULTUREATTHECROSSROADS•QUALITYATTHECROSSROADS

FEATURINGINTERNATONAL SPEAKERSFROM OVER20 COUNTRIES

Dr. Paul A. Elsner
Chancellor Emeritus
Maricopa Community Colleges, USA

Dr. John Hinchcliff
Vice Chancellor
Auckland University of Technology
New Zealand

Dr. Geraldine Kenney-Wallace
Managine Director and Vice Chancellor
Virtual University
British Aerospace plc, UK

Dr. Jethro Newton
Head, Academic Office
North East Wales Institute of
Higher Education, UK

Baroness Pauline Perry
President
Lucy Cavendish College
Cambridge University, UK

Dr. Jerry W. Wright Jr.
Senior Trade Policy Advisor
USAgency for International Development, USA

HE Mohammad Ali Al Abbar
Director, Economic Development
Dubai Department of Economy, UAE

WHO The Higher Colleges of Technology, United Arab Emirates • WHAT Conference on Technological
Education and National Development • WHEN 8 to 10 April 2000 • WHERE Abu Dhabi Inter-Continental Hotel

For further details and registration, please contact:
"The TEND Organisers"
Higher Colleges of Technology, P.O. Box: 25026, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Tel: 971 2 320331, Fax: 971 2 321787
Email: tend@hct.ac.ae
Visit our homepage http://crm.hct.ac.ae

!!!! 56 !!!! TechKnowLogia, March/April, 2000 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

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A Phone is a Phone is a Phone?

…Well, Not Really!

By Sandra Semaan

According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry
Association, in 1999 there were 200 million wireless sub-
scribers worldwide and in 2005 it is projected that there
will be 1 billion wireless subscribers worldwide. That is to
say that there are now over 200 million people using mo-
bile communications in one way or another. Mobile tele-
phones have come a long way since the days of the "port-
able" 20-pound suitcase.

What are the Types of Wireless
What are the Types of Wireless
What are the Types of Wireless

What are the Types of Wireless
Tec
Tec
Tec

Techhhhnologies?
nologies?
nologies?

nologies?

The earliest mobile phones used analog technology - sig-
nals that transmitted at low frequencies where call quality
was bad. Calls were not very secure and service was ex-
pensive. Today, more and more mobile phones are using
digital technology. Calls are clearer, more services and
security are supported, and while phones are usually more
expensive than analog phones, digital services tend to be
cheaper. The digital network works on two frequencies:
digital cellular functions on the lower 900-MHz frequency;
and digital PCS functions on the higher 1900-MHz fre-
quency.

Three of the digital standards used are: CDMA, GSM, and
TDMA. (http://aol.pcwebopedia.com/TERM/T/TDMA.html) A
dual-mode phone works on both the analog network and
the digital network. A tri-mode phone works on analog,
digital cellular, and digital PCS. A dual-band phone
works on both the high and low frequency bands.

The words "mobile" phone and "cellular" phone are used
interchangeably because mobile computing uses cellular
technology. Cellular usually refers to communications
systems that divide a geographic region into sections
called cells. The purpose of this system is to make the
most use out of a limited number of transmission frequen-
cies. In cellular technology, each connection requires its
own dedicated frequency and the total number of available
frequencies is about 1,000. In order to support more than
that amount of simultaneous connections, cellular systems

allocate a set number of frequencies for each cell. So then
two cells can use the same frequency for different conver-
sations as long as they are not adjacent to each other.
(http://aol.pcwebopedia.com/TERM/c/cellular.html)

While cellular technology is still used, there are newer and
more improved technologies than analog, such as GSM
and CDMA. More recently, non-cellular technology is
being developed using satellite communications.

GSM

Short for Global System for Mobile Communications,
GSM is one of the leading digital cellular systems. GSM
uses narrow band TDMA. TDMA stands for Time Divi-
sion Multiple Access which is a technology for delivering
digital wireless service using time-division multiplexing
(TDM). TDMA works by dividing a radio frequency into
time slots and then allocating slots to multiple calls. In this
way, a single frequency can support multiple, simultaneous
data channels. GSM was first introduced in 1991. As of the
end of 1997, GSM service was available in more than 100
countries and has become the de facto standard in Europe
and Asia. (http://aol.pcwebopedia.com/TERM/G/GSM.html)

CDMA

CDMA is short for Code-Division Multiple Access, a
digital cellular technology that uses spread-spectrum tech-
niques. Unlike GSM, that uses TDM, CDMA does not
assign a specific frequency to each user. Instead, every
channel uses the full available spectrum. Individual con-
versations are encoded with a pseudo-random digital se-
quence. CDMA is a military technology first used during
World War II by the English allies to foil German attempts
at jamming transmissions. The allies decided to transmit
over several frequencies, instead of one, making it difficult
for the Germans to pick up the complete signal.
(http://aol.pcwebopedia.com/TERM/C/CDMA.html)

PCS

PCS is Personal Communications Service, the U.S. Fed-
eral Communications Commission (FCC) term used to

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www.TechKnowLogia.org

describe a set of digital cellular technologies being de-
ployed in the U.S. PCS includes CDMA, GSM, and North
American TDMA. PCS systems are completely digital and
they operate at the 1900 MHz frequency range.
(http://aol.pcwebopedia.com/TERM/P/PCS.html)

SATELLITE

Outside of the realm of cellular technology is satellite
communications. Using this technology in mobile tele-
phones will bring low-cost, high-quality communications
to more regions of the world where wire line telephone or
even cellular telephone coverage is weak. Satellite tech-
nology will similarly be of significant use to anyone out-
side cellular coverage areas and in rural areas.

What can Mobile Phones Do?
What can Mobile Phones Do?
What can Mobile Phones Do?

What can Mobile Phones Do?

In the old days, mobile phones were a luxury - only those
of us who could afford to have one. The technology wasn't
that great and costs were exorbitant. Perhaps we made a
call here and there in case of emergency or a very urgent
business call, but whatever the case, we savored those
times when we could use our mobile phones.

Things have changed. Nowadays in most developed coun-
tries, just about everybody is carrying one and sometimes
two, including the kids. The phones are getting smaller and
the services getting less expensive. Developing countries
are leapfrogging into the 21st

century and increasing their

access to information by using mobile telephones.

However, the traditional idea about what phones are for
has gone by the wayside, replaced by products and serv-
ices we wouldn't have dreamt about a few short years ago.
Wireless data is the latest phenomenon and is driving the
next generation of growth in wireless communications. As
demand for 24-hour access to people and information in-
creases, the lines between voice and data communications
is blurring. The last generation of mobile phones provided
voice communications services; you could make a phone
call, leave a voice mail message, receive a call while on a
call, receive a page on your phone and perhaps receive a
text message.

On top of these voice communications services, today's
data communications services include: wireless faxing,
wireless connection, wireless email, wireless Internet,
short messaging services, location-based services and a
host of other things.

Mobile phones today are practically computers in your
pocket. The displays are larger, they utilize power saving
techniques to conserve battery life, include security fea-
tures and have enhanced basic services. You can receive
numeric and text pages and email messages. You will soon
be able to send live, instant messages to your friends and
colleagues as well. You can see the number of who is

calling you and if they are in your address book, you can
see their name as well. The phones will recall most recent
incoming and outgoing calls and tell you if you have
missed a call.

Mobile phones are personal digital assistants (PDAs). The
address book keeps track of names, addresses, phone num-
bers, email and website addresses as well as other infor-
mation about your personal and business contacts. You
can make a call, send an email, open Internet sites, or
make appointments from your address book. You can
make a list of things to do and set a priority level for them.
You can perform basic operations on your built-in calcu-
lator.

With the built-in "minibrowsers", you can access the Inter-
net and check the weather, trade online, read the news,
shop, book a flight, and get directions. Some mobile
phone companies in North America use "push" technology
to send information directly to your phone based on your
personal preferences.

If you have a laptop computer and want to connect to the
Internet or send an email but don't have access to a phone
line, there is no problem. Just plug in your mobile phone
and connect to the Internet via your wireless network when
and where you choose.

Large content providers like America Online, Inc. (AOL)
and similar companies around the world will be making
their content available to mobile phone users. Whereas
AOL's content is currently available either on the Internet
or via its subscription service, soon you will be able to
access this content from your mobile phone. In Japan,
Mobilephone Communications International (MTI), touted
by Forbes magazine as the world's largest content provider
for the mobile Internet, offers over 200 services for mobile
telephones.

In addition to the services listed above, in Japan, via your
mobile phone you can: engage in digital dating via live,
recorded, or written messages; participate in interactive
talk shows and live auctions; and place an ad for an
anonymous rendezvous. Similar companies offer restau-
rant menus and theater show times via mobile telephones.

***

As is clearly evident, mobile phones are not just mobile
phones anymore. Wireless operators are differentiating
their services and increasing airtime revenues by expand-
ing data-based value-added services for their subscribers.
With the cost of receiving such services ranging between
US$60 per month to US$170 per month, it's only a matter
of time before wireless data becomes an integral part of
people's daily lives.

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This Issue offers a selection of websites
developed with the express
purpose of making access to
knowledge and information
as easy as possible. There
is something for children
as well as adults. The sites range from translation tools
to portal networks, to clearinghouses of information, to
everything in between.

International Center for Distance Learning

http://www-icdl.open.ac.uk/

International Center for Distance Learning (ICDL) is an international center for research, teaching, consultancy, information
and publishing activities. ICDL distance education databases contain information on over 31,000 distance learning programs
and courses mostly in the Commonwealth countries, over 1,000 institutions teaching at a distance worldwide, and over 11,000
abstracts of books, journal articles, research reports, conference papers, dissertations and other types of literature relating to all
aspects of the theory and practice of distance education.

Orientation.com

http://www.orientation.com

Orientation.com is the world's first global network of licensed local and regional multi-lingual Internet portal sites, offering the
most relevant country and region-specific information available on the World Wide Web. Through its partnerships with the
United Nations and other organizations focusing on sustainable economic development, Orientation.com has been instrumental
in developing Internet communities in countries outside of Western Europe and the United States. Orientation.com has also
expanded its reach through its unique licensing system, using Internet Service Providers in each country to provide locally pro-
duced, locally relevant content, while offering access to a global network, the newest technology and a worldwide audience.

Soft Power Expeditions.com

http://www.softpower.edex.co.uk/index.html

Soft Power Expeditions was developed to expand the global horizons of school children around the world by providing web
based educational adventures that transcend the barriers of culture, geography, economics and language. Children and teachers
around the world, using today's most advanced technology, and traveling teddy bears, enter the classrooms of developing
country schools and gain a unique knowledge and understanding of each other and the world in order to advance education,
foster peace and develop future trade and business relationships.

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www.TechKnowLogia.org

The European SchoolNet

http://www.en.eun.org/

The European SchoolNet is network-of-networks in Europe whose aim is to promote the use of Information and Communica-
tion Technologies (ICTs) among schools in Europe by supporting collaboration between schools, offering a broad range of
educational content and services, promoting good practice and experience, and advancing standardization processes in educa-
tion.

The Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM)

http://www.thegateway.com

You can browse keyword lists, search by terms, or access subject lists to see this site's nearly 7,000 resources. The Gateway to
Educational Materials (GEM) project is a consortium effort to provide educators with quick and easy access to the substantial,
but uncataloged, collections of educational materials found on various federal, state, university, non-profit, and commercial
Internet sites. GEM is a project of the U.S. Department of Education and is a special project of the ERIC Clearinghouse on
Information & Technology. The Gateway is a free service.

CREN, Corporation for Research and Educational Networking

http://www.cren.net/know/techtalk/

CREN offers access to the knowledge and experience of technology experts through their TechTalk facility. TechTalk events
are live audio Webcasts that provide up-to-the minute information from leading experts on relevant technology topics. Live
events are archived and transcripts indexed (a list of all the indexed topics is also available). The site includes an Event Calen-
dar that lists upcoming events for the next three months. CREN also offers Web-based Virtual Seminars that analyze TechTalk
topics in more detail using multimedia such as audio, video, animation and text. Current seminar topics include Creating Inter-
net2, Untangling the Web, and Campus Communication Strategies.

Think Quest

http://library.thinkquest.org/26451/frames.html

Think Quest is an educational web site that takes visitors on a journey of discovery through the world of communication. It is
about the development of verbal and non-verbal communication through human history and shows how developments in the
field of communication have affected our lives and how they continuously change the world in which we live. Illustrations,
photographs, and diagrams reinforce the instructional character of the site. The site also includes a quiz and a survey to en-
hance the learning experience. Think Quest is a valuable online resource not only for teachers and students but also for every-
one interested in communication.

Altavista Translations

http://babelfish.altavista.com/

Just type in English, hit the "translate" button, and your message comes up in your choice of several European languages
(Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese). You can also convert foreign documents into English.

!!!! 60 !!!! TechKnowLogia, March/April, 2000 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

www.TechKnowLogia.org

High Speed Internet Access
High Speed Internet Access
High Speed Internet Access

High Speed Internet Access

The Future for the World and the Implications for Developing countries
The Future for the World and the Implications for Developing countries
The Future for the World and the Implications for Developing countries

The Future for the World and the Implications for Developing countries1111

By Laurence Wolff

Until now nearly all home and small business connections to
the Internet have been made to permit transmission of data at
56,000 bits per second (56 KBPS). This is the limit at which
current technology permits transmission of data over normal
telephone lines (two twisted lines of copper). But comput-
ers are capable of exchanging data 200 or more times as
rapidly as the current transmission rate. While Internet users
have gotten used to this slow speed of Internet, in reality they
are at the “horse and buggy” stage of inter-connection and
data transmission. Over the next five years, in the developed
world, there will be a rapid transition to high bandwidth, or
“broadband” communications, which will permit far more
rapid communications and new applications of the computer.
With broadband, consumers will be able to combine voice,
television, and Internet communications. They may link up
with “smart” search engines providing specialized services.
Health and education services may be far more effectively
provided at the home, office and other centers. In most cases,
the Internet connection can always be on. New, as yet un-
foreseen, uses of the Internet will surely arise as speed of
transmission increases exponentially.

The economic and technical aspects of providing
“broadband” are complicated. There are at least five options.
This article summarizes the current options and costs and
notes what appears to be most feasible for developing coun-
tries.

Internet via Cable
Internet via Cable
Internet via Cable

Internet via Cable.

Currently the leading providers of
broadband in the USA are cable compa-
nies. Over 90 percent of US homes have
nearby access to cable. In order to provide
access, cable companies have deployed
fiber optics in their transmission networks, leaving the “last
mile” to the existing network of coaxial cable. The cable
company’s central facility can serve up to 1000 homes. Ca-
ble modems can provide a wide variety of services, including

TV, Internet, and telephone, with Internet access always on.
Where cable is already available, as in the US and some
European countries, the costs to the consumer are quite rea-
sonable. One provider is advertising Internet access via ca-
ble at a cost of $29.95 per month if the customer provides the
modem. For most developing countries, this option is not
realistic, since cable systems are not already installed.

Internet via Telephone
Internet via Telephone
Internet via Telephone

Internet via Telephone (DSL)
(DSL)
(DSL)

(DSL)

Copper telephone lines have been installed
in more than 600 million phone lines
worldwide. A new technology, called
“digital subscriber line” (DSL) exploits the
long dormant capacity of these lines to
handle wide band Internet. It provides a fifty-fold increase
(1.5 MBPS downstream and 0.5 MBPS upstream) speed of
data transmission. The technology requires a heavy invest-
ment in the central telephone offices, since the signal deterio-
rates beyond 5.5 kilometers of transmission over normal
telephone wires. One advantage over cable is that the signal
is not shared with other users and telephone wires are physi-
cally secure. Another advantage is that businesses generally
are not already connected to cable. DSL is also relatively
inexpensive in the US. While cable has a two-year head
start, DSL is rapidly catching up. Newspaper ads in the US
offer DSL access at $49.95 per month, which includes tele-
phone usage.

DSL technology offers wide opportunities in middle income
countries, especially in Latin America and Southeast Asia,
since with deregulation of phone provision, many of these
countries have an increasing number of telephone connec-
tions. However, most telephone companies still charge for
phone connections by the minute. DSL may remain beyond
the reach of homes, and therefore it may not pay for phone
companies to make the investment in their central telephone
offices.

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Internet via Optical Fiber
Internet via Optical Fiber
Internet via Optical Fiber

Internet via Optical Fiber

By far optical fiber provides the most rapid
transmission of Internet and other services.
The capacity of optical fiber is so enormous
that it can handle all kinds of communica-
tions simultaneously--telephone, television,
Internet, etc. Until recently the problem has been one of high
costs--currently about $1500 to install in individual homes.
This cost may go down through using "fiber to curb" tech-
nology, with the remaining 30 meters to one kilometer cov-
ered by metallic connections. In the near future, this ap-
proach will mainly be used in construction of new homes and
developments, and it does not yet appear financially feasible
in most developing countries.

Internet via Satellites
Internet via Satellites
Internet via Satellites

Internet via Satellites

A new breed of satellites employing
digital technologies may improve the
reliability, capacity, and speed of
data communications, including
Internet connections. Ultra-small
relatively inexpensive antennas will capture the signals di-
rectly. Two types of satellite systems are possible. The first,
geo-stationary satellites would orbit 36,000 kilometers above
the equator at the same speed as the earth's rotation. They
would use sophisticated signal processing to account for the
transmission delays caused by the distance the radio signals
must pass. In the second option, low earth orbit satellites
could circle the earth every two hours at altitudes of 1,500
kilometers. While they reduce the distance delays, many
more would have to be constructed. The estimated costs of
an antenna is currently $500-$1000 per installation. Speeds
would be up to 12 times faster than DSL. While satellite
costs could range from $4 billion to $10 billion, there would
be no need for wires. Despite these advantages, satellites
have up to now received scant attention. Nonetheless several
countries have announced plans to launch satellites in 2002,
and it is estimated that satellites could eventually cover 15-
20% of the world market.

Satellites will be of especial value in rural and low populated
areas of the world, as well as those areas that currently have
inadequate hard-wired telephone service. Antennas could be
set up in community centers and schools and therefore serve
entire communities, before eventually expanding to individ-
ual homes. They therefore offer a clear opportunity to help-
ing ensure that poorer countries or regions are not left behind
in the race for broadband Internet access.

Internet via Ground Based Wir
Internet via Ground Based Wir
Internet via Ground Based Wir

Internet via Ground Based Wireeee----
less Ne
less Ne
less Ne

less Nettttworks
works
works

works

The fifth and potentially least expensive means of
providing wide band Internet access is that of "lo-
cal multi-point distribution services" (LMDS).
This technology is similar to that of cell phones;
however it operates on a much wider bandwidth
than cell-phones, thus permitting data transmission
of up to 155 MBPS. A voice network can be utilized con-
currently with data transmission. The technology is limited
by "rain fade," distortions of the signal caused by raindrops
as well as wall hills and even leafy trees. One proposed so-
lution to this problem would be to provide more than one
transmitter per site.

A major advantage of LMDS is that it can be deployed
quickly and relatively inexpensively. There is no need for an
existing copper or fiber optic network. In addition, central
equipment can be moved as needed without high costs. It
therefore could be a cost-effective medium of choice in
densely populated areas, which have inadequate telephone
access.

In summary, for developing countries,

cable as well as fiber optics are not finan-
cially feasible at this time. DSL technol-
ogy over telephone lines is feasible in urban
areas of middle income countries. Wireless
systems offer the greatest opportunities since they short cir-
cuit the need for hard wiring. Satellite systems would be
especially feasible for reaching rural areas and for wide-
spread installation in schools and in community centers.
Ground based wireless networks are the most cost effective
means of providing access in urban areas. But as new tech-
nologies evolve and cost structures change, actual deploy-
ment of any and all of these alternatives could vary signifi-
cantly. But there is no doubt that high speed Internet access
will expand rapidly throughout the world, and that develop-
ing countries must move promptly to keep from falling be-
hind.

1

This article summarizes five articles on high-speed data and
Internet access, which appeared in the October 1999 issue of
Scientific American. The complete articles may be accessed
at www.scientificamerican.com.

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Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, ….Remotely?

The Internet Home

By Sandra Semaan

INTRODUCTION

In Watford, England, a house was built that looks like any
typical house you would find in any upper middle class
neighborhood in England. The home costs 500,000 UK
pounds, has five bedrooms (two with their own bath), a main
bathroom, living room, dining room, kitchen, study and coat-
room, and is one of 10 similar homes in the Brandon Gate
community. The only difference is that this home is fully
Internet enabled -- meaning that all appliances, PCs, home
entertainment devices, heating, ventilation, lighting, security
systems, and gardening functions are controlled via the
Internet and accessible from any website whether at home, in
your car, your office, or from a hotel room halfway across
the globe.

Built by Cisco, a world-wide leader in networking for the
Internet, in partnership with Liang Homes of UK, the con-
cept behind the Internet Home was to demonstrate how new
technologies are truly changing the world in which we live.
Cisco does not believe that "… the current technological
revolution will affect most parts of our
lives - we think it will affect all of them."1
In addition, the Internet Home goes to-
wards demonstrating that the Internet is
not just a web site.

The house was designed for a hypothetical
couple with three children. Besides the
house's standard features, the Internet
Home contains about 5,000 UK pounds of
network infrastructure and an additional
20,000 UK pounds of new technology. A
detailed list of what is included in the in-
frastructure can be found at:
http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/3/uk/ihome/the_home/tec
h_info.html. Most interesting is that all the technology in-
stalled in what may seem the "house of the future" can be
bought off the shelf today and will become the norm in the
very near future.

TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS

In order for this house to become a true Internet Home, Cisco
joined with technology partners to bring together all the nec-
essary products and services. Below is a listing of these

companies and what products/services they brought to the
Internet Home.

Axis Communications supplied Web cameras, including one
used to monitor the doorstep of the home and another in the
home's nursery to enable occupants to keep a watch on that
room from elsewhere in the house. Axis also supplied a
Video Server for the home to support a remote-controlled
Sony web camera.

British Telecom (BT) provided digital TV - via dishes - and
a satellite Internet service called Convergence Plus that is a
combined digital TV feed and Internet system with news,
weather, travel, business and Reuters channels, MTV2, Euro-
sport, Live Events and Music Choice Europe. It has also in-
stalled four high-speed connectivity lines along with two
complimentary cordless phones. BT will also keep the home
furnished with the latest available connectivity technology
through the life of the home.

Business with Government (BwG), through the use of a
computer system is providing knowledge on a range of gov-
ernment services and information in one
place and in a usable way.

Compaq provided all the personal com-
puters.

DVD Plus provided a DVD player and a
collection of classic movies.

First Software Virtual Town Hall (VTH)
allows people to gain access to services
through a variety of technology channels
as well as face-to-face and via post, fax or
e-mail. e-Democracy services are available to allow online
opinion sampling and voting.

Fujitsu provided flat-screen TVs offering the latest in audio-
visual technology.

Honeywell supplied a concept home automation system
named Hometronic which controls all of the heating in the
house - plus some of the lighting, small appliances and gar-
den sprinklers.

Iomart Madasafish.com, a free Internet service provider, is
providing access to games and music.

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Citizen Connect/Job Connect is a program designed by Citi-
zen Connect Limited to help individuals discover their inter-
ests, skills and learning needs, as well as looking in detail at
what kinds of jobs are available. The program offers an op-
portunity to enhance long-term employability and career op-
tions.

Motion Media offered video telephony. Their ISDN Video-
phone looks and works like an ordinary telephone and can
also make video-telephone calls, allowing you and the person
at the other end to see and speak to each other.

Perception Digital Media created a unique web interface that
provides total control of the Internet Home.

Polaris Telemetry's MicroLan system is used to control secu-
rity.

RM is a leading provider of Information and Communica-
tions Technologies to UK market. In the Internet Home,
children will be able to access the same ICT packages they
use at school - RM Living Library and RM Maths. They will
also be able to log onto the school network, accessing their
own folders as well as shared folders where they will pick up
and drop off homework assignments, access information
stored centrally or talk to teachers and other pupils. Parents
will also be able to log on to check up on what homework
their children should be doing or read their latest report.
Teachers will be able to prepare lessons at home.

Symbol Technologies is providing a Wireless Local Area
Network to cover the entire house and gardens.

Townpages is pioneering the provision of information and
website design services through the Internet, touch-screen
kiosks and other new media and supplies local and national
information on over 1,300 UK towns and cities through its
website.

WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT THE INTERNET HOME

General Features: Through a web interface designed jointly
by Perception, Honeywell, Polaris and Axis, you can adjust
lighting, heating, and household appliances inside the house
using a PC, an all-purpose wireless web pad, or remotely
over the Internet. You can also similarly monitor electricity
and gas meters to track how much energy you are using and
adjust it, if necessary. The security system can detect when
members of the family are in the house - and will sound the
alarm, for example, if the patio door is opened while every-
one is asleep. As well, this system can be set using the Inter-
net Home's web pads or PCs. Smoke detectors are also linked
to the security system and use machine intelligence to, for
example, switch off the gas mains if high levels of carbon
dioxide are detected.

If you're working late in the office or even traveling across
the globe and your child needs help with his/her homework,
with the Internet Home all the child has to do is project a
problem on his/her PC to your PC and the two of you can
solve the problem together.

What about if you're away from home, and it's getting late.
From a laptop you can draw the curtains, turn on the lights,
turn on the oven, and arm the security system.

Front Door: Do you want to know who's knocking at your
door before you let them in? The Internet Home provides a
camera next to the doorbell linked to the Total Sound audio-
visual system. You can also log into the home from your
office or anywhere with secured Internet access for three
other views of the house: from the front drive, the back of the
garden and in the nursery.

Kitchen: The coffee machine and kettle in the Internet Home
can be switched on remotely at any time, from the living
room, bedroom, or even outside the house. Your hand-held
scanner can help you keep track of the foods you use up -
and will help you put together a shopping list which you can
order online from a local grocery store. Not only that, but if
you find a recipe on the Internet, a web pad will tell you
whether or not your have the necessary ingredients, and if
not, you can order them right over the Internet.

Living Room: Relax in front of the Fujitsu flat-screen TV
with programs from Sky Digital. But if you would rather surf
the web, then you can download information over a thousand
times faster than you can with a traditional modem using the
available combined satellite TV and Internet services link
that allows you to receive data directly from space at up to 64
Mbit/s. And to access the Internet, simply switch to the
Internet channel on your TV using your remote, then use the
wireless keyboard and tracker ball to navigate as you would
with a computer.

Study: For working at home there is a standard office PC and
printer with Internet access, as well as a video -conferencing
system from Intel. Internet screen-phones allow you to also
keep in touch with your family from the study.

Garage: Cisco has included cabling and data points in the
garage in case technology is developed to enable you to plug
your car computer in and carry out motor engine diagnostics
from home.

For more information on the Internet Home, go to:
http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/3/uk/ihome/.

1

http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/3/uk/ihome/concept/

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