With research showing a direct correlation between pervasive broadband and economic growth, it is imperative that African governments do more to give their citizens access to, and education on, these technologies if they are to become globally competitive and improve social conditions.
This is the view of Ferruh Gurtas, Intel corporate affairs manager for META, who says the company plays an important advisory role drawn from its global expertise to assist governments create a holistic approach and best practice models that create access to information communication technologies (ICTs).
“ICT is rapidly changing the way we live, work and communicate and, increasingly, access to global markets and information determines economic growth in a country," Gurtas says. "It is therefore critical for governments to prioritise access for their citizens and education on these technologies. The impact on their economies will be bigger than they realise.”
In an effort to assist governments to bridge this gap, particularly in African countries, Gurtas says Intel has committed to developing methodologies and training programmes that governments can add into their existing education system, as well as playing an important advisory role to ensure a holistic approach in the implementation process.
“Our educational programmes focus on improving teaching and learning through the effective use of technology, advancing math, science, engineering, research and advocating and promoting educational excellence,” says Gurtas, adding that Intel currently invests more that $100-million globally each year towards improving education in over 50 countries.
Intel has successfully assisted governments throughout Africa including Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Morocco, Namibia, Cape Verde and Kenya, as well as working with continental organisations such as NEPAD’s eAfrica Commission.
“One of our most successful projects was implemented in Ghana, where Intel developed and implemented Africa’s first WiMax connected school which was set up with a full eLearning centre, hardware, software, Internet connectivity and teacher training,” says Gurtas. “Most recently, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Rwandan Ministry of Education with the vision of training 5 000 Rwandan teachers on the effective use of technology in education within the next three years.”
He says Intel is also proactively working with governments in Rwanda, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Ghana, Zambia and Botswana to increase accessibility to technology, mainly through implementing WiMax solutions and services in these countries.
“Intel is actively involved in education today to create the innovation of tomorrow,” says Gurtas. “We believe that all people and at all levels deserve to have the skills they need to become the next generation of innovators.”