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E-learning initiative for quality education launched — Nasscom, MAIT ink pact to support UN efforts

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A Global Innovation Centre would be set up in the country for showcasing, incubating and disseminating ICT technologies and tools.


E-INITIATIVE: Mr Stephen Nolan (left), Executive Director of Global e-School and Communities Initiative (GeSCI), with Mr Kiran Karnik, Nasscom President, at the launch of GeSCI India in Bangalore on Tuesday. Also seen are the Karnataka Chief Minister, Mr N. Dharam Singh, and the Ireland Prime Minister, Mr Bertie Ahern. - V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Bangalore , Jan.17

THE Irish Prime Minister, Mr Bertie Ahern, today launched the Global e-School and Communities Initiative (GeSCI), a multilateral-funded effort founded by the UN taskforce on information and communication technology (ICT).

The initiative aims at enhancing the quality of education through widespread application of ICT.

Mr Ahern stressed the importance of more public-private partnerships to ensure the success of the initiative. "Over the past few years, the two countries have come to share another common interest. Ireland has been one of the fastest growing economies in the West because of the remarkable growth and performance of its IT sector; and so has India excelled in this area - distinguishing itself as one of the undisputed leaders in software services."

Both countries dramatically illustrate the significant benefits of investing in the natural resources of the mind, he said.

The Karnataka Chief Minister, Mr N. Dharam Singh, said the initiative would contribute to the enrichment and promotion of education in the country. Stating that Karnataka had not only pioneered IT development, but was also recognised globally for its application, Mr Singh recounted the Government's initiatives through schemes such as Bhoomi, Krishi Varthavahini and registration of property documents. The Government also endeavoured to stem dropout rate in schools, he said adding that the Government had identified over 1.14 million school dropouts under the mid-day meal programme at a cost of Rs 280 crore.

The GeSCI Executive Director, Mr Stephen Nolan, signed two memoranda of understanding with the National Association of Software and Service Companies and Manufacturers' Association for Information Technology to provide for a framework for close collaboration between GeSCI and the Indian ICT industry for promoting developmental and educational goals using ICT and catalysing specific projects and programmes.

Set up in 2004, GeSCI is a catalyst at the local, national and international levels and as an overall facilitator, convening stakeholders, inducting technology and good practices for implementing comprehensive end-to-end e-schools programmes, said Mr Nolan.

Later talking to newspersons along with the Programme India Director, Ms Aruna Sundararajan, Mr Stephen said a Global Innovation Centre would be set up in the country for showcasing, incubating and disseminating ICT technologies and tools. It will be envisaged as a public-private partnership venture to inspire, catalyse and promote collaboration, nationally as well as internationally, he added.

Ms Sundararajan said GeSCI would work closely with State governments and stakeholders in identified locations for helping and adding value to e-school programmes. It will assist the Government and other partners in implementing ICT in education strategies and programmes.

The GeSCI initiative will be coterminous with the UN's Millennium Development Goals, particularly in providing education to all by 2015.

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