This is not the time to debate on such important issues but to act. Studies and assessments are good. However, they should not block the natural process of partnership in helping the poor and needy. Sharing the world resources both the developed and developing countries will prosper and it will help in reducing the knowledge gap. Increased supply of ICTs to developing countries from developed countries will be an appropriate approach towards solution to digital divide. This will ensure better access to ICTs in poor countries. For unconstrained diffusion of ICTs in developing countries, constraints preventing wider diffusion of ICTs should be critically analyzed. These constraints may vary from country to country and may be diverse in nature. At present diffusion of information technologies in developing countries is very poor and most of them are without information technologies. On the other hand developed countries have IT to dispose of. Information-rich affluent countries may donate information technologies to information-poor countries, which may remove many hurdles in bridging the digital divide. In many advanced countries PCs are being decommissioned. These PCs are worth something to poorer counties. = Dr. L. P. Rai, Scientist, National Institute of Science Technology and Development Studies,(CSIR) Dr. K. S. Krishnan Marg, New Delhi-110 012, INDIA Ph:(+91-11)5765380 Fax:(+91-11)5754640 E-mail:[EMAIL PROTECTED], [EMAIL PROTECTED] ***GKD is solely supported by EDC, a Non-Profit Organization*** To post a message, send it to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message to: [EMAIL PROTECTED]. In the 1st line of the message type: subscribe gkd OR type: unsubscribe gkd Archives of previous GKD messages can be found at: http://www.edc.org/GLG/gkd/
In a message dated 12/4/2002, Frederick Noronha [EMAIL PROTECTED] writes: 1. Has any study been done as to the impact of how long such computers actually serve in Third World locations? Are these being used effectively? Given the way hardware is made incompatible with that produced just two to three years back, aren't we fighting an uphill battle? How do we ensure computers are kept in a state of fair maintenance? I think I will always remember a discussion as I worked with a group from African Schoolnet. In some schools in Africa, basic necessities like water and electricity are so rare that bringing technology resources to students might seem to be beyond their reach. I remember talking to a delegate from Togo, who shared the story of having to pay taxes on the incoming computers, and how there was really nothing to do with them, but all the same, they used the computers to teach students how to build and learn about computers. There were several townships that I visited, which had computers, with not much for them. The computers were locked down when the teacher was not there. But SchoolNetAfrica http://www.schoolnetafrica.net/, the first African-run nonprofit organization focusing on educational technology, is doing just that. Countries are at different levels (of technology access) but they all believe that information and communication technology will help the students to be critical learners and thinkers, said Heba Ramzy, the steering committee member for Egypt. You may not know Heba. But she is a bundle of energy who is involved in several international projects for RITSEC, and other initiatives. Ramzy is one of 10 steering committee representatives from 10 African countries that governs SNA. Twenty-eight African countries participate in the program. The nonprofit is focusing on several programs that, she hopes, will build technology resources and leadership throughout the continent. Maybe we are way behind, she said. Now is the time that we have to invest in the future to prepare our kids to play a role globally. Why should anybody else plan for their future? SNA is running ThinkQuest Africa http://www.thinkquestafrica.org/, a Web design competition where students collaborate over the Internet to build an educational website. It's based on the original ThinkQuest Internet Challenge. Ramzy said that SNA also wants to build a Knowledgewarehouse of online content that would include websites developed by students and online curriculum. Also, the organization plans to identify and train leaders who can head technology initiatives in their respective countries. Access to computers and connectivity is one of the major challenges, Ramzy said, and SNA is researching different models of funding, like the e-rate in the United States, to see what is appropriate for African countries. Ramzy said the organization is also working to facilitate relationships between telecommunications companies and different countries. About one-third of schools in South Africa have computers and/or Internet access, according to Ed Gragert, director of the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN) http://www.iearn.org/, a nonprofit that also works with African schools and SNA. Connections are almost always dial-ups, which can be slow and clunky. What SchoolNetAfrica is doing is so important, said Ed Gragert. A national program by Nigeria could be applied in Angola. SchoolNetAfrica plays the role of sharing that information. And there are numerous examples of successful projects that students have completed when given access to technology. Amr Hamdy, program manager for ThinkQuest Africa, said that students who participate in the Web design competition learn communication, in addition to technology, skills. Mohamed Abdallah, a 16-year-old from Alexandria, Egypt, built a website about blood as a participant in ThinkQuest last year. I didn't know anything when I started, he said. You're working with international partners and doing something useful and fun. I have been priviledged to work in many parts of the world with some of these groups and it is remarkable what they do. There are some groups like TENS, who help. It might be good to query some of the people who create possibilities for students with technology. They have wonderful stories. Bonnie [EMAIL PROTECTED] ***GKD is solely supported by EDC, a Non-Profit Organization*** To post a message, send it to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message to: [EMAIL PROTECTED]. In the 1st line of the message type: subscribe gkd OR type: unsubscribe gkd Archives of previous GKD messages can be found at: http://www.edc.org/GLG/gkd/
I will try to give you the World Computer Exchange answer to your 5 questions. 1. I am not aware of any such used computer life time study. We are under 3 years old and East West Educational Development did not do such a study (nor has anyone related to US schools). I have heard the stories of 10th generation computers in schools in India. We (with the help of International Technologies Group at Harvard's Berkman Center) are beginning such a study of use and impact. Included in this study are all schools that have and will receive computers from WCE. Each of our partners develop a sustainable implementation plan that explains how the computers will be maintained. These are posted on our website. In many of the countries where we ship, we are helping to involve universities to have their computer science students help with computer maintenance (and their education school help with teacher training). 2 4. We ship with donated MandrakeSoft Linux and have recently heard from Sun Microsystems about a donation of StarOffice for our partners and the schools that they recruit in Latin America. After two years of requests, we have just heard from Microsoft about their willingness in Africa to let our individual and corporate donors leave the Windows OS on their computers so that the schools and centres can use it. In many of the countries where we are working we are involving a local university in the role of helping to develop, adapt, and share local content. So our schools have more and more software options. We have found that in almost all of our shipments, we have hit our target of 90% of the computers arriving in immediately working order. In a couple of cases, we have sent troubleshooters to solve some problems to get well over 90% working. In one of our early loss-leader pilots, our partners reported far less than the 90% but did not want our troubleshooters to visit. 3. Our partners and the schools that they recruit do not feel they have gotten our donated computers the easy way. They have to complete a survey, agreement letter, and an implementation plan that responds to 25 questions on transparancy, sustainability, and scalability including issues of maintenance, connectivity, and use. They have to work to find most of the funds to cover our sourcing and administrative costs as well as the direct shipping costs. The impact reported by our partners in their post-delivery reports (6 months after the container arrives) have mostly been encouraging and are posted on our website. The least expensive new computers seem to be in the area of $200 (India) for far less computer or in the area of $350 (Viet Nam) for somewhat less computer than we source for between $35 and $57.50 each computer set. Neither of these options is available in most of the countries where we deliver used, tested, and working computers. 5. We appreciate tough questions as this helps to sharpen our ability and capacity. We are working to develop a transparent, sustainable, and scalable model. We welcome your criticisms, ideas, and help. Best wishes, Timothy Anderson Frederick Noronha [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote: What is really needed is a radical review not just of how we compute, but how we consume the world's resources, and what solutions are offered to whom. Some questions: 1. Has any study been done as to the impact of how long such computers actually serve in Third World locations? Are these being used effectively? Given the way hardware is made incompatible with that produced just two to three years back, aren't we fighting an uphill battle? How do we ensure computers are kept in a state of fair maintenance? 2. What is the impact of software going the bloatware way, which makes perfectly usable computers turn to junk due to the market-driven planned-obsolence model? This is surely true of Windows, and this is also getting to be increasingly true of the major distros of GNU/Linux (Red Hat/Mandrake), where we are getting big and bigger packages, in the name of keeping up in the race. Is someone thinking about this? Apart from the RULE project in Italy, one has not heard of building, say a KDE-Lite, for us poor cousins out here. (For that matter, it would serve everyone, and make fewer computers turn to 'junk' in the first place.) 3. What is the impact on recipients in the Third World? Is there no better and more sustainable way of getting access to PCs? Are such gift-horses appreciated well, or simply abused and misused by recipients, who feel they've got the PCs in an easy way anyway? 4. Is this only a question of hardware, or are other issues like software and syllabi equally important? In India, quite some schools have Microsoft-only syllabi. What are the long-term implications of this? 5. Finally, are we willing to ask inconvenient questions, or just take the easy way out and swim with the tide? No offence meant... Just that we could go ahead if we asked the tough questions.
On Fri, Dec 06, 2002 at 11:44:25PM -0500, Matt Rose wrote: 3. What is the impact on recipients in the Third World? Is there no better and more sustainable way of getting access to PCs? Are such gift-horses appreciated well, or simply abused and misused by recipients, who feel they've got the PCs in an easy way anyway? [snip] parts are getting so cheap at wholesale prices now, that it would almost make more sense to get cheap CPUs, motherboards, and RAM, and assemble them properly at a plant in the country. I think the person (not I, unfortunately) who could build and sell a computer for under $100 US in a developing country could make a fortune, and be seen as a philanthropist at the same time. I don't think this is a pipe dream, but something that could happen tomorrow. We always think of computers as expensive, but they're just a collection of parts. These parts are fairly inexpensive if you don't want the most horsepower. I can buy a PDA with a 33Mhz processor that fits in my pocket for 99 dollars. Why can't I buy a desktop with a 33MHz processor for half that, considering that most of that $99 dollars goes into making the PDA small enough to fit in my pocket? I think that is a really interesting idea to build low cost computers from components. What I am not so sure about is whether the USD $100 or USD $200 price point is easily achievable. I remember a time when a friend forwarded me a web page that showed a Walmart PC for $200 and I was just flabbergasted. I had been considered PDAs as a platform for developing applications and one of my driving, burning motivations was - how can one reduce the cost of computerization and bring technology to many more people ? So coming from a mindset where I was looking at PDAs, comparing prices and features to get a sense of what kind of value each platform can provide, it was an eye opener to see that a full PC could reach that same price point. That means the PC is not going away anytime soon to be replaced by the PDA. Or maybe not ... How many people thought the mainframe or the minicomputer would die ? This is not to say that the mainframe really died, it is still available, still relevant to some businesses and operates in many of the markets that it used to dominate. What really happened was that the PC shipped many more units than the mainframe did and this turned the tables. I think despite problems like the lack of a keyboard, small display size and fewer features as compared to PCs, the PDA is going to exhibit the same feature. It will sell many more units than the PC, especially as its technology evolves to counter its limitations. Sure it will not be as powerful as a PC of the same time but it will get powerful enough that you won't really care. At that time, the real insight that the PDA is not about cost but about mobility and ubiquity will come and hit you like a hammer. The PDA will rule at the nexus of price, portability (that translates to convenience for the consumer) and wireless internet access (websites == mobile data from your desk, wireless PDA == mobile data from anywhere and everywhere). But as soon as you do not need portability, the PC will rule, which is why I suspect that you are focused on the optimization of cost driver factors for your niche. -- Guido Sohne[EMAIL PROTECTED] 203, BusyInternet http://sohne.net -- Fain would I climb, yet fear I to fall. -- Sir Walter Raleigh -- ***GKD is solely supported by EDC, a Non-Profit Organization*** To post a message, send it to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message to: [EMAIL PROTECTED]. In the 1st line of the message type: subscribe gkd OR type: unsubscribe gkd Archives of previous GKD messages can be found at: http://www.edc.org/GLG/gkd/