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‘Focus on use of modern tools of education’

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Stress on education: (From left) Wipro chairman Azim Premji; Union Minister for Human Resource Development Arjun Singh; Secretary (School Education and Literacy), Ministry of Human Resource Development, Champak Chatterjee; Representative and Director of UNESCO, New Delhi, Minja Yang; and Director-General of the National Literacy Mission Vandana Jena at the conference of E-9 countries on ICT in Bangalore on Thursday.
Stress on education: (From left) Wipro chairman Azim Premji; Union Minister for Human Resource Development Arjun Singh; Secretary (School Education and Literacy), Ministry of Human Resource Development, Champak Chatterjee; Representative and Director of UNESCO, New Delhi, Minja Yang; and Director-General of the National Literacy Mission Vandana Jena at the conference of E-9 countries on ICT in Bangalore on Thursday.

Special Correspondent

Three-day conference of E-9 countries on Information and Communication Technology opens

BANGALORE: The three-day conference of E-9 countries on ICT (Information and Communication Technology) opened here on Thursday.

Speakers at the inaugural session included Union Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh; Wipro chairman Azim Premji; Chief Secretary P.B. Mahishi and Representative and Director of UNESCO, New Delhi, Minja Yang.

The conference is jointly organised by the Union Government and UNESCO under the auspices of the National Literacy Mission. Those participating in the meet include Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Delivering the inaugural address, Mr. Arjun Singh said the learning skills of a child or an adult should be honed aggressively. They should be educated to use the modern tools of education.

The first National Literacy Mission was started in 1988 under the leadership of the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Since then, newer challenges had emerged.

The private sector that appeared to be technology savvy should readily participate in helping society to face the challenges, Mr. Arjun Singh said.

Outlining the Karnataka experience in using ICT in the last 50 years, Mr. Mahishi said the Madras Presidency had a literacy level of 90 per cent while the Mysore region, under the royal family, emphasised on women’s education. In the Bombay Presidency only some parts Belgaum and Dharwad were covered under the education programme, while in Nizam’s Hyderabad region it was minimal. The State Government had taken up the EDUSAT programme in Gulbarga and Chamarajanagar districts.

Over 1,600 centres had been set up for ICT-based education in both the districts. Mr. Mahishi said All India Radio still had the largest audience for ICT, and every week 12 hours of educational programmes were being broadcast on all 13 AIR stations in the State. He said from time to time motivators visited villages and updated the knowledge of people. The Government had launched new software to drive the ambitious “e-slate” programme. All these programmes were aimed at closing the gaps in the literacy levels between the various socio-economic groups.

Ms. Yang said ICT-based educational programmes would break the socio-economic barriers as the knowledge would be universalised and be available for all.

Director-General of the National Literacy Mission Vandana Jena, in her welcome address, said the mission was now looking at the ICT-based educational programmes as the most suitable option to reach education to adult illiterates.

Mr. Premji called upon educationists to promote the use of technology even at the lower levels of school education.

Secretary (School Education and Literacy), Ministry of Human Resource Development, Champak Chatterjee spoke.

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