Intel Pakistan to help bridge digital divide

KARACHI, PAKISTAN – Intel Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Education under the chipmaker’s World Ahead Program to build classrooms where PCs are tools for learning rather than tools to be learnt.

The initiative entitled, ‘ICT for Education’ is intended to support the country’s goal to help its citizens become more competitive in today’s knowledge-based global economy. The program will also support the government’s drive to revamp the quality of the public school education across the country.

The memorandum begins with Intel intending to donate 4,500 computers to government schools across Pakistan over the next five years in a continued effort to enhance lives and bridge the digital divide by providing uncompromised access to technology. Intel Pakistan has already donated up to 750 PCs to government schools to date and plans are underway to donate 1,080 computers during 2008.

“We are pleased to be working with Intel on this initiative, particularly since it is an important step towards the ministry of education’s long-term goal of realizing the 1:1 e-Learning model — where each teacher and student has a computer — as the optimal model for integrating technology in the curriculum of basic education,” said Jahangir Bashar, Secretary, ministry of education.

“We recognize the value of a technology-enabled learning environment where education is student-centric, learning is collaborative and connected. Through our collaboration with companies like Intel, this vision of ours will become a reality. Apart from simply providing public schools with strong yet affordable technology platforms, Intel has also collaborated with the government in launching initiatives that bring together several key components intended to create an e-learning environment for Pakistani government school students over the long term.

These key components include Internet connectivity and also professional development programs that train teachers to apply improved learning methods and facilitate the integration of a digital curriculum as well as the development of relevant content via Intel Teach program. Through this program, training is provided to school teachers on how to use PCs and integrate technology in their teaching and school curriculum.

Altogether, these components aim to equip the next generation of Pakistanis with 21st century learning skills: technology and media literacy, effective communication, critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration.

Naila Kassim, Intel Pakistan’s World Ahead manager, said that “people in the developing world face many unique challenges, including having limited access to technology. The Intel World Ahead program is Intel’s unique mission to provide greater access to opportunities for the world’s underserved by expanding access to fully-featured yet affordable PCs that are tailored to meet real people’s needs.”

“Intel offers all the necessary elements to a holistic education initiative where not only PCs are provided, but also high-speed network connections, teachers who know how to use technology effectively, and compelling educational content,” said Ashar Zaidi, country manager, Intel Pakistan.

“We are working towards building a classroom where PCs are tools for learning, rather than tools to be learned. It’s an exciting environment that engages and stimulates students, at the same time providing them with vital skills for the future.”

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