An African initiative into research and development

The Graduate School of Telecommunications and Information Technology (GSTIT) is a new initiative by the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC), set up in order to address the skills needs within the Ethiopian economy. It will be launched with an International Symposium on “ICT education and application in developing countries” to be held in Addis Ababa on Oct. 19-21.

In efforts to promote Africa’s research and development in communications technology, Telkom’s Centre of Excellence (CoE) at Rhodes University, the new GSTIT and ICT group Business Connexion Group Ltd. (BCX) have reportedly signed a Memorandum of Understanding that is intended to pave the way for technology to boost distance education and agricultural research in Ethiopia.

Telkom SA Ltd. states that the signing took place at the eighth annual Southern African Networks and applications Conference (SATNAC) in Stellenbosch. The director of GSTIT, Dr Berhanu Nega, says participation from educators and ICT practitioners is desperately needed in order for the project to succeed.

According to Nega, the link with the Telkom CoE is motivated by Rhodes University’s experience in ICT research and its management of the CoE. The Data Network recently installed in Ethiopia by BCX is also expected to be a critical support platform for the initiative.

Rueben September, Telkom’s chief technical officer, says the Ethiopian government had engaged in an intensive project aimed at creating a national ICT system and infrastructure that will support the flow of information to all levels of the country’s economic and social structures. Primary consideration has been given to the provision of education, health and distance education, government data networks and Internet services.

“Both tertiary institutions share Telkom’s view that education can help Nepad to accelerate its efforts to use education as a catalyst to improve the lives of people on the African continent,” he says. Telkom says its CoEs are housed in tertiary education institutions as part of a Telkom-driven collaborative effort by the telecommunications industry and government to promote research in communications technology and allied social sciences.

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