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08.06.2004 General News

GIMPA awaits Govt's decision to connect regions

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to distance learning Accra, June 8, GNA - Professor Stephen Adei, Director General of Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), on Tuesday said the GIMPA Distance Learning Centre (GIMPA DLC) was at its second phase of Global Development Learning Network process and the next step was to connect it to the regions. He said the Government's decision was being awaited to that effect, adding that, when connected its impact on the economy would be tremendous in several folds, as it would provide global linkage, enhance learning and help to reduce illiteracy and poverty. Professor Adei was speaking at the opening of the third annual general meeting of operators of African Distance Learning Centres (DLCs) in Accra. The four-day meeting attracted about 35 participants from Benin, Uganda, Egypt, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Guinea, Mauritania, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya, Namibia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, who would discuss, work on how and where they could strengthen their contribution to development. He said discussions with the World Bank staff indicated that they would like to see the African Virtual University and the Global Distance Learning network synchronised.
"For example it was absurd that GIMPA being the host to the two was being forced to run two satellite systems just because the GDLN system was being controlled from Washington, worst still the cost of the bandwidth was twice what prevails locally".
He expressed the hope that video conferencing would not be a mirage.
Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, Minister of Communication, called on operators of distance learning centres to prove the enormous development potentials that the new media of Information Communication Technology (ICT) had to encourage people to invest in the technology.
He said the operators of the centres needed to widen their coverage by developing effective and usable facilities and reaching out to all so that the problem of the digital divide that had cut some people off from reaching the global world would be bridged.
He said how to get the people to discover this potential and integrate it was the greatest challenge facing Ghana. Mr Dapaah said the ICT and distance learning programme was enhancing the learning capabilities of students and users of the technology but most schools lacked the facility.
Even where the infrastructure was provided the problem of skill professors became another challenge, so how do we open up classrooms to the global community?
Mrs Monika Weber-Fahr, Manager of World Bank GDLC Services, urged development agencies to link up with all other donors in other countries, use a web-base resource for information sharing and discussion and decision-making to realise the opportunity that the centres offered for enhancing the effectiveness of development. 08 June 04

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