Fri, 22 Mar, 2019

Three Takeaways From Third IT4D, 2016

By Sushil Awale

On July 31st, third Information Technology for Development (IT4D) conference was held at Hotel Annapurna, Dubar Marg. This year’s theme for the conference was e-learning and a total of 18 papers on e-learning were presented by scholars, students, and entrepreneurs from all over Nepal. The event, which lasted the whole day, gave a detailed scenario of the present context of e-learning in Nepal, and its possible future. Here’s what we learned from the international conference: 1. E-learning is more about online content than information technology Whenever we think of e-learning, the first thing that comes to our mind is the internet. We believe that the internet is the driving force behind e-learning. But, Dr. Mahabir Pun, the keynote speaker for the event, pointed out that technology itself is not the sole factor when it comes to e-learning. In his mission to connect the rural villages of Nepal, he encountered a big hurdle. Despite connecting the people with internet in the remote villages, the lack of content directed towards these people impeded his ambitious mission. He pointed out the lack of online resource in Nepali language and acknowledged the importance of creating the content followed by information technology. 2. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) doesn’t necessarily lead towards development Information and Communication Technology is considered as one of the pillars of development. But does the presence of ICT guarantee development? One of the presenters, Dr. Devinder Thapa, senior lecturer at Lulea University of Technology, pointed out this misconception among the people that ICT leads towards development. He pointed out that there are other key factors at play when it comes to ICT and development. ICT and development are contrasting fields and we need to look at the existing problems from both ICT and development perspective in order to make them work together. 3. Information Technology - key to revolutionizing the education system in Nepal After traveling around 66 districts in Nepal, Dr. Rudra Pandey noticed three common problems in public schools – lack of infrastructure, lack of students, and ignorant teachers. In his speech at the conference, he highlighted the importance of public schools for the development of any nation. However, looking at the dismal state of public schools in Nepal, ignorance of government, and geographical challenges, ICT is the best option we have to solve the above-mentioned problems. The success and failure of education system in Nepal lie in the judicious use of ICT in e-learning. Image: IT4D