The Government of Ethiopia has a national ICT policy that maps ways for leveraging ICT in priority sectors, including Education. In response to this priority, a task force was put together by Ministry of Education (MoE) to conduct a brief feasibility study to understand the current challenges and opportunities in leveraging ICTs to improve the delivery of quality education. According to the study, there were the following findings:
- Secondary & preparatory schools are currently utilizing Satellite Educational Television programs in the classroom, but this is not interactive and would require a Blended Learning approach in the form of face-to-face and computer-mediated activities via online and mobile applications;
- The capacity, usage, and management of existing ICT infrastructures are incapable to implement and handle technologies that the support Blended Learning system;
- There currently isn’t a formal, effective, and coordinated ICT-supported monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework in place that monitors the usage of ICT infrastructure in schools, and measures the effectiveness of ICT in improving the quality of education
- There is a low level of awareness to ICT as an education tool amongst teachers and students;
- Weak interventions currently exist for addressing Special Education and culturally contextualized educational needs;
- Human capacity to deploy and administer future ICT implementations on federal, regional, and school levels is very low.
However, Most of the concerns here have been addressed during the feasibility study of the cooperation project and all concerns including the ICT policy issues will be solved as part of other components of the project.
It is also the case that the Government of Ethiopia (GOE) has placed poverty alleviation on the top of its development agenda and is determined to make use of ICTs as a tool in its fight against poverty.
As part of its strategy for technology enhanced learning and innovation Ministry of Education(MOE/CEICT) is plan to build new modular data center on the ground floor of the old building, at the center, which will house servers, includes blade servers, storages, backup systems, core network equipment etc. Data center infrastructure is the heartbeat of ICT of any organization. The data center infrastructure will have faster, high available, disaster tolerant, safe infrastructures to mission critical applications and services for present and future emerging demands.
The Datacenter will help the center to centralize control, consolidate and simplify management, increase security and operational efficiencies, speed up application rollouts as well as host IT requirements. It will lay the foundation for emerging technologies with scalable and flexible designs.
In order to achieve this mission a good IT infrastructure is required; data centers are a top priority. Data centers are now seen as a key business parameter, and not as an external facility for storage of information and business operation models. They have become critical for the very functioning of a big business enterprise.
The purpose of this project is, therefore, to construct new Modular Datacenter infrastructure for optimization of IT productivity and resource utilization. The proposed architecture will help to align datacenter resources with business priorities. The ministry therefore invites interested, experienced and qualified companies to come up with their solution.
The proposed educational private cloud shall have four logical components, among those, the infrastructure and Platform, the software application and user service component.
Online remote interactive video training and guidance –Delivers live classes and realizes remote interaction, collaboration and conferencing, and helps learner conduct efficient and real-time online training and online Q&A, Creating a live course, Enrolling in a live course, Attending a live class, Interactive teaching and answering, Course materials, Live recording, etc
Management & Support of Content Lifecycle: Learning developers can create, store, reuse, manage and deliver digital learning content from a central object repository. The system manages the development process by providing some level of workflow tools to manage a multi-developer, team environment. Currently we already have 150 Gbps amount of curriculum-based educational materials including digital text books that can be published online in PDF formats. There are also 150 Gbps already developed and digitized video educational materials produced as part of the television broadcasted programs. These can easily be integrated into the proposed e-learning/LMS applications. We are also planning to start the pilot project in parallel to develop digital interactive contents that shall be integrated with the proposed application software.
As ICT for education expands throughout the world, Ethiopia is keen to catch the wave, and through a systematic approach to introducing technology innovations into the school system, the Ministry of Education along with the Center for Educational ICT hope to build a robust technology platform for Ethiopia’s education system.
3.3 School-Net Cloud Services for the Central Data Center
Cloud computing uses web technologies or those mentioned above to host applications in a private (on the Internet) datacenter, accessing them over a private network, or a secure channel over the Internet.
Our approach will be building a private cloud that will connect all the schools with the central data center and with each other. So that students can have the potential to make any educational materials application access ubiquitous, and accessible from the office, home, road, or your hand, with a thin client device or software.
The proposed School-Net cloud will be hosted centrally and will provide the below services for the schools:
- Infrastructure as a service
- Monitoring and evaluation tools
- Bandwidth and content management
- WAN optimization
- Video as a service
- Back up as a service
- Content and applications (school.com, khan academy etc)
- Central management for all the devices and applications Remote Technical Support & Maintenance, etc