International conference highlights ICTs role for national progress

Staff Report ISB: Technological revolution is bringing a paradigm shift in todays world and if a nation wishes to develop and grow at a fast pace, it has to opt for latest technologies that are creating headways. The third world states need to come forward to become part of the mega projects of science and technology like CERN. The government of Pakistan is committed to exploiting potential of various technologies, especially those related to Information and Communications (ICTs).

This was the crux of the views of experts at a two-day internatio nal workshop on Applications of ICTs in Education, Healthcare and Agriculture, recently concluded in Islamabad.

Hosted by COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), the event was co-organized by COMSATS, ISESCO, and Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT).

Purpose of the event was to highlight the potential of ICTs in revolutionizing various sectors of an economy. The participants of the workshop belonging to OIC and COMSATS member states participated in the event and deliberated upon ways of building competitiveness amid growing challenges of globalization and rapid technological change.

Addressing the workshop as chief guest, Tahir Hijazi, Member Governance, Innovation and Reform, Planning Commission, government of Pakistan, shed light on the significance of ICTs in national development and called for more cooperation among the Comsats member states to achieve the desired development goals. He also said that the government of Pakistan is also vigorously taking initiatives to see the country on the track of progress through the maximum application of ICTs. He also appreciated the significant role of Comsats, INIT, ISESCO and CIIT in this regard.

The workshop had three technical sessions spread over two days covering various applications of ICTs in Education, Healthcare and Agriculture, respectively. Scholars, researchers, subject experts and academicians from Pakistan, Morocco, Jordan, Iran, Senegal, Tatnzania, Egypt, Sudan, Bangladesh, shared their experiences and expertise in the light of their successful projects and initiatives.

While addressing the workshop, Dr. Imtinan E. Qureshi, Executive Director COMSATS, shared some key aspects of IT revolution the world has experienced in recent years. He believed there are three major aspects to it: the IT ecosystems, accessibility, and the content.

The revolution, he noted, is dominated by the developed countries and the starting point for the developing countries to gain from this revolution would be to contribute to the content element by becoming a part of mega research projects like those at CERN.

Ismael Abdel Hamid, Expert, Science Director ISESCO, considered these events good examples of the South-South cooperation benefiting the common member states of the two organizations.

Dr. S. M. Junaid Zaidi, Rector CIIT and President INIT, noted that the organizers have very wisely chosen the theme of the workshop, which can help improve the socio-economic conditions of masses.

The presentations made during the first technical session ICTs in Education focused on ICTs for modern skill acquisition; diffusion of ICTs in early schooling; digital watermarking system for e-Education; monitoring and learning education scenarios in Senegal; and persuasive techniques for effective education. Deliberations on the use of mobile phone technology for healthcare; COMSATS Tele-health project; Tanzanian Tele-health case study; dengue monitoring in Pakistan; as well as psychotherapy through digitization, were made during the second technical session titled ICTs in Healthcare.

While on the second day, the participant of the workshop benefited from technical deliberations focusing on decision support system for agriculture; digital soil mapping of newly reclaimed areas for agricultural uses in Egypt; irrigation optimization for improving crop production; use of agriculture research management information system in Bangladesh, as well as the various ICT applications in agriculture in Sudan.

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