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ADRI and ITU-Arab States Partering to expand on Digital Inclusion in the MENA Region

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preface

In partnership with ITU-Arab States, ADRI is commencing a program of work for the Digital Inclusion of the Arabic universities in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) of MENA region. The program is aimed to trial in Sudan and Palestine and upon success will further expand to include other LDCs in the region. This program proposes to implement academic repositories for the client universities in these two countries while digitising their academic literature to be shared with the wider audience from across the globe. The involved projects are expected to enhance the research exposure and capabilities of the client universities while expanding on the Arabic digital content online.

ITU – Arab States and ADRI will conjunctly announce this program of work on September 24-25th, 2018, along side the Regional Digital Inclusion Week by ITU and UNESCO in Cairo. ADRI will be demonstrating trial implementation of its digital repositories and platform as part of this event.

Background and Context

The Arabic speaking region is currently facing tremendous changes and challenges. In times of increasing unemployment, social injustice and imbalanced economic development, attention has been given to the development of the region towards information and knowledge based societies. Knowledge and innovation constitute the primary requirements for sustainable development in any community. However, there are high inequalities in in terms modernization and opportunities within the region, in particular in view of the higher education systems. As life is constantly moving to the digital space, students in the region rely on access to digital content in their mother tongue. However, access to Arabic digital content is still in short supply and there is no Arabic compatible platform for accessing Arabic academic content across the Arab communities. This challenge hinders the exchange of academic knowledge within the Arabic literature and subsequently diminishes the knowledge generation in these communities. This pain is exacerbated when most of Arabic academic content is in hardcopy and inaccessible in the digital world of ours. Henceforth Arabic academia is falling behind in the international academic progress. The dilemma in the LDCs is even harder. Apart from poor ICT infrastructure and lack of digital skills in these societies, the academic content is often produced in Arabic, however, it is never published or shared with others for use or scrutiny.

Project Description

The Arabic Digital Reform Institute (ADRI) is a social-enterprise with the mission to increase the global access to academic digital content in the Arabic language. ADRI is offering a platform, allowing academics and students to share their published academic content on a subscription basis as well as repositories as a service to assist universities in storing their academic content in a cloud based database. ADRI’s work is further aiming to establish an inclusive academic network for cooperation and exchange for the Arabic speaking communities. To increase the academic digital inclusion in the LDCs in the Arabic speaking region, ADRI has outlined a project in cooperation with the ITU Arab Regional Office targeting universities from the State of Palestine and the Republic of Sudan.

The project aims to contribute to the social and economic development of the LDCs in Arabic speaking region through academic enhancement based on improved academic digital content accessibility, IT infrastructure and digital literacy, regional academic cooperation as well as through supporting the local business environment to deliver services to the project. The project is planned to be initiated as a pilot project targeting seven universities from each Palestine and Sudan during an estimated timeframe of 48 months. Academic Digital Inclusion in MENA countries

Phase One of the project will focus on providing universities with the adequate IT infrastructure and skills for digitising and accessing their academic content based on mobile and cloud technologies.

Phase Two will concentrate on the content digitisation requirements for the partner universities. This will involve processing the physical records and converting them to digital content.

Phase Three will focus on deploying the academic repository and connect it to the international platform of ADRI.

The project will initiate through a 3-way partnership, between ITU, ADRI and a donor partner. In this model, ITU will act as the primary owner of the initiative and the coordinator of the partnership. ITU will also assume the role of quality assurance of the project ensuring the progress is compliant with all international policies and guidelines and take the responsibility for all governmental and international liaison, including securing permits and approvals for all activities in the scope of this project from the local authorities. ADRI will be the implementing partner of the project and take the responsibility to build and sustain a network of technology partners to providing all the technical support required to deliver the promises of the project. ADRI will also assume the role of the project management throughout the initiative and provide the technical expertise in all the involving technologies. The primary role of the donor partner will revolve around sourcing ad coordinating the required funds for the project while providing financial advice and strategies throughout the project to the participating agency.

Contact Information

ADRI

Mr. Ali Mazraeh (CEO): ali.mazraeh@adri.co.nz

Ms. Katharina Schlick (Regional Representative Europe): katharina.schlick@adri.co.nz

ITU Arab Regional Office

Mr. Karim Abdelghani (Programme Coordinator): karim.abdelghani@itu.int

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