COMSATS: 4th International Workshop

COMSATS: 4th International Workshop

COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE 4TH INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON APPLICATIONS OF ICTS IN EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE AND AGRICULTURE HELD AT THE OBASANJO SPACE CENTER, NATIONAL SPACE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AGENCY, ABUJA, NIGERIA, TUESDAY 25TH TO THURSDAY 27TH JULY 2017,

1.0 PREAMBLE 

The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST), the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS); the Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT); and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), jointly organized the 4th International Workshop on ‘Applications of ICTs in Education, Healthcare and Agriculture’ on July, 25th-27th, 2017, in Abuja, Nigeria. The event was a continuation of the series of workshops that   highlight and address key issues in Education, Healthcare and Agriculture sectors in the developing countries. The earlier events of this series were held in Pakistan (2014), Morocco (2015) and Jordan (2016), and participants at the workshop included Industry Experts, Academia, PhD students, ICT Entrepreneurs and ICT Policy Planners, belonging to OIC and COMSATS Member States, Nigerian Government Agencies.  The Nigeria (2017) edition of the workshop hosted a total of 250 participants. A total of 17 technical papers were presented; (5 on Education; 5 on Healthcare and 7 on Agriculture).

2.0 OBJECTIVES OF THE WORKSHOP 

  1. Share Knowledge on the role of ICTs in the sectors of Education, Healthcare and Agriculture, and their impacts on the socio-economic landscape of a country.  II. Expand knowledge-base and build capabilities of the participating scientists, researchers and professionals belonging to the Member States of OIC and COMSATS, with respect to the cutting edge innovative ICT-based technologies and techniques used in Education, Healthcare and Agriculture sectors.  III. Suggest enabling framework (Policies, plans actions) for strengthening ICT applications in OIC and COMSATS Member States for enhancement of their technological capabilities for achieving national developmental goals.

3.0 OPENING CEREMONY 

The opening session was chaired by the Honorable Minister of Science and Technology, His Excellency, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu who was also the Chief Host of the event. The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Belema Wakama gave the welcome address.  The message of the Executive Director of COMSATS was delivered by Mr. Farhan Ansari, while that of the President INIT was COMSATS: 4th International Workshop; Abuja-2017 delivered by Dr. Khalid Latif. Goodwill messages were given by the Chairman House Committee on Science and Technology, represented by Honourable Solomon Bulus, and the Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Habiba Lawal, ably represented by Dr. Amina Shamaki. Other goodwill messages came from the Honourable Minister of Education Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by Mrs. Onyeka Anyaoku, and Honourable Minister of Agriculture Chief Audu Ogbe, represented by Engr. Tunde Bello. Other dignitaries present at the event included Directors of Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST), Directors General of FMST institutes/agencies, and representative of the Minister of Communication. The Minister of Science and Technology His Excellency Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, presented the keynote Address within which he emphasized the need to articulate a plan of action for using ICT in socio-economic development for the good of our countries and prosperity of the world.

4.0 TECHNICAL SESSION

The technical session of the workshop was structured in to three segments; namely applications of ICTs in Education, Agriculture and Healthcare respectively. The following presentations were made for each segment accordingly:

  1. ICT in Education 

Optimizing Computer Based Test at all levels of Education:

A new paradigm (the case of Computer Based Test) – Graduation Tracking System – Leveraging ICT for Distance Learning and Capacity Utilization – Evaluation of Information usage with Reference to the evolution of ICT at Information Service Center of ITI/CISIR (Sri Lankan Experience) – Using ICTs in Management of Universities: Experiences in Egypt

  1. ICT in Agriculture –

Actualizing Precision Agriculture in the Developing World:

The Way Forward  – Role of Cognitive Automation in Education and Agriculture sectors  – Improving the use of GPS, GIS as tools for Agricultural Production  – Integration of Satellite and RFID Solutions for Livestock Production and Management – Emerged wireless Sensor Technologies and Monitoring Systems in Precision Agriculture field  – Environmental Information and Management systems  – ICT for Agricultural Development in Sudan

  1. ICT in Health – The Role of ICT in Malaria Eradication:

Irrational use of Medicines among patients in Sudan  – Telemedicine and Healthcare Delivery in the South-South – Nigeria Telemedicine Project; Challenges and Prospect – Bridging Healthcare Disparities using ICTs

5.0:  RECOMMENDATIONS 

In view of the above observations, the following recommendations were made for member countries;

Generally:

  1. There should be enabling policies by the developing countries to ensure appropriate application of ICTs in line with best practices.
  2.      Drawing from the experience of Sri Lanka, Ministry of Science and Technology in member countries should take the lead and collaborate with relevant Agencies/Ministries, Academia, Industries in providing the appropriate framework (Policies, plan, and actions) for the application of ICTs in Education, Health and Agriculture.

iii.           Public-Private- Partnership arrangement should be adopted for effective application of ICTs in Education and efficiently running of schools; healthcare delivery and efficient Agricultural practice

  1. There should be a system of standardization and integration of all data generated.
  2. There should be intensive sensitization and capacity building.

ICT in Education 

  1. Sustainable and quality delivery of education in this century and beyond is not feasible without the provision of uninterrupted power and broadband Internet access; hence, these two infrastructures should be provided as core and mandatory utilities.
  2.      An integrated framework for ICTs deployment for distance learning, and off-site teaching should be developed and implemented by COMSATS member countries

iii.           Sensitization and capacity building should be intensified for leaders, policy makers and educators; especially those who resist ICT and innovations in the education

  1.    The development of software and e-learning apps should be strengthened by the provision of grants and funding support for developer’s
  2. All educational institutions should have Education Management Information Systems (EMIS) for efficiency
  3.    ICT infrastructure development and sustainability should be made priority of all COMSATS member countries for value chain enhancement in the educational sector vii. There should be a tracking system to help in monitoring and evaluating the output of higher education demand and supply towards a responsive education system.

ICT in Health Care

  1.        COMSATS member countries should develop strategies for adopting ICTs in health management system and stemming the problem of irrational use of drugs
  2.           The three arms of health care system (research, therapeutic and  preventive) should be made functional in member countries of COMSATS

  ICT in Agriculture

  1.     COMSATS member countries should develop strategies for adopting ICTs in the Agricultural sector
  2.        Education of farmers through short videos about use of technology and farm inputs and techniques should be put in place and sustained

iii.         Farmers should be equipped with Android phones with Long Term Evolution (LTE) applications to enable them follow the trend of e-agriculture in a relatively cheaper and easier manner.

  1. There must be a deliberate plan towards reducing the cost of technology (GPS, RFID, Sensors, Satellite Systems, etc) by setting up apps companies for the local production and manufacturing, and sharing at lower cost.
  2.        Monitoring of the environment through air quality, weather, geo-hazard and waste management, etc, should be institutionalized and made obligatory for the industrial and manufacturing actors

6.0 Adoption

Barr. Orisa Ijebuonwu, Director ICT, Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra State Nigeria, moved for the adoption of the Communique, seconded by Dr. Khalid Latif of COMSATS institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan.

The Organizers wish to appreciate all stakeholders; FMST, COMSATS, INIT, ISESCO, participants and resource persons for their contributions.  The support of the Chief Host the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and Permanent Secretary FMST, Belama Wakama, is highly commendable.

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