The FINANCIAL -- Hewlett Packard (HP), Microsoft Corporation, Siveco, Canonical, - these global Informational Technologies (IT) brands gathered in Georgia to discuss the ways of e-learning development at Georgian schools.
“It’s our task as the government to supply the local educational system with all the latest IT technologies. We are doing our best to provide Georgian youth with a modern standard know-how in IT education,” declared Kakha Lomaia, Minister of Education and Science of Georgia.
The two-day meeting held on October 11-12, 2007, at the Tbilisi Marriott hotel was attended by around 40 guests from 10 different countries. The special guest of the summit was Mary Mellon representing the Ministry of Education of Northern Ireland. Mellone is a Classroom 2000 project manager.
The summit was organized by HP and supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia.
“It’s already the 3rd year of the large-scale project Deer Leap being implemented in Georgia. In the frame of the project 19 thousand computers were brought to local schools, 40% of which already have Internet access. By the end of the year all the 2 300 Georgian schools will have Internet supply. As usual, we are holding tenders and HP is one of the winners. IT development is a crucial condition for creating a modern environment at Georgian schools,” stated Bela Tsipuria, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Georgia.
The Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, with the assistance of Estonian experts of the Tiger Leap Foundation of Estonia, launched the Georgian state schools computerization program, called Deer Leap in March 2005. The main aim of the program is to facilitate the modernization of the education system in Georgia by creating a country-wide school-based ICT infrastructure and building capacity in modern information technology.
The Hewlett-Packard company, commonly known as HP or H-P, is the world's largest information technology corporation (by revenue) and is known worldwide for its printers, personal computers, and high-end servers.
HP posted USD 91.7 billion in annual revenue in 2006 compared to USD 91.4 billion for IBM, making it the world's largest technology vendor in terms of sales. HP is the No. 1 ranking company in worldwide personal computer shipments, surpassing rival Dell, market research firms Gartner and IDC reported in October 2006; the gap between HP and Dell widened substantially at the end of 2006, with HP taking a near 3.5% market share lead.
The company released an outlook for FY07 of between USD 103 and USD 103.2 billion during its Q3 earnings results. This would make HP the world's first IT company to cross the USD 100 billion revenue mark.
Hilmar Lorenz, HP General Manager in CIS, answered questions by The FINANCIAL:
Q. What’s the main message that you, as HP General Manager in CIS would like to deliver during the summit?
A. It’s very important to define what E-learning is and how the Georgian population can benefit from this kind of project. Considering the Classroom 2000 project implemented in Northern Ireland, I would say that education and using informational technologies is not just a technical question, it’s something that has to be driven by the teachers so as to open up brand new possibilities. As HP this is our major work to be done at the moment.
By means of holding such kinds of meetings we can compare what’s going on here locally with the situation in Europe and worldwide.
Q. How would you evaluate the development story of Deer Leap?
A. This really is a very good project because today as a result there are so many more computers with Internet access at Georgian schools. I think this program must continue to move to higher steps of development.
In the 8 CIS countries which we work in now, the development level is quite similar. In Georgia there’s been a great effort made from the very beginning to have computers introduced at schools. Despite the difficulties in the economy of the country, the government has understood that they have to concentrate on young people and provide them with modern technologies.
Q. What are the specific factors that a global brand like HP should take into consideration while working on educational projects?
A. It’s not the first time for HP to get involved in projects like Deer Leap, as education is one of the key focuses for the company. This is the understanding of HP that it’s not only about computers; that you have to develop infrastructure, services, and hence provide the best services.
Q. How competitive do you regard the Georgian market for HP, as the world’s market leader?
A. The world is open for everyone to provide the best technologies. We have three partners in Georgia: Esabi, Orient Logic and UGT in cooperation with which the HP success story is being built in the country.
The companies presented at the meeting are not only looking in black and white in any one direction, as life is too colourful.
“On Microsoft’s side, I would say that, of course, IT education is far more than computers. We work with our partners: HP, Siveco in order to deliver the best learning solutions. For instance, we had that experience in Azerbaijan and today three schools there are equipped with HP hardware, Microsoft software and Siveco e-learning technologies. We also look at teachers trainings,” claimed Jim Levi, Microsoft Central and Eastern Europe HQ, UK.
Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational computer technology corporation with 79,000 employees in 102 countries and global annual revenue of USD 51.12 billion as of 2007.
Founded to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800, Microsoft rose to dominate the home computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s. The company released an initial public offering (IPO) in the stock market, which, due to the ensuing rise of the stock price, has made four billionaires and an estimated 12,000 millionaires from Microsoft employees.
“During the last 15 years we’ve been involved in large-scale projects and since 2000 one of our main objectives is e-learning. We’re a software company but the main challenge for e-learning is not all about software at all. There’s still a lot to do once the technologies are at schools. We’re proud to partner with HP and Microsoft to help bring these kinds of e-learning tools to schools. During the last seven years we’ve been implementing e-lessons and methodologies in around 5 000 schools in: Romania, Moldova, Azerbaijan. What we discovered during the implementation of these projects is that teachers all over the world are quite similar in that there are challenges they have to face everywhere and big companies like us can help them shortcut these problems,” noted Florin Ilia SIVECO, Romania.
Siveco - software development, e-business, e-commerce, large software projects, IT integrator, most important Romanian ERP (SIVECO Applications).
“Georgia is on the edge of accepting new software technologies. Ubuntu was used in the frame of the Dear Leap project. Ubuntu is the world’s best free and open source software made freely available on common desktops, server and mobile platforms. We have a very good acceptance globally and have over 10 million users. We have a quite predictable live cycle, we work on different devices: notebooks, servers, and special kinds of mobile devices. Canonical is a fast-growing company. Ubuntu key value is a very loyal & devoded community. There are more than 13 thousand people involved in that project,” said Vladymir Kryukov, Canonical, EMEA.
Founded in 2004, Canonical Ltd is a company headquartered in Europe with 120 + employees working in over 18 countries. Canonical is a commercial sponsor of the Ubuntu project.
Ubuntu is a community developed and supported project. Since its launch in October 2004, Ubuntu has become one of the most highly regarded Linux distributions with millions of users around the world. Every six months we select, test and bring together the world's best free and open source software, and make it freely available on common technology platforms.
Ubuntu will always be free to download, free to use and free to distribute to others. With these goals in mind, Ubuntu aims to be the most widely used Linux system, and is the centre of a global open source software ecosystem.
Ubuntu supports servers, desktops and laptops, and the following architectures from Intel, AMD and SUN: x86, x86-64, UltraSPARC.