Thursday, July 23, 2009

East Africa gets bandwidth

Long-time RTBH readers may recall post 311 from August last year, which referred to the new undersea cable gradually being laid along the East African coastline. It's all part of a grand plan to get Africa connected to high-speed internet services, with all that means in terms of tapping into knowledge and market opportunities. Well, now it's finished. According to the BBC article linked from the post title above, launch ceremonies were held in Kenya and Tanzania this week, and some large companies have already started exploiting the new bandwidth. Bit by bit, governments in the region - Kenya's, for example - are laying fibre-optic cable to connect towns to the network, in the hope that schools will be able to access an expanded range of educational materials. The question, as the article points out, is when smaller towns and villages will benefit. Surely something worth funding by international donors and local governments alike?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More than good enough

I found this a bit late (it's from last weekend) but it's an extremely interesting piece - sad in some respects, but ultimately hopeful - from the UK's Guardian newspaper. It's about Alex Goodenough, a teenager from the UK with Asperger's syndrome, who has struggled to navigate his way through the UK educational system even with his mother battling on his behalf. Despite being let down along the way, Alex has emerged from school with a raft of A grades at GCSE, several more at AS and A level, and a place to study engineering at Cambridge later this year. It's an amazing story, of one woman's determination to get the best education for her son, and of a young man's eagerness to acquire knowledge - but to do that his own way. Alex seems happy in his own skin, whatever labels are applied to him by others. And so he should! His educational achievements thus far should make him, and his mother, proud, as well as offering hope to other children with Asperger's.