How advanced telecommunications improves education in the Middle East

How advanced telecommunications improves education in the Middle East

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“Knowledge is power.” It’s a familiar quotation, often used, but never has it been more relevant than in today’s interconnected world. Without access to knowledge, there can be little or no education, so the development of electronic communications has enabled millions of people throughout the Middle East to get information quickly and easily.

The telecommunications revolution

Radio and then television were for years the major mediums of communication, and the terrestrial nature of TV was a restriction for many people wanting information. Censorship reared its ugly head in many countries as the telecommunications revolution took off – it’s undeniable when you think of how dictatorships needed to control access to the media to prevent knowledge and understanding spreading.

The rise of satellite TV helped to permeate some of the censorship barriers set up, but it wasn’t until the advent of the internet that the opportunities for spreading information worldwide really began to break down the walls.

Invention of the internet

It was in 1989 that Tim Berners-Lee effectively launched the World Wide Web, offering possibilities for transfer of documents and other information over a network of computers. You may remember the dial-up connection and how frustrated you were at the speed that pages loaded. The advent of broadband changed that by allowing much faster speeds for downloads, and today, for those with access to it, superfast broadband can deliver vast amounts of data in seconds.

Coupled with this data transfer, the rise of email and then social media contributed to the communications revolution, with tools such as instant messaging, apps such as Skype for video conferencing and contacting relatives and friends and, of course, the rapid rise of mobile technology.

Does this compute?

It wasn’t long ago that laptops were the next big thing, slated to replace desktop computers. Now it’s mobile phones and tablets that are the choice for many, especially those often on the move or who don’t have easy or any access to computers. The ability for organizations, individuals and businesses to communicate across different platforms has given people in the Middle East, where communications infrastructure was slower to develop than in many Western countries, new options to support their education.

Access to these telecommunications networks is the key to helping citizens to become informed not just about their own national issues but global concerns as well.

Building new telecoms businesses

Many people have been involved in developing new telecommunications businesses, and in Afghanistan, the executive Ehsanollah Bayat has played a key role in the development of the country’s telecoms infrastructure. He formed Afghan Wireless in 2002, aiming to modernize Afghanistan’s struggling telecoms sector. The launch of the country’s first mobile services was a great success, and led to the launch of Ariana Television Network in 2005. This now reaches many millions in Afghanistan and abroad, helping to bring education to many who would otherwise be bereft.

Challenges ahead

Telecommunications has helped disseminate ideas worldwide and is one of the best ways to help educate people. The Middle East has seen enormous benefits from the development of these technologies and from those who use their efforts to help bring information to many millions who once had no option.

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