WSIS – Youth Caucus and Education

Statement made by the Youth Caucus and Education, Academia & Research Taskforce Joint Statement on IG WSIS PrepCom3, 22 September 2005:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman for this opportunity to share with Governments our perspectives on Internet Governance. We are the most avid users of the Internet fueling its evolution.

Like you, we are fully aware that education aims at creating a digitally literate workforce and citizenry that will provide jobs for young people as well as the means to develop their social and civic skills. We seek your support to adopt a series of concrete strategies for scaling up teacher training and youth education globally to bridge the digital divide.

There must be an increased effort to lower the cost of access to Internet and ICTs for education. We then propose:

“We call on the private sector to increase investment in regional IP backbones and access points; and for Governments and international organizations to create an enabling environment for the provision of ICT infrastructure, particularly for rural and marginalized communities, especially for educational purposes.”

We are concerned about the exploitative targeting of children and youth through ICTs. Thus we propose this text:

“We call on the international community to come up with concrete recommendations to promote ethical business practices and avert the further addiction of youth to online gaming and gambling.”

We affirm the basic tenets of our “open cognition platform”; they should take the shape of recommendations under the aegis of an UN entity. We propose a paragraph on capacity building and education that states:

“Under the aegis of an International UN body, governments should adopt recommendations fostering education for the general interest:

a. An Open courseware validation body, to help create a coherent body of standards and formats, for co-accreditation and exchange across currently existing websites (and extension to mirror sites in developing countries) that provide the primary teaching materials for courses taught at educational non-profit institutions;

b. A rationale for Media and ICT education , to train media and information literate people, in national and local curricula. Such document must provide a modular curriculum, with evaluation criteria and procedures and adequate teaching materials and resources, in local language;

c. An education exemption to IP rights for access to repositories of content, in the non-profit contexts of education and research, like schools, museums, libraries, archives, etc., along the lines of the directive currently enacted at the European Union;

d. An international researchers’ charter, to promote the status of teacher-researchers and ensure their independence and low-cost access to repositories of knowledge”

For implementation, we propose the following para:

“The implementation of such “open cognition” recommendations requires the collaboration of all sectors, via the following tools for empowerment:

a. An open-source backbone and

b. Interoperability between proprietary and open source systems

as they are both essential to promote access, competition and innovation, whatever the developments of Internet and future ICTs may be.”

Thank you Mr. Chairman for your support on these concrete strategies that we have tabled for international consideration and implementation.

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