Pacific/Asia Brainstorming in Finland

Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 10:55:23 -0600
From: "Obbink, Kim" <>

Dear Tak,

The attached file includes all of the notes taken during the Pacific/Asia discussion sessions [at the University of Tampere, Finland].

Pacific/Asia Group
Wednesday, August 11, 1999
Ben Haraguchi - Chair
Kim Obbink - Facilitator


Mr. Haraguchi gave an introduction and described the Foundation for the Support of the United Nations as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, organized and existing under the laws of the State of New York.

Ms. Obbink introduced herself and gave an overview of the Burns Telecommunications Center at Montana State University.

Mr. Haraguchi described that the process started as a result of four organizations: FSUN, GLOSAS, Senator Burns' and BTC and the USNSF. Discussions have occurred on both sides of the Pacific and we are now ready to put together a proposal for feasibility. A request will come from the Phillippines to Japan for ODA funds to develop a regional system starting with emphasis on the Phillippines. ODA funds are generally long term low interest or no interest loans. The ODA funds will go to the Phillippines' Government which must make a commitment to repay the loans over time. The group that is assembled in Tampere will draft the initial proposal, it will be refined over a number of months, and finalized during a work meeting in Tokyo in April/May [2000].

Ms. Obbink asked Mr. Haraguchi whether there was a way to engage with citizens and leaders of the Phillippines as part of a needs assessment process? He responded yes - that could occur over the next several months. He went on to describe a project whereby the FSUN is providing used buses and radiographic equipment.

Ms. Obbink asked Norman Okamura what opportunities might exist to connect existing networks together. Connecting the existing networks eliminates the barriers created by individual networks, e.g. incompatibility. It will also create a more cost effective solution. Mr. Okamura suggested that someone will also need to identify the venues or broad content areas. Management issues include network management and scheduling management. Local development has to occur, e.g., how to get the information beyond Manila. The local infrastructure must also be assessed in terms of tariffs, costs and availability of services.

A feasibility study would include the identification of existing regional resources with a description of current system strengths and weaknesses. It must include a technical layout and specifications.

The management/organizational structures, issues and barriers must be ascertained as part of the assessment process. Will existing regional network stakeholders allow their resources to be linked to other resources?

International connectivity is also an issue that needs to be resolved.

In addition to high end video conferencing solutions, we also need to look at low band, low tech opportunities, both synchronous, and asynchronous.

Conduct a needs assessment that includes issues of existing programs and perceived needs for professional development and education.

Must take into account differences in language and cultures within the region.

May need to develop regional networks where they currently do not exist.

Need to encourage private investment.

Roger Boston suggested that we must have a vision from this group... a driving idea.

Questions were raised about the objective of this brainstorming session. Mr. Haraguchi stated that St. Lukes Hospital, the Ministry of Health, Culture and Sports, the World Health Organization and others have already stated a need and an interest in the project.

Discussions moved to overall mission/vision.

Spearhead the linkage of existing distance education and telehealth networks to establish equal access to education and health care throughout the Asian/Pacific region. The working title of the resulting infrastructure will be called the Asian/ Pacific distance learning and telehealth system.

The purpose of the Asian/ Pacific distance learning and telehealth system is to collaborate with people of the Asian/Pacific region in the identification and assessment of their needs for education, professional development, technical training, health care and to identify how technology can be used to create a knowledge sharing network to meet those needs. The Asian/Pacific distance learning and telehealth system will promote sustained international cooperation, capacity building, and an inter-cultural foundation for the education and health care through the electronic sharing and exchange of information.

To accomplish this vision the Asian/Pacific distance learning and telehealth system will, by building upon progress that has already been made:

- Promote accessible, affordable global distance education

- Increase understanding of diverse cultural values and needs

- Emphasize values of sustainability, equity and global peace.

Thursday, August 12, 1999 A.M.

Some discussion and fine-tuning of the mission/vision statement ensued. Mr. Haraguchi then moved the discussions to more specific objectives. Participants were asked to refer to the Leland initiative in the notebook for a general format.


Objective 1: Improve sustained connectivity between and among governmental, educational, health care institutions and non-profit organizations within the Asia/Pacific region.

Objective 2: Promote the identification and/or creation of appropriate educational content, based upon the real and perceived needs and cultural values of the learners and participants.

Objective 3: Promote "best practices" in the distance delivery and exchange of knowledge and information through pilot projects, formal evaluation and scientific investigation.

Objective 4: Promote private sector involvement in the development and sustainability of the increased connectivity through the establishment of private-public partnerships.

Objective 5: Promote opportunities for sustainable economic development and entrepreneurship.

Mr. Haraguchi suggested that Mr. Okamura be responsible for creating a team to assess and inventory the existing electronic resources in the Asia/Pacific region.

Mr. Haraguchi stated that St. Lukes Hospital in Manila has expressed a need for continuing education and professional development for physicians and nurses, many of whom were originally trained in the U.S.

It was suggested that a new survey on the status of distance education in the region needs to be conducted. This could be done by a multi-national team including the National Institute of Multimedia Education and other organizations, in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank and JICA. This could be accompished by asking the Universities (worldwide) to construct a home page that identifies their program offerings, resources and URL. Hong Kong Open University has a directory of reseachers involved in distance education in Asia.

Match needs for education and training with available resources, wherever they may exist.

Philippine Normal University is involved in teacher education and should contacted and involved.

The user will identify the needs and assist in the definition and refinement of those needs. The model may be one of an intellectual broker whereby courses from various providers would be scheduled and coordinated, again driven by consumer need and demand.

Next Steps:

On behalf of the EGEDL [this conference], the NIME and ICCE will request the Asia/Pacific economies to distribute and respond to a questionnaire regarding the needs and technical and organizational infrastructure for distance education and telehealth.

A survey will be developed (Norman) and circulated to members of the group represented at Tampere that can be used at the NIME and ICCE conferences.

Identify and contact first track institutions (those likely to participate initially) to build communications and gather information leading to possible collaboration.

Develop a temporary administrative organization/group to oversee and coordinate these activities.

Pilot Project Planning and Proposal Development Workshop

Tokyo, April/May, 2000

Haraguchi to be general chair (to get funding for conference)

Varis to be co-chair (for international coordination)

Utsumi to be co-chair (content and speakers)

Sakamoto (program chair for distance learning)

Kaihara (program chair for telehealth)

Primarily a working meeting - 3 days in length.

Some brief demonstrations

Reports of infrastucture and general needs to be presented early

Major objective is to:

Develop a proposal for a regional distance learning and telehealth network and demonstration project(s) in the Phillipines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, VietNam and the Pacific Islands.

Edited by Steve McCarty, updated on 17 January 2003
Kagawa Junior College, Japan
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