Wikimania 2008: Education and the Wiki Paradigm: A Tug of War?

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This was part of the opening keynote in Wikimania 2008, given by the Egyptian Deputy Minister of Communication and IT, Hoda Baraka. Here are my notes, again without any commentary – I apologize for them not being cleaner.

We are very proud that Egypt is hosting this conference. There are many young people in Egypt – our biggest asset. Now, is it education that leads to innovation and technology, or that technology leads to better education? This is an Egyptian debate we are having. Is technology in schools just a luxury?

The education framework: Environment, administration, tools, curricula, assessments, certifications, teachers, parents, and students.  All must be ready and improved.

Evolution of education: pre-industry -> industry -> internet -> web 2.0


  • One to one tutoring
  • Reciting, dictating, memorizing
  • Learning the basics of grammar, math


  • Small group of different ages
  • Single teacher for all subjects
  • Chalkboard, books
  • Reading, writing, arithmetic
  • Radio and TV broadcasting – reaches more numbers
  • Acquiring knowledge, internalization of ideas, personal assessment,


  • Modern school
  • Multiple teachers for multiple subjects
  • e-books, modern classroom
  • Multiple sources of knowledge
  • Hands-on experience
  • Parent engaged, can follow child’s progress on website

Web 2.0

  • Global school
  • Collaborating, innovating, presuming
  • Blogging, social networking, wiki,
  • “Breaking the monopoly of the teachers”

Tv and radio education was promoted in Egypt – many recipients, all subjects, regulated by ministry of education with certification programs.  In Egypt: 40,000 schools, 16 million students, 1.2 million teachers, Ministry of Education management

Components of Internet-ready school:

  • Physical spaces: Computer labs, administration, modern classroom, library
  • Applications: portals, software
  • Teacher training

In 2002, MoE wanted over grade 7 to have ICT in schools.

In 2008: 35 million mobile users, 2200 IT clubs, 9.5 million broadband users, PC for all imitative, Arabic eContent imitative – increase Arab content on the internet

Egyptian Educational Initiative: Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and more: “government wins, private side wins, and society wins”

Wiki Paradigm: Peering, sharing, mass collaboration, innovation, user-generated content, co-creation, prosumers, acting globally, openness.  Not about a school in Alexandria, but a global school. Not content coming from the Ministry of Education. Are teachers, institutions, business, children, even parents ready? I think children are most ready, but parents need to be ready. There is a massive gap between parents/children.

Education 2.0? Egyptian proverb: The teacher is more like a prophet. Is this still valid? End of unified national curricula? New model for student assessment? What is the teacher under education 2.0 and 3.0? What is quality in education 3.0? Would education 2.0 be our salvation from stagnation? Our gateway to innovation?  Finally, important challenges to remember: internet safety, cyber security.