Alliance of Global School Networks born
World Summit on Informatoin Society at Geneva

 A meeting of Global School Networks was among over 200 events at WSIS.
World School Network participated in a meeting of Global School Networks Alliance at World Summit on the Information Society, WSIS, held in Geneva, on 12th December 2003. All of participants agreed to go forward to set up a global alliance of school networks together.

WSIS was set in order to discuss how to use and how to manage Information Communication Technology for the future after a decade of revolutionary growth of the Internet and other digital technologies.
The meeting of Global School Networks Alliance was organized expecting to share experiences using ICT in each networks and to expand those activities more efficiently and widely.

Over 60 representatives gathered
Organizers of the meeting were European SchoolNet, which is connecting school networks in each countries in EU, and UN SchoolBus project, which promotes education using ICT specially on international understandings and roll of UN. Responding their calls, over 60 representatives from USA, Europe, Middle East, and Asian countries and educational Civil Society Organizations were came to the venue.
From Asia, persons at Philippine and Hong Kong groups joined. As of World School Network, which has no geological boundary but has a head office in Tokyo was invited and OHMAE Junichi, Managing Director, received a budge as a representative from Japan.

At the meeting, status of networking of schools and how those networks are working were reported from US, EU, Canada and Africa.
In developed countries, most of schools were connected while in Africa, 90% of schools still lack of electricity itself, a representative pointed out, and it cleared that the issue of "digital divide" has deeper problems in developing area.

A flexible alliance rather than a single super network
A booth was also set for Global School Networks Alliance. Logos of school networks in the world, including one of WSN, were displayed on the walls.

This was the first meeting to try to set up a global connection among school networks having government officials, educators, academic researchers, NGOs and businesses. It was so stimulating to meet and talk each others.
All the members agreed that it is very important to have such a global tie with school networks and not a single united super network but a flexibly connected alliance would be the best to set up. So, the Alliance of Global School Networks was born.  

From introductions of many projects, like "European Spring Day", to arguments like "Language should be very important. We should not use English only here", "Non formal education is also included in this alliance", the conference room had been heated all day long.

Multi-national, Multi-language are still "challenging"
Even for a nation supported school network, it is not easy to set up multi-national, multi-language projects, all agreed. A NGO staff from Costa Rica said "Thinking of cost of translation it is tough to have joint projects with partners in different language groups". In such situation, activities of World School Network which realizes many cross-language, cross-national projects with great help by volunteers were well recognized through an annual report distributed at the venue.

WSN also distributed CDs which include software and sample contents of "Kids' Wisdom-Base", an interactive on-line database. "Open source" was one of the big issues at the general meeting of WSIS, the CD, which is also based on "Open source policy", got strong attention of participants.

The meeting was a great opportunity for WSN to reconfirm the value of itself which is aiming sustainable future on global perspectives based on children's local experiences through connection with worldwide partners. WSN will continue its projects having strong ties with global networks.
(reported by OHMAE Junichi, 15th Dec 2003)

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