RealTime IT News

Africast, ePals Wires Africa's Children to Web

[Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA] Global Africa Internet portal Africast announced this week that it is teaming up with the Internet's largest online classroom environment, ePals Classroom Exchange to connect school children in Africa to a network of over 2.1 million scholars in 182 countries.

With the Internet being touted as perhaps the most significant tool in the effort to help Africa achieve economic parity with developed countries, this initiative aims to equip Africa's youth with the technological expertise to tackle this daunting prospect.

The ePals feature which will make the interaction between students a linguistic reality is an embedded instant translation facility which allows students to speak in their native language and be understood by scholars on the other side of the world. The program also offers parent and teacher monitored e-mails, interactive lesson plans and educational resources from around the globe.

With the diversity of languages in many African countries, the translation facility alone will present a significant challenge. Currently there are over 1,436 language classifications from the Niger-Congo region co-existing alongside 371 different Afro-Asiatic languages, 194 Nilo-Saharan and 35 Khoisan language derivatives. It will be a task of some enormity to provide sufficient options to make the African ePals initiative a success.

Speaking at the announcement of this initiative in New York, ePals CEO Tim DiScipio appeared undaunted. "By connecting with African classrooms, ePals users can expand their horizons, transcend language barriers and build cultural understanding," he said. DiScipio also said that African students, teachers and parents will also gain a global awareness while achieving an educational boost.