Who We Are, The Story of Learn Ubuntu Org

1 Our Beginning

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Bringing Technical Skills to Developing Countries

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AVU LogoIn the early 2000's I was personally involved with a project that was funded by the World Bank for the African Virtual University. Fortunately it was then that I met one of our Board members, Sidiki Traore, who has inspired much of this project by his example of never giving up.  During that period we delivered a series of IT based course for the AVU through NJIT as Outlined below:

  • A+ PC Repair and Help Desk Training

  • Web Author – An intro to basic HTML

  • Visual Basic 6 Programming

  • Web Developer additional web programming using ASP, Perl, Java and JavaScript

  • Web Graphics and multimedia

NJIT LogoThe project ended in 2006 due to lack of funding. This was unfortunate as many students benefited from this and some are now working in the IT field on the continent of Africa and elsewhere. One of the problems we encountered was that most of the students could not afford to purchase the commercial licensing for the operating system and many of the programming applications that we were teaching. In the years that followed I have discovered Linux Ubuntu and its associated applications, all of which are free. Since then I have been working on a series of courses that could be run for the AVU or for any developing country, based on the Linux Ubuntu system.

All of our courses are categorized as Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced.

You can view our Course Outlines in the  Section of this Series coming up next.

All of our courses are based on the Ubuntu Linux system which is freely available to anyone at no charge. All of the applications we teach that are used on Ubuntu are also GNU based software and are made available freely by the Free Software Foundation. The basis of free software is that it supports a foundation of a learning and sharing society where the tools we all use are free to share, study and modify. This makes the user free and unencumbered by expensive software licenses and patents.

Furthermore this does not have to be limited to Africa as these course could be used in any developing country, such as the Philippines, where I shall be moving in less than 4 years. Courses such as these can bring this technology into the hands of people in countries such as this without the high price tag of commercial software licensing.

For example, from my personal experience in visiting the Philippines, I noticed that they are severely lacking in technical knowledge and a simple point of sale system. It took me 3 hours to purchase supplies at a local distributor to paint my in-laws home last year.

Here is a list of some of the things that we take for granted here that could all be implemented through the use of Ubuntu Linux in developing countries:

  • Point of Sale Systems for Stores

  • Inventory control Systems

  • Medical records

  • Government Data - Census and other information

Items such as the above mentioned could lead to jobs under some of the following categories:

  • PC repair and maintenance

  • Networking support and infrastructure

  • Programming

  • Media

  • Green Technology Management

  • Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Initially we are looking for funding to cover the cost of publishing the course materials for the courses and distribution. We could offer each course at a low cost per student with the money we raise to be divided among ourselves and other contributors to offset the initial startup costs. Students could apply to our foundation for scholarship based on their grade scores. A majority of these courses could be delivered by a combination of web based technology and Instructor led courses. In my previous experience we ran courses where we trained the instructors who oversaw the grading and attendance process to keep everything manageable and accountable.

We are also looking for accredited learning Institutions who may be interested in offering certificates for students who succeed in passing these courses. Having an American Educational Institution involved lends further credibility to the course value for the students.

The mechanics of getting all of this started is still to be determined but once established the ongoing costs can be structured as such via web based technology so that a cost per student can be low enough to have this system fully self sustainable within 2 years. So far I am a like a one-armed paper hanger but the project continues nonetheless

For more information please contact us, info@learnubuntu.org