In a recent first-ever State visit from India to Benin, Gambia and Guinea, President Ram Nath Kovind witnessed the signing of MoU between Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd. (TCIL) for participation in the e-VBAB Network Project in Benin and Guinea.
TCIL’s Director (Technical) Kamendra Kumar signed the country agreement s with Benin and Guinea to offer India’s tele-education programme – e-Vidyabharati, and tel e-medicine initiative – e-Arogyabharati. Under these projects, TCIL will initially extend free tele-education courses to about 15,000 African student s and tele-medicine courses to 5000 doctors and paramedics in Africa which may be extended more on a self – sustainable model later after looking at the success.
Phase-I: PAN Africa n e-Net work Project
Phase-I for Tele-education and Tele- medicine was conceived by former President of India Dr. Late A.P.J Abdul Kalam and was formally launched on February 26, 2009. Funded by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) at an estimated cost of USD 130 million, PAeNP was successfully implemented by TCIL. This network provided Tele -education and Tele-medicine services, and VVIP Connectivity among the Heads of African States through video -conferencing and VoIP.
With as many as 5 Educational Institutions and 12 Indian Super Specialty Hospitals participating, the first phase of the project saw an overwhelming response for Indian education with over 21000 African students benefitting and more than 20000 sessions conducted. Also, 6700 Continued medical education sessions (CME) and 800 Tele Medicine consultations were provided to the African Doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff.
Phase-2: e-Vidya Bharati and e-Arogya Bharati Project
The PAN African e-network project is now renamed as e-Vidya Bharati and e-Arogya Bharati (e-VBAB) Network Project. The e-Vidya Bharati (Tele – Education) and e-Arogya Bharati (Tele-Medicine) project will run on web-based portals connecting educational institutions and hospitals in India with participating universities and hospital s in all 54 African countries. e-VBAB marks a massive technological upgrade from the previous phase. Over the next 5 years, the e -VBAB Network Project will provide access to African students of various academic disciplines from Indian Universities / Educational Institutes using Tele -Education. The Project will also provide Continuing Medical Education (CME) to African doctors/ nurses/ para -medical staff.
e-VBAB, the flagship project of Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, is a step towards capacity building in the field of University education and medical science. It provides an opportunity for local employment and opens the door for access to education and medical expertise from India to African students, doctors, nurses and paramedical staff.