The 2nd International Workshop on Applications of ICTs in Education, Healthcare and Agriculture was successfully convened from November 23 – 25, 2015 at the National Institute of Posts and Telecommunications in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco. The workshop was the second of its series and was jointly organized by the Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT), the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS), Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), and National Institute of Posts and Telecommunications (INPT) Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco.
This series of workshops is aimed at strengthening the capability of software and application developers, researchers and students involved in designing, practical applications addressing development problems in the areas of education, health and agriculture from the common member States of the partner organizations and to understand as well as to possibly help develop ICT applications and policies conducive for improving governance structures in the thematic areas of the workshop. The first workshop of the series was successfully held in December 2014 at COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad Pakistan.
The inaugural session of the workshop was held on November 23, 2015 and was presided over by Prof. Ahmed Tamtaoui, Director Research INPT. The INIT was represented by Mr. Muhammad Atiq ur Rehman, Senior Program Officer INIT, Mr. Abdul Majid Qureshi, Research Scholar represented the COMSATS and ISESCO was represented by Dr. Ismail AbdelHamid, Science Expert, ISESCO. Prof. Ahmed Tamtaoui welcomed the participants on behalf of INTP and the organizers. Around 30 subject specialists, researchers and students from 11 countries including Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Iran, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Senegal, Sudan, and Uganda participated in the inaugural session.
The technical proceedings of the event were spread over six sessions of the workshop comprising of talks and presentations that elaborated applications of ICTs that impact various areas in Education, Healthcare and Agriculture management of the developing world, and presented ICTs as a means to secure the future of smaller economies by effective low cost management of resources and ensuring transparency. Some of the main topics that came under discussion included Cancer Treatment Planning Software for Clinical Electroporation; Raising Nutritional Awareness on the Usage of Soymilk as an Alternative to Cow’s milk in Sudan; Designing a Diagnostic Support System for Mammography Images; ICTs for Disease Monitoring and Education Management; Improving Access to Healthcare using ICTs in Uganda; Vital Signs Monitoring by Video Processing on Mobile Phone; An Approach based on the Fuzzy Logic Theory for Task Scheduling in the Operating Room of the Hospital Systems; Risk Assessment of the Healthcare System using the Bayesian Network Model; Application to Operating Room; Real Time Monitoring for E-agriculture; MapClim System; Early Warning Mechanism to Climate Change in Africa; Interpretation of Data on Agriculture in Senegal; Blending of Satellite Images for Irrigation Management; Role of Telecentres in E-agriculture; ICTs for Agriculture through Integration of Mobile Applications and GPS; Communications between Agriculture Institutes as a Tool in Agriculture Future in Egypt; Using ICTs to Improve Learning at the Basic Education Level in Ghana; STEM Digital management of STEM Education Service Delivery in the Gambia; e-learning for the People of Disability and Out of School Children; Palestinian Governmental Interoperability Framework; Role of ICTs in Education in Iran; e-learning; and Developing Learning Materials for ICTs in Education.
Finally, a competition entitled ‘APPIDEA 2015’ was announced on the second day of the workshop. PhD students from various Moroccan institutes participating in the Workshop were invited to present their innovative ideas for developing new applications in the focus areas of the Workshop i.e. Applications of ICTs in Education, Healthcare and Agriculture with the help of a presentation strictly not exceeding five minutes. Eight presentations were registered for the competition by over 14 students studying in various disciplines hailing from different institutions and mentored by subject experts of the Workshop including Dr. Mubashir Riaz Khan, from Pakistan, Dr. Shervin Amiri, from Iran, Dr. Redouane Qasrawi, from Palestine, Dr. Fidaous Bennis form Morocco, and Dr. Ahmed Mahmoud Eisa, from Sudan. The exercise was meant to simulate a multinational research environment whereby students were to seek mentorship from different experts hailing from a diverse national background and develop a short proposal for building an ICT based application to solve a real life problem. The students presented their completed work before the closing session to the gathering and designated judges evaluated the work based on significance of the problem, systematic problem solving approach, benefits to society and sustainability as well as the quality of the presentation. Based on the evaluation of the judges, the presentations were ranked and top two presentations were awarded a cash prize of 500 Moroccan Dirhams each. The winning application was titled ‘Chno Ndir’. The idea that secured second position, entitled ‘Intelligent Framework for P-Positioning Safety and Care’ was presented by two PhD students from INPT, Ilham Elhandaoui and Mourad Ghafiri. Two ideas namely Curewell and iSprinkle were presented by Azough Zainab and Khaoujai Imane and were successively scored third by the jury. All ideas reflected the immense potential of Moroccan research students in trying to address development and societal problems by using knowledge gained in the workshop.
Dr. Ahmed Tamtaoui, Director of Research, INPT, presided over the closing ceremony of the event held on November 27, 2015. In his closing remarks, he opined that the developing countries will have to support and strengthen their capacity in ICT development and penetration. He thanked the organizers for choosing INPT to host this international Workshop and said that INPT was ready to host similar workshops in the future as well. Dr. Ismail Abdelhamid in his vote of thanks appreciated the strenuous efforts of the organizers for making the event successful. He encouraged the participants to give their feedback to further improve the outcomes of the future events of this activity. Mr. M. Atiq-ur-Rehman thanked the management of INPT for hosting the Workshop and extending their facilities to the event. He further thanked and appreciated the collaborating partners, ISESCO and COMSATS and the subject specialists from different parts of the world for their cooperation and participation in the Workshop. On behalf of COMSATS, Mr. Abdul Majid Qureshi, Research Scholar gave the concluding remarks, thanking the PhD students for their active participation in the workshop and international speakers in taking time out for sharing their experiences with the august gathering. The event closed on a ceremony of certificate distribution for the speakers and participants of the workshop.
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