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Press Release

  Keio Univ.
November 22, 2005

Universitas Syiah Kuala (Banda Aceh, Indonesia) Disaster Recovery Project
- Distance learning to assist in university recovery -

Vice President, Keio University
Prof., Faculty of Environmental Information, Keio University
General Chair Person, WIDE Project
Jun Murai

Keio University and SOI Asia (*1), a sub-project run by the WIDE Project (*2) has commenced support activities, in the form of distance learning, to assist in the recovery of Syiah Kuala University. Syiah Kuala University, the largest national university in the province of Aceh on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, suffered catastrophic damage at the hands of the Indian Ocean Tsunami resulting from the devastating earthquake that shook the island of Sumatra last December. With the support of Keio University, the Institute of Technology Bandung and other SOI Asia partner universities, an Internet platform and a distance learning environment incorporating satellite technologies have been set up at Syiah Kuala University enabling the university to partake in SOI Asia lectures as of November 2005. This environment has enabled the university to participate in both generally-shared SOI Asia lectures conducted in English transmitted from Japan, and, lectures from within Indonesia conducted in their mother tongue which is expected to largely contribute to the disaster recovery process.

Keio University has been running the SOI Asia Project since 2001 as a platform for inter-university education programs among universities throughout Asia, establishing a wide area Internet education platform utilizing satellite technologies. As of November 2005, 20 universities (*3) throughout 11 countries in Asia participate in the project. The environments for the sharing of higher education are distributedly operated by all member universities, enabling sharing of both real time and archived lectures as well as supporting a whole array of other educational programs that facilitate the development of constructive and cooperative relationships among the member universities.

The devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami, resulting from the massive earthquake that struck off the western coast of Sumatra on December 26, 2004, reeked wide spread devastation throughout Asia including member nations of the SOI Asia Project. In response to the damage, the SOI Asia Project, together with the support of member universities, Keio University and Tohoku University, held a symposium on February 24, 2005. The symposium entitled (-Tsunami: Lessons Learned and Universities’ Role-) discussed the importance of Universities’ role to educate future generations the experiences learned from the disaster and the necessity for global cooperation among universities in restoring environments for university education as a part of the recovery process. (*4). The success of the symposium is the starting point of a series of special seminars organized by SOI Asia project starting from May 2005 on the topic of Tsunami through the cooperation of specialists in a variety of fields including earthquake and Tsunami disasters (*5).

Syiah Kuala University, as a result of Tsunami and massive earthquake, has lost 190 faculty staff in its 8 faculties resulting in a lack of teaching staff and suspended classes for over a month in the wake of the destruction. With this concern, SOI Asia project and its Indonesian member universities considered for supportive measures to assist the university in its recovery using their expertise in establishment and management of an environment for university education.

Since April 2005, SOI Asia Project has collaborated with Syiah Kuala University as one of its members university., and with the cooperation of other member universities in Indonesia, set into motion activities for the establishment of a system to facilitate inter-university collaboration. A wide area network platform utilizing satellite technologies and the SOI Asia distance learning environment has been completed at Syiah Kuala University enabling them to participate in SOI Asia lectures in November 2005. The network environment has been designed so that the connectivity points of the satellite connection can be interchanged depending on the application. This design enables the university to partake in English lectures from outside Indonesia that are generally shared over the SOI Asia network as well as lectures conducted in Indonesian language from inside the country. With this environment, the SOI Asia lecture room in Syiah Kuala University can be used by students to learn lectures from the Institute of Technology Bandung, located in the island of Java. Classes are scheduled to commence in January 2006 (Fig. 1).

In the years to come, the SOI Asia Project intends to utilize this network to share a large number of lectures and to directly assist Syiah Kuala University in restoring its educational program. The SOI Asia Project will continue to strengthen the cooperative framework and provide assistance with the aim that its activities will help establish the five member universities in Indonesia as a driving force for distance education throughout Indonesia.

Message from Universitas Syiah Kuala

  Dr. Rahmad Dawood

Universitas Syiah Kuala is greatly honored to be part of SOI-Asia environment and community. We are using this environment to conduct distance-learning courses, via the internet, with numerous international and national Higher Education Institutions. We are expecting that these e-courses can temporarily replace regular classroom activities that were previously conducted by lectures the university lost due to the 26th December 2004 Earthquake and Tsunami. Currently we are conducting courses in Marine Science and Marine Technology. Preparation is underway for courses in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Fig 1. SOI Asia Syiah Kuala University Support Network

Indonesian Partners / SOI Asia Partners

SOI Asia Syiah Kuala University Support Network

Indonesia Partner Universities

ITB-Institute of Technology Bandung (Bandung, West Java Province, Java, Indonesia)
UNIBRAW-Brawijaya Univerisity (Malang, East Java Province, Java, Indonesia)
UNHAS-Hasanuddin University (Makassar, South Sulawesi Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia)
UNSRAT-Sam Ratulangi University (Manado, North Sulawesi Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia)
UNSYIAH-Universitas Syiah Kuala (Banda Aceh, Aceh Province, Sumatra, Indonesia)

(*1) SOI Asia : http://www.soi.wide.ad.jp/soi-asia/
SOI Asia (School on the Internet Asia Project) is supported by relevant bodies of the Japanese Government and is run primarily by the WIDE Project AI3 Project (Asian Internet Interconnection Initiatives), Keio University and the Asia-SEED Institute.
Head Researcher: Keiko Okawa, Associate Prof. Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University.

(*2) WIDE Project : http://www.wide.ad.jp/
WIDE, (Widely Integrated Distributed Environment) established in 1988 is a joint industry, government and academia research consortium that promotes the research and development of Internet technologies. Represented by Vice President of Keio University and Prof. of the Faculty of Environmental Information, Jun Murai, over 100 corporations and 40 universities are currently involved in the WIDE Project, partaking in a wide array of research and development activities concerning technologies of the next generation Internet.

(*3) SOI Asia Partner Universities and Date of Membership

(*4) SOI Asia Symposium
-Tsunami: Lessons Learned and Universities’ Role- (February 24, 2005)
http://www.soi.wide.ad.jp/soi-asia/conference/tsunami/

(*5) SOI Asia Special Seminar
Sharing Knowledge Across Borders (May 2005-January 2006)
http://www.soi.wide.ad.jp/soi-asia/seminar/tsunami/


Supporting Organizations :

JSAT Corporation : http://www.jsat.net/
Non-profit Organization, Asia Science and Education for Economic Development (Asia SEED) :
http://www.asiaseed.org/

Contacts :

SOI Asia Project Secretariat
soi-asia@soi.wide.ad.jp
http://www.soi.wide.ad.jp/soi-asia/

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