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Published 1/6/2004
Owens Community College Donates Computers to a Bangladesh College

Ziaur Rahman, Owens Database Administrator, poses with the 45 computers which will soon depart for Altazer Rahman College in Bangladesh. During this season of giving, Owens Community College is reaching out abroad by providing new educational opportunities to a college in Bangladesh. In the coming weeks, Altazer Rahman College will have access to information in a whole new way, receiving its first ever 45 computers through a generous Owens donation.

"Owens has a longstanding commitment to offering its students the latest in state-of-the-art technology as part of their academic curriculum," said Brian Paskvan, Owens Chief Technology Officer. "As a result, the College is continually upgrading student laboratories with innovative computer equipment. The formation of this new international partnership affords Owens the ability to give 45 used computers new life by donating them to Altazer Rahman College."

Paskvan added, "This is a great opportunity for Owens to make a significant impact in another academic institution's educational future."

According to Ziaur Rahman, a native of Bangladesh and an Owens Database Administrator, the significance of a college in Bangladesh owning a computer, let alone 45, is immeasurable. "Computers are very scarce, and only a select few have the financial means of purchasing this kind of technology," he said.

Located in Southern Asia, between Burma and India, Bangladesh has nearly a third of its 138,400,000 residents living below the poverty line. With less than half a percent of its population having access to a phone, the thought of connecting to the Internet is even less likely than owning a computer.

Rahman vividly remembers using his first computer, while attending the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh, and what it meant to him. "I was very fortunate to have access to a computer as part of my college education," said Rahman, who earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in computer- related concentrations from Dhaka. "My career would not have led me to Owens without the use of computer technology at Dhaka."

Not forgetting his educational roots, when Rahman heard about the availability of 45 Owens computers he instantly thought of Bangladesh. Following a phone call to his father-in-law, Mosharef Hossfain Shahjahan, State Minister of Ministry Religious Affairs for the Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, the conversation quickly turned to a small government-funded public college in Bhola.

For Altazer Rahman Principal Samsul Alam Chowdhury, the idea of incorporating computer technology into the academic curriculum was never a thought due to significant costs of purchasing and maintaining the equipment. And now because of Owens' generous donation, Altazer Rahman is making plans to introduce new computer-related courses and create a website for the school.

In addition to the assistance provided by Owens, a local Bangladesh computer company called Promiti Computers and Networks Ltd. has agreed to help with the installation of the school's new technology. This organization also will handle the maintenance for all hardware and software, networking and Internet connection. Once the computers are up and running, Promiti Computers will provide the training necessary for Altazer Rahman students to log onto a whole new information world.

The 45 computers will soon be broken down by the College's Information Technology Services and shrink wrapped with the destination being a crate packed with Styrofoam peanuts. Owens and Altazer Rahman are collaborating on delivering the cargo to Bangladesh by ship, with State Minister Shahjahan incurring all costs. The computers are expected to arrive in their new home by mid January.

"I can't imagine a more priceless gift than providing those less fortunate with the ability to communicate in a wired world," said Rahman. "Owens' donation to the people of Bangladesh creates just such an opportunity."

Owens Community College continues to be at the forefront of developing innovative ways of offering higher education through technology. Owens currently provides more than 90 E-Learning courses on the College's Toledo- area and Findlay-area Campuses. Among the program areas available to students are accounting, art, business, computer information systems, psychology and speech.

Since incorporating E-Learning into its academic curriculum, the College has seen a significant enrollment increase in this area. This past year more than 4,200 students chose to advance their studies through Web courses, telecourses and OwensLINK classes. In addition, Owens has 50 computer labs and more than 1,000 computers available for student use.

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Ohio with 26 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 40,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for Northwest Ohio college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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