When we initiated IDCE in 1988, the need for computer education as literacy was not yet sufficiently recognized world-wide. People still thought computers were for professionals and not for the general public. As a result, often when we approached government officials of prospective partner countries, we had to make effort, sometimes, “pour enormous efforts,” to persuade them of the importance of spreading computer education as literacy.
We were often challenged by some officials in those countries who would disagree with our belief of 'computers for everyone' and discourage our efforts to bring computer education, only by insisting that they didn’t need used computers.
One official in Zimbabwe said, “These old computers are simply useless.” One official in Thailand said, “those old computers belong to the ocean,” implying that we should just throw them away into the deep sea. One official in Poland said, "We (Poland) don't need 8-bit computers because we're purchasing 3,000 16-bit computers" when there was no plan for the polish government to do that. (See 'Episodes' in the MENU)
Nevertheless, It was our strong belief in IDCE that kept us going. We believed in the computer education as literacy for the coming age. We believed in what we can do. And we (fortunately) had what we needed to have (3,000 sets of used yet still-valuable computers to donate). We persisted in our efforts with enthusiasm and passion until we were able to prove them wrong with the results of our program.
To promote the implementation of computer education as literacy, an availability of a large number of computers was essential. To spread the education nation-wide, the understandings and cooperation from the government were necessary. Finally, to make the donation effective, the donation of the computers should come with a good instruction that will be passed on. The combination of all of the above is the result of the success of IDCE:
For some of the receiving countries, IDCE has become a historical project, which initiated or resulted the spread of computer education as literacy. For some governments, it has become an initiative to allocate a budget for the field of general computer education. And, through IDCE, some ICT engineers, advanced technicians and leaders were born. Some thousands of people who would not have had the opportunity otherwise to learn computers had the chance to learn.
Such being the case, under ordinary circumstances in Japan at that time where those outdated computers were disposed, some three thousand computers were reborn in other parts of the world as a tool for computer literacy education and opened the eyes of some of the people in power, allowing them to see the importance of widespread computer education as the foundation of their economic growth and as the revolution of a life-style.
The root of IDCE lies in the history of our KCG: Kyoto Computer Gakuin, also known as Kyoto School of Computer Science, the Japan’s very first computer school. Since its foundation in 1963, KCG has been proud of its pioneering spirit in information education. KCG regarded the advent of computers in Japan as the advent of “the computer era as culture” in Japan, and it has nationally addressed expansion of social horizons of computer literacy as a basis for such an era. This pioneering sprit to expand computer literacy is the identity of KCG (and the Hasegawa family), which has been inherited to the identity of IDCE; this time, for the world.
It was our frontier and pioneering sprit underlying KCG, a small school in Kyoto, Japan, that made us challenge implementing these projects in the shape of NPO IDCE in the unknown world without huge funds or backup from the Japanese government or companies.
Since the late 1990’s, the significance of computer literacy has become more and more recognized on a global scale; countries have actively made efforts to promote computer education. Under such circumstances, IDCE’s activities have been smoothly modified to suit each country’s need.
Recently, environmental pollution is becoming a problem in the world. IDCE is of great significance as projects contributing to a reduction in pollution in the world from the view point of computer recycling.
There are still many countries where computer literacy education has not been realized though they are aware of its significance because of poverty and/or other social circumstances. On the other hand, there are countries entering the new era of “one PC per person,” which means that there will always be PCs to be discarded due to the rapidly developing technology. We strongly feel it is time to realize more efficient recycling of a huge amount of PCs from countries to countries.
Our goal is to continue contributing to the IT literacy education world-wide and to the creation of global information culture while also contributing to the health of the Earth.