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  • EREADINESSINTHEASIAPACIFICREGION___________________________________________________________________________________

    ResultsofasurveytoassesstheneedforICTtrainingforinformationprofessionalsintheregionPreparedforUNESCOBangkok(CommunicationandInformation)andJapaneseFundsInTrust(JFIT)byCAVALCollaborativeSolutions4ParkDriveBundooraVIC3083Australia

    August2006

  • EReadinessintheAsiaPacificRegion

    ExecutiveSummaryInOctober2005asurveywasconductedtoassesstheereadinessof9AsiaPacificcounties.ThepurposeofthesurveywastogatherdatathatwouldenablepreliminaryassessmentoftheneedforICTtrainingforinformationprofessionalsintheregion.RepresentativesinChina,Indonesia,Mongolia,Myanmar,NewZealand,Pakistan,SriLanka,ThailandandVietnamcompletedthesurvey.InJune2006itwasdecidedtoextendthestudytoincludethosecountriesthatdidnotrespondtotheinitialsurvey.AdditionalresponseswerereceivedfromrepresentativesinBangladesh,BruneiDarussalam,Cambodia,India,LaoPeoplesDemocraticRepublic(Laos),MalaysiaandSouthKorea.Itprovedtobeverydifficulttogetreliableinformedinputfromlibrarycolleaguesinawiderrangeoftargetedcountries.Thesurveysolicitedresponsesrelatedtotelecommunicationinfrastructure,accesstocomputersandtheInternet,theavailabilityoftraininginICTskillsandtechnologytraining,andtheorganisationandlevelofelectronicresourcesavailableinlibraries.Asexpectedthesurveyresponsesindicatedsignificantvariationsintheknowledgeof,andaccessto,theInternetandtherequiredtechnologyandinfrastructurefromcountrytocountry.Theyalsoindicatedsignificantvariationsbetweenurbanandruralareaswithineachcountry.Unfortunatelytheresponsesalsoindicatedthattheinfiltrationoftheknowledge,skills,technologyandinfrastructurefromtheurbantotheruralareasiseithernothappeningatall,ornothappeningasquicklyaswewouldexpect.Basedonthedatacollected,thefollowingisrecommended:Recommendation1ThatcomprehensiveICTtrainingpackagesaredevelopedforinformationprofessionalsintheuniversitiesthatbuildonexistingICTskillsandencouragemarketing,advocacy,resourcesharingandfurthereffectiveusesofcooperationandcollaboration.Itisfurtherrecommendedthatlocaladvicebetakenregardingthepreferredlanguageusedforthetrainingpackages.Recommendation2Thatacategorisationsystemisdevelopedthatidentifiesaseriesofcharacteristicsthatarerelevanttoereadiness.Eachcountry,orregionswithincountrieswheretherearesignificantvariationsbetweenurbanandruralsituations,willbecategorisedagainstthecriteriaforthingssuchasconnectivity,skillsandexpertise,equipmentandinfrastructure.Thiswillfacilitatethetargetingofcommunications,trainingefforts,marketingandadvocacy.

    CAVALCollaborativeSolutions 2

  • EReadinessintheAsiaPacificRegion

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    IntroductionSurveyswereconductedinOctober2005andinJune2006toassesstheereadinessof16AsiaPacificcountries.Thepurposeofthesurveywastogatherdatathatwouldenablepreliminaryassessmentoftheneedforinformation,communication,technology(ICT)trainingforinformationprofessionalsintheregion.RepresentativesinBangladesh,BruneiDarussalam,Cambodia,China,India,Indonesia,LaoPeoplesDemocraticRepublic(Laos),Malaysia,Mongolia,Myanmar,NewZealand,Pakistan,SouthKorea,SriLanka,ThailandandVietnamcompletedthesurvey.ThissurveyispartofawidereffortonthepartoftheUNESCOICTGrouptoworkwitheachcountrytoimprovetheirICTskillcapability.TheprerequisitesareforanadequateICTinfrastructureandacapabilitywithinthepopulation.IncludedinthiseffortwastheworkdonebyCAVALCollaborativeSolutionsin2004whenitwascontractedtoevaluateUNESCOsInformationandCommunicationsTechnologyforLibrariansandInformationProfessionals(ICTLIP)packagewhichwasdevelopedforuseacrosstheregiontotrainlibrariansandinformationprofessionals.Theobjectivesofthesurveyare:

    TodeterminetheinfrastructureinthecountryincludinghardwareandISP

    TodetermineapplicationandservicesincludingICTinlibraries TodeterminehumanresourcesincludingICTliteracy,ICTeducationandtrainingetc.

    ThefindingsofthissurveywillassistUNESCOtofocusitslibraryandinformationeducationalprogramstocreateanevenplayingfield.

    EreadinessAcountrysereadinessisessentiallyameasureofitsebusinessenvironment,acollectionoffactorsthatindicatehowamenableamarketistoInternetbasedopportunities.Ereadinessisnotsimplyamatterofthenumberofcomputerservers,websitesandmobilephonesinthecountry,butalsothingssuchasitscitizensabilitytoutilisetechnologyskilfully,thetransparencyofitsbusinessandlegalsystems,andtheextenttowhichgovernmentsencouragetheuseofdigitaltechnologies.1

    1 Economist Intelligence Unit (2005). The 2005 e-readiness rankings: a white paper from the Economist Intelligence Unit. (http://graphics.eiu.com/files/ad_pdfs/ERR2004.pdf)

  • EReadinessintheAsiaPacificRegion

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    UNESCOregardsereadinessasanessentialandintegralpartofanysocietythatisattemptingtoorganiseitselftoworktowardsacommongoal.TheAsiaPacificRegionTheAsiaPacificregionconsistsofcountriesthatvarygreatlyintheirlevelsofeconomicdevelopmentandconsequentlyintheirereadiness.Largepopulationsandlandmassmakebroadparticipationinthedigitaleconomyaparticularchallenge.2Theabsenceofacoordinatingforcetopushdigitaldevelopmentacrosstheregionisalsoafactorinthecountriesereadinessdivergence.3TheEconomistIntelligenceUnit2005rankinglistsHongKong,Australia,SingaporeandNewZealandastheregionsleadingcountriesintheereadinessrankings.CountriessuchasChinaandIndia,althoughcurrentlyrankedlow,arethelargestandfastestgrowingconsumersandproducersoftechnologyintheworld.4McConnells2000globalereadinesssummaryindicatesthatsubstantialimprovementisneededintheconditionsnecessarytosupportereadiness.Itdoeshoweverindicatethatimprovementsareevidentinconnectivity(SouthKorea,Taiwan,Malaysia),eleadership(India,Indonesia,Pakistan,Philippines,SouthKorea,Vietnam),informationsecurity(India,Philippines,SouthKorea,Taiwan)andhumancapital(Indonesia,Thailand).GovernmentledinvestmentsinSouthKorea,TaiwanandMalaysiahaveenabledtheimprovementsinthesecountries.Infrastructure,security,transparency,innovationandskillsmustbedevelopedandproperlyinterlacedtoensureereadiness.5Thefailureofacountrytomakeprogressintheseareaswillhaveanimpactfarbeyonditsbordersbyeffectivelyexcludingitsparticipationintheglobaleconomy.6The2006EconomistsurveyindicatedthattheereadinessscorefortheAsiaPacificregionhasdeterioratedfrom5.77to5.60.Generalisationsatthismetalevelhidethewidedifferenceswithintheregion.Acloseranalysisofthecountriesrevealthefollowing: Country 2005score 2006score Singapore 8.18 8.24 Malaysia 5.43 5.60 Thailand 4.56 4.63 India 4.17 4.25

    2 McConnell International (2000) Risk e-business: seizing the opportunity of global e-readiness. (http://www.mcconnellinternational.com/ereadiness/EReadinessReport.htm) 3 Economist Intelligence Unit (2005). 4 Economist Intelligence Unit (2005). 5 Economist Intelligence Unit (2005). 6 McConnell International (2000).

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    Philippines 4.03 4.04 China 3.85 4.02 SriLanka 3.80 3.75 Indonesia 3.07 3.39 Vietnam 3.06 3.127Itisclearformthesefiguresthatthevariationintheregionisverysignificant.WhileSingaporeisranked13thintheworld,Malaysiaisthenextbestrankedcountryat37th.Itisalsoinstructivethatscoresof3and4indicatethatthereisstillaverylongwaytogo,inordertoachievealevelofcomparability.Ironically,manyofthesemarketsboastsomeofthelargestandfastestgrowingconnectivitymarketsPakistanandBangladesheachaddmorethan1millionnewmobileaccountsmonthly,andIndiatwicethat;Vietnaminstalledover100,000DSLlineslastyear.YetdevelopingAsiasmassivepopulationofaround3billionpeoplewillmakethesedevelopmentsseemdropsinthedigitalbucketforsometime.8ImplicationsforInformationProfessionalsLikeglobalebusinesstheglobalinformationeconomyreliesonconnectivity,infrastructureandskills.Countriesthatlacktheseattributesareexcludedfromparticipatingintheglobalexchangeofinformationthatisnowpossiblethroughdevelopmentsintechnologyandtelecommunications.Similarlycountriesthatmayhavetheseattributesintheircitiesoftenlackdevelopmentinruralareas,effectivelyexcludingsignificantruralpopulationsfromparticipation.Asanexample,someofthestatementsofthissurveysrespondentsindicatedAccesstoejournalsisstilladream;cataloguesarenotavailableonlineforexternallibraryusers;most[libraries]useemail,butalmostnonehavewebsites;LibrariesofprivatecompanieshavereliableandquickinternetaccessbutthelibrariesofGovernmentarenotdeveloped;Mostlibrariesintheruralareasarenotyetautomated;Almostallofthelibrariesdonthaveelectroniccataloguingsystems.Twothingsthatarecriticaltotheestablishmentofthenecessaryconnectivity,infrastructureandskillsareinvestmentineducationandstrongindustryleadership.9ProvidingICTeducationtothosewhodonothaveaccesstothe

    7 The scores are based on a variety of factors including Connectivity and technology infrastructure; business environment; consumer and business adoption; legal and policy environment; social and cultural environment and supporting e-services. There is no allowance for the literacy of the population in these rankings. 8 Economist Intelligence Unit 2006 e-readiness rankings.: 14 9 McConnell International (2000).

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    necessarytechnologyorwholackconnectivityisdifficultifnotimpossible.Itisnecessaryhoweveriftheinformationprofessionalistohavetransferableskillsfromruraltourbanareasandfromcountrytocountry.Thisprovidesachallengingdirectionforthosedevelopingacademiccurricula,skillsbasedtrainingcoursesandselfpacedinstructionalpackages.Italsoprovidesaclearrolefornationalandregionallibraryassociationsthatareinvolvedintheeducationandprofessionaldevelopmentoftheirmembers.TechnologydevelopmentsItseemsapparentthattherapiddevelopmentsinthesecountrieswillcomethroughtheadoptionofbroadbandwirelesstechnologieslikeWiFiandWiMAX.TheEconomistpointsoutthatmobileintern