CAN2002: Abstract

" Knowledge Networking for the Unreached"

Despite global apprehensions and interventions to reduce digital divide, gap of technology is broadening at the periphery. Electronic divide is widening between developed and developing countries; between reached and unreached in even developing countries. About 218 million of world population uses English (45%) as their medium of communication, while 266 million uses other languages (55%). But, the first cluster is representing a community of English spoken countries of about 500 million (44%) and the other cluster is representing the rest of the global population of nearly 5600 million (5%) (Global Reach 2001).

During the last years Internet subscriber has been increased by manifolds in the United States, Europe and Asia. Though in recent years Asia has been emerged as a potential Internet market, but, real implication at the remote end has not been seen any significant achievement.

In the context of the Sub-continent, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and specially Nepal has achieved success in IT initiatives and drawn an increasingly number of Internet subscribers in recent years.

It has been estimated that by the end of 2001, there will be 1 billion Internet users, but statistics reveals that, the users are comprised of predominantly male (61%), affluent (with annual household income of around 6000USD), median age (age group of around 38), better educated (64% are graduates) and skilled personnel (manager, educator, professionals) (eStats 97).

These figures would not have been improved much if the typical Internet user's profile can be obtained in 2001. However, it is a motivating fact that majority of Internet users use the media for gathering news/information, e-mail and research purposes. Internet usage for e-commerce has been found as the lowest in the demand.

To reduce the digital divide integrated approach is needed to establish tele-centres at the grass root level. A few programmes as pilot projects have been working in this aspect, but national drive is needed to put potential thrust for mass information generation and dissemination at the remote end for establishing knowledge networks. The paper has been focusing on different ICT initiatives to apprehend activists in this part of the world to participate and formulate policy issues, including performance of diversified tasks to extend knowledge networking among the Internet unreached.  

Full paper: pdf


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