January 2007

Encouraging a ‘K’-based economy

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Telecentre matters to community

Probably a few years back, it was hard to imagine that a kiosk could generate knowledge for common people or could act as a substantial part of community life especially in the developing nations. It was frequently stated that underprivileged people, the ones who were economically handicapped, had been excluded from the benefits of ICT in terms of income, access to services or participation in public affairs. Among them, the rural poor people often marked were probably the most disadvantaged because of low connectivity and literacy rates. The establishment of community telecentres has, to a great extent, overcome these disadvantages, but, it's also true that new challenges have also come up and only a few of the telecentres have proved able to provide sustained benefits for the community.

Telecentre as part of ICT initiatives in Malaysia

The Eighth Malaysia Plan (2001-2005) primarily aimed at sustaining economic growth and competitiveness in the face of growing globalisation and liberalisation. It committed that diffusion and usage of ICT within and across sectors would be further expanded as ICT has a strategic role in accelerating economic growth. It assured to provide a conducive constitutional, regulatory and legislative environment to support the development of ICT and its related activities. The digital divide between the rich and the poor, rural and urban as well as between economic sectors was addressed through the upgrading and expansion of communications infrastructure to increase accessibility throughout the country.

“addressing the information and communication needs of the poor and creating information rich societies is an essential part of efforts to tackle poverty. Poor people will benefit from improved information flows throughout society, which improve the effectiveness of government, markets and other institutions that affect them. Properly deployed, ICTs have enormous potential as tools to increase information flows and empower poor people.”

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