Schools to have ICT facilities earlier
The Borneo Post - Wednesday, 4 September, 2002
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KUALA LUMPUR: The Energy, Communications and Multimedia Ministry is looking into budget requirements to push forward the target of providing information and communication technology (ICT) connections to all rural schools from 2005 to a much earlier date, its Minister Datuk Amar Leo Moggie said yesterday.

He said this was necessary as the government wanted ICT to play a prominent role in teaching science and mathematics in English by next year.

For that to happen, schools will have to be connected as part and parcel of the whole process.

"The rural areas will continue to be a challenge in technology and investments because they require heavy expenses.

"That is why we are now looking at the budget requirements for the government and the industry to provide the infrastructure," he said at a media conference after opening Malaysia ICT Week 2002 (MILT 2002) at the Mines Exhibition Centre here.

Moggie said the requirements of rural schools to access ICT may differ because some may only need a telephone line while others may need more infrastructure facilities.

Earlier, Moggie said Malaysia will continue to enhance rural communications by leveraging on new technologies, particularly wireless technologies, as one of the strategies that have to be adopted.

"This is in line with the renewed interest of industry players towards using wireless-based technology networks as a practical solution to reach out to the market due to their competitive advantages such as shorter lead time to deploy and cost effectiveness," he added.

Moggie said the policy has enabled the government to stimulate private sector initiatives to provide appropriate levels and mix of technologies in the provisioning of infrastructure in the country.

He said Malaysia's mobile service penetration rate is currently ranked 35th, which is one and two notches behind that of the United States and Canada respectively.

"With such policy objectives and availability of new wireless technologies as a cost-effective alternative to the fixed-line service, the overall penetration rate in rural areas is expected to change for the better," he noted.

Moggie also said Malaysia's level of ICT adoption is among the highest in the Asean countries, based on the total number of Internet customers at approximately 2.4 million or a penetration rate of 11 for every 100 population.

On MICT 2002, he hoped that it would be able to enhance the economy and community based on information, or the k-economy and k-community, while bridging the digital gap through innovative ICT, e-commerce and multimedia solutions.

MICT 2002, starting yesterday through to Sept 7, comprised the National E-Commerce Expo that incorporates the MSC Expo and Asean Communications and Multimedia Expo at the Mines, and the Multimedia Asia Expo and Forum at Putra World Trade Centre. - Bernama

SOPHISTICATED ... Moggie (centre) tries out a telecommunication product at the opening of Malaysia ICT Week yesterday. - Bernama photo