A new Syrian experience in ITC4DEV
Syria, Local, 3/31/2004
The Syrian Leadership has in recent years dedicated efforts to disseminate Information and communication technology and enabling having access to it by all members of the Syrian society. Within this context the Syrian government, in collaboration with the UN Development Program UNDP set a plan prioritizing the use of information and communications technology in social and economic development processes in the country. As a result of this commitment and joint venture initiative, the strategic program on the use of information and communication technology for social and economic development in Syria was launched. It is financed by the UNDP and carried out by the Syrian ministry of communications and Technology.
In a round table meeting with the press in Damascus on March 30, deputy Minister of communications and technology Nibal Idelbi said that the objective of this program is to encourage the use of ICT4DEV in the economic and educational activities in the country's rural area; enhancing and strengthening the use and dissemination of informational technology for a vaster social strata, especially inhabitants of the rural and remote areas; building an environment ready to acquire Information technology for social and economic development purposes; creating new job opportunities and added value training in the ICT realms; training and supporting all social strata, especially the poor and encouraging rural women to be familiar with ICT practices; and expanding prospects of ICT users and urging them to use the Internet facility in all social, economic and cultural walks of life, as well as eliminating illiteracy in Information and Communication Technology.
Idelbi noted that 14 centers are to be installed all over the country as a preliminary stage to disseminate this facility which aims increasing the penetration rate of the Internet especially in rural and remote areas.
The program, however, is composed of five integrated components that constitutes altogether the concrete base for development.
Electronic -- Readiness assessment is concerned with the quantitative and qualitative assessment of the country's readiness to make use of ICT in the areas of the Infrastructure, education, the economy and the society and governmental policies for social and economic development.
The " Portal Community" gate on the web is concerned with the improvement of the content in Arabic language so as to cope with the requirements of local development especially in the rural areas ( Reef). This is, however, to encourage using the Internet and to meet the shortage resulted from the lack of information needed for social and economic activities.
Moreover, the Telecenters is concerned with setting up, operating and investment of the penetration centers to the Internet, providing updated ICT services in the Syrian rural areas. In later stages, the project permits small and intermediate enterprises to get the privileges of founding and operating such centers and funding out the appropriate mechanism ensuring their sustainability.
The program's forth component is to provide training services through refining necessary skilled to run Internet services in Syria and the technological and trade levels. The project ensures high-level training in several areas, including specializations linked to webs; advanced specializations on running centers to provide access to the Internet and dealing with customers.
Last, but not least the program gives policy Advisory services by conducting advisory studies on drawing governmental's strategies and policies in the field of information and communication and investing them, effectively to serve the requirements of social and economic development in Syria.
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