The 2006 e-readiness rankings

The Economist Intelligence Unit 2006 e-readiness rankings have been published: the world in early 2006 may be proclaimed ever more “e-ready”. This year’s e-readiness rankings reflect such progress, as all but two countries have improved their scores from the previous year.

I absolutely disagree with this following statement: Just as encouraging is the apparent narrowing of the “digital divide” in some facets of e-readiness. This is particularly evident in basic connectivity.

Just out context, the only thing I can say is that "digital" is not only about wires, and that "divide" is a relative indicator, not an absolute one. Actually, basic connectivity is absolutely different than broadband connectivity. Thus, while e-readiness might be actually improving (i.e. there’s more connectivity for more people), the digital divide could be simply widening (i.e. the connectivity for the less developed is, again, less good than the developed ones’): taking part in the race is good; winning a medal, much better.

On the other hand, that developing countries are also enhancing their e-readiness in other ways — for example through the growth of information technology (IT) outsourcing capabilities is good news. I strongly believe that there’s no possibility of having rich digital content and services (actually, the goal of the information society, ain’t it!?) without a strong IT and/or ICT sector.

 

[read at UN ICT Task Force and Tecnología y Desarrollo]

Towards an African e-Index, and other resources

A zillion thanks to Amy Mahan who answered my call for help long ago. This post is mainly to thank her for all the worthy information she pointed me to. The first reference below was the one that originated her e-mail to me, along with two more resources, but the web links one thing to another and…

I here present the most important references that I’ve come to know thanks to her indications:

  • Towards an African e-Index: Household and Individual ICT Access across 10 African Countries:
    Based on the 2004 e-Access & Usage Household survey that was completed during the course of 2004 and 2005, this report is the result of a demand study of individuals and households and how ICT’s are used across 10 African countries
  • Knowledge Societies: Information Technology for Sustainable Development: A major reference book, Knowledge Societies: Information Technology for Sustainable Development was published by Oxford University Press for the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development in March 1998. Edited by Robin Mansell and Uta Wehn, the book includes an empirical analysis of developing country participation in knowledge-based development; a review of research on innovation systems and the learning process; and analyses of how developing countries are using ICTs to strengthen the science and technology base through education and lifelong learning. It also provides a critical review of the potential uses of ICTs, the problems faced by the least developed countries, the regulatory and intellectual property rights issues, and the national and regional strategies introduced by governments. The central argument in the book is that the capabilities for using ICTs are the most important issues if developing countries are creatively to apply ICTs to alleviate poverty.
  • Internet World Stats [I’m pretty ashamed I did’n know this one]: An International website featuring up to date free worldwide Internet Usage, the Population Statistics and Market Data, for over 233 countries and world regions.
  • Lirne.net: To facilitate ICT-related institutional reform throughout the world – through research, training, dialogue, policy and regulatory advice; and To build human capital in this new area as the foundation for effective policy, regulation, governance, management and development in new "network" or "knowledge" economies.
  • Regulateonline.org: The World Dialogue on Regulation for Network Economies is concerned with regulation and governance for network economies. We conduct research, facilitate online dialogue and discussion among experts, and publish and distribute papers, reports and other relevant information. The dialogue theme for the current research cycle is "diversifying participation in network development".

Round table on Open Educational Resources with Susan D’Antoni

Next May 10th, from 10:00 to 13:30, we’ll have a round table entitled Open Educational Resources (OER), with Susan D’Antoni (remember her, among other things, by the Open content for higher education forum held this winter – and ongoing) as keynote speaker. The event is organized by the UNESCO Chair on e-learning and will take place in our headquarters in Barcelona.

The round table will deal with the following subjects:

  • Challenges to OER providers and intellectual property rights
  • Challenges to OER users
  • OER and University Professors

the latter coordinated by professors Ferran Giménez, César Córcoles and myself — at least, this is what we’ve been told so far ;)

I’m really excited about the idea of meeting face to face Susan D’Antoni: I think the work she’s been doing is terrific. Swear I’ll post my notes here, keep in contact.

Working papers on Digital Divide, the Spread of the Internet and Political Institutions

Answering my previous post (also sent to the DDN list), Jon Camfield points me to these references:

Milner, H. V. (2006). The Digital Divide: The Role of Political Institutions in Technology Diffusion. In Comparative Political Studies, Volume 39, (No 2, March 200), pp 176-199. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

As can be easily seen, last two references are almost the same, being the former the working paper and the latter the publication as an article. The three of them are a good approach to interconnecting ICT data and (trying and) showing some cross conclusions. Check Helen V. Milner‘s web site for other papers and even data and how-to about the reference.

BTW, following Jon’s blog I find Henry Farrell’s – actually, it looks like the "Information Technology and International Affairs" subject web site. The reading list is quite complete and class eleven has some other links to references about the Digital Divide :)

(Thanks to Deborah Elizabeth Finn that forwarded my previous post to him)

Call for help: ICT data and indicators

I’m trying to gather all kind of resources providing data and indicators about the state of the Information Society, specially those more related to development, digital divide and so.

Of course we’ve got ITU’s indicators and some others, but it’s getting really difficult to map the whole thing, from infrastructures to content and uses, including digital literacy, digital rights, etc.

I humbly ask for your help in this gathering of resources, with the promise I’ll be publishing the list in my ICT4D Wiki under one of these categories:

Hearty thanks in advance :)

UNESCO IIEP Wiki on Open Educational Resources

Welcome to the wiki of the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning’s Community of Interest on Open Educational Resources: open content for higher education

The Wiki is one of the outputs of the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning Virtual University forum on Open Educational Resources.

There’s yet little content, but there’s even an Individual repository initiatives inside the Repositories section that already includes ICT4D Courses :)))

The organization is making a call for participation to load the wiki with more information and resources.