Towards Creation of the Information Society in Kyrgyzstan

Chairman of the ICT organizational commitee Information and communication technology is a basic driving force, which effects the formation of a society. Their revolutionary influence concerns the way of living of people, their education and work, and also interrelations between a government and a society. If we reflect upon which technologies will have a revolutionary effect on the life of people in the 21 century, we shall clearly see that those be information and communication technologies. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) provide for the developing countries a unprecedented possibilities for achieving the vital goals of development, such as the development of the economy, decreasing of the level of poverty, provision of basic healthcare services, improvement of the educational area. ICT posses huge capacities and can become the catalyst and the motor for achieving of the considerable progress in the developing countries. According to the estimations of foreign experts the appropriate employment of ICT is able to improve the living standards of the 80% of the population of the developing countries. On the other hand, there is a danger, that rapid development of ICT, computer networks and Internet may result in the “digital divide” between the developed and the developing countries. In the year of 2000 the total number of Internet users, in the world will amount to 400 million; in 2005 this number may double, i. e. may be equal to 800 million. In Kyrgyzstan there are all the necessary preconditions for foundation of the information society: highly educated population, a good system of education and a base telecommunication infrastructure. In this relation the President of Kyrgyz Republic Askar Akayev declared at the World economic forum in Davos (Switzerland) as early as in 1997, that “Kyrgyzstan chooses the information society”. Sustainable Human Development presents the basic strategy for further social and economic reforms in Kyrgyz Republic and ICT are the powerful instrument for the implementation of the National SHD strategy. Accounting for the importance of ICT for the development of the country it is feasible to adopt in the nearest future the National strategy “Information and communication technologies for Development” in Kyrgyz Republic. The ICT strategy can be also considered as one of the critical directions for the development of the country within the framework of the implementation of the World Bank Program “Comprehensive Development Framework” for Kyrgyz Republic. Adoption of the ICT strategy with the applied concrete programs of implementation will make it possible to integrate and coordinate the efforts aimed at the development of Information society in the country. The First National Summit “Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Development” with the assistance of UNDP and the Department of Social and Economic Development of the UN scheduled on February 27-28, 2001, will enable the analysis of the modem level of ICT development in Kyrgyzstan and the discussion of the project of the ICT Strategy for the coming years. To evaluate the current state of development of ICT in Kyrgyzstan the methodic of Harvard University “Readiness for Networked World” for developing countries was chosen. It is possible to define three basic directions for the development of the Information society in Kyrgyzstan: 1. Development of human resources in ICT sector; 2. Development of up-to-date information infrastructure; 3. Development of ICT applications, i. e. elaboration of software, electronic trade, introduction of computer systems to the industry, etc. I. DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES W ICT SECTOR The development of human resources in the area of Information technologies is one of the key directions for transition to the information society in Kyrgyzstan and building of the economy based upon knowledge and technologies. The academic and educational computer network (ACNET) which is being developed currently in Bishkek with the assistance of the Scientific Program of NATO will make it possible to introduce the area of science and education to modern telecommunication technologies. The Science and Education network ACNET will be the first educational network of this kind capable to provide the advanced level of services to the system users. The connection between Universities and the Academy of Science will be effected using DSL-modems at the speed of 7 Mbits/sec, thus enabling the increase of the quality of the services rendered by the network. On the other hand, the connection of higher institutions into general network will make it possible to reduce the payment for the access to Internet. Thus, it is more expedient to install one satellite antenna for all higher education institutes than if every university will install the antenna of their own. Another important task the establishment of ACNET solves is the closer integration of science and education. Of course, in the future the development of all training materials should be effected with the use of WEB-technologies. Due to rapid development of electronic technologies the lack of highly qualified ICT specialists is evident in Kyrgyzstan. To eliminate this deficiency and in order to further develop the human resources in ICT sector President Akayev proposed at the I Congress of scientists of Kyrgyzstan to establish the National Center of Information technologies and to ask the Government of Japan to support this project both financially and technically. The Information Technology Center, provided it is equipped with powerful modem facilities, could perform the following functions: 1. Introduction of different types of education, such as group studies of information technologies; learning of methods of the development of software and computer skills. 2. Development of distant learning which implies the connection of all universities through general high-speed network and provision, therefore, of distance learning (including video-conferences) between universities 3. Incubation, i. e. promoting of scientific and research work as jointly performed by industrial enterprises and universities. Supporting of practical usage of the results of university research work products. 4. Development, exploitation and control over several databases: development of data bases of scientific and technical information, on education, etc. IT center is proposed as the central database on science and technology and education to support (2) and (3)., 5; Promotion of other ICT activities, such as E-trade and delivery of different services through computer networks. In the 50s of the passing century Javakharlal Neru, the Prime-minister of India, has founded Indian Institute of Technologies and five elite colleges. The results of this wise step are clearly demonstrated by today’s achievements of India in the area of information technologies: export of software will amount to $4 billion in the year of 2000 and $8 billion in 2003; the number of highly qualified IT specialists has increased considerably and India is also exporting ITC manpower. IT specialist is currently considered as a global resource. The survey which has been conducted by International Data Corporation (USA) in September, 1999, showed that the deficit of IT specialist in the world amounts to about 5 million people. This survey has demonstrated that in the USA only the deficit of IT specialists will be equal to 850 000 people in 2002; in Europe this deficit will be equal to I million. Therefore, the highly qualified IT specialist could find work at the international labor market in the nearest future. II. DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE Thanks to the first telecommunication project launched due to loans of the World Bank and EBRD the telecommunication infrastructure of Kyrgyzstan has been improved considerably: digital automated commutation stations have been deployed as well as digital systems of data transmission and fiber-optical communication lines between ATS in Bishkek, a ground satellite complex Standard “A This process was characterized not by the equipping with computer hardware only, but also by the development of the information infrastructure: (laying out of local networks; (state automated system (SAS) “Shailoo”, state computer network (SCN) (accumulation of information resources – databases. We should plan to establish in Kyrgyzstan in the nearest future a communication network with high capacity without which it is impossible to judge upon the advantages of the information society. The Governments of some countries (Singapore, for instance) are considering the deployment of high transmittance capacity lines as a mandatory component of their social policy. III. DEVELOPMENT OF IT APPLIANCES: ELABORATION OF SOFTWARE, E-TRADE, INTRODUCING OF COMPUTER SYSTEMS INTO INDUSTRY The constantly broadening specter of appliances of information and communication technologies makes it possible to increase the efficiency and flexibility of the production, to enhance marketing, financial and administrative management for the both private and public sectors, and, upon the whole, offer multifaceted possibilities for the developing countries. According to the statement of Bill Gates: “In, the coming 10 years business will be changed much more than the former 50 years”. If in 2000 the world volume of E-trade will amount to $2700 billion, in 2003 this figure will grow up to $1320 billion. In this regard it seems reasonable to enhance the development of E-trade in Kyrgyzstan in the coming years. To implement the National Strategy “Information and Communication Technologies for Development” the fruitful cooperation and partnership of all sectors will be needed: the State, Private sector, Education sector and Non-government organizations.

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