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ICT Development in Papua New Guinea

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ICT Development in PNG 

The evolution and advances in ICTs interconnect the world electronically thereby accelerating the process of globalization which manifests itself in a multitude of ways making living in the 21st century very competitive and challenging (Singer, 2003). One possible consequence is that, with the emergence of new economic forces driven by globalization and ICT and their influence on the world economy, nations that are relatively small, weak, and impoverished will be further marginalized, making it even more difficult for
them to compete (Yunus, 2007) on a global level. In recognition of this reality, PNG needs to act now to capitalize on available opportunities and avoid being further marginalized by globalization. The
recognition of the globalization phenomenon particularly through high level development strategic plans such as the PNG Vision 2050 is important to raise awareness and develop carefully thought out strategies. 

ICT, pedagogy, curriculum development and delivery, within and between locations in PNG for improved education, will positively contribute towards integral human development which is important and necessary in achieving the goals of PNG Vision 2050. Without an adequately educated population, the
theme of the PNG vision 2050 will continue to be a wishful dream. Hence through partnerships between stakeholders and using ICT in the value chain of the education system, the quality of teaching, learning and the development of relevant content/ curriculum could be enhanced and made available and accessible to the school population regardless of location. This requires a paradigm shift in thinking to harness the ubiquitous nature of ICT services and applications to support pedagogy and content/curriculum
development and delivery. Whereas the PNG Vision 2050 is the overall national guide, the supplementary
strategies such as the MTDS 2005-2010 and the Education Plan 2005-2014 fail to capture the correlation between ICT, pedagogy and curriculum. Leverage of this important correlation is urgently required especially among bureaucrats and high level policy makers. The serious decline in retention rates in school
populations (Figure 1) may indicate, among other things, that students may be
loosing interest in learning. If this is so, ICT, pedagogy, content or relevant curriculum may have the potential to provide creative and entertaining learning for students and thereby improve retention rates. 

The effectiveness of ICT as a tool for the enhancement of learning and education through partnership programs in the light of PNG’s Vision 2050 and developments in the tertiary sector deserves to be recognized by all stakeholders. Given the relevant legislative, policy support and through
partnerships, ICT services and applications can provide quality education regardless of location. The ruggedness and geographically challenging PNG environment presents unique challenges to select solution from a wide range of proven ICT services and applications. Forward looking leadership that fully
appreciates the goals of the PNG Vision 2050 and one that can champion a
holistic plan for the intended purposes is required. Quality education is a critical component in empowering the citizens of PNG to face the challenges and opportunities brought about by globalization.
Much has been said about learning material in electronic form, either as developed lecture material or material posted on the Internet. Because of the lack of permanence and lack of peer review of much of this material, and because of its availability only when the user has access to a computer terminal, data in electronic form can never be assumed to be a replacement for hard copy printed material traditionally housed in university libraries. Finally, it should be noted that there will always be need for ongoing expert
technical support for system maintenance. This will not come easily and will cost money. Equipment failure will always be with us. Satellites have a life expectancy of around 15 years and PCs of no more than five years.