Friday, March 12, 2010

Academy of ICT, Essential for Government Leaders is Launched


Cambodian human resource capacity, in the use of information and communication technology (ICT) for socio-economic development is set to make a great stride with the launch of a United Nations ICT capacity building program in Cambodia.

Over 50 high-level appointed officials from 27 Cambodia’s ministries, 10 ICT Training Institutions and 10 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have attended the First National Workshop of the “Academy of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders” (Academy), a core developed by the United Nations Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (UN-APCICT/ESCAP) over four days at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh from March 9th - 12th.

The first national workshop was co-organized by the National Information Communications Technology Development Authority (NiDA) and UN-APCICT-ESCAP aimed to promote the use of ICT for development in Cambodia. The workshop opening and signing ceremony of Partnership was Arranged by His Excellency Leewood Phu, Secretary General of NiDA, and Dr. Hyeun-Suk Rhee, Director of APCICT.

Noy Shoung, Deputy Secretary General in Charge of Human Capacity Building and FOSS of the National Information Communication Technology Development Authority (NiDA), said that the launching of the ceremony marked the first time NiDA and APCICT have organized this event in order to promote, as well as to develop the use of ICT for development in Cambodia. Noy Shoung continued to say that the main purpose of the workshop was to create awareness and enhance knowledge on ICT among the chief information officers, and senior-level officials of Ministry and agencies, representatives of international development agencies and the pool of resource persons in the area of ICTD affiliated with NiDA.

“ICT is very necessary for the Cambodian government leaders and senior officers in order to know that they can work better and faster for the ministries. So ICT human resource capacity is building a government’s key priority in equipping policymakers and project manages with the necessary ICT skills and knowledge to develop and deliver effective public services is the primary objective of the Academy,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a separate interview.

Shoung said that over 50 participants including senior government officials responsible for ICT and E-Government projects, officials from 27 government ministries including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Rural Development, and the Ministry of Women Affairs, as well as academics from numerous universities, and representatives from international development agencies based in Phnom Penh have to attended the event.

Relating to the use of ICT in Cambodia, Shoung said that so far, the Cambodian government has already established the E-Government System in all the government’s ministries and institutions in Cambodia. He added that the government is now connecting with the E-Government System in 10 cities and provinces and will be extending it to all 24 cities and provinces in the near future. It will also establish “ICT Information Center” for government’s officers in all villages, communities and districts in the future.

Dr. Hyeun-Suk Rhee, Director of The United Nations-Asian and Pacific Training Center for Information and Communication Technology for Development (UN-APCICT-ESCAP), said that Cambodian government has been very proactive to promote ICT for Development in recent years but there are still more a lot work needed to be done, in particular the government officers need to be understand the use of ICT.

“To promote the use of ICT for development, the government officials need to understand what kind of ICT’s are available and what kind of applications are also available and how ICT is moving in the right order develop them, that kind of understanding is important,” she said. “So through the Academy workshop we would like to testify to the government officers on this issue.”

The Director said that UN-APCICT is working in partnership with NiDA in providing the comprehensive curriculums for Cambodian government officials on the use of ICT for developments in Cambodia. She emphasized that UN-APCICT is a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), established with a membership identical to that of ESCAP and is located in Incheon, Republic of Korea. APCICT aims to strengthen the efforts of the existing member’s of the ESCAP to use ICT in their socio-economic and developing through building human and institutional capacities for ICT.

She stated that in order to fill major gaps and provide a valuable and up-dated contribution to the existing ICT development efforts by international, regional and national organizations in Asia-Pacific region, UN-APCICT-ESCAP has developed and launched a flagship initiative entitled “Academy of ICT Essentials for Governmental Leaders.

The Academy includes a comprehensive ICT for development (ICTD) curriculum and over a dozen partners which are working with APCICT-ESCAP to roll out the Academy at national level, she said, adding that there are currently eight modules with the following titles: The Linkage between ICT Applications and Meaningful Development; ICT for Development Policy, Process and Governance; E-Government Applications; ICT Trends for Governance Leaders; Internet Governance; Network and Information Security and Privacy; and Options for Funding of ICT Development.

She added that the Academy has been conceptualized, developed and implemented through a participatory and inclusive approach. At its conceptualization, over 20 countries participated in a comprehensive training and needs assessment. Moreover, the module for development the stage, over 60 government officers, academies, and ICT experts provided input. The academy is currently using all three languages-English, Bahasa Indonesia and Russian, and translating the Academy modules into other languages are underway.

Subsequent to the official launch of Academy in 2008 at the OECD Ministerial Meeting, APCICT has taken great strides in rolling out the Academy modules in different countries through partnerships with national governments and institutions, as well as sub-regional organizations. As of January 2010, the Academy has launched into 12 other countries such as Afghanistan, Cook Islands, Indonesia, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Philippines, Samoa, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Tonga and Tuvalu. ///

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