Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forDecember 5th, 2003 | back to home

5 December 2003

The iGeneration includes some guest opinion pieces about the “World Summit on the Information Society”:http://www.itu.int/wsis/ , some basic facts and figures and some (generally rather upbeat, uncritical) case studies of ICT use in the developing world.

To take one example of their treatment of the significance of ICT use in the developing world, the BBC profiles a “Brazilian telecentre using Linux”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3250876.stm in a poor area of Sao Paulo with the stated aim of improving employability. Well:
1) users only get an hour a day – not much time to learn
2) I wonder how many of the users are using the connections to learn skills and how many are simply recreationally surfing or emailing
3) I wonder whether programming or software-using skills based on Linux are transferable to the commercial market in Brazil (possibly more so than elsewhere since the Brazilian government appears increasingly interested in promoting Linux use, but still a concern)
4) As “Steve Buckley”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3251024.stm hints at, I wonder whether the money spent on the telecentre might have better been spent on, say, a conventional literacy programme or some other intervention.

More money to close the digital divide would of course be welcome but not if it comes at the expense of other programmes…