Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bridging Digital Divide : From Bandar Indra Mahkota to Kg Pancing and Sungai Lembing

Computer Games ..... future IT whiz kid ...

Children &mothers gathered at Bandar Indra Mahkota Library

Filling in research questionnaires

Cyber kid ... getting connected

Full support for knowledge & IT society

Recently I got the opportunity of tagging along my significant half visiting a few rural Telecenters ( TC ) as part of her Bridging Digital Divide Research.

The first TC was located at the Rural Library (RL - Perpustakaan Desa) at Bandar Indra Mahkota about 10 kms from Kuantan. It is quite an organized and big RL with plenty of books and a corner for computers. More the 50 people comprising of children and their mothers gathered at the RL to welcome us. The children were using the computers for their school assignments, playing games, chatting or just surfing the net. The mothers seemed to refrain themselves from using the limited computers in our presence. They participated actively in the research interview and put across their view on the TC effectiveness and relevance. In fact they look forward for more computers to be installed at the TC and more organized activities to enhance their IT skill.
Kg Panching town ........

Small Library ..... knowledge centre

Organised, clean and conducive

Our second stop over was Kampung Panching about 25 kms from Kuantan. It is another Rural Library which is small but well organized and patronized. Unfortunately for us the TC that supposed to be set up at the RL has not been carried out. Apparently it has been delayed due to the recent election. We may have to come again in the future to review the TC. As you can see from the picture I am impressed with the RL and the number of children patronizing it. They all look forward for the TC to be set up but worried about the space constraint they currently facing. 25 kms from Kuantan and they were already facing the real digital divide. Now that the election is over let hope the TC project will resumed speedily.
End of the road .... Sungai Lembing Town

Sg Lembing Library and Telecentre

Sungai Lembing is a small town 40 kms from Kuantan and the road just end at the town. The town was famous for its tin mining activities in the early days. It reminded me of a drama I used to act during my school days “ Lembing Awang Pulang Ke Dayang “ I assumed the story has something to do with the town.
Fully utilised by youngsters

The RL here is small but very organized with both library and multi media on different section of the building. Here it looks like the TC was being patronized more then the library. Most of the users were school children and youngsters. Like the other TC they used the computers for assignments, surfing the net and filling on line applications for college entry and scholarships. It was refreshing to see the youngsters using the IT at this remote dead end town.
Hai kid... learning early ... learning fast

The RL/TC visits gave me a clear picture on the digital divide facing by the rural community. While we are enjoying Wi Fi at our Coffee House and Kopi Tiam, they have to go to the TC to be connected. Sometimes they have to queue for hours to use the limited computers. Worst still when the school levers have to fill their applications forms on line for college entry and scholarships. I believed many have to forgo the applications due to the digital divide.

While the effort of setting up the RL and TC are very good, much have to be done to ensure the effectiveness of the centers. Its includes conducting program on the effective usage of computers and educational contents for on line learning for the community. They must be thought on the usage of computers for their personal development, information intelligence and networking.

The real findings from my significant half on the research may be shared with those who are interested in this areas.
Another TC at Kg Bujang, Kedah
Computer Games ... while waiting for Lion Dance Class
The Lion Head ..... Art & ICT do get along fine


U.Lee said...

Hi Jaf, very interesting post this. I'm impressed as to what the government, local government doing re IT to the people the places you mentioned.
It's good get them started young as well the old too.
Here in Canada, there are young volunteers, high school kids who visit retirement homes for the elderly and teach them
the use of computers.
And to see on TV senior citizens unable to speak English well from European and Asian countries laughing when they can communicate via computers with relatives in their home country, see video too is really heartwarming.
As well the local government encourages people as well government offices who upgrade to newer computers to donate their old ones to certain authorities where they get cleaned up, refurbished and then given to poor kids, homes for the aged, etc...
I love your 1st pic of that boy playing computer games. Helps keep them out of mischief too.
Everything is so hi-tech today, saya pun kelang kabote. Ha ha.
You have a nice weekend, Lee.
ps, I passed thru Kampong Pancing I think wayyyy back in the 70's. Bet its changed a lot too, huh? L.

jaflam said...

Dear U Lee,

Thanks for dropping by, I hope much will be done to assist he rural folks on ICT bridging like what have been done in Canada. The research my wife is conducting will move towards that direction. Malaysia is planning to bring the broad band to the country side at the cost of RM 5 Billon.

Actually that boy playing the computer game is waiting for his Lion Dace training session at a Chinese Temple beside the Telecentre. The instructor told me that a Malay boy was the leader of the Lion Dance Team. I just love their MUHIBBAH.

Zabs said...

Salam DJ,
Tak pernah lagi ke tempat2 itu. Pernah dengar nama aje. Saya harap usaha ini bukan hanya dibuat di Pahang sahaja, tetapi di negeri2 lain juga.
Terfikir juga tentang perbelanjaan besar2an untuk menyediakan bilik makmal komputer di sekolah2 dulu. Juga masih adakah perpustakaan bergerak yang dulu pernah diwar-warkan.
Sungguh malang jika negara yang dikatakan sudah membangun ini, masih mempunyai ramai rakyatnya yang langsung tidak pernah melihat komputer, apatah lagi mahir dengannya. Wallahua'lam.

jaflam said...

Salam Zabs,
The Research on Digital Divide will be carried out for the whole nation. Some of the initiatives are very successful while others are failing or duplicating each other. The intention was very good but sometimes personal interest or lack of commitment drive the initiatives to the drain along with the RM.

My observation with the school computer lab, the project was being implemented so slow that by the time the computer reached the schools it’s out of date and need to be replaced with new high end computer to run the program.

There is still so much to be done to bring ICT to the rural Rakyat.

Kak Teh said...

salam, what a far cry from our own childhood days. No IT no PC. It is good to know that it is reaching out to the kampongs. And syabas to your significant other.

jaflam said...

Kak Teh,
It true ICT plays a major role in people life in the city and kampung now. The knowledge for using ICT to create value is vital because of the many negatives contents in the cyber space.

In fact at the Sg Lembing TC satellite is being used for internet connections.

ruby ahmad said...

Hello Jaflam,

If I were to be asked what are two most important tools to get by globally today?

First tool is ENGLISH
(Most sites are in English anyway)

Second tool is IT
(IT is the way of life now)

What do you think?

Your other significant half is doing a great job here. Thumbs up!

jaflam said...

Hai Ruby,

Fully agreed with you on the importance of English & IT for marketability.... what more Global market.

But IT alone would not take you far, you must have your core competency + IT then you will go far. Many IT graduates find themselves without jobs nowadays.

Attitude is another key factor that will ensure your success or failure in working life. Smart person with bad attitude has not much prospect in the market place.

tokasid said...

Salam D Jaff:

A very good effort done abd hopefully a continous programme it will be.

The Kg Bujang Kedah is where I was born and raised. They elderly man in that photo is my mak's cousin.

jaflam said...

Salam Tokasid,

Small world, my wife and her team was at Kg Bujang to find more about the Telecentre there, she was well taken care by them including makan and some beras kampung and pulut hitam to take home.

Hopefully the research will provide more value added activities for the TC and also upgrade it to become enterprising centre in the near future.

One of my favorite young artist came from the same kampung too ... his name is Fauzul ( old port painting on the side fr him ). His exhibition at Taksu Gallery recently was a sold out. Thanks for dropping by.

muteaudio said...

Salam D Jaff,

Ingin saya bertanya, Kementerian mana kah yang bertanggungjawab melaksanakan prgram ini? dan adakah penyelidikan yang dijalankan oleh isteri tuan akan disebarkan kepada pihak luar seperti saya?

Dan 'Lembing Awang Pulang Ke Dayang' sebenarnya berkaitan dengan bandar Muar.

jaflam said...

Salam Muteaudio,

Program Telecentre di laksanakan oleh Kementerian Tenaga, Air dan Komunakasi & Kem Pembangunan Luar Bandar dan Desa.

Hasil kajian akan di beri kepada Unit Peranacang Ekonomi oleh E- Community Research Centre,UKM ( E-Kom ). Mungkin boleh dapat maklumat dpd E-Kom jika you perlu.

Good meeting you and thanks for dropping by.