Next I.C.T. policy should consider “shortcomings”

The Government’s formulation of Samoa’s next National ICT Policy should consider the shortcomings of its predecessor and aim to do better.

That is the view of Misa Vicky Lepou, who is the Head of the Media and Communication Department and a journalism lecturer at the National University of Samoa (NUS).

Presenting the findings of a research paper yesterday titled “National ICT Policy 2012-2017 in Samoa: Challenges, Achievements and Way Forward”, Misa said the Government has provided the “motorway” – through the previous policy – but it was now up to Samoans to join the “traffic”.

“The Government [did] an excellent job in providing the National Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Policy 2012-2017 in Samoa but it’s just a matter of how each consumer implements each goal and making sure that it’s been achieved within the time frame.”

“What was noted, observed and found, is that there are still challenges. For example, people not having full access to the internet in the rural and urban areas. Also some challenges like having being able to contextualize the information given to the public.”

“And things like a tele-sensor project that was established by the government for people to have access to the use of ICT but were not being fully utilized so it’s still a long way for the government to go,” she said.

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Misa said the findings of her research should help steer the oversight stakeholder, which is the Ministry of Communications Infrastructure and Technology, and compel it to look at and design the next five-year National ICT Policy.

“There needs to be further research which will also be a huge undertaking to talk to other stakeholders but the idea of this research was to give what was presented, by using research tools that were available at the time and also by talking to them face to face,” she added. 

The Government has done a good job putting together the findings of her research, Ms. Lepou added, but the digital divide in Samoa should continue to be bridged.

“The policy was set up to make sure we bridge the digital divide and the Government has done an excellent job, after putting together the findings.”

“I felt that the Government has already made progress: the motorway is already there, it’s just a matter of each stakeholders, organizations and individuals to ensure that services provided is being utilized,” she added, while emphasizing that that was the gist of her research.

To conclude her presentation, she emphasized the importance of the role of the media in connection with the discussions on the documents.

“As the media I think we have a role to play in helping and an important role to ensure that the document is being publicized.”

“It’s important for us to deliver messages to the public and all the talk about ‘It’s a must’, it’s a part of globalization; ICT is a globalization process that Samoa should join the rest of the world,” she said.

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