(Nikkei BP Group)
(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)
| Asia-Pacific Info Summit Stresses Internet-Related Education
November 23, 1998 (SAN FRANCISCO) -- Government and corporate leaders
emphasized the importance of education in furthering the intra-country
and regional dissemination of the Internet at the Asia-Pacific Information
Technology Summit held Nov. 19 and 20 in Santa Clara, Calif.
|The private conference is a high-technology follow-up to the summit of
the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, held recently
in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
John Morgridge, chairman of Cisco Systems Inc., said that the leading
maker of networking equipment is closely involved in educational efforts
throughout Asia. In Taiwan, it is partnering with the National Taiwan
University, and in the Philippines, Cisco Systems is teaming with many
high schools and universities.
The goal of this and other teamwork in Asia is to advance the Cisco Networking
Academy Program, which provides detailed instruction to interested students
on the basics of computer networking. It is a professional program that
leads to a technical certificate qualifying the holder to work as a
Among the other Asia-Pacific countries involved in the program are China
and Australia, according to Morgridge, who served as summit chairman.
He also noted that Cisco Systems has its very roots at an educational
institution: Stanford University. Other Internet-related companies with
direct roots at Stanford include Sun Microsystems Inc., Yahoo! Inc.
and Hewlett-Packard Co. Moreover, Cisco's initial customers were universities.
Morgridge, who teaches a class on entrepreneurship at Stanford, also
said that the San Jose, Calif.-based company is partnering with many
universities in the United States, to advance the concept of the upcoming
"Taiwan is striving to expand the availability of the Internet at primary
and middle schools under terms of a government program," said Shyue-Ching
Lu, president and CEO of Chunghwa Telecom Co., Ltd. This emphasis on
bringing the Internet to an increasing number of schools is a part of
the wide-ranging National Information Infrastructure (NII) program,
Taipei recognizes that school children need to be made more familiar
with the Net so that they will embrace the technology and feel comfortable
Chunghwa, which operates HiNet, Taiwan's largest ISP, seeks to expand
its base of Internet subscribers of all ages, in part to help bolster
the level of education there. Cultivating Internet use among students
as well as employing it as a tool of education will upgrade the overall
competitiveness of Taiwan, Lu added.
Thailand is stressing education as a part of its national information
technology policy called IT 2000, said Pradit Pattaraprasit, Thailand's
deputy minister of transport and communications. Education and a furthering
of the Internet's applied use will be key factors in transforming Thailand
into a high-tech nation, Pradit said.
Across the Asia-Pacific region, education is what will ultimately separate
the "technology haves" from the "technology have-nots," according to
Roberto Romulo, chairman of Philippines Long Distance Telephone Co.
Larry Irving, U.S. assistant secretary of commerce for communication
and information, said that all segments of society deserve to share
in the benefits of the new information age, which is characterized by
the Internet. To do so, the key is a level of education that prepares
people to share knowledge with each other, providing for a critical
mass that facilitates effective information dissemination.
One of the roles of government in the information age is to help provide
employers, including high-tech companies, with an educated and qualified
work force, Irving noted.
"Information technology can be utilized as a tool of education, to help
foster initiative among children," said Tatsuo Sato, state secretary
at Japan's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. He said it is best
for children to grow up feeling comfortable with using the Internet,
and that this will eventually create more entrepreneurial activities
in Japan or any other nation.
William Miller, a professor at Stanford University's graduate school
of business, said that electronics and networking industry executives
would be well advised to get more involved in education at the local
and national levels. Their companies will draw on such educational bases
in the future, if not already, he noted.
(Neil Davis, Asia BizTech Correspondent)
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