Digital divide: What is the problem in developing countries?
By Islene FaÃ§anha
Most of the people in the developed countries have access to the internet, the right technology and that seems straightforward and easy. But many people in developing countries suffer from the digital divide and lack of opportunities. Behind the world with new technology and easy access to information, there is another world screaming for help and attention.
The term “digital divide” was implemented by Larry Irving, Jr., in the mid-1990s. The term focuses public attention on the existing gap in access to information services between those who can afford to purchase the computer hardware and software necessary to participate in the global information network and low-income families and communities who cannot.
ICT – Information and communications technology – became a new hope for many in developing countries. The real opportunity to overcome existing social divisions and inequalities. When we think about the digital divide in developing countries, we think about obstacles in these regions such as corruption, delays in service delivery, lack of public sector accountability, and so on can many believe be overcome with ICT, particularly, the Internet and cell or mobile phones.
Access to information and communication technologies is one of the most important topics for a sustainable agenda of socio-economic development. In the developing countries, this is a change to achieve a better life. Furthermore, ICT in the schools of developing countries can represent an excellent opportunity for many young people who do not have access to technology in their homes or in their community to exercise new skills and learn how to use information appliances.
But how can developing countries bridge the digital divide? First, the authorities in developing countries must identify the problems in the ICT area then attempt to eliminate them, in that case, they can bridge the digital divide that exists between them and developed countries. But it is not that easy because there are also different types of digital divide within a country, such as a gender gap, the age divide, and the income divide. It is important to pay attention in all of these differences and try to give them the opportunity to change. Besides, there are many barriers, and we observe that ICT has become a powerful tool for education to use for the professional development of teachers, by reducing the isolation of many educators and students in rural schools and by enhancing every learning environment with a variety of resources available worldwide.
However, the issue of affordability of differents ICT services needs to be at the forefront of the development agenda to decrease the digital divide. We, as citizens, should discuss the importance of this issue to the fight against poverty and other problems in our globalized world.
References from the article:
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 Selwyn, N. (2004). Reconsidering political and popular understandings of the digital divide. New Media and Society, 6(3), 341–362. doi:10.1177/1461444804042519
Saheb, T (2014). ICT, Education and Digital Divide in Developing Countries. General Applied and Scientific University, Tehran.
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