Barriers to Access in the Pacific Islands

One of the main ways to spread knowledge and information is the use of ICTs as an education tool. Isolated, small islands off of the Pacific not only have a hard time gaining access to ICT, but they also have difficulties during the implementation process. The idea that even when these small islands receive various ICTs, which could greatly help with the development of education, many of the teachers do not know how to use the technology. It is imperative that the educators of these nations, and all other nations, are taught how to properly use the technology; otherwise, there will still be no progress in education by the use of ICTs. It is also important for other fields, such as business and health purposes. I looked further in to the People First Network(PFnet) of the Solomon Islands program.

This program set-up an email system that provides access to the internet and email to remote islands. PFnet had two main components to the program: One was to set up an “electric post office” where there were multiple computers that the people could use freely to communicate with one another. The second was to create email stations that would help transmit the information through short-wave radio and solar power. The people working at the stations have been taught how to use the computer and email system so that they can help others around them. The Internet provides improvements to all sectors of life. I found that the PFnet program is linked to the development of indigenous business by helping businesses access online business information and attract joint venture partners. By giving the people on isolated islands the chance to communicate with one another, they are opening the doors to development and improvement. Knowledge and information can now be spread at a much faster rate, which would improve the overall education of the entire community, not just for the youth. Initiatives like the PFnet are important in connecting the people living on these isolated islands to the rest of the world. It will propel the use of ICTs in Pacific island nations, which in turn will lead to numerous beneficial outcomes in the societies.

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One response to “Barriers to Access in the Pacific Islands

  • stinamurph

    What intrigues me the most about this PFnet piece (and this is likely due to my own areas of interest) is the way that the website was set up to expand upon itself. It was designed with the more immediate needs of the citizens at heart–improving information and knowledge in order to share information between rural communities. But it was designed so that, “The network also enables discussions around issues such as gender rights and constitutional reform,” so if the people choose, they have the ability to communicate not just logistics but politics. Even the most obscure and distant rural areas are granted the ability to learn about and comment on their government–two often difficult tasks outside of the western world.

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