Are we I.T. prepared or are we not?

SMS capital of the world? Social networking capital of the world? These are just some titles attributed to the Philippines in as far as technology is concerned. Almost every Filipinos has mobile phones, internet cafes all over, people carrying notebooks / netbooks in restaurants, malls, and practically anywhere. But does this really reflect the total readiness of the country in as as technology is concerned? The answer is NO.

The Philippines slipped from its 81st ranking in 2008 to 85th spot in terms of network readiness in the latest Global Information Technology Report 2009 released by the World Economic Forum. Back in 2007, the Philippines was ranked 69th among all the economies surveyed.

In the area of government’s prioritization of ICT, the Philippines ranked 91 out of the 133 nations surveyed. In the areas of government procurement of advanced tech products and importance of ICT to government vision of the future, the Philippines is ranked 110th and 94th, respectively.

For the Usage Component, the Philippines obtained an overall ranking of 79th with these indicators:

1. Government success in ICT promotion………………………..97
2. Availability of government online services …………………80
3. ICT use and government efficiency …………………………79
4. Presence of ICT in government offices………………………95

Why am I not surprised with this results? Simple, the government has other priorities – we can’t even have our own Department of Information and Communication Technology (D.I.C.T.). As much as most of our operations heavily relying on technology, the Philippine government seems to forget or even neglect the importance of technology and the advantages it brings to governance, or should I say e-governance.

In case you’re wondering who comprises the Top 10? Sweden is number one, followed by Singapore, then by Denmark, Switzerland, United States, Finland, Canada, HongKong, Netherlands and Norway.

The Networked Readiness Index (NRI), featured in the report, examines how prepared countries are to use ICT effectively on three dimensions: the general business, regulatory and infrastructure environment for ICT; the readiness of the three key stakeholder groups in a society / individuals, businesses and governments to use and benefit from ICT; and the actual usage of the latest information and communication technologies available.

The Report is the eighth of a series and is the result of a well-established partnership between the World Economic Forum (the Forum) and INSEAD, aimed at advancing knowledge of networked readiness and of its principal drivers.

I am not asking or not even dreaming that the Philippines should be included in the top 10 or top 20, what I want is for the country to really adopt and utilize technology (and its funds) correctly – especially in the area of governance and education. Do not deprive our people of the advantages brought about by these innovations.

It is sad to see that while the advancement of technology is continously rising, our adoption rate is slowly but surely going down.

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