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The government hopes to close the IT gap by first of all making sure schools and students are plugged into the digital information economy
Departemen Pendidikan Nasional Republik Indonesia (DIKNAS) completed the first phase of a nationwide virtual private network (VPN) implementation in late 2006, "which is on track to eventually connect thousands of schools", said Bondan Sapto Prakoso, DIKNAS' technical team leader, in a statement.
"It is imperative that Indonesian students and schools be supported by a modern communications infrastructure, offering not just access to Internet resources but the interchange of education material and operational information," Prakoso said.
The project, with Juniper Networks' J2300 routers forming the base of the new VPN, is managed by PT Telkom, Indonesia's largest telecommunications service provider, and Siemens Communications.
The network provides connectivity and access to database applications, videoconferencing and other applications that support the operation of Indonesia's education system.
According to DIKNAS, info-communications technologies (ICT) play a key role in supporting its national education policy. The multiyear plan to enhance Indonesia's quality of education includes using ICT to further develop the teaching and learning process, as well as the administration and management of education services.
Public goes big
Industry research shows that the public sector in Asia has been investing in new technologies. Springboard Research estimated that the IT expenditure in Asia's public sector, excluding Japan, was US$17.3 billion in 2005. The market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5 percent, with IT spending reaching close to US$25 billion by 2009.
However, there is still a "staggering" difference in IT spending per capita across the region, said Dane Anderson, research vice president at Springboard Research, in a July 2006 report. "In many of the developing countries, the level of spending is still at extremely low levels on a per-capita basis," Anderson said.
There is also a wide gulf between the more mature and emerging countries in the region. Springboard found that countries such as New Zealand and Australia, spent close to US$200 per capita on IT in the public sector last year, while countries such as India and Indonesia spent as little as US$1 per capita.
According to Springboard's report, top-tier countries such as New Zealand, Australia and Singapore are expected to grow slightly faster than tier-two countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea, while the highest growth will come from the developing countries. Countries such as India, China, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, are forecast to post annual growth rates between 11 percent and 19 percent, compared to stable growth rates of between 4 percent and 5 percent expected in top-tier countries.