In a recently published study (Asia/Pacific excluding Japan Public Sector IT Spending 2010 – 2015), IDC Government Insights has found that public education spending is second only to social protection in the Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ). Education is an important pillar of socio-economic development. It requires immense focus, especially in the emerging markets in the APEJ that can make education a cornerstone of their development process.
In another study (Education ICT Trends in the Emerging Markets in the Asia/Pacific excluding Japan), IDC Government Insights notes that in most of the developing countries, the focus of IT spending on education is on bridging the digital divide in an effort to democratize education. The education sector has been contemplating what a 21st century entails. Increasingly education is being regarded as the medium to empower the younger generation economically, socially, politically and personally for the 21st century. This education has to leverage on emerging technologies for better empowerment of the future generation. There is also a need to continuously develop the ICT manpower to supply the growing demands of the industries in the emerging markets.
Neighboring countries that are technologically advanced are good places to look for inspiration, especially South Korea that has previously been adjudged by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) Program for International Student Assessment as "first in terms of digital literacy among developed nations." As part of the country's new 'Smart Education' strategies plan, South Korea has announced recently that it is going to invest USD$ $2.4 billion to enable all schools in the country to go digital by 2015. Instead of carrying heavy school bags, students will be able to carry a tablet or smartphone to access the books required. The government also intends to build an education-specific cloud computing network where these digital textbooks will be stored. This will also give easy access to the books to the students, whenever and wherever required. Wireless networks will be constructed at all schools to support the cloud use.
Obviously, resources are limited in the emerging markets. This is why the governments need to rely on private agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and public-private partnerships (PPPs) to help augment their existing education IT infrastructure.
If you want to read more about the government spending trends in the APEJ region or about the education ICT roadmaps of the emerging markets in the region, please contact me at email@example.com or my colleague Frank Levering at firstname.lastname@example.org.