Importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in making a heathy information society: a case study of ethiope east local government area of Delta State, Nigeria.

Author:Ogbomo, Monday Obaidjevwe
Position:Report
 
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Introduction

There is widespread research interest in information and communication technologies (ICTs). According to Crede & Mansell (1998), ICTs are crucially important for sustainable development in developing countries. Thioune (2003) notes that for the past two decades most developed countries have witnessed significant changes that can be traced to ICTs. These multi-dimensional changes have been observed in almost all aspects of life: economics, education, communication, and travel. In a technologydriven society, getting information quickly is important for both sender and receiver. ICTs have made it possible to quickly find and distribute information. Thoiune (2003) indicates that many initiatives have taken at the international level to support Africa's efforts to develop a communication infrastructure and. These efforts are designed to enable African countries, including Nigeria, to find faster ways to achieve durable and sustainable development.

Helmut (1998), cited by Akpore (1999), states that of the technological changes that have influenced our lives in recent years, information technology (IT) has had the greatest impact. This will continue at least until the end of the first half of the century, when other major technological breakthroughs in the area of new materials, biotechnology, or energy, may provide entirely new ways of living.

An information society is one that makes the best possible use of ICTs. Martin (1995) supports this view by describing it as a society in which the quality of life, as well as prospects for social change and economic development, depend increasingly upon information and its exploitation. In such a society, living standards, patterns of work and leisure, the education system, and marketplace are all influenced by advances in information and knowledge. This is evidenced by an increasing array of informationintensive products and services (Martin, 1988).

Annan (2002) notes that the information society is a way for human capacity to be expanded, built up, nourished, and liberated by giving people access to tools and technologies, with the education and training to use them effectively. There is a unique opportunity to connect and assist those living in the poorest and most isolated regions of the world. Informatization of society is a major hurdle that most nations, especially developing countries, are encountering. The information society or information age is a phenomenon that began after 1950, which brings challenges as we seek to integrate and expand the universe of print and multimedia sources. The two terms are often used to describe a cybernetic society in which there is a great dependence on the use of computers and data transmission linkages to generate and transmit information (Bruce, 1995).

The African Information Society (AISI) document (2005) argues that Africa should build, by the year 2010, an information society in which every man, woman, child, village, public and private sector office has secured access to the use of computers and telecommunications media. The objective is to provide every African with the possibility of using the communication and data processing services available everywhere else, just like any other citizens of the world.

ICTs for Informing Citizens

One of the identified agents through which the world will constantly experience change is technology. In the business of trying to make information available in the right form to the right user both at the personal and organizational levels, and at the right time, the bid to cope with great flood of information has led to the need for a more sophisticated way of handling information faster and better.

According to Anyakoha (1991), information technology is "the use of man made tools for the collection, generation, communication, recording, re-management and exploitation of information. It includes those applications and commodities, by which information is transferred, recorded, edited, stored, manipulated or disseminated". Hawkridge (1983) describes information technology as a...

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