VOCATIONAL TRAINING COUNCIL
Submission to Provisional Legislative Council - Panel on Information Policy
Meeting on Friday, 28th November 1997
Views and Suggestions on the future Information Technology Development as set out in the Chief Executive's 1997 Policy Address
The IT plans in Chief Executive's forward-looking policy are welcome initiatives. We could further enhance our Customer-oriented and Service-based economy with a unique "HKSAR style" underpinned by intensively focused IT. It is stressed that we could be an excellent niche player in software industry with our ever-improving expertise.
Our vision is to enhance our economic and business competence, in terms of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Quality of life for our citizens. With smooth development, HKSAR could evolve to be an IT and business hub of Greater China, later on of Asia, and finally a super hub between East and West, essentially a global hub.
Information Technology in Education
The Council applaud the sentiments behind the policy. Our goal in Education is to produce a knowledgeable work force with IT literacy so as to achieve a long term target of having at least one IT literate person in every family.
It is important to incorporate IT in teaching, but it should be borne in mind that IT is used to support learning/teaching and not to replace it. IT education should not be emphasized only on tertiary education. It should also encompass all levels of education including primary, secondary, and vocational education and training. Furthermore, IT should be targeted at general use rather than specific areas.
The Council strongly agrees to the setting up of an IT Education Resource Centre, as proposed by the Chief Executive. It is proposed that the Centre should be responsilble for the following:-
?to ensure sufficient provision of comprehensive IT resources e.g. hardware, software and peopleware
?to promote Internet usage
?to start a pilot scheme to obtain the best IT education model for the future.
Infrastructure and the Cyber Society
A high speed broadband network is absolutely necessary to provide network centric applications and value added services. The Infrastructure, which should be based upon advanced technology such as Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line and satellite connections, must be powerful enough and sufficiently efficient for ease of use at work, home, and play. The Chief Executive's plan for a high speed broadband infrastructure could eventually turn HKSAR into a Cyber society in which all HKSAR citizens would be able to enjoy high speed network services such as:
?electronic commerce including electronic shopping and banking
?multimedia kiosks for accessing information services
?entertainment on demand
These services, could in the future, be extended to the Greater China Region.
The technology to be used for the infrastructure should be capable of supporting networked PC's, Digital TV, Web TV and Web phones enabling an unconstrained, personal and interactive access to information. It is also recommended for the HKSAR to participate in the new IT wave - Internet 2 in which a high bandwidth Internet could be constructed to cure the present orld wide wait?problem.
With respect to the Chief Executive's future plans on IT Research and Development, it is suggested to set up an IT town to explore new technology and to pilot new technology initiatives.
Information Technology Coordination
The Council appreciates the Chief Executive's suggestion that a bureau secretary will lead and coordinate the work of all staff in government organizations involved in IT and the related areas of broadcasting and telecommunications.
The Council is pleased to note that the government will inject $500 million into the Applied Research Fund. However the Council also believes that to effectively satisfy the objective of upgrading industry more funds should be allocated for software development.
It is important for the government to actively promote the use of IT and to motivate the public to use it . To facilitate this the government could provide incentives such as:-
?a funding scheme for the purchase of PC's
?a tax incentive program
?preferential tariff rates
Furthermore, large scale IT publicity programs could be arranged to encourage better involvement from our citizens in major IT events.
Although the government holds the strongest position in influencing the future direction of IT, it is advised to promote open IT development, unconstrained by specific government administrative measures including the free flow of information on the Internet. The government is also encouraged to ensure fair competition amongst IT vendors and to maintain business autonomy by allowing organizations to continue to be free to innovate and protected by their own intellectual property rights.
It would be useful if an IT knowledge database was established to address critical IT issues such as the "Year 2000" problem, IT security, data privacy, and to produce guidelines on common software interfaces. The accessibility to this knowledge database could be enhanced by setting up IT kiosks at various public locations, e.g. public libraries.
HKSAR needs to educate and train our new generation to enable them to make full use of the state of the art technology, which is advancing at a tremendously fast rate. To avoid our IT expertise from becoming obsolete government should also be aware that continuous upgrading and re-training of personnel is vitally important to our IT policy.
Advanced IT equipment alone will not lead to a successful IT culture. To make full use of IT, ease of use and friendly user interface is of utmost importance to end users.
The new IT era brings to us not only ease of life, but also drastic changes in economic and social activities. Our economy now need to specialize in critical skills, and in particular, the IT skill. The government is advised to develop a full spectrum of educational and social programs to assist the community to adapt to the new patterns of life.
Since IT is pivotal to the success of HKSAR's future, it is recommended that areas in education, infrastructure, and the role of government be appropriately reengineered to enable the region to become more proactive to change. With pilot schemes well in place and a mechanism for a "quantum leap onto solid ground" for new IT deployment, the council has good faith that HKSAR will be evolve into a super IT and business hub of the world, and will play its part in ensuring the working population will have the necessary skills to benefit from the new environment.
Last Updated on 7 December 1997