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Book Review:

Computer Companion

Experts provide a wealth of information and ideas on information technology

Proceedings: International Conference on Information Technology, Communications and Development

Edited by Gaurab Raj Upadhyaya and Alfred Diebold

Published by Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung, Nepal Office

Price: Undisclosed

Pages: 375

As countries around the world are busy harnessing advances in information technology for development, Nepal is yet to formulate coherent policies to encourage its people to participate in the endeavor.

Following the appointment of Bhakta Bahadur Balayar as Minister of State for Science and Technology, the government announced a plan to train Nepalese youth in some areas of information technology. But it will take some time for that effort to begin yielding results.

This book provides a compelling case for urgent action in this field. A compilation of articles presented at the International Conference on Information Technology, Communications and Development, the volume offers a wealth of information and ideas on what has come to be defining feature of the contemporary world.

"In the book, we have articles on all the conference themes. Similarly, we have incorporated many papers that [were] not presented in person at the conference. We hope that conference delegates and others who are using this book as a reference materials on information technology, communications, and development will find it useful," say Gaurab Raj Upadhyaya and Dr. Alfred Diebold in their preface.

Organized by the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung with support from the Computer Association Nepal, the first International Conference on Information Technology, Communication and Development helped to identify areas of potential and to understand the global perspective.

The papers presented at the seminar by experts give some insights and knowledge on the present context of advanced technology in the area of information. The book comes out at a time when large number of Nepalese recognize the importance of information communication technology to bringing qualitative change to their work.

"As technology advances, the gap between the information haves and have-nots is widening. The digital divide becomes more and more apparent. To discuss these issues, the FES and CAN planned this conference," says Dr. Diebold.

The book is a compilation of 51 papers presented at the seminar. Written by senior scholars, international web designers, professor and policy makers of various government organizations, the presentations range from technological aspects to the other features.

Some of the Nepalese authors presented papers on the importance of information technology in the context of rural development programs. In his article on "Role of Renewable Energy Technology for Information Applications in Rural Areas of Nepal", Professor Jagan Nath Shrestha, director of the Center for Energy Studies discusses the importance of information technology in the context of Nepalese rural development.

From South Asia to other parts of the world, the papers presented at the seminars explain different scenarios and situations of the development of information technology in the world. In his paper, "Bridging the Digital Divide - Some efforts from Kerala," Ajay Kumar, Secretary to Government of Kerala, southern India, highlighted the difficulties in providing technology to the people.

From the perspective of web, Vijaya Pratap Singh Aditya, Honey Bee Network India, discusses knowledge network for grassroots innovators. Other articles highlight the importance of computers in universities. Valerie Chandler Greenberg of the University of Texas, Austin discusses the importance of digital communication.

Soni Rana, Rabi Bhattarai and Dr. Anton Fric highlight the importance of information technology in various sectors of development. The book is a valuable primer on the evolution and prospects of information technology.

Source: SPOTLIGHT, The National News Magizine, VOL. 22, NO. 03, JUL 12 - JUL 18, 2002.

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