Thursday, September 06, 2012

Australian Web Failing to Have Economic Impact

The World Wide Web Foundation, Established by Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has issued a Web Index report, ranking 61 countries on web use. Australia ranks eight in the world overall, just behind New Zealand and ahead of Norway. Australia has a high score for Web Content (six in the world). However, noticeable are low scores for Communications Infrastructure (eleven in the world) and Economic Impact (fourteen).

The National Broadband Network will rocket Australia to the top of the list for infrastructure, within a few years. But there are few government programs to address the use of the web for economic benefit. Some of the government programs for computers in schools should help future business, but more needed to be done to see the technology translate into economic development. The Australian Government could have a more business focused education policy, which specifically addresses economic development through on-line education. On-line education could address local needs, for regional Australia, providing quality education in remote areas where it is currently lacking, addressing the discrimination in education against indigenous people.

On-line education could train the workforce for current industries such as mining as well as the emerging renewable energy industry. On-line techniques could also could position Australia's tertiary sector to compete with e-learning courses from other developed countries and new campuses in developing countries. A blend of distance e-learning and on-campus programs would keep Australia's tertiary institutions competitive with increased international competition.

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