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Youth and Social Exclusion in the Information Society Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by AZEEM SAJJAD, Pakistan May 19, 2007
Human Rights , Education , Technology   Opinions


Youth and Social Exclusion in the Information Society
Youth in rural areas are mostly neglected in the ICT policy reform process in many countries including Pakistan. Rural areas are considered less viable areas for becoming a part of information society. There are approximately 3 billion people who don’t have access to any form of connectivity, while talking about rural population in Asia. The majority of rural Asians today do not have access to basic telephony (let alone the Internet). Moreover, South Asia, home to 50% of the world’s poor, has more people who do not have access to the Internet or telephony than the rest of the world combined. According to World Bank’s report on the issue of poverty, rural development and economic growth, Nonetheless, Pakistan has made important strides in the last several years to promote rural economic growth and poverty reduction. There is still need to empower the poor and protecting the most vulnerable through social mobilization, safety nets and facilitating access to productive assets for income generating activities.

Some forms of exclusion are systematic exclusions that need to be overcome. In many areas girls and women are excluded from access to education, access to Internet like modern means of communication. This sort of exclusion sub consciously controls the behaviors of women for the opportunities keep them from preparing proactively for coming era. Government can play a role in this vein while adopting ICT policy and using media to create awareness of their rights and future opportunities. Traditional media for communication like radio can also be used along converging media for communication like Internet etc to empower disadvantaged communities like women, who are outside the labor force. There is a need to design effective strategies for paradigm shifts in many dimensions of life while empowering the marginalized communities, which is very necessary to prevent social exclusion. Women outside the labor force and rural agricultural women should have technological skills and access to their respective stock of information, health and education information on continuous basis. The application of ICT to existing community will enhance their social capital base utilizing the various opportunities offered by the information society.

Youth with physical disability is also an important group, as being lesser in strata they are usually neglected by policy makers. There is a need to design strategies and mechanism to meet the special needs of youth with disability. Due to physical constraints like blindness or inability to type, there are many people unable to use ICTs effectively. Such children and young people can be taught with the help of different software and adaptive technologies to provide necessary accessibility. It should be made available to those who are handicapped by some physical or sensory disability. It is also considerable issue that such applications, being developed for disable people are costly and not in easy access in markets. Efforts are required to extend the benefits of ICT to marginalized communities like visually impaired youth. Strategies to empower disabled groups need to be more specialized and should include vocational and other skills training. ICTs centers for the disabled run by the disabled themselves would be ideal for this purpose.

Internet has grown from a research network but now used for email, information, voice over internet protocol etc. Opportunities for debate, discussion and support have been the important usage of Internet. But lack of local content is to redress, because cultural content sustains and explains communities, individuals and groups, as they do not have access to the means to make them heard. There are about 6800 living languages across the world, but Internet content is available mostly in English, being the most prominent. Basic computer literacy is also necessary as young users are needed to be able to negotiate different software platforms. This will guarantee that everyone has the resources necessary to live in accordance with human dignity; so to empower by giving ability to tell about one’s world view is a big opportunity and help them open up new possibilities for participation, collaboration, partnerships and decision-making process.

In many areas different cultural and political group are discriminated against restricting the access to education, employment, property and political power. Such exclusion let them in an entrenched cycle of poverty and joblessness. In many cases people are kept away from accessing information and knowledge, or granted limited resources for some political or economic gains, to keep them from accessing their rights and from organizing. Characterized by increased access to computers and other electronic devices, and rapid growth in mobile technology, ICTs show the potential to be truly transformed in addressing development challenges in this highly diverse region. Although Pakistan is in its infancy stages towards adapting ICTs and is eager to participate in the burgeoning knowledge society, having substantial technological bases, strong and proven institutions, and well-developed human resources.


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Writer Profile


I am Azeem Sajjad and I a, from Pakistan and was born in Lahore, Pakistan and live there for a long time. I studied there upto Masters. I did Masters of Computer Sciences from Hamdard University in 1999 - 2001 after B.Sc. with double Mathmetics and Statistics. For polishing my managerial skills after getting sufficient technical experience, I persued Commonwealth learning International MBA Executive in 2005.

Although I started my career from working in my university as Software Engineer, where afterwords promoted as Snr. Software Engineer and Assistant IT Manager. I worked there for around five years in different roles. I enjoyed working there by learning technical as well as by interacting with people from diverse groups.

Afterwords, I joined Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited [PTCL] as Assistant Manager, Billing and Mediation in Sep 2005. While working with PTCL in islamabad has opened a new dimension in my life and It totaly changed even my daily routine or lifestyle. As I had to move from my hometown to Islamabad capital territory. It was a pleasant experience while working for PTCL, which continued till Dec 2006.

Currently I am working in Ministry of IT, IT and Telecom Division, Govt. of Pakistan since 1st Jan 2007 as Project Manager(R&D Fund).
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