Ramos pushes for creation of Asean 'virtual knowledge center' President Ramos called yesterday for the establishment of a "virtual knowledge center" in the southeast Asian region that will draw on each country's unique strengths, particularly in the area of information technology (IT). In his speech during the first ASEAN Oracle Open World conference, the President underscored the need to develop distance learning and intra-regional cooperation for faster delivery of the latest technologies. "The center can serve us in pooling our vast human resources to tailor distance-learning content to regional development needs. Our first objective should be to develop a regional plan to link ASEAN in phases through a network computing infrastructure," he said. President Ramos said that as a start, universities in a couple of ASEAN countries could be linked together to build partnerships with world-class centers of higher learning. He stressed that through IT, governments can reach out to the most remote of rural communities and provide them with access to education, health care or even the latest biotechnology research. IT infrastructure alone, he said, is not enough but there is also a need to improve productivity, global competitiveness and job growth through human resources development. "The future of the network community depends on building productive linkages across nations in regions where resources can be pooled and where the comparative advantage of each is thoroughly exploited to maximize the competitiveness of all," he pointed out. Although President Ramos noted that each ASEAN nation must be confident first with its own national computing infrastructure before moving into regional linkages, he said that the countries could still discuss how to facilitate regional linkages. IT, he said, will play an important role in Asia's return to dynamism despite the economic crisis experienced in the region. "We should be working toward common infrastructure standards and information technology applications. And we should be seeking access to the best educational facilities the world has to offer," he said.
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