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Asia: UBD To Set Up Research Centre To Speed Up E-Government
Source: brudirect.com
Source Date: Friday, November 26, 2010
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Internet Governance
Created: Nov 29, 2010

Brunei-Muara - Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) yesterday signed with a South Korean institute an agreement to establish a joint research centre here eyed to expedite the Sultanate's e-government initiative.

The planned "UBD-Kaist E-Government Innovation Centre" is expected to be established soon in UBD and will provide objective views and capacity-building programmes to push Brunei's e-government agenda, said Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology's (Kaist) Director of eGovernment and Green IT Research Centre (KeGRC).
Brunei's civil service will be the first to undergo such training programmes on e-government to be provided by the new centre.

The training is expected to take place next year either February or March, said Dr Soung Hie Kim, who signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) yesterday at UBD on behalf of Kaist.

He spoke of how the equivalent research centre in Korea has helped the Republic in developing it's e-government since it embarked on the initiative some two decades ago.

Korea is currently ranked number one in the United Nations' e-government index.

"In Korea, it took quite a long (time) to promote e-government. It took around over 20 years. But in Brunei, maybe when we establish the research centre, then, without errors, you can facilitate or promote e-government very quickly. That is one of the advantages (as to) why we are establishing this cooperation centre between the two organisations," Kim told reporters following the MoU signing.

Ina titah delivered during the Civil Service Day celebrations last month, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam criticised Brunei's unsatisfactory e-govemment growth after more than a decade and over $1 billion had been spent on the initiative.

Apart from educating and training Brunei's public servants on e-government, the joint cooperation centre will also conduct research and development (R&D) in e-government and "green IT" as well as hold e-government forums and conferences, inviting Korean experts as speakers.

The "UBD-Kaist E-Government Innovation Centre" is also hoped to facilitate the integration of the various e-government initiatives carried out by government agencies.

"The most important thing nowadays is inter-operability. So how can we break down the boundaries? That is a key issue (among) the ministries," he said, pointing out that this was a challenge Brunei's Prime Minister's Office (PMO) likely to face.

"It is very difficult to manage this kind of integration without any kind of supporting powers," he added.

The KeGRC director remarked that with the establishment of the research centre, the PMO would then have access to "objective opinions of the various kind of things for the inter-operabilities in Brunei". He pointed out that this was essential in instances where ministries were facing "conflicting interests" in their systems.

"The PMO would find it very difficult to manage these kind of things. So with the supporting powers from the research centre of UBD, the PM0 can gather some objective data or information to control the ICT governance," Kim said.

Signing the MoU on behalf of UBD yesterday was Acting Dean of Faculty of Business, Economics and Policy Studies Dr Fadzliwati Mohidin as UBD Vice-Chancellor Dr Hj Zulkarnain Hj Hanafi and Korean Ambassador to Brunei Kim Dae-Sik.

In his remarks, Dr Hazri Kifle, UBD's deputy director of International and Public Relations Office said that the MoU also entailed "visits and interchange of staff and students for research, teaching, training and discussions".-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times

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