BRUNEI Darussalam does not have enough ICT talent, but will build further its pool of ICT talent in order to further the nation's development.
In his keynote address at the Think Big Innovate 2011: A Technology & Entrepreneurship Forum yesterday, Minister of Communications Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar admitted that Brunei lacks the required ICT talent, but was quick to point out that it is a situation that is being addressed.
"Being a relatively small populated country, Brunei does not as yet have a critical mass of local ICT talent that is able to fully leverage and offset ICT related jobs, professions and positions in the government, as well as the private sectors," said the Minister.
"Hence we are now seriously looking into further building a pool of local ICT talent as such."
The Minister stressed that this new talent pool will become 'the foundation for our home grown base of ICT experts,' professionals that will eventually meet and aspire to meet worldwide standards in ICT competency.
The Minister pointed towards the government's current multi-modal approach towards achieving sustainable ICT development and progress. "On the one hand we enhance the institutional framework to encourage and motivate businesses in the high-tech, high-risk industry. On the other hand, we adopt a grassroots approach in our educational system, to foster the powerful forces of curiosity and passion in our young future leaders," he said.
Pehin Dato Hj Abdullah also said that the Ministry of Communications acknowledges the challenges faced by Brunei Darussalam, and that it is pivotal to capitalise on government leadership in ICT, to stimulate growth of the ICT industry. "This is supported by policy directions endorsed by the Brunei Darussalam National IT Council."
He added that despite the growth of ICT and broadband users in Brunei Darussalam, it has revealed the need for local content developments. "Hence, human capacity building is one of the challenges faced, with initiatives of learning institutions in shifting their focus on disciplines with strong ICT coverage," he said.
In that regard, he stressed Brunei needs to build upon the use of ICT to enhance, improve and replicate the economy so that by 2035 the nation can be recognised for the accomplishments of its well-educated and highly skilled people, ensure a high quality of life and have a dynamic and stable economy.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Communications has initiatives in the pipeline made up of three important core values to realise its vision, "a sophisticated society, a competitive nation and excellence in communications."
Pehin Dato Hj Abdullah said his Ministry aims to forge a sophisticated society. "It is a moving target, what we want to do is have people to do their business efficiently, a society that is dynamic, creative, innovative and intelligent, and by being sophisticated we hope to go in life in a very balanced, enjoyable, purposeful, fulfilling but more importantly preserving the precious assets we have, material goods, time, finance and environment."
The minister explained further that the ministry strives for Brunei to be a competitive nation, "because we want Brunei to be a destination of choice, a place of choice for people to live, come and to do business."
Finally for excellence in communication and transportation, he said that the Ministry is "trying to put in or ensure" that the broadband network in Brunei mirrors that of Singapore. "If not what Singapore is doing, very close to what Singapore is doing, and we are looking to do this with the help of our two main carriers, DST and TelBru," he said.
Some 250 people attended the Think Big Forum yesterday, with the iCentre bringing in a panel of thought leaders and practitioners from the region as a national platform for Bruneians to look how trends and technology are being carried out overseas, and also how innovation-driven technology has inspired change and entrepreneurs have used these innovations to bring value to businesses and society.
Datin Paduka Hajah Adina Othman, Acting Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, appeared as a special guest at the luncheon keynote address, and presented the prizes to winners of the iMMerse photography challenge 2011. The Brunei Times