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Volume :39 Issue : 149 2013      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Information and Communication Technology: An Empirical Investigation of ICT Used in Alhassa Muhafada Rural Areas

Auther : Dr. Abdul-Karim K. Al-Howaish

     The efficient role of information and communication technology (ICT) is widely recognized as a key to raise productivity and stimulate innovation in rural and small communities. ICT can help unlock the socio-economic potentials of rural areas, and can make them more attractive places to live, thus contributing to reduce the rural-urban migration and information gaps which in turns reducing the disparity levels between urban and rural areas. ICT can also play a significant role in promoting rural entrepreneurship and economic progress, thus contributing to improve the competitiveness, the quality of life and diversification of national economies in globalized world. Accordingly, there is a growing desire among policy makers around the world to provide universal access to information highway services for all segments of the the society at a reasonable cost.
     In order to identify and determine the current situation of ICT in Saudi rural society, this paper aimed to measure the ICT used in selected Saudi rural areas. To do so, the study focused in Eastern Province, and in particularly, Alhassa villages. A random sample of 600 rural residents were selected in 17 rural villages. The sample was distributed between these villages based on their population size. Data were collected through direct personal interviews with rural residents.
     The analysis indicated that the current situation of ICT in rural areas and its role in fostering the socio-economic development of rural areas is vey week. Most of the ICT used in rural areas was limited for personal email and chatting only. For ICT to be effective player in rural development, Saudi governments at all levels need to develop particular educational programs in the field of ICT intended to foster rural residents' knowledge of modern technology.

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