About 540 participants, including some top government officials, from about 26 countries participated in the event. It was stressed that in addition to attaining good technological status, proper grip over ICT is mandatory because most of international ICT corporations are based in Gulf States.
Role of ICT in educational development, cyber security, investment in ICT projects and digital innovation were the main themes of the meeting.
The participating governments’ executives put light about how getting updated with latest ICT tools can cure youth unemployment and promote innovation. Importance of broadband was highlighted and the leaders from underdeveloped world vowed inclusion of wide-scale broadband as their top priority.
An important decision made by the delegates was the established of an educational and research network across all Islamic nations. The fact that in today’s information age access to knowledge should not be limited to educational and research institutes was endorsed by the participants. They viewed provision of education to masses and stakeholders the main element of success behind a country’s progress.
Pan-Islamic Research and Education Network (PIREN) aims to connect academic and government institutions of about 57 Islamic countries. Most of Islamic countries are spread over Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. Although some of them have education and research networks but it was stressed to have an interconnected setup among different universities of Islamic countries.
The delegates appreciated how Pakistan’s modern research and educational network contributed for its education and research sector. Bravo to Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman for making Pakistan the only Islamic country having educational network up to latest technological standards.
Pakistan Educational and Research Network (PERN) is the country’s only research network providing high speed internet and intranet facilities to associated academic institutes. About one hundred and ten universities are connected via PERN and about 6.25 Gbps internet bandwidth is utilized. Most of the delegates there considered it pertinent to follow the pattern of PERN for establishing PIREN.
During Dr. Atta’s time, significant efforts were made to promote education and ICT. Pakistan is also member of Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN). TEIN is the research and educational network of 19 countries of Asia-Pacific. The countries actively using TEIN include China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Australia. TEIN is also connected to European research network, GEANT.
PIREN will pave new ways of research and development in the Islamic world. Besides, enabling collaboration of participating countries’ researchers, it will standardize the ICT setup of participating nations. Other Muslim countries having introduced and using Research and Education Networks are Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and UAE etc.