Friday, August 24, 2007
telecommunication in the past ten years...
In the past decade Pakistan has witnessed a prodigious growth in the telecommunications sector. Most of this development has been restricted to urban areas, but the tremendous progress cannot be downplayed. Technology which was previously viewed as arcane and virtually out of reach has been made easily accessible to the common man. The younger generation, in particular, has drawn innumerable benefits from the availability of such technology, and recent years have witnessed foreign constructs such as the ‘Internet culture’ take root and grow.
While computers and the like have admittedly been around for longer than the past ten years, they have never before been so widely utilised. A worldwide revolution in information technology has reduced the prices of such equipment, and it has since then become seemingly ubiquitous.
Cell phones have become a veritable phenomenon in the past few years, their affordability rendering them a bare necessity rather than a luxury.
Cell phones allow the user to establish communication regardless of time, location or velocity. They have perpetuated the rather dubious practice of remaining in constant, succinct contact with friends and acquaintances, which, if done with a certain presence of mind, can be time-saving and useful. Instant messaging (sms), however, is availed with a passion and conviction which can at times be slightly obtrusive (especially if being done with the pretence of judicious discretion during academic classes). Even so, it is an efficient means of communication, and a largely innocuous indulgence of the youth’s more frivolous tendencies.
Also the computer has brought a world of infinite information to us, and we have reaped the benefits with single-minded diligence. Most children who attend private schools have easy access to computers, a luxury previously unheard of. Ten years ago a school project would have invariably demanded a trip to the library and hours’ worth of tedious note-taking. Often, the student would be forced to toil for unduly long periods of time in a diminishing attempt to procure the necessary information. Today, libraries are looked at with poignant nostalgia, a quaint reminder of the past.
The advent of the Internet has dramatically changed the amount of time and effort students invest in the completion of their school assignments. Information is easily accessible, and requires little more than a cursory knowledge of the subject in question and familiarity with the simple workings of the system. Assignments and projects no longer inspire the same dread that they used to, rather they are viewed as an opportunity to gain marks without the need for any unjustifiable exertion. Information, even on the most obscure topics, can be found in abundance on the Internet, and this has led to many students selecting more and more adventurous topics for their projects. As a result, the models and practical demonstrations displayed during science fairs have become successively more impressive. The Internet has also managed to enrich the classroom experience as teachers increasingly supplement the course material with information gathered over the omnipotent ‘Net’.
However, the ease with which information can be collected over the Internet has prompted some to develop a penchant for ‘copy-pasting’ off websites, and then claiming authorship of the material. This practice is quite prevalent in schools due to the difficulty of verifying the authenticity of each piece of work. Plagiarism, despite having been frequently identified as such, is rampant. This in large part can be attributed to the Internet and a general apathy towards this reprehensible practice by those in authority.
Several networking websites have become unrivalled in popularity amongst the younger generation during recent years. Such websites have established vast on-line communities, where young people interact freely and discuss shared interests. These ‘sites’ provide a source of recreation to millions of youngsters and allow them to hone their social skills which are imperative to one’s success later in life. Orkut in particular attracts countless Pakistani users and has become a genuine phenomenon.
It is evident that the rapid progress experienced in the sector of telecommunications has yielded immense benefits for those belonging to the younger age bracket, as we have access to many of the resources present in more developed countries. Yes, there is certainly room for improvement, but even so there has been remarkable advancement, much of it within the reach of the common man. Technology which was previously only available to the affluent is now central in the lives of countless youngsters.