How much Macedonia is “e-Macedonia”?

29th November 2011

Interview with Ivo Ivanovski, Minister of information society and administration

Text: Goce Postolovski

 

We are witnessing an increasing growth and development of information and telecommunication technologies in our country. It is a fact that IT companies have done a solid work. These professions are in demand and their products are competitive on the whole market. For this purpose, apart from the vision and possibilities of the companies themselves, other conditions and logistics provided by the state and its institutions are also required. The policy creators also have an impact on us “ordinary mortals”, so we decided to talk with the most competent person in this field, Mr. Ivo Ivanovski, Minister of information society and administration in the Government of the Republic of Macedonia. Here's what he told us.

 

 

Tell us something more about yourself, how did you come to Macedonia and get on your present position? What was your previous job?

- I previously worked as a manager of the Unit for information and communication technologies in the Plaskolite Incorporated company, Columbus, Ohio. On invitation of the Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Nikola Gruevski, I came here to be a part of the new Government.

What is the difference between Macedonia then and now? Is it now more or less e-Macedonia?:)

- We have definitely had a big progress since 2006. There is a big progress in all segments of society in respect of information and communication technologies implementation. Reports coming from the United Nations, International Telecommunication Union and other multi-national institutions confirm this progress.

 

Let us begin this interview with local issues of interest to our readers. What is the present status of PayPal? We were happy about it, but unfortunately that was all. Do you have any information what is the situation now?

- The last official report we received from PayPal was that in the first quarter of 2012 Macedonia would be included in their system. We are in constant talks with them, however it is up to them to make the final decision. On our part, including in the PayPal system was enabled in 2008, but due to the economic crisis they decided not to make any investments in their system upgrading in the years that followed.

 

New higher education IT institutions were opened. Institutes on Faculty of Science and ETF were transformed into faculty. In addition, we have the University of IT in Ohrid and dispersed studies in several towns in Macedonia. What is the final goal you would like to achieve and isn’t there any danger of hyper production of cadres, at the expense of quality?

- The main goal is that all citizens of the Republic of Macedonia acquire high education without additional enormous expenses. The analysis of scarce staff showed that opening of new faculties was necessary for satisfying needs of the private sector. Introduction of the bologna system should provide standard quality.

 

Situation with the Internet penetration, in my personal view, has been settled in some respect. It is a fact that for little money can be provided considerably good service. However, there are not any visible changes in the process of .mk domain registration. The MARnet is still the only place for domain registration, and the procedure still includes requires of a company, seal, “physical” submission of application. Can we soon expect liberalization and simplification of these procedures?

- Your “in some respect” expression implies that there has not been done enough. In the first quarter of 2006, we had 15.018 users of the fixed and broadband Internet, and in the first quarter of 2011 there were 262.371 users of the fixed and broadband Internet. In addition, there were 384.897 users of mobile broadband Internet on 3G and 93.583 on 2G. Liberalization of the telecommunication market also had a big role. As regards the MARnet, having in mind problems that the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia met with when it was a part of the UKIM, the government of RM made decision for establishing a new institution in order to satisfy all those requests and improve this segment on the market. In 2012 the MARnet will offer better services to the citizens like those of developed domain registries.

 

And now something about projects. Let us begin with the oldest one “A computers for every child”. What is the realization of this project, have expected results been achieved and what are the future plans about it?

- This is a very important project for building strong and educated nation. Its results have permanently been monitored and necessary measures taken for the system improvement. There will be more investments in electronic contents in the following period in order to complement existing contents in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geography etc. I am very pleased about positive results in using laptops by pupils from first to third grade and with the youngest pupils’ satisfaction.

 

Another project we have heard of is the one about 100 Macedonian e-shops. Tell us something more about it, who can apply and what will get the selected ones?

- This is a project for stimulating electronic trade in Macedonia. There are a small number of Internet shops in Macedonia, therefore we proposed a project for designing complete electronic shops for the best business plans. For more information citizen can visit the website www.mioa.gov.mk

 

Are there any other projects that you would like to point out or announce?

- There are a lot of projects that we have realized, and some are in their final stage, about which citizens have been regularly informed through media. For new projects that follow we can talk in some other occasion.

 

Administration is also in your competence. Recently we have heard about e-projects in this field too. Can you tell us something about most current ones?

- Introduction of a competence monitoring system, trainings through micro-learning, training website, electronic document management system, upgrading of the interoperability system by including more institutions and many others. Introduction of the ICT is a key factor for transforming administration into efficient and transparent one.

 

What is your personal message to our readers?

- I would like to send my regards to your readers and wish them good health, happiness and success in their lives. 

 

 

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