Knowledge Societies in China, Portugal, and Uganda

Knowledge Societies in China, Portugal, and Uganda

Nuno Vasco Lopes (United Nations University, Guimarães, Portugal), Kenneth Bagarukayo (United Nations University, Kampala, Uganda) and Jun Cheng (United Nations University, Guimarães, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/IJKSR.2017010102
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Abstract

In September 2015, the United Nations (UN) Member States subscribed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the 2030 Agenda (General Assembly 2015). This work makes an analysis on how Knowledge Societies can effectively contribute for the achievements of the Agenda's 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Moreover, it will be presented the research overview conducted by UNU-EGOV for producing the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Knowledge Societies Handbook (UNESCO/IFAP and UNU-EGOV 2016). In addition, three countries from three different Continents of Asia, Europe and Africa - China, Portugal and Uganda respectively - will be analyzed in the context of the knowledge societies architecture proposed in the handbook. For making that analysis a set of indicators collected from the “The World Bank” (The World Bank 2016) and “International Telecommunication Union” (ITU) (ITU 2015) databases have been selected. The indicators have been interpreted taking into consideration the socio-cultural, political, and economic context of each of the three countries.
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1. Introduction

The term knowledge was used for the first time in 1969 by Peter Drucker to define a knowledge worker, i.e. a worker whose main capital is knowledge. Drucker considers knowledge as the source of human, economic and sustainable development of societies (Drucker, 1992). This term emerged at about the same time of the idea of learning societies and long life education for all. Building Knowledge societies through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is one of the UNESCO overarching objectives and of its constitution. ICTs allow countries to widen the public knowledge of their citizens and can be used to try to achieve equal and universal access to knowledge. Knowledge goes well beyond information given by ICTs. Information per se, does not improve the quality of life. The concept of knowledge societies is much broader than information societies; it encompasses social, ethical, educational, economic, environmental, and political dimensions. Whereas, the information societies are more based on technological developments (Bindé & Matsuura, 2005). The organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also concluded in (World Bank, 2002) that the long-term growth of OECD economies depends on the maintenance and expansion of the knowledge base. With the advancement of ICTs humanity has learnt how to mass-produce knowledge (United Nations, 2005), however it is now time to build a framework that puts knowledge at the service of the the Sustainable Development Goals of United Nations 2030 Agenda.

The principles and objectives of Knowledge Societies are well aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals of United Nations 2030 Agenda. The United Nations defined 17 Sustainable Development Goals to serve as a guideline to reach a global and long-term sustainable development in economic, social and environmental dimensions. In order to help achieve these goals a Knowledge Societies (KS) architecture has been proposed by UNU-EGOV (Baguma et al. 2016), the architecture is illustrated in Figure 1. Figure also identifies which are the SD goals addressed by each dimension of the KS architecture.

Figure 1.

Knowledge societies architecture

The vertical pillars of the KS architecture illustrated in Figure 1 cover all the 17 goals, the horizontal blocks, governance, knowledge and infocomm, address specifically the goals, 16 and 17. The architecture provides a perspective of how each dimension can facilitate or contribute to the achievement of a given goal.

The aim of this work is to evaluate status of the knowledge on China, Portugal and Uganda societies using the Knowledge societies architecture proposed by the UNU-EGOV. For doing that, a set of indicators have been chosen and analysed for each dimension of KS architecture. This study shows that China is performing well in terms of Knowledge societies, Portugal is performing very well and Uganda not so well. As far as we know, there is not any similar work in the scientific literature, which is able to compare the knowledge maturity in different countries with a framework.

The remaining part of this work is organized as follows. Section 2 describes the methodology used to conduct this research work. Section 3 presents the research overview of the seven dimensions of the knowledge societies architecture. In the section 4 a qualitative analysis of the research literature on knowledge societies is presented. Section 5 makes a comparative analysis of the knowledge in three different country’ contexts: China, Portugal and Uganda. In section 6, the analyses of the knowledge in the three countries are presented and critically discussed. Finally, section 7 concludes this work highlighting the main findings.

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