Posted by / Saturday 11 November 2017 / No comments

What is electronic government, what tools are used in deploying it?

Electronic governance refers to the idea of government agencies using Information, Communication and Technology to serve their publics, instead of or in addition to the traditional-human contact. 

Several tools are used in making e-governance work, including but not limited to the telephone, text messages, faxes, closed circuit television, the internet, bio-metric identification etc.

The Telephone
Any device that is able to convert acoustic vibration to electrical signals with the ability to transmit same over long distances can be called a telephone. It could a fixed line or a mobile handset. In E-governance, the telephone is used to hold discussions with two or more people without them having to physically meet. It could be used to arrange a meeting between a government agency and a client.

Short Messaging Service (SMS)
A short messaging service allows for a user to send a text message from one device to another. It is usually a 160 character text per message. Sms is used in E-governance to alert a client when his or her application for a service has been received. It is also used to inform an applicant about the various stages his or her application has reached. 

The Fax Machine
A fax refers to the process where a document is scanned and transmitted to another point through the use of fax machines. The fax is usually facilitated by telecommunication links between one fax machine and the other. This method is resorted to in E-governance when the exact replica of a document was required from a client or the vice versa. 

Closed circuit television
A closed circuit television is a system by which a perimeter is closely watched with the help of a camera and a monitoring screen. In other words, motion or still pictures are transmitted to a surveillance point to determine a course of action. In E-governance, the closed circuit television is used to watch the streets, for example, to check for traffic offences or to watch who comes in or go out of a premise at a given time.

Bio-metric Identification
This is the use of one or more of the biological traits of a human to determine the identity of a particular person. In most cases, the finger-print is employed. At other times, for higher security clearance, the voice waves or DNA could be employed. In E-governance, the bio-metric identification is used to identify an individual or to differentiate one individual from the other. For a service to be provided, this differentiation needs to be done.

Smart Card
A smart card, usually made of plastic, has a computer chip embedded at one end and can be used to store data or to process same. As an E-governance tool, it is used to authenticate identity before a payment is processed. It is used by government agencies to make payment to citizens of the state.

The Internet is a system by which several computers in different locations of the planet are connected and can communicate with one another. Anything that is uploaded onto the internet can be accessed by anyone who has the permission to do so. In E-governance, the Internet is widely employed to offer services to clients. For example, applications for admissions, for passport application forms, drivers license application forms etc., are uploaded onto the government agent’s server to be downloaded by clients. 

1. Highlight six methods that are employed in E-governance to propagate an E-government service.

2. Discuss six non-internet based tools employed in the deployment of E-governance.

Institutions in Ghana which have rolled out e-government

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