eAsia2009 (VIII): Building capacity among telecentre operators for sustaining telecentres

Notes from Asian Telecentre Forum 2009 / eAsia 2009 held in the BMICH, Colombo, Sri Lanka, on December 2-4th, 2009. More notes on this event: easia2009.

Building capacity among telecentre operators for sustaining telecentres
Chairs: Latha Pillai, Indira Gandhi National Open University

Basheerhamad Shadrach, telecentre.org Academy, International Deverlopment Research Centre

We have seen a shift from training to learning. Even children challenge the educational system to turn it into a learning system. This shift, if formalized, would also help in recognizing experience as learning, and give credit to it.

But, what kind of learning for telecentre operators, network operators, (digital) skills trainers, etc.? e-Learning? blended learning?

And how should the curriculum be shaped? formal? informal? In any case, the content has to be shaped towards the learner’s environment, not the teacher’s.

The way we design credit is also very important. Not only as recognition, but also as a means to transfer credits from one place to another, be it geographically (from one academy to another one) or from different levels of the educational track, that is, from an academy to higher up to the University.

Building Capacity among telecnetre operators for sustaining telecentres: The ATN’s Experience
Jose Avando Asles, Association of Telecentre Network

1,265 telecentres operated by ATN, with 28,700 users a day; 861,000 monthly; 10,335,000 yearly (source University of Brasilia).

Courses offered to telecentre operators: digital literacy, microsoft curricula for community learning, telecentre management course, digital entrepreneurism course.

Telecentre management course: online course, 60h

  • Information and business telecentre
  • Telecentre sustainability plan: how to treat telecentres as social enterprises that need their own funding
  • Telecentre financial planning
  • Marketing as a management tool
  • Telecentre and distance learning

Digital entrepreneurism course, online course, 60h

  • Basic Internet
  • Entrepreneurism
  • Managing business
  • Working in net
  • The use of Internet in business

During 2009, 643 people attended the Telecentre Management course and 484 the digital entrepreneurship. Also 30 operators from Mozambique followed the courses online.

Current status and future challentes of telecentre.org Academy of Sri Lanka
Harsha Wijeyawardhana, Univeristy of Colombo School of Computing

The Telecentre.or Academy of Sri Lanka was formed on 7th February 2009 at the Nenasala Convention. It was designed to enhance the committment that the government had already acquired with the Nenasala network.

The academy is a multi-stakeholder partnership, with academics, member organizations, non governmental organizations, etc.

The academy has already set up an e-learning platform based on Moodle and is now uploading all the content to the site, open for everyone. This platform, indeed, will host the whole learning management system (LMS) for the Global Academy.

ThaiTelecentre & its capacity building?
Kamolrat Intaratat, Thaitelecentre.org Academy

The Thai telecentres are normally based on their own resources, being community autonomous e-centres, being the main strategy networking and collaborating at the local and national level.

Being autonomous, e-commerce is really a goal both for e-inclusion and sustainability. Hence, courses (3 levels) in e-commerce is one of the key training strategies of ThaiTelecentre.org.

The Thai academy is tied to STOU (People Public Open University) and is demand driven, thus issuing any kind of certificate that is needed.

On the other hand, other courses are already being considered, as the MBA in Social Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is the key to sustainability
Ashis Sanyal, Department of Information Technology, India

The sustainability of the telecentre relies heavily on the telecentre operator’s capacity: you are not a self-employed person, you are an entrepreneur.

Telecentres aim to stimulate and respond to the needs of the community. Otherwise, they remain cybershops. Telecentres should be service oriented.

Requierd to start a telecentre:

  • Develop a business idea
  • Conduct a survey for community needs
  • Identify a target service
  • Crate business plan
  • Plan for sustainability

Q&A

Ismael Peña-López: how to retain the valuous human capital built with these courses? Several speakers: Well, part of the agenda is also help the telecentre operators to climb up the professional ladder, so that they are hired in banks, corporations, etc. So, not only it is not a problem that trainees leave the telecentre, but a most wanted outcome. On the other hand, many of them will stay linked to the telecentre movement, legitimizing it with their own experience.

Aminata Maiga Fofana: actually, a way not to decapitalize the telecentre is internship and inner promotion, i.e., an expert user is promoted as an intern and supervised by the manager of the telecentre. If the manager leaves, the intern is promoted as the new manager and a new user is promoted as an intern. And so on.

Telecentre Forum 2009 - eAsia 2009 (2009)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2009) “eAsia2009 (VIII): Building capacity among telecentre operators for sustaining telecentres” In ICTlogy, #75, December 2009. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=3067

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