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


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)

eAsia2009 (III): Telecentres and their role in socio-economic empowerment

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.

Telecentres and their role in socio-economic empowerment
Chairs: Basheerhamad Shadrach, telecentre.org Academy, International Development Research Centre

If you have a telecentre you need:

  • A place, the centre
  • Devices, to connect the “tele”, and they can be computers, a ciommunity radio, mobile devices
  • But, over all, you need people, a community, that are entrepreneurial, with skills, with the ability to connect

Understanding the people, and bridging the gap between the government and the people is crucial to have effective policies.

To do this, you necessarily need to bring in stakeholders, and do it with a plan.

Unleashing technology to advance social and economic development
Tim Dubel, Microsoft

In the next five years we foresee an even increasingly path of innovation in technology, being the role of telecentres how to wrap it in a human way. Indeed, telecentres are not interesting (only) by their mission for inclusion, but because there’s business interest in them. Thus, telecentre operators should “help” the private sector in understanding the possibilities to add value from a telecentre. Thus, both telecentres can achieve their social goal while being sustainable as thei also achieve an economic goal.

New business models:

  • Kiva
  • Hopemongers
  • See your impact
  • M-Pesa

New delivery models:

  • e-Health
  • e-Government
  • e-Learning

Shared resource computing

  • One monitor, multiple mice connected to one computer
  • Multiple monitors, multiple mice and keyboards, connected to one computer

The role of telecentres:

  • Leverage technology: not only increasing access to technology, but also showcasing specific new technologies
  • Support innovation: telecentres can serves as laboratories for innovation, where experimentation can be done, especially entrepreneurial innovation
  • Build capacity: train skills, workforce developement. According to European survey, 90% of jobs in the short run will require ICT skills
  • Expand networks: to share knowledge, to collaborate with other organizations and institutions

The role of telecentres in reviving a knowledge-based agrarian society
Kshanika Hirimburegama, University of Colombo

65% or population in Sri Lanka in the rural sector, but leaving to urban areas because of lack of knowledge and information to stay up-to-date in agriculture techniques.

Create a first ever online diploma course for the farming community in Sri lanka, and introducing IT for grass level in rural areas.

The course has increased student computer knowledge and given e-mail access to all of the participants. Internet usage has increased from 35% to 93% and most of them have a good level of awareness of online distance learning.

An example of the output is farmers sending information (text, images) to the Coconut Research Institute to find out what the diseases are, or to get advice for their crops.

Most people follow the courses from Nenasalas. Materials are adapted from the ones from the Indira Gandhi Open University, or, sometimes, created from scratch. Language is bilingual, one of them being the local language which changes according to the region where the students are. And everything is managed with Moodle.

The online education programme has proven successful to bring into the educational system people traditionally excluded from it.

Common Services Centres. The Indian Experience
Ashish Sanyal, Department of Information Technology, Government of India

Common Services Centre: low cost and/or cost-effective delivery of e-governance services to the rural citizens, benefiting from the increase of penetration and quality of ICTs.

Services: government certificates, licenses, grievandce redressal, law & order, governemnt welfare schemes, market prices, education, news, entertainment, communication, government & private sector mixed services, etc. Availability of government services is a must for the sustainability of Common Services Centres.

These services can be categorized as:

  • Savings: save you time or money, as e-Government
  • Buying: help you to shop more or better. Not only e-commerce, but e-learning and important part of this category
  • Income: help you to actively increase your earnings

Have to find the local entrepreneur, guide and counsel him to set up the Common Services Centre, but then, convince the bank to help the entrepreneur in investing on the Centre, and convince the telcos to provide connectivity services.


Telecentre Forum 2009 - eAsia 2009 (2009)