- What is the Academy of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders?
- Who is the Academy targeting?
- What is the genesis of the Academy of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders?
- What were the steps taken to develop a needs-based programme?
- What specifically is the content of each module?
- How will the Academy’s training modules be delivered and what are some of the special features of these modules?
- What steps were taken to verify the relevance and utility of the module content?
- What accompanying resources will be offered by the Academy?
- Are there any plans to add to the original set of eight modules?
- Are there plans to translate the modules?
- Will those who have undergone training receiving any certificate of attendance?
- Who are the people behind the modules?
The ‘Academy of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders’ (Academy) is UN-APCICT’s first flagship programme launched in June 2008 on the occasion of the Global Forum for Building Inclusive Internet Economy during the OECD ICT Ministerial Meeting. The Academy includes a comprehensive curriculum comprised of ten stand-alone yet inter-linked modules that range from foundational to advanced topics in the field of ICT for development (ICTD). The next module 11 on “Social Media for Development” is currently being developed. The Academy has been rolled out, adopted and institutionalized in 26 countries of the Asia-Pacific region and is currently available in ten languages. Localization into other languages is also underway.
1 - The Linkage between ICT Applications and Meaningful Development
2 - ICT for Development Policy, Process and Governance
3 - e-Government Applications
4 - ICT Trends for Government Leaders
5 - Internet Governance
6 - Network and Information Security and Privacy
7 - ICT Project Management in Theory and Practice
8 - Options for Funding ICT for Development
9 - ICT for Disaster Risk Management
10 - ICT, Climate Change and Green Growth (upcoming)
The content of the modules is mostly non-technical in nature. The extensible modular design aims to maximize flexibility and minimize job disruptions for learners. The modules can therefore be selected for delivery on the basis of needs and skills of the learners. Those with little or no background in ICTD can choose the pre-determined sequence of comprehensive training that begins with the basics and move on to more advanced topics. Those with some knowledge of ICTD can select specific modules they would benefit from most.
The Academy is targeted primarily at policymakers and government officials developing and implementing ICT-based applications. Specifically, the modules target:
- Policymakers at the national and local government level who are responsible for ICT policy-making;
- Government officials responsible for the development and implementation of ICT-based applications;
- Managers in the public sector seeking to employ ICT tools for project management; and
- Trainers and educators in ICT training institutes, colleges and universities.
The modules are written according to the principles of adult learning. It is recognized that adults learn best when they are free from stress, information overload, and are able to themselves decide what is important to be learned. The self-study questions and practical exercises contained in all modules are designed to enable readers to draw on their own experience to benchmark the content and to think reflectively on the issues presented.
The aim is to make the content as closely relevant to the readers work experience as possible and to enable readers to link the knowledge gained to their own experience in order to solve problems. It is recognized that the users of these modules will have a significant ability to serve as knowledgeable resources themselves in training and learning situations.
Trainers and educators using the modules in training institutions, colleges and universities can use some or all of the modules as provided, add them to their existing training programme(s), and/or modify them to fit learners’ needs.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) emphasized the importance of the effective use of ICT in developing countries. ICT can be used to enhance aid efforts to reduce poverty, increase educational opportunities at all levels, provide empowerment to traditionally disadvantaged groups, and promote global collaborative partnerships that fuel sustainable socio-economic development.
In an increasingly digital and inter-connected global environment, policy makers and many other government officials are indispensable in creating and sustaining the type of environment that promotes the use of ICTD as conceptualized by the WSIS. Policy makers set priorities, procure and allocate funds, facilitate alliance partnerships, and enact policies that promote the ICT industry sector and other important uses of ICTD. Similarly, government officials can utilize ICTs to create and maintain ICT-based systems that enhance government efficiency, promote access by diverse ICT users, and deliver important services to the country’s populace. Therefore, it is imperative that initiatives and ICT policies are structured and implemented strategically within a broader perspective on how ICT can best address the MDGs while being pegged against specific national development needs and strategies.
The modules aim to meet needs found from a training needs analysis by APCICT, and from a survey of other training materials worldwide.
The importance of the WSIS agenda was reinforced by the participants of a Regional Forum on ICT Capacity Building organized by APCICT in Incheon, Korea in March 2007. The 200 delegates from 49 countries identified APCICT as a strategic entity that is well placed to deliver training to policy makers and other government officials in the Asia Pacific region on the use of ICT for development. At the same time, delegates from developing countries at the Forum clarified their need to receive more formal training and regular updates on ICTD and noted that APCICT was well-positioned to provide such training.
To address this issue, the APCICT embarked on a formal curriculum development process in order to construct the proposed curriculum. APCICT experts, in collaboration with leading academics in the ICT field, prepared outlines of possible training modules. Using these draft outlines and accompanying course descriptions, comments and suggestions were solicited from local and regional experts, government officials, members of the international development community, and other ICT academics and educators.
Alongside the preparation of outlines and, as noted above, APCICT conducted a needs assessment survey with policy makers and government officials from 21 countries in the developing countries of the Asia Pacific region to solicit additional feedback and suggestions. The findings of the needs assessment survey were incorporated to further refine the proposed training modules and a programme entitled the Academy of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders: A Modular Training Programme was proposed.
Module 1: The Linkage between ICT Applications and Development
In this module, readers will learn about the potential for using ICT for social and economic progress. The module provides useful information that can be used to justify specific ICT-based projects and will help policy makers prioritize specific uses of ICTD.
Module 2: ICT for Development Policy, Process and Governance
While ICT holds promise for impacting socio-economic development, implementation of ICT applications does not guarantee sustainable development. This module provides critical information about different aspects of national policies and strategies that promote ICTD. It will also discuss ICT governance and management.
Module 3: e-Government Applications
In this module, readers will learn about the current ICT applications that are important for policy makers and other government officials. In particular, the module will include a case study of each application to see the potential impact of each type, important success factors, and common barriers to achieving success for each type of application.
Module 4: ICT Trends for Government Leaders
This module seeks to provide an appreciation and understanding on the evolution of ICT and the part it plays in today's dynamic global environment. It provides an overview on the key components of ICT infrastructure, and policy and technical considerations associated with it. It discusses current and emerging technologies and the impact of such technologies at the national and regional level. It also provides an overview of key policy and implementation considerations necessary to make effective decisions at the local/national level. The module elaborates on methods to critically evaluate the status of ICT infrastructure and policy issues based on current and emerging technologies to enable informed choices to be made.
Module 5: Internet Governance
This module examines the on-going development of international policies and procedures that govern the use and operation of the Internet. Governments of emerging economies need to understand these issues if they are to have a voice in the global information network.
Module 6: Network and Information Security and Privacy
As ICT becomes more prevalent in today’s highly networked world, policy makers and other government officials need to consider the issues related to information security to establish the relevant ICT related policies. This module provides, in a non-technical way, a high-level understanding of the current threats to ICT security and the safeguards governments need to take to ensure secure ICT systems. The module also introduces the examples of developed economies and the international trends of information security and practical steps to adopt in the mitigation of cyber threats.
Module 7: ICT Project Management in Theory and Practice
This module provides an overview on ICT Project Management in the context of national development needs and priorities and it provides an introduction on ICT Project Management concepts, tools, and practices. The module also provides an introduction to the various techniques, and software tools needed to better manage ICT projects.
Module 8: Options for Funding ICT for Development
While ICT projects can often be expensive, there are several sources of funding that governments can tap into as they seek to develop the Information Society. This module provides information to readers on where they can look for funding, how to write proposals to gain access to these sources of funds, and how current projects are being funded and the outcomes of these projects.
Module 9: ICT for Disaster Risk Reduction
The module provides government officials and policymakers with an overview of disaster risk management (DRM), presents an approach for identifying information needs in DRM and matching the needs with ICT. The module also aims to familiarize learners with existing ICT applications for DRM and discusses benefits and barriers for utilizing ICT in DRM efforts.
Module 10: ICT, Climate Change and Green Growth (upcoming)
The module provides policymakers with an understanding of the role that ICTs play in observing and monitoring the environment, sharing information, mobilizing action, enhancing decision making, promoting environmental sustainability and abating climate change. The module also explores the potential of ICT to transform the economy into an engine for sustainable “green” growth, while integrating ICT into such an economy.
How will the Academy’s training modules be delivered and what are some of the special features of these modules?
The modules are designed to have value for different sets of audiences and in varied and changing national conditions. They have been designed in such a way that they can be used for self-study by individual readers or as a resource in a training course or programme.
The modules are standalone as well as linked together. They can be studied in whole or in part, in different modes, on- and off-line.
All modules include case- and country-studies that can be changed from region to region and from country to country to suit local situations. There are exercises and questions to help readers check for themselves that they have understood the discussion. References, further readings, and online resources are listed for readers to look up in order to gain additional perspectives.
When offered in formal training sessions, whether in training institutions or government offices, the duration of the training sessions for each module can be adjusted depending on the target audience and the extent of detail that is requires in the presentation of content. Depending on the module involved, in a face-to-face “classroom” setting, the content of the modules can be presented in week-long, three-day, one-day, or three-hour sessions. The sessions lasting three days or more include lecture cum discussion, a field visit, and practical exercises, with each exercise building on the previous one.
APCICT will establish partnerships with national and sub-regional institutions, focusing initially on “UN-ESCAP High Priority Countries”, in order to offer the Academy of ICT Essentials modular programme locally. These partnerships are envisioned to be collaborative arrangements where APCICT and the partner institutions work together to build the capacity of local and national governments and public institutions to effectively utilize ICT to foster good governance and achieve broad social and economic development.
The modules are offered as open educational resources (OER).
National and regional training institutions that are already networked with central-, state- and local-level governments to provide short-term training for senior- and middle-level government leaders, and are committed to enhancing their capacity in ICTD, could partner with UN-APCICT in delivering and customizing the modules. UN-APCICT will provide select training institutions with content of the modules, along with all accompany materials including reading lists and case studies. Subject to funding availability, UN-APCICT can also provide an orientation to the Academy and hands-on training for trainers.
Besides involving nine individual ICTD and pedagogical experts from across Asia and the Pacific who brought their rich knowledge and experience in authoring these modules, APCICT also had each module:
1. Field tested at three sub-regional workshops (South Asia, Western and Central Asia and South East Asia) involving policy makers from over 20 countries. Each of the sub-regional workshops was specifically designed to maximize feedback from participants on the usefulness and relevance of the thematic content material and also the appropriate training methodology, and
2. Peer reviewed.
Additionally, before finalizing the modules, APCICT organized a Training of Trainers (ToT) for national training institutes in the Republic of Korea in mid-June where additional feedback was obtained from approximately 40 participants from 30 Asia-Pacific countries, regional organizations and sister programmes in Africa.
Supporting the Academy is an online distance learning platform (the APCICT Virtual Academy ). On the APCICT Virtual Academy , all course materials will be posted for free download and re-use, and for customization and localization if necessary. A CD-ROM version of AVA will be produced for those with no or limited Internet access.
The e-Collaborative Hub is an online collaboration workspace in which participants can share and discuss ICTD topics, and even work together to customize an existing module or develop a new one. For learners and trainers who wish to read more about a particular topic, they will be able to access the online resource centre at e-Co Hub.
APCICT is currently developing Module 11, “Social Media for Development” of the Academy at the request of ESCAP member and associate member States. The new module will be launched in 2013 and aims to provide a development-oriented perspective on social media while describing innovative ways for governments and development stakeholders to leverage them in national development strategies and programmes.
In collaboration with national Academy partners, APCICT has already translated the modules into nine languages, including Azeri, Bahasa Indonesia, Khmer (Cambodia), Mongolian, Myanmar, Pashto, Russian, Tajik and Vietnamese. APCICT is also working with its partners to develop plans to translate the Academy into additional languages.
APCICT and/or its local Academy at the national or sub-regional level, will provide each participant of one its training programme’s with a certificate of participation. Participants are expected to attend all the sessions of the course in order to obtain the certificate.
Nine individual ICTD experts from five different countries, one agency (the Korea Information Security Agency) and one regional center (the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center) have been engaged by APCICT to develop the Academy modules. Included in the team is a project advisor to coordinate the content development process, and an editor to ensure quality and consistency.
Module 1 - Usha Rani Vyasulu Reddi was a Professor in Education and Director of the Centre for Human Development at the Administrative Staff College of India as well as Director at the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia.
Module 2 - Emmanuel C. Lallana is former Commissioner of ICT in the Philippines. He is currently Chief Executive of ideacorp – an independent non-profit organization – and working on a series of ICTD training and education projects.
Module 3 - Nag Yeon Lee is a former Executive Business Advisor at Hyundai Information Technology. He was previously an instructor for the Korea IT Learning Program where he developed modules in the areas of e-government, information strategy planning, business process re-engineering and change management.
Mr. Oh Gwang Seok, Senior Research Fellow at the National Information Society Agency (NIA), provided support on revisions and updates of Module 3 for the Academy Version 2.0.
Module 4 - Rajnesh D. Singh is an engineer and entrepreneur combining a strong technical background with extensive management and leadership roles in the commercial and non-profit sectors. He is currently Chief Operating Officer for PATARA, a technology vendor based in the Pacific Islands and Senior Vice-President of Operations and Strategy at AvonSys, an Internet start-up serving the Silicon Valley.
Module 5 - Ang Peng Hwa, author of the module on Internet Governance, heads the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. A lawyer by training, his teaching and research interests are in Internet law and policy.
Module 6 - The Korea Information Security Agency (KISA) authored the module on Information Security and Privacy. KISA is a centre of excellence responsible for the computer network security of commercial information technology infrastructure that covers nearly 90 percent of the entire infrastructure of information technology in the Republic of Korea. KISA is also involved in the development and support of information security related technology, as well as in-depth policy research on enhancing information security.
Module 7 - Maria Juanita R. Macapagal and John J. Macasio co-authored Academy Module 7. Both of these experts have been extensively involved in development management encompassing project planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and capacity building of various development fields.
Module 8 & 10 - Richard Labelle, author of the module on Options for Funding ICT for Development and the upcoming 10th module on ICT, Climate Change and Green Growth, has over 26 years experience in using appropriate ICTs and management practices for meeting national development goals. He has undertaken missions to about 60 developing countries on behalf of the United Nations and various other agencies working in international development.
Module 9 & 10 - The Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) is a non-profit organization based in Bangkok, Thailand that supports the advancement of safer communities and sustainable development through implementing programs and projects that reduce the impact of disasters in countries and communities in Asia and the Pacific. In addition to authoring Module 9, ADPC is also working on Module 10 with Richard Labelle