Strategic Issues in ICT for Education
This is a summary of a blog entry at http://ibiztech.wordpress.com. The idea is a cursory look at some of the issues that face ICT development in educational sector in developing countries. Check the above address for details.
1. Web 2.0 may be disruptive …. but therein lies its potential. It is mass democratization in a traditionally power-imbalanced culture. I believe the collective IQ of students (although I prefer ‘learners’) amplified by passion for what they learn and brought together via Web 2.0 exceeds that of any single lecturer/professor/guru.
2. In the developing world - evolutionary strategies won’t get us there - we need revolutionary strategies that let us leapfrog years upon years of institutionalized mediocrity and obsolescence. Yes ... Revolutionary strategies will have lots of casualties (in terms of obsolete skills, out-of-touch and clueless people and old technology) - harsh maybe but sometimes the only way to new life is destruction (like the phoenix)
3. Effective strategies must focus on solutions to business problems, NOT infrastructure & technology.
When a strategy focuses on solutions and not technology, it becomes easier to make a business case for it (and more importantly you can get the buy-in of the usually technologically clueless CEO ). As an example, both the CEO and CIO may easily agree on the following :
‘We need to deploy a Virtual Learning Environment and online testing to improve quality of teaching and reduce over-burdened teaching corps. Such a a project will cost us $2 million.’
However, both the CEO Chancellor and CIO and especially the CFO/Bursar are not likely to agree on the following
‘We need to implement a broadband fibre optic network to connect all buildings of the university to the Internet.This will cost us $1m’
The fact is that a the first project may well involve the second! but the second is a ‘those guru’s thing’ as far as the business side is concerned while the first could well be ‘ … something that makes my job easier/makes me look good’
4.0 De-couple the new ICT Unit from the Core Organization: The IT department/unit/directorate represents a force that wants to change the status quo - something other parts of the organization/institution may not be very enthusiastic about. . This decoupling should largely free the unit of the stifling bureaucracy and enable it quickly learn from its mistakes and correct its course.
Finally, I couldn’t agree more with Tom Peters that the IT departments should increase their failure rate - yes …. the faster you try and fail at different things, the more likely you will stumble on the one that works. After all, strategy is useless unless it is executed to yield business results that are SMART (specific, measurable, attained/achieved, repeatable, and timely)
Full text at http://ibiztech.wordpress.com