University of Fort Hare (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 4139-4148
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have long been accepted as a tool towards socio-economic development of poor and marginalized communities, and in some cases they have erroneously been assumed to be a panacea for the socio-economic woes of the so-called under-developed countries and communities. These ICT for Development (ICTD) efforts take a multitude of perspectives and focus domains: from ICT policies, legislation and standards to national ICTD roadmaps; from eHealth services to eGoverment platforms. In all these efforts, the general consensus is that the information and communication technologies and tools are not sufficient in and of themselves to achieve substantive impact and outcomes. It is also equally accepted that the prevalence of certain conditions within a community improves the prospects of success for the ICTD interventions – this is usually encapsulated in the ICT readiness profile of a community. One of the key factors in the ICT readiness profile is the ICT literacy (also termed eLiteracy) levels prevalent in a specific community. A lot of the ICTD efforts are as such, typically, also accompanied by ICT training of the communities, bar a few instances, such as the Hole-in-the-wall project and the Digital Doorway project which focused on encouraging emergent and organic community eSkilling from the informal engagement with the technology. This paper introduces an ICTD intervention that has been undertaken in a deep-rural community, which is representative of the so-called “bottom of the pyramid” in South Africa since 2005 and within that discusses the strategy that has been adopted in undertaking eSkills development within the community. This strategy largely consists of a train-the-trainer approach in which the community members are equipped to subsequently train further community members. Some of the realized advantages of this strategy include: allowing for the effective utilization of the resources that are available within the community and therefore improving the scalability of the intervention; activating the community to participate within the developmental efforts; encouraging life-long learning and enquiry within the communities; enabling the development of an effective socio-cultural interface and adaptation layer between the communities and the technologies (which have typically been realized in a different cultural setting); and allowing for the sustainability of the eSkilling efforts. The paper subsequently narrows down the focus to one of the field-sites of this ICTD intervention to discuss the insights from: the process of establishing an ICT skills training center in a quadruple-helix, multi-stakeholder collaboration between government, academia, private industry and civil society groups; the design of the enrolment process to encourage maximum attendance and commitment from the candidates; the adaptation of the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) curriculum for the local context; and the peer-approach used for the delivery of the ICT training. The demographics and profile of the candidates who enrolled for the ICT training is also discussed highlighting the issues related to the motivations for life-long learning and the socio-cultural factors that influence enrolment in these kind of skills development initiatives.
Information and Communication Technologies for Development, Life-long learning.