Conmoz como concept_paper_en_cz_sep2011(1)


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Conmoz como concept_paper_en_cz_sep2011(1)

  1. 1. Centre for Internet Information and Communication TechnologiesBeira – Harare – Cape TownWhy a new and unique approach to ICT and Internet/Web applications education and training (in Mozambique)?Although Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has an empowerment and social inclusion effect in developed countries,it continues to create a digital divide in developing countries. Despite the disjuncture between ICT, socio-cultural and developmentalneeds, young people – often from economically and academically disadvantaged backgrounds – endeavour to acquire computerliteracy skills. Findings1 show that students have a positive technology identity, augmenting their keen interest in further engagementwith ICT. They are confident, act strategically and make sacrifices in order to achieve their aims of becoming computer literate,hoping that it will enable them to be better positioned to gain future employment and therefore achieve a positive change in theirlives. This encourages a more positive view of the Mozambican youth as a source of energy and talent. In addition, an emergingcreative economy considers creativity, knowledge and access to information as powerful engines driving economic growth andpromoting development2.Since the last decade, the rapid expansion of ICT, driven by mobile phone and data package providers operating in Mozambique,offers the technology solutions of access to information and communication to an ever greater part of the population. Thoughoverwhelming positively received, use and benefits are mostly limited to phone calls and text messaging. As a fact, an increasingnumber does have the Internet at their hand, but not in their mind. There is little use of the fast growing information available andaccessible through the Internet, increasing the risk of a further digital divide and social exclusion, as well as underutilised, thus morecostly ICT service delivery.To benefit from the advances in technology, it is not enough to assume that creating enabling conditions will automatically changeactions3. In addition, the issue is not about “computer literacy” itself – though courses provided by almost all computer educationbusinesses throughout the country focus primarily on technology based definitions, concepts, and skills. It is crucially, how thislearning fits into the wider social contexts of people’s everyday lives4.Access to these rapidly developing technologies and applications, and consequently, access to and use of information itself, are notonly driving innovation and change, but also enhancing productivity and competitiveness in a global market 5. Imbalances in thisrespect will affect knowledge production and reproduction, for individuals and societies. Hence, a more dynamic and multi-facetedview of knowledge and learning that reaches out to the people and includes the real-life situation on ground is needed: practical usefor an immediate benefit and to inspire creativity and initiative. (-) Developmental tags: Fast growing young urban population, gap between “haves” and “haves-not” increasing, macro-economic growth not creating enough jobs, formal education and training not adequate, lack of entrepreneurial skills and culture, people have the internet in their hands, but not in their mind, classic computer courses only. (+) Developmental tags: Mobile telecommunication coverage, less dependence on PC to access internet, web apps to change understanding and use of ICT, young population as source of energy and talent, creative economy. Vision and objectivesDevelopment is reliant on the ability of people to work together and dependent on improving productivity, and consequently, theimportance of leveraging human resources in achieving greater productivity: being connected to regional and global information.con.moz_conceptual.notes_06/2011 Page 1/7
  2. 2.  For social inclusion and easy access Young people’s digital technology use may be viewed as a negotiated social and literate practice. Therefore, Internet and Web applications education and training has to be relevant for the specific social contexts and particular needs. In terms of massification, courses need to be in addition practical, short, and economically accessible: ready2go! Getting people involved and creating competitive advantages The Internet + Web Apps related courses must be available close to the people: reaching out to and provided by local “classical” computer education businesses, whereas the brand stands for its quality, relevance and a business support model. High-quality courses to benefit from access and use of the Internet Content development is a core function of the Centre, designing relevant and effective courses. Special attention is given to practically resolve a problem and benefit from its gains, linking existing Internet-based services and Web applications with the user’s situated context and needs. Easy and intuitive learning What matters is what helps one in a particular situation. This in mind, the learning experience should be dynamic and multi- faceted: resolving a problem, while working with a variety of latest devices, systems and applications that fit best to achieve a goal. This is supported through tutoring by an experienced person, focus on a specific topic, and learning in small groups. New and unique approachA new brand, and “Made in Mozambique”con.moz feeds into an important national market niche as there is no single brand provider for Internet/Web Apps educationand training that enables local computer education businesses providing innovative courses (transferring Web-based knowledge instandardised form and quality) in constraining conditions, with the intention that people from various communities and socialbackgrounds benefit in their situational context from learning about the Internet. Computer education businesses still provide todaybasically hard and software courses, like MS Windows-based ICDL-type courses6 that address Internet and online applications onlymarginally (2 out of 8 modules), often hampered by poor internet connectivity in their training facilities and of little practical use.Based in Beira, con.moz focuses on course development, education and research, and consultancy that is locally relevant(situational context) in the field of Internet ICT, involving also local students and academics from relevant disciplines. Regionalcollaboration and networking include the academic fields of learning and educational technologies, and mobile ICT.Exploring Internet opportunities: Putting the user, needs and local context in first placeFacing a widening digital gap, more people need to know about as well as experience the benefits that information andcommunication via Internet offers. Courses address essential and new applications and services accessible via Internet, sorted bytopics and structured for three different user groups: individuals, businesses and educational institutions. This allows greaterflexibility and better use for the course participants, putting practice and immediate application high on the agenda.High-quality content and design: Relevant and updatedCourses are designed for benefitting in real-life situations and apply latest educational technology standards. Continued fieldresearch, ongoing observation of technological developments and feedback from partners and users assure the relevancy ofcourses and modules. Regularly updates and new courses close the circle (see graphic page 3).Problem based learning: Using the latest Internet-related technologies and devicesUnique is that problem based learning is enhanced by working on a range of digital devices. Users focus on their selected topic(short-term courses), using various devices (Desktop PC, Laptop PC, Netbook, Pad, Smartphone, etc.), Internet browsers, searchengines, as well as operating systems (iOS, Windows Phone 7, Android, etc.) only as a means to achieve their goal. This isfundamentally different from classic computer courses offered in Mozambique and anticipates the rapid technological developmentsand changes. This new form of learning experience contributes to focus the user on needs and problem solving, and at the sametime giving them greater flexibility and capacity to benefit from Internet related information and services, like mobile Internet.con.moz_conceptual.notes_06/2011 Page 2/7
  3. 3. Franchising: Innovation and quality for outreach and business developmentThe franchising system links education with business, combining a maximum outreach with the local presence and experience ofprivate “classical” computer education businesses (in the provinces and districts). The con.moz brand is nationally advertisedand stands for quality & innovation, creating new business impulses, sustained income opportunities, and increased competitivenessfor franchising partners. Members are supported online by a web platform, selecting from a range of short-courses in line with localneeds and demand. con.moz offers according the member status capacity building through training, know-how transfer andmarketing strategy support (including media and promotional campaigns), as well as exchange among members and regularinformation through the online platform (news, blog, etc.). Focusing on mobile Internet access and use, con.moz intends to offerpromotional packages and conditions to members in collaboration with a leading mobile phone service provider. Initial start-up phasecon.moz stands for educational technologies know-how, focusing on Internet and Web applications (having benefits and usersin their local contexts in mind). Based on field research and academic regional collaboration, the centre will design within threemonths the first short-term courses for two of the three identified target groups: individuals, enterprises (and employees), andeducational institutions (educators and students).An academic approach to learning design and knowledge production/reproduction assures high-quality courses that are relevant,practical, and of short duration (ranging from one-day “ready2go” up to two week courses), based on the needs and interests of therespective target group in their particular situation:  Staying in touch with friends and family  Improving or starting a business – considering specific conditions in urban and rural areas  Keeping employees informed and get them communicating  Improving the level of education (for educators, classes and individual performance)New, besides designing courses that open windows to the manifold existing and emerging Web applications from a practical localuser’s perspective, is that taking advantage does not necessarily depend on access to a computer. Indeed, a trademark of theinnovative programme is that courses are designed and taught working during the modules in small groups on a range of latesttechnology devices with Internet connectivity.con.moz_conceptual.notes_06/2011 Page 3/7
  4. 4. Businesses Education Individuals Executives/Employees Educators/Students  Internet/Web on my phone  My smartphone in my business  Internet/Web essentials  Using Google search, maps, ...  Internet/Web for my business  Pocket-money online use for  Social networking essentials  Windows 8 and Web Apps school, home and friends  Facebook: Being connected  Online: Web presence  Google scholar (research)  Online news and information  Online: New clients/markets  Google docs (work over places)  Online entertainment  Facebook for your business  Facebook for school projects  Internet/Web essentials  Internet/Web for employees  Digital literacy: What is it about?  i-phone, i-pod, i-pad, i-book  Internet/Web for executives  Improving class results (connected and synchronised) (Getting started/Trends)  Saving preparation and time *) Course titles are for demonstration only and subject to changeThe programme is structured in topics featuring popular and newest Web applications for easy identification of the right course andconstant actualisation with new courses. Course contents are split into small units (modules) allowing greater flexibility for thecomposition of specifically tailored and effective courses, and keeping them easily updated. For the production and reproduction ofinnovative learning contents, con.moz applies and builds on the policies of open educational resources (OER) and creativecommons (CC), acknowledging intellectual properties and encouraging the creative and innovative use at the local training centres,introduced by local tutors and supported by video clips, online practice on a set of devices, instruction notes and quizzes.con.moz is registered and strategically located in Beira, acting as a hub linking educational technology professionals from theregion and students from local faculties to develop relevant and high-quality courses that are made available to the publicnationwide through participating computer training centres. During the pilot phase (2011) – while developing the first courses – thecentre introduces its courses in straight collaboration with a local training business (LCB, Beira). This approach allows optimising thecourses, while simultaneously preparing a successful expansion of the course programme with the introduction of a franchisingsystem in 2012. Franchising business modelTo contribute to higher productivity and competitiveness (resulting in growth and income generation), and proportionally to socialinclusion (with people from all social backgrounds participating actively), capacity building initiatives not only need to reach out tothe people, but also create added value in their real-life situation.As mentioned before, the technology to access Internet and Web is today available in many parts of the country. This is also thecase for private and public computer education businesses. In addition, there are also increasingly new learning and trainingmaterials regarding ICT and latest Web applications accessible (via Internet) around the globe. It’s all there! So what is missing?New and unique are the right mix and focus: production of relevant high-quality courses and its professional and expansivedistribution through a franchising business model.The franchising model offers in the specific setting several opportunities. Not only reaching out to more people, but also as abusiness impulse for private computer education enterprises and public ICT centres. By offering alternatives to classic, staticcomputer training, franchisees can diversify their business, create a new business venture, or even provide perspectives for self-employment for graduates in a fast growing sector. con.moz offers a brand that stands for innovation and quality in the dynamicICT sector by creating added value and competitiveness for franchisees, as well as their clients.con.moz_conceptual.notes_06/2011 Page 4/7
  5. 5. There are many private “classic” computer education and training businesses all over Mozambique, finding themselves in a similarsituation: courses are directed towards computer skills and basic standard software packages (like MS Windows and Office) withclients generally expecting the obtained certificate to serve as an “entrance ticket” for getting a job. A recent study7 in Beira shows adifferent reality, as most computer course participants do not have access to a computer, nor use one in their daily life. It contributesto their technology identity but comes at the costs of 8 weeks course duration and respective fees, with not direct benefit in sight. Inaddition, many computer education businesses (including operators in provincial capitals) address Internet and Web relatedapplications only marginally (as final module of the Windows package), often hampered by severe connectivity limitations or even nopractical online experiences. Ironically this puts the course providers in the same situation as their clients: though Internet access isavailable they do not have adequate solutions to explore this important market segment.con.moz offers with the franchising business model the right solution to change this situation.As franchisor con.moz introduces to the market an elaborated business model.  What franchisees can expect during their start-up phase? Operational capacity building, know-how transfer (training on course programme), support for the launch and initial technology start-up package (devices/connectivity) in collaboration with a leading mobile phone operator (conditioned by the level and size of business).  What franchisees can expect as franchising partners? Regular updates and new courses through the Web platform, relevant information and interaction with members (Web portal, blog, e-mails, etc.), continued capacity building, national marketing campaigns (promoting the brand), transparency in administrative and financial management (course fees and royalties), feedback and evaluation sessions (online and research).From the beginning the centre adopts the franchising model in response to the market situation, introducing three types or packagesto franchisees that meet best the variety of existing and new businesses:  Standard (urban and district level of existing businesses; gradual course introduction with respective technology package)  Premium (urban and well established; package by course variety, sales figures, and selected technology solution)  Micro/Start-up (new business initiatives including self-employment; “Ready2go” package)con.moz_conceptual.notes_06/2011 Page 5/7
  6. 6. Strategic partnershipsConnecting people is present throughout the vision, objectives and activities of the centre. As a centre of excellence – producingand distributing relevant high-quality courses - con.moz follows closely the rapid developments related to Internet and Webapplications (like Facebook, Google, etc.) and links up with professionals from innovative regional initiatives and academicinstitutions. The collaboration and cooperation includes course development (content and technologies), research, and based on itsbrand standards and local expertise, participation in national and regional development programmes and projects funded by theinternational community.con.moz is a private enterprise based initiative without any regular governmental budget allocation to subsidise its structure andoperations, thus building upon a lean and dynamic organisational model. Expertise is put together jointly and in a flexible manner tomeet specific goals. Including students from local faculties of relevant fields (ICT, education, economics, sociology) connects thecentre with the reality on ground, and vice-versa offers professional and practical opportunities for the students.Nature of the creation of the centre is the growing (worldwide) importance of ICT – especially of Web Apps – and the risk of fallingfurther “behind” in general developmental terms of a so-called knowledge and information society. New technologies offeropportunities to leapfrog stages of development, bypassing the need for expensive fixed capital investment, and the introduction ofmobile communications in particular is perceived as the single greatest sustainable stimulus to every African country’s economy8.But what do we know about the reality on ground? Are interventions used to its potentials? These questions include in first place theusers from various social backgrounds and locations as well as mobile telecommunication providers.Linking up with the telecommunication sector in Mozambique (and continued expanding infrastructure and services) is therefore ofvital interest of con.moz. The centre creates a logical link between users and providers by increasing “digital literacy” in practicalterms: knowing how to access, use and benefit from Internet and Web applications in real-life contexts. The innovative approach ofcon.moz offers a solution that involves users (in need for relevant skills), computer education businesses (to have relevantproducts increasing and sustaining their business) and the telecommunication providers (for increased market penetration andprofitability).Therefore con.moz seeks on the basis of mutual benefit partnerships within the ICT sector that understands the importance ofemerging markets as an investment into the people in a global community.Benefits Partnership areas Community empowerment & social inclusion (accelerated  Official contributions through Social Foundations to access and beneficiary ICT use for more people, strengthen the centre as a modern research facility and considering socio-cultural and socio-economic realities) nationwide ICT know-how provider Fostering of ICT training businesses (increased profitability  New commercial products/packages for ICT education and competitiveness for established and new enterprises businesses (strengthening market position by reaching out through segmented high-quality ICT courses) to businesses with multiplicator effect) ICT-savvy youth that uses and benefits from new Web  Marketing support of the brand and courses as innovative Apps based on innovative mobile ICT solutions know-how provider (media campaigns and brochures) Strengthening consumer relations and targeting mobile  Support for local research and course development internet services *) Partnership areas are due to be defined in mutual interest and subject for agreementScope and range of areas and interventions are subject to the type of partnership agreements. Partnerships at the level of mobiletelecommunication service providers need to incorporate the importance of the innovative and unique contribution that con.mozcon.moz_conceptual.notes_06/2011 Page 6/7
  7. 7. adds to the sector and – once fully operational in terms of continuous course development and distribution through a growingfranchising network – its impact on socio-cultural and socio-economic development in Mozambique in general.The importance of strategic partnerships for the centre becomes understandable in light of the conceptual design that favours abroader impact at the costs of quick revenues as exclusive course provider. Though the centre operates with a lean structurewithout jeopardising high-quality research and products through goal orientated collaboration of professionals from the region(SADC), operational revenues inevitably will grow only gradually through royalties generated by the commercial success of thefranchising system and its partners. Concerning the business and financial plan, the centre plans to break-even in the third year ofoperations (2013). con.moz therefore is actively seeking support from international foundations and institutions (development,education, SME promotion, ICT research, knowledge production and reproduction) as well as establishing partnerships to participatein local and regional research and capacity building initiatives. About con.moz Christian Zeininger, the founder of the Centre, looks back at 35 years of professional experience in senior and executive positions in Europe and Africa within the financial sector, bilateral and multilateral development cooperation, and recently, higher education. Consequently, creating an initiative the builds on the academic and professional interdisciplinary experiences, embracing new developments and related challenges and opportunities in Mozambique, makes sense and simply is a logical step in career and life. The position of Counsellor of the Austrian Embassy in Harare and Head of Austrian Development Cooperation in Mozambique(1998-2004) provided the opportunity gaining a good knowledge and fair understanding of the developmental issues and mainchallenges in the country, whereas the responsibilities as Director of the Faculty of Tourism Management and InformationTechnologies and Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs of the Catholic University of Mozambique (2006-2009) were helpful to analyseand understand the situation of young people passing through higher education, and challenges for education and training ingeneral. Finalising recently a new Master programme in ICT in Education (2009-2011) provided by the Centre for EducationalTechnologies (CET) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) only closes the academic and professional circle that culminated in thecreation of con.moz (2011). Contents and contacts of this interdisciplinary academic field feed into the objectives and operationsof the centre to establish and maintain high-quality standards for innovation and change. The centre is registered and located in Beira: Licence N° 912/07/01/LS/PS/2011 – NUIT 101359093 Rua Luciano Cordeiro 302, 3° Andar, Macuti – Beira, Sofala Province (m) 84 7832065 – (e) (e) – (w) – (t) @conmozCZ/09/20111 Zeininger, 2011. Economically and academically disadvantaged young people striving to be computer literate in Mozambique: unfolding learneragency in constraining conditions. Cape Town: UCT, Centre for Educational Technologies.2 UNCTAD, 2010. Creative Economy Report 2010. Creative Economy: A Feasible Development Option. Available at: Czerniewicz and Brown, 2005. Access to ICT for learning and teaching. International Journal of Education and Development using ICT. 1(2).5 Selwyn, 2005. The Social Process of Learning to Use Computers. Social Science Computer Review. 23(1).6 Mills, 2010. Why Africa is poor. Johannesburg: Penguin.7 ICDL (International Computer Driving License): Standardised course content based on Microsoft computer software. Zeininger, 2011. Economically and academically disadvantaged young people striving to be computer literate in Mozambique: unfolding learneragency in constraining conditions. Cape Town: UCT, Centre for Educational Technologies.8 Mills, 2010. Why Africa is poor. Johannesburg: Penguin.con.moz_conceptual.notes_06/2011 Page 7/7