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 International Journal of Education and Development using ICT > Vol. 4, No. 4 (2008) open journal systems 


A practical ICT for development framework: The ICT Center of Excellence

Khalid Said Rabayah, Arab American University


Abstract
This paper describes an initiative to implement a network of competency building centers that can assume a central role in shaping the Information Society in developing countries. The paper describes the business model of the centers and reports on the evaluation of their performance and their impact on national ICT initiatives for development. The main objective of the evaluation is to quantify the degree of success and effectiveness the initiative has contributed to the development of the Palestinian IT sector. In this paper we report on the evaluation of SKITCE Center of Excellence, one of the initiative’s five centers. The initiative involves the establishment of ICT Centers of Excellence in close proximity to Palestinian universities which host academic institution in IT and related fields. The Initiative serves multiple purposes in that it enables IT to act as transformational agent for economic and social development of the Palestinian society. To that end, it works to generate highly qualified IT professionals, badly needed by the IT industry. The center further works to create strong links to the private, public, and to NGOs communities to enhance their roles in the development drive. Among the strategic goals of the initiative is to provide capacity buildings that help entrepreneurs build viable IT businesses, through providing facilities, resources, and tools to develop both a research and development culture and activities in a rich environment for innovation and creativity. The assessment of the activities has exhibited mixed results. The training and capacity building endeavors have shown ample success. The vast majority of the surveyed trainees felt that they gained valuable knowledge and experience in their field of specialization, and believed that the training was critical to their successful job search. On the side of business development and promotion of entrepreneurship, however, the center did not score tangible achievements, and it tended to show a lack of vision and clear route to make a breakthrough in that regards.


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International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology. ISSN: 1814-0556