The Papua New Guinea University of Technology (PNGUoT), one of three ITU Digital Transformation Centres (DTC) in the Asia-Pacific region, started rolling out its training plan, following a delayed start amid the COIVD-19 pandemic.
The Digital Transformation Centres Initiative was launched during ITU Telecom World 2019 in Budapest, Hungary. The Initiative aims to build a global network of centres at which citizens can develop basic digital skills. The Initiative contributes to the broader goal of building an inclusive digital society, and ensuring that lack of knowledge and skills is not a barrier to participation in the digital economy.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, DTC trainers will be provided with tools and skills on how to teach remotely. The train-the-trainers (ToT) online course will be offered free of charge in collaboration with the initiative’s founding partner, Cisco.
Getting connected to basic digital skills
The first course, a “Get Connected” ToT programme on basic digital competencies, is expected to scale up digital skills at the national level and help to bridge the digital divide across Papua New Guinea (PNG). Participants include the coordinators of the Distance Learning Centres throughout the country. After the training, each participant will be expected to oversee and scale this training course in various parts of PNG.
The “Get Connected” programme will be delivered by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) of Australia, on behalf of Cisco. RMIT is both a Cisco Network Academy and an ITU Academia Member. In addition to working with the DTC as an Academy Support Centre, RMIT has joined NICTA, ITU and Cisco in putting together the train-the-trainer plan for PNGUoT.
“Empowering all people with career possibilities is what Cisco Networking Academy does every day. Being an innovator in the education space, we help learners, educators, and employers keep up and keep moving forward,” said Emma Broadbent, CSR Manager Cisco Networking Academy. “Initiatives like the DTC training plan will see unlocked potential taking the lead to solve some of the most pressing challenges of today,” she said.
Accelerating nationwide digital transformation
The 2020 DTC training plan builds on ITU’s work to support various pillars of the digital ecosystem including digital infrastructure, digital agriculture, digital government, emergency telecommunication, cybersecurity and digital skills.
These efforts are intended to support the Papua New Guinean government in accelerating the country’s digital transformation.
PNGUoT intends to work closely with District Administrators and community leaders as they implement the training throughout the country, bolstered by the support and backing of the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA).
For the initial month-long ToT program, NICTA is subsidising data connectivity for the participants. “Digital economy is a key agenda of the PNG government and NICTA is grateful to the ITU and partners, Cisco and RMIT, for affording PNG this opportunity to benefit from the DTC programme,” said NICTA Chief Executive Officer Charles Punaha. “Together with the PNGUoT, we endeavour to ensure that the programme does deliver on its primary objective of digital skills transfer that will enable more of our people to participate meaningfully in the digital economy.”
PNGUoT plans to train at least 200 teachers annually at primary, secondary and tertiary levels across the country, as well as 220 community members with a focus on youth, farmers, artisans and small and medium enterprises. They also plan to train 80 civil servants, focusing mainly on provincial Administrative Officers.
Dr. Tindi Seje Nuru, coordinator of the DTC programme at Unitech, noted that besides the restrictions brought about by COVID-19, Internet connectivity remains a challenge, especially in rural and semi-urban settings. “Some people do not have internet in the home, and for those that have, it may not be stable enough to sustain online learning,” he said.
As the situation slowly returns to normal in Papua New Guinea, the number of training courses will be increased, with some activities running in parallel across different target groups. Training activities are scheduled every month until the end of the year to maintain the current momentum.
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Learn more about the Digital Transformation Centre initiative here.
Photo by ITU.