Building educational capabilities through information technology in developing countries: it takes a village

There is one aspect of globalization of IT work that appears only in fleeting glimpses in the mainstream IS literature and is sidelined in the discourse in general. If global IT work is painted mainly as outsourcing IT-infused work from developed countries to poorer countries (euphemistically referred to as "low income countries"), shouldn't the development of capabilities in these very same less-developed countries be a vital cog? Simply put, if these countries do not have a capable workforce, IT work, or any other work for that matter, cannot be outsourced to these countries. The question then is how can capabilities be developed in developing countries? In this research-in-progress paper, we address this question by examining a case of an activist-led initiative in Nepal called "Open Learning Exchange" (OLE in short) that used the capabilities of ICTs to deliver quality education to remote mountainous regions of Nepal. We collected data through interviews and group sessions as well as observations and document analyses. We are currently analyzing the data at both the micro and macro levels. At the micro level, we are using models from the IS training literature to gain an understanding of how training concepts developed in the West can explain the success of the initiative. Then we move to the macro level by shifting our interpretive gaze to the concept of "eco-system" in order to understand the role of the society and the surroundings in the implementation of capability building initiatives in developing countries and sustaining them.

Full paper


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