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Themes and Issues in Telecentre Sustainability

Developed by: Raul Roman & Royal D. Colle
Type of resource: Web article
Target audience: General, Trainers
Cost: Free access

Abstract: The initiation, diffusion and adoption of the telecentre idea has been an enormously eclectic process, largely devoid of systematic research and planning. The approach has generally been one of pilot projects — trying out models to see what works to achieve a diversity of objectives. In some cases the approach has been simply entrepreneurial, with enterprising business people exploring new opportunities for profit-making.

A range of important issues is linked to the operation and success of telecentres. These include: sustainability, community relevance, government policy, information and communication technology (ICT), research, community partnerships and participation, telecentre objectives, and business planning. Often mentioned but largely undeveloped is the training associated with telecentre management, an issue that relates to all of the issues mentioned.

While each of the issues deserves systematic analysis, this chapter concentrates on sustainability and training. Based on data collected from Australia and South Africa to Hungary and Canada — and from various project documents — we describe some of the strategies being used to sustain telecentres. We put this discussion especially in the context of developing nations because of the intense interest in the early 21st century in incubating telecentres in places where individual connectivity to information access is most problematic.

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