TICAL 2012: Relevant regional representatives talked about ICT Management inside the universities
Written by Tania Altamirano López
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 00:00
During the meeting university rectors and directors of Information Technologies referred to the current status and challenges faced by these units in Latin America. They also offered some recommendations to enhance and strengthen the work that has been done.
As part of the activities of the second version of the Conference of Directors of Information and Communication Technologies in Higher Education Institutions, TICAL 2012, and organized by the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education (OUI-IOHE), a Roundtable on the Management of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) in Latin American Universities was carried out on July 2.
The activity was led by Patricia Gudiño, OUI’s General Executive Secretary, and it counted with the participation of Eduardo del Valle, Rector of the National University of the North-East (Universidad Nacional del Nordeste - Argentina), President of the Networks of University Interconnection (Asociación Redes de Interconexión Universitaria, ARIU- Argentina) and OUI’s Vice President in the Southern Cone, and Abel Mejía, Rector of the Agraria La Molina University (Peru), President of the Peruvian Academic Network (RAAP) and OUI’s counselor for the Andean region. The rountable also counted with the participation of the university ICT Directors Carlos Garcia Garino from the National University of Cuyo (Argentina), Ronald Vargas of the National University (Costa Rica) and Juan Rosas of the University of Chile (Chile).
"When we were working with the Program Committee thinking at this conference and afterwords in a meeting with our academic partner in the event, OUI, we thought it was important to gather in this particular space the directors, managers and heads of IT units and the authorities of the universities, cause it is not always possible to establish with them a dialogue about expectations and challenges, a dialogue that allows to project in a jointly fashion the future work", said Carmen Gloria Labbé, RedCLARA’s Director of Innovation and Development.
The activity aimed to address the challenges of the IT units in higher education Latin-American institutions by means of the evaluation of the results and the analysis of the impact of what is being done in order to position this forum as a support for the universities academic and administrative units and to foster the training of human capacities, the ICT promotion and the awareness and preparation of the next generation of leaders.
In the roundtable Patricia Gudiño asked the panelists questions concerning the role of the ICT units in the institutions, the main challenges for the next decade and invited the panelists to offer some recommendations to enhance and strengthen the work that is being performed.
Regarding the role of the university ICT units, the panelists expressed the need of counting with permanent (despite of the political movements inside the countries), specialized and trained staff. Professionalism and hierarchy were mentioned as key elements.
"It is necessary to have specialized staff, trained and permanent because in public universities from one administration to another everything changes, even the technical staff, and hence instead of moving forward they are always starting from scratch," said Abel Mejía.
On this subject, Carlos García Garino (Argentina) stated that “the role of these directions is to give technical support and to endorse people who are coming everyday, and to do this is necessary to take distance and, a couple of times a year, to allow those who work in those directions to interact with those who have decision-making power in order to bring the agenda of national computing to higher councils and the rector and to transmit them what is the European Union opinion, what does RedCLARA says, what are saying the international organizations; the idea is to give the information to those national agencies in order to help them to decide policies and to give the tools and the human group that the ICT directions requiere in order to implement those policies within their institutions.”
"If you think technology just as an infrastructure support, you are not giving to it the great value you should. For technology to become a strategic issue we need to be able to think about university in a different fashion, and that is a must for the directions of information technologies,” said Juan Rosas (Chile).
"The full integration of the university into the production process of the regional context in which is included, is a key element. There is also the need to define clear policies for the upcoming days and years, and to define periods of discussion,” said Eduardo del Valle (Argentina).
These discussions were followed by a period of dialogue about recommendations to close the gap between current work and challenges.
"A university that does not align with the technology will face serious problems in the future. They should assume the role of consultants against the invasion of technology. They cannot give a false step, they must adapt and identify the technological factors that directly impact the academic activities of the university,” said Ronald Vargas (Costa Rica).
To conclude, there was a round of questions and comments from the audience which were answered and discussed by the panelists.
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