Publication announcement: Education for the Most Marginalised post-COVID-19

Above all, this Report begins with the education and not the technology

Read the full report here.

Listen to the executive summary here.

Members of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D have worked hard with colleagues across the world over the last six months to craft an innovative and practical report for the UK’s FCDO and World Bank funded EdTech Hub on ways through which governments can learn from their experiences of COVID-19 to create resilent education systems that use digital technologies wisely, effectively and appropriately. We are all very excited to see this now published.

The report was based in part on extensive consultations with a group of 43 women and 44 men from 34 countries who contributed their insights and experiences, captured in this word-map designed by Paul Spiesberger,

The report is published in three Acts:

Additional details about the Report’s production, and all of the material in different formats is available here.

The report’s main recommendations focus on five main areas (shown in green in the diagram with which this post begins):

  • A whole society approach: delivering equity in education
  • Enabling access for all: building appropriate resilient infrastructures for education
  • Being context specific: technologies and content
  • Ensuring appropriate pedagogies: the practices of teaching and learning
  • Making wise use of technology: security, privacy and data

Pilot projects using digital technologies for education should not be done where they are easiest to do and are most likely to succeed, but instead with and amongst the poorest and most marginalised, where the circumstances are most challenging, and where most innovation and creativity is required to make them succeed.

The report is published under a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 (CC BY) license, and was developed and written by a core team of seven people (Alicja Pawluczuk, Azra Naseem, Christopher Yoo, Mohamed Shareef, Paul Spiesberger, and Paul West – assisted by Juliette Unwin, Leon Gwaka and Müge Haseki) led by our Chairholder Tim Unwin. They were supported by a distinguished advisory board comprising: Alex Wong (ITU, Switzerland), Bitange Ndemo (ICT Champion and University of Nairobi, Kenya), Caroline Wright (DG BESA, UK), John Nasasira (Head of 4thIR Task Force, Uganda), Keith Krueger (CEO Consortium for School Networking, USA), Mike Trucano (World Bank, USA), Vanessa Dreier (GIZ, Germany), and Waleed Al Ali (Mohammed Bin Rashid Global Initiatives, UAE), and also worked closely with David Hollow and Jamie Proctor from the EdTech Hub.

Many other people contributed to the report, and we are particularly grateful to colleagues in the following UN agencies and other organisations, especially for their help in crafting the Guidance Notes.

Further details of the development and contents of the Report are available on our site here. Please use #Emmpostcovid19 (Education for the Most Marginalised post-COVID-19) to refer to and share our work on social media.

CC BY

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International License. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Any part of this document may be reproduced without permission, but with attribution to The EdTech Hub and the authors. Our work is based on existing good practices, and more details on these principles can be found at https://www.EdTechHub.org. Please feel free to use and share this information, but kindly respect the copyright of all included works and share any adapted versions of this work

Reflections on UN75

The UNESCO Chair in ICT4D was pleased to participate in celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations on UN Day on 24th October 2020, by contributing to the IdeaSphere World #Connversations Rountable Relay convened by X360.

This wide-ranging and fascinating series of roundtable discussions involving leading commentators, changemakers and social innovators across the world began in the Asia Pacfic region at 1-3 a.m. UTC and the relay then headed westwards in a series of two-hour sessions that finished in the Americas Pacific at 9-11 p.m.. Congratulations are due to John Wells and Allison Hornery, the concierges of the X360 project, not only for conceptualising this celebration of the UN at 75, but also in convening and moderating this #connversation initiative – and surviving what was a very long day!

The UNESCO Chair in ICT4D’S Chairholder, Tim Unwin, participated in the fascinating Americas East rountable, which brought together a very diverse group of thoughtleaders from the eastern USA (Gadi Ben-Yehuda, Peter Scoblic, Richard Kerby, Tim McDonald), Canada (Ashleigh Weeden, Úna Hassenstein) and Mexico (Carlos Castañeda Girón, José Maria Guajardo) as well as outliers from the UK and the Philippines, and many other participants, to discuss a diversity of issues around the role of the UN, the kind of world in which we wish to live, and the evolving character of public participation in decision making, not least as it is mediated through digital technologies. Key issues that struck a particular chord, included the role of new financial instruments and institutions, new ways of convening public dialogues, how to get the balance right between rural and urban interests, “Open” and proprietary systems and technologies, youth participation, and the UN’s role in contributing to a better (or indeed worse) world.

The roundatables (thanks to X360) also introduced the wealth of emerging way through which digital technologies can be used to encourage such dialogues – not least through the images we may choose to show as backgrounds on Zoom conversations, the rich side conversations in chats, and innovative new platforms such as IdeaSpace.

Post-Doctoral Research Assistant vacancy

We are looking for a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant to contribute to the UKRI GCRF South-South Migration, Inequalities and Development (MIDEQ) Hub. Specifically, the PDRA will support Professors G Hari Harindranath (School of Business & Management) and Tim Unwin (Department of Geography) on the development of research within the work package on digital technologies, inequalities and migration across the six migration ‘corridors’ in which the MIDEQ Hub is working but particularly focusing on their work in the following migration ‘corridors’: Nepal-Malaysia, Ghana-China, Ethiopia-South Africa, and Haiti-Brazil. The PDRA will be based in the School of Business and Management at Royal Holloway, University of London but will work across the School and the Department of Geography and within the UNESCO Chair for ICT4D. Occasional overseas travel will be an essential component of this role.  The post’s central focus will be on working with migrants and tech developers in partner countries to facilitate the development of digital technologies that will reduce inequalities identified by migrants. The successful candidate will have the ability to develop excellent working relationships with diverse and international team members and have technical expertise relating to the design and implementation of digital technology interventions.   

In return we offer a highly competitive rewards and benefits package including:

  • Generous annual leave entitlement 
  • Training and Development opportunities
  • Pension Scheme with generous employer contribution 
  • Various schemes including Cycle to Work, Season Ticket Loans and help with the cost of Eyesight testing. 
  • Free parking 

The post is based in Egham, Surrey where the College is situated in a beautiful, leafy campus near to Windsor Great Park and within commuting distance from London. However, the post-holder will be required to travel nationally and internationally to fulfil the responsibilities of this role. 

For an informal discussion about the post, please contact Prof G Hari Harindranath at G.Harindranath@rhul.ac.uk or Prof Tim Unwin at Tim.Unwin@rhul.ac.uk.

To view further details of this post and to apply please visit https://jobs.royalholloway.ac.uk. Please note the Job Description and Person Specification at the at the end of the advertisement. For queries on the application process the Human Resources Department can be contacted by email at: recruitment@rhul.ac.uk 

In addition to completion of the online application form applicants are also required to upload two references. Please ensure these documents are uploaded in order for your application to be considered.

Please quote the reference: 1020-215

Closing Date:   Midnight, Friday 6 November 2020 

Interview Date: Interviews will be held in the week commencing 16 November 2020

Challenging the rhetoric around migration and digital technologies: Virtual ICT4D Non-Conference 2020 Panel Discussion

The global COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted more than ever the double-edged sword that digital technologies represent for migrants. These technologies offer not only access to information and networking for migrants but also create new vulnerabilities and exacerbate inequalities in the context of increasing securitisation of borders and rising xenophobia online. These inequalities relate not only to digital divides in terms of access and use but also outcomes that all too often mirror existing structural inequalities. Against this backdrop, we convened a special panel session at the Virtual ICT4D Non-Conference on 16th September 2020 that sought to challenge the rhetoric around migration and digital technologies. The panel, which I chaired, was linked to our ongoing research and practice relating to migration and digital technologies, part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) funded MIDEQ Hub. MIDEQ, the South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub, brings together over 60 researchers and several partner organisations from around the world to examine the complex and multi-dimensional relationships between migration and inequality in the context of the Global South.

Migration has long been ‘appified’, and the recent digital responses to, and indeed the ‘appification’ of, COVID-19 highlights the opportunities as well as the risks associated with digital technologies for marginalised people, in particular migrants around the world. So, what are the key issues affecting digital migrants? What roles are international agencies and regional/local civil society organisations playing in this space? How do we ensure that digital technologies do not harm vulnerable people? These were some of the issues we addressed in the panel which brought together five distinguished speakers from around the world:

  • Tanja Dedovic – Senior Regional Thematic Specialist on Labour Mobility and Human Development for the Middle East and North Africa, International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Tanja spoke about the how IOM, the UN agency that advocates for migrants, is leveraging digital technologies to promote safe and orderly migration through its MigApp which provides information and humanitarian services to migrants and government agencies. She also highlighted new projects that are using blockchain technologies to prevent contract substitution which sees migrant workers being forced into work that they did not sign up for. Tanja further noted the importance of complementing such efforts with proactive communications strategies and conducting due diligence of employers.
  • Antonio Diaz-Andrade – Associate Professor, AUT University, Auckland. Antonio shared insights from his recent research into how refugees in New Zealand use digital technologies in their everyday social practices in unfamiliar information environments to exercise their agency. Refugees were seen to be using digital technologies to exercise their agency and to participate in their new host society while at the same time being socially connected to their friends and families in home countries and as well as in other parts of the world. A snapshot of his research is available here.
  • Evan Easton-Calabria – Senior Research Officer, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. Evan’s talk centred around her recent study for UNDP, The Migrant Union – Digital Livelihoods for People on the Move, which examined the livelihoods opportunities and challenges from digital technologies, focusing particularly on digitally-mediated and remote work opportunities for refugees. She raised important questions in relation to refugee self-reliance and digital labour: are we truly training some of the most vulnerable people in the world for digital work or are we facilitating low-paid, low-skill work in the global gig economy which is subject to little or no regulation? Can we become more ambitious in the quality of work that is being offered to such workers? How can humanitarian agencies, intermediaries and employers ensure ethical safeguards for migrants in relation to digital work? How can the right to (or not to) work be protected? And how can the gender divide in relation to refugee digital workers and digital entrepreneurs be addressed?
  • William Gois – Regional Coordinator, Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA). William spoke about the work of MFA, a regional network of NGOs, associations and trade unions of migrant workers, and individual advocates in Asia that seeks to promote migrant rights. William cited several digital interventions that MFA has been part of including the Recruitment Advisor, which helps share recruitment experiences of migrants with a view to promoting fair recruitment practices and Hamsa, an online system for reporting migrant worker abuse. William challenged the rhetoric around the promise of digital technologies and their so-called pervasiveness by highlighting some of the structural and systemic barriers that prevent vulnerable groups such as migrants from accessing and benefitting from these technologies. He concluded that because digital technology is not an equaliser and they often increase inequalities, it is important to use both online and offline methods to connect with what are essentially a very diverse range of migrant groups.
  • Tim Unwin, Chairholder, UNESCO Chair in ICT4D, Royal Holloway, University of London. Tim spoke about the work he and I are leading on digital technologies, inequalities and migration within the larger MIDEQ project. He highlighted the key stages of our intervention work package which puts migrants at its core: first, seek to understand from migrants the ways in which they use digital technologies; second, explore with them how they understand notions of inequality within the migration process, and how they think technologies might be able to reduce them; and ultimately, work with migrants and digital developers to develop one or more digital technology interventions that can be used to reduce such inequalities. He also introduced two key findings from our early work which shows that while in some countries migrants are afraid of using digital technologies due to the harsh political conditions affecting migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic, they rarely use apps designed specifically designed for them in many others. These findings highlight the need to protect migrant rights while developing digital technologies that addresses their needs and aspirations.

The interactive panel session led to thought-provoking conversations from both panellists and through the forum chat. A key take-away for me was that when it comes to digital technology and migration, we need to begin with the migrants and seek to understand their needs and priorities. Actors in this space need to work ‘with’ migrants and not ‘for’ them! The pandemic has laid bare digital inequalities both in terms of digital exclusion and the potentially disempowering impact of these technologies through securitisation and surveillance. We need a relentless focus on the potential risk to marginalised people from digital technologies both in terms of ethical use and in terms of how they intersect with existing structural inequalities.

G Hari Harindranath

Work Package Lead, Digital technologies and inequality, MIDEQ

Inter Islamic Network on IT and COMSATS University workshop on ICT for Development: Mainstreaming the Marginalised

PostersThe UNESCO Chair in ICT4D was delighted to contribute to the 3rd ICT4D workshop convened by the Inter Islamic Network on IT (INIT) and COMSATS University in Islamabad, also supported by  the Ministry of IT and Telecom in Pakistan on the theme of Mainstreaming the Marginalised, which was held at the Ramada Hotel in Islamabad on 28th and 29th January 2020.  This was a very valuable opportunity for academics, government officials, companies, civil society organisations and donors in Pakistan to come together to discuss practical ways through which digital technologies can be used to support  economic, social and political changes that will benefit the poorest and most marginalised.  The event was remarkable for its diveristy of participants, not only across sectors but also in terms of the diversity of abilities, age, and gender represented.  It was a very real pleasure to participate in and support this workshop, which built on the previous ones that were held in Islamabd in 2016 and 2017.

The inaugural session included addresses by Prof Dr Raheel Qamar (President INIT and Rector COMSATS University, Islamabad), Mr. Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui (Federal Secretary Ministry of IT & Telecom) and Dr. Tahir Naeem (Executive Director, INIT), as well as a short keynote by our Chairholder Tim Unwin on Digital Technologies, Climate Change and Sustainability.  This was followed by six technical sessions spread over two days:

  • Future of learning and technology
  • Policy to practice: barriers and challenges
  • Awareness and inclusion: strategizing through technology
  • Accessibility and Technology: overcoming barriers
  • Reskilling the marginalised: understandng role reversals
  • Technical provisio: indigenisation for local needs.

These sessions included a wide diversity of activities, ranging from panel sessions, practical demonstrations, and mind-mapping exercises, and there were plenty of opportunities for detailed discussions and networking.

Highlights amongst the many excellent presentations included:

  • Recollections by Prof Abdful Mannan and Prof Ilyas Ahmed of the struggles faced by people with disabilities in getting their issues acknowledged by others in society, and of the work that they and many others have been doing to support those with a wide range of disabilities here in Pakistan
  • The inspirational presentations by Julius Sweetland of his freely available Open Source Optikey software enabling those with multiple disbilities to use only their eyes to write and control a keyboard
  • Meeting the young people with Shastia Kazmi (Vision 21 and Founder of Little Hands), who have gained confidence and expertise through her work and are such an inspiration to us all in continuing our work to help some of the pooorest and most marginalised to be empowered through digital technologies.
  • The very dynamic discussions around practical actiona that we can all take to enable more inclusive use of  digital technologies (mindmaps of these available below)

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Enormous thanks must go to Dr. Tahir Naeem (COMSATS University and Executive Director of INIT) and his team, especially Dr. Akber Gardezi (an Affilated Member of our UNESCO Chair) and Atiq-ur-Rehman, for all that they did to make this event such a success.

A shortened version of this workshop was also subsequently held on Monday 3rd February at the University of Sindh in Jamshoro, thanks to the support and facilitation of Dr. Mukesh Khatwani (Director of the Area Study Centre for Far East and Southeast Asia) and his colleagues.  This also focused on the practical ways through which some of the most marginalised can benefit from the appropriate use of digital technologies, and it was once again good to have the strong involvement of persons with disabilities.

Quick links to workshop materials and outputs:

 

Christmas greetings 2019

Friends and Colleagues

As we draw near to Christmas and the end of a politically traumatic few years here in the “United” Kingdom, everyone at the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a relaxed, peaceful and blessed Christmas.  We hope that you have had a successful past year, and that the decade ahead brings you great success and fulfilment in all of your endeavours.

We hope too that many of you will join us between 15th and 17th September next year at our exciting – and very different – ICT4D Non-Conference which we intend to make an inspiring opportunity to rethink how we can all do more to help shape safe and inclusive digital technology for all in the years ahead.

Tim Unwin (on behalf of members of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D)

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Nativity scene, Kitzbühel, Austra, 2019

Working with, not for: migrants, technology and inequalities

CraftingMIDEQ provides an opportunity to do things differently. It has the potential to change our understandings and influence policy, but only if we truly listen to the voices of migrants in the many different contexts where they live and work.

Research led by colleagues in the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D at Royal Holloway, University of London, will focus on ways through which technologies can be used to reduce the many intersecting inequalities associated with migration.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), or “digital technologies”, have frequently been designed “for” some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people, with the stated intention of reducing poverty or delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, this is one of the reasons why so many have failed to be sustainable, go to scale or even help to reduce poverty.

Digital technologies are almost always conceived in research labs or the Research and Development departments of global corporates and start-ups alike. But without a deep understanding of poor people’s or migrants’ knowledges and needs; they are designed for, rather than with, these people.

Prototypes are trialled with a sample group or through a pilot project, and then revised iteratively until they are good enough to go to market. They are, though, designed and produced by people who have particular interests (usually commercial or financial) for specific purposes. Those purposes are rarely truly emancipatory or empowering for the poor and marginalised.

Migrants know far more about migration than so-called “experts”, be they researchers or techies. Migrants are the experts in migration. For technologies to be crafted and used in ways that are truly emancipatory, they need to be created collaboratively “with” migrants not “for” them. Anything we design together must primarily serve their interests.

Our research has been designed in a threefold manner to try to live up to these aspirations. The first stage begins by listening to how migrants, as well as their families and employers, already use technologies and for what purposes. In the first two years we will focus on four of the six migration corridors to helping us better understand the interface between migrants and technology. Questions about technology use will also be asked in a survey being undertaken in all twelve countries in which MINEQ is working. This will give us a broad understanding of the many contexts and contrasting experiences that migrants have with digital technologies.

The second stage (years two-three) will build on this and involve more focused research, probably in two or three corridors, using qualitative methods to explore with migrants what they understand by inequalities and how digital technologies might be used to reduce these. This will take time, especially because we want to be led by the migrants, and better understand the diversity of ways through which they could help design technologies that do this.

The final stage (years three-five) will work carefully with migrants and local tech developers to co-create technological innovations that migrants can use to reduce the inequalities that they see as being associated with the migration process. We have no ideas yet about what these will be. Perhaps we may find similar issues across all of the migration corridors where we are working; perhaps we will need to focus on different issues in varying contexts.

We hope that this approach will enable those with whom we are working to change the balance of power that is usually associated with the use of digital technologies in development. Above all, we aspire to work “with”, rather than just “for” migrants so that they can lead lives they think are better.

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[Originally posted on MIDEQ site on 14 October 2019]

Inception meeting of UKRI GCRF South-South Migration Hub in Ghana

The UNESCO Chair in ICT4D, represented by Dr. Hari Harindranath and Tim Unwin, is excited to be participating in the inception meeting of the UKRI GCRF South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub, being held at the spacious University of Ghana Campus in Legon.  The multidisciplinary Hub, led by Professor Heaven Crawley from the University of Coventry, is committed to “doing development research” in new and different ways, and this inception meeting is living true to that aim – with the first morning being illuminated by music, art and poetry, as well as lively discussion.

The first day is focusing on how the more than forty partners will work together as well as getting to know those colleagues leading on the various corridors and work packages.  The second day will focus on issues such as research ethics, the baseline survey and our communication strategy, and the entire final day will be devoted to safeguarding issues.

We hope that the pictures below catch something of the diversity, energy and expertise of those participating in this fun-packed gathering.  The dancing starts later…

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UNESCO Chair in ICT4D at EQUALS annual meetings in New York

30977455738_16795cafc3_oRoyal Holloway, University of London, was one of the earliest  partners to join the EQUALS global partnership in 2016, and has largely been represented in the partnership by members of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D.  EQUALS is “a ground-breaking global network delivered by a committed partnership of corporate leaders, governments, non-profit organizations, communities and individuals around the world working together to bridge the digital gender divide – by bringing women to tech, and tech to women – and in so doing, bettering the lives of millions worldwide”.  Its activities are grouped into three coalitions (Skills, Leadership and Access) and a Research Group, with Royal Holloway being most active in the Skills Coalition and the Research Group.

30977455818_32711a3151_oEQUALS holds its annual Principals’ Meetings in the margins of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), and this year Royal Holloway was represented by the Chairholder of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D.  The Principals’ Meeting on 22nd September discussed the progress made by all of the coalitions, and particularly the publication of the Research Group’s report entitled Taking stock: data and evidence on gender equality in digital access, skills and leadershipMembers of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D have been active in the preparation of this report, and the section written by Liz Quaglia and Ashley Fraser on A gender perspective of security and privacy in the digital age was particularly noted by the Rector of the United Nations University (UNU) in his speech launching the report.   EQUALS now has more than 70 partners, and before the Principals’ Meeting, there was a welcome event for new members.  In the evening many of us also gathered for the  EQUALS in Tech awards ceremony, which celebrated the activities of global initiatives in skills, access, leadership and research that have helped deliver the overall objectives of EQUALS.

43941036125_cdf0d24a59_oWith so many EQUALS partners present in New York this was also an opportunity for members of the Skills Coalition and the Research Group to meet to review progress and plan for the future.  We were all very grateful to UN Women for hosting these meetings, and much progress was made in moving the initiative forward.  In particular, there was widespread support at the Skills Coalition meeting for the need to change men’s attitudes and behaviours, and the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D’s new TEQtogether initiative, soft-launched at this event, was strongly supported.  Indeed, the Skills Coalition has subsequently agreed that a group of its partners would have this theme as one of its deliverables for the next couple of years.

Royal Holloway, University of London’s formal commitments to EQUALS for 2018-19 are:

  • Research Group: membership of, and active contribution to, Research Group – e.g. one chapter in 2018 report, as well as two people undertaking editorial work.
  • Skills Coalition: support UNESCO in the development of the outputs through active participation in meetings, including continued participation in Mobile Learning Week.
  • Other Coalitions: support Access and Leadership Coalitions and their deliverables by sharing knowledge and resources.
  • Implementation and testing: application of tools developed by skills coalition with students and staff at Royal Holloway, University of London (c.9,500 students and 1,700 staff)
  • Additional Initiatives: Development of women in science database, and TEQtogether

We are all delighted to be able to contribute to this important initiative on behalf of Royal Holloway, University of London.

Christmas Greetings 2017 from the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D

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Members and Affiliated Members of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D would like to take this opportunity to share these images from a nativity scene in Macau earlier this month and wish all of their friends and colleagues a happy, peaceful and relaxed Christmas.  According to the Gospels,  Christ was born in a stable (homeless), to an unmarried mother, and then became a refugee as his parents fled from Palestine to Egypt.  For those of us working in the field of ICT4D, it is a timely reminder of our commitment to using ICTs to serve the interests of the poorest and most marginalised, wherever they are to be found, and especially children, the homeless, minorities, and refugees.

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For learn more about our work, do explore these links:

Royal Holloway, University of London – Principal attends first partner meeting of EQUALS in New York

It was great to see Royal Holloway, University of London, represented by the Principal, Professor Paul Layzell, at the first principals meeting of EQUALS, the partnership for gender equality in the digital age, held on 16th September, just before the UN General Assembly starting today in New York.

EQUALS is a very important initiative, founded by the ITU, UN-Women, the ITC, the UNU-CS and the GSMA, to reverse the trend of increasing gender digital inequality.  The UNESCO Chair in ICT4D has been delighted to be working closely with the founding partners ever since the origins of EQUALS, and our membership provides an opportunity for everyone at Royal Holloway, University of London to play a part in helping to make a difference in this crucial area.

Royal Holloway, University of London, has played a leading role in the higher education of women, especially in STEM subjects.  Bedford College, University of London, which merged with Royal Holloway College in the 1980s to form Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, now abbreviated to Royal Holloway, University of London, was thus founded in 1849 as the first higher education college in the UK specifically for women.  Staff from many of its leading departments contribute to the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D; 12 of our 28 Members and Affiliated Members are women.

EQUALS has three broad coalitions, on Skills, Access and Leadership, and Royal Holloway is an active member of the Skills coalition.  The College is also participating in the EQUALS Research Group being led by the UNU Computing and Society Institute (UNU-CS).  It is great to see the College featuring in this high profile UN initiative, as one of only two universities among the first 24 Partners and 5 Founding Partners.

I hope that the pictures below of the principals meeting, and Professor Paul Layzell’s interview, capture something of the atmosphere.

Improving the management of digital government

Liz Quaglia and Tim Unwin from the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D attended the launch discussion for the Institute for Government’s new report on Improving the Management of Digital Government at a breakfast meeting on 21st June, which focused on the question “Who is responsible for effective, efficient and secure digital government?”.

Speakers at the event included:

  • Ciaran Martin CEO National Cyber Security Centre
  • Janet Hughes, Doteveryone
  • Bryan Glick, Editor Computer Weekly

and it was moderated by Daniel Thornton from the Institute of Government, one of the co-authors of the report (the other being Lucy Campbell).

Concluding thoughts from the speakers included:

  • It is very difficult to deliver effective digital government, but we should not despair and must keep moving forward to make things better;
  • It is essential to have a joined up approach across governments, with leadership at the highest level; and
  • How governments are organised is a secondary issue; what matters is beginning with a clear strategy, and then finding ways to deliver it.

The report itself makes interesting reading, and has wider relevance beyond the UK context.