Filosofinen tiedekunta, 2010
Master's Degree Programme in Intercultural Studies in Communication and Administration
Developed countries rely ever more on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for education, research and work. However, the cost of the media and the underdevelopment of developing countries such as Paraguay generate a gap between the sector of the world population that has access to ICTs and the sector that does not. The same aspects of this technology that can make a difference towards increasing inequality between developed and developing countries can make a difference in bridging the gap. Since there is evidence that the use of this technology will continue to spread, it is necessary that universities align their strategies to incorporate the changes ICTs bring. This ICT phenomenon and its influence on education come coupled with greater interaction among peers, greater emphasis on transdisciplinary research, testing and analysis as well as in interdisciplinary scrutiny. These represent the core characteristics of Research Mode 2, Design Thinking and Knowledge Management, a move away from more traditional instruction methods.
The National University of Asuncion (UNA) through its University Outreach Program (UOP) proposes to engage the problems of society in accordance to the current trends in research and education. It proposes to reach out to society by means of its staff, teachers, professors and students, presenting projects to deal with real social problems and then using the results to restart a project cycle. This is well in accordance with a shift from Research Mode 1 to Research Mode 2 and with Design Thinking. This form of engagement allows the university to learn more about its environment, and through this knowledge change itself to offer what society needs in terms of education and research.
However, the UNA has not addressed a number of issues in its Statute and the General Guidelines for the University Outreach Program. The theoretical framework and the subsequent analysis show that it is necessary to establish an ICT-based Knowledge Management system – a key requirement for Research Mode 2 – in order to fully develop and deploy the University Outreach Program of the National University of Asuncion.
The implementation of such as system requires complete reviews of several components of the university. Some of the necessary reviews are related to ‘soft’ aspects, such as the General Guidelines of the University Outreach Program, the curriculums of every faculty and the hiring practices of the university as an initial step. The other parts are the ‘hard’ aspects, which would require some investment in acquiring equipment, training personnel and establishing partnerships. A lack of provision of the possible effects of leaving those issues unsolved could spark a series of problems of inadequacies in the Program, and impact society negatively.
Education, University Outreach, ICT, Stakeholder, Development