|Sep 17 2014|
2013 was a challenging but highly productive year for the USTTI and the hundreds of volunteer ICT experts who conducted our 83 tuition-free training courses. It was challenging because a number of important USTTI courses had to be cancelled or rescheduled due to the uncertainties resulting from the federal shutdown and the budget sequester. Notwithstanding these disruptions, the USTTI graduated 291 women and men who lead the ICT infrastructures in 64 developing countries.
The continued urgent need for the USTTI's diverse tuition-free ICT training was confirmed by the fact that in 2013 the USTTI staff processed 11,165 applications from 123 developing countries. This tidal wave of applications is particularly noteworthy because it represents an 11-to-1 ratio of applications to the 1,156 training slots in the 2013 curriculum.
In 2014, the USTTI's curriculum will include 84 courses. To make the USTTI's training as relevant as possible, the USTTI Board and our training partners are expanding the USTTI's 2014 curriculum to include courses which address ISP development and local content production. We have also added courses on spam protection as well as cloud computing. While we are aggressively expanding the USTTI's curriculum into these priority areas, we remain focused on such fundamental core courses as spectrum management, regulatory reform and all aspects of broadband deployment - deployment which is so critical to "connect" those billions of people throughout the developing world who are deprived of the life-altering benefits of affordable broadband access.
During the past few years, funding support has severely diminished for the travel and subsistence needs of many of the most promising USTTI applicants from the most impoverished nations. Accordingly, the USTTI Board will mount an effort in 2014 to gain significant private and public funding support so that USTTI training is available to many more women and men who are vital to their country's successful broadband deployment. As we have seen repeatedly over the past 31 years, USTTI graduates - one-by-one - have often been the catalyst for their developing countries' leap forward into the 21st Century of modern communications. It's time to make certain that every USTTI training slot is occupied when these determined ICT agents of change apply for USTTI training.
Michael R. Gardner
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