An ICT Skills Cascade: Government-Mandated Open Source Policy as a Potential Driver for ICT Skills Transfer

Andrea Tapia, Edgar Maldonado

Abstract


The purpose of the article is to illustrate a government policy-centered approach to universal ICT skills transfer. We believe that the recent laws passed in Venezuela, while specifically aimed at universally migrating government offices, agencies, and industries to Open Source Software and Systems, constitute a new approach to the problem of how to augment the number of skilled IT workers, citizens, and IT-focused companies. We assert that these policies have the potential to change the operating systems and infrastructure of the entire country of Venezuela and provide opportunities for the transfer of ICT skills to traditionally underserved populations. We find that the mandatory migration to OSS policies and laws has the potential to produce massive IT skills transfer. In contrast with the approaches taken by other nations, the Venezuelan government has not relied on the private sector to invest in large-scale projects to build the IT sector. The Venezuelan government has instead created its own large-scale project. In addition, the Venezuelan government has created IT training and educational centers, as well as its own software development centers and small business incubators. Through this approach, the government has been able to close the IT development circle, controlling all aspects of the development process more tightly than in other nations. The Venezuelan policies and OSS migration are relatively new, and the data to measure their success does not yet exist. However, the strategies employed by the government are interesting in themselves because of their potential to begin a cascade of change throughout the country.

Keywords


ICT; Open Source; Venezuelan; IT; education; OSS; policy

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