Sustainability of ICT initiatives has increasingly been described as the sum of the inter-relations and inter-linkages between the wider policy environment, technology, telecentre operators and managers, capacity building, content and services, networks and partnerships and community. This, too, can be applied in the school connectivity context, particularly where school connectivity is leveraged to benefit the community, as described in the following chapter.
The sustainability concerns of telecentres are centred on the following issues:
- Financial – Breaking even, profit-making, etc.
- Social – Community acceptance, community development and impact,
- Organizational – Administration and management of the telecentre, including capacity-building, infrastructure maintenance, etc.
- Policy-related – Whether there is a conducive policy environment related to connectivity, IT infrastructure, etc. 170
Albania’s e-schools project has given specific attention to sustainability. Partnerships have played a crucial role in implementing and maintaining sustainability of the project. Although the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) and local governments are the key partners in the implementation, the MoES has established an inter-ministerial National Task Force and expert sub-committees to manage the project. Expert sub-committees define workplans according to specific tasks and regional needs. 171I
In accordance with the Prime Minister’s request for UNDP assistance, UNDP has contributed USD 829,373 for the project and has set up the Programme Implementation Unit (PIU) located at MoES. There are also numerous private donors who have contributed to the e-Schools project:
- The Chinese government donated 1,360 computers
- The Albanian Banking Association donated USD 65,000
- Western Union Corporation donated USD 25,000
- Raiffeisen Bank donated USD 45,000
- UFO private university donated 1 computer lab
- ISSETI corporation donated 1 computer lab
- Art Gold project donated 1 computer lab172
The Government of Albania also dedicates budgetary resources to the introduction of ICTs in education and to connecting schools to the Internet.