Education System for Government Technology Leadership in Colombia

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    Delfina Soares

    Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO) is a position embedded in an increasing number of government organizations at the national and local levels, responsible for building and managing digital capabilities within the organization, for strategically aligning such capabilities with existing business objectives, and for leading the organization towards adopting new objectives made possible by digital technology. Despite the emergence of other technology leadership positions in government like Chief Technology Officer, Chief Enterprise Architect, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Knowledge Officer, etc. the requirement of a single GCIO role to represent and coordinate all aspects of the government information technology function vis-à-vis other functions like planning, finances, human resources, operations, etc. is firmly recognized. It is also recognized that GCIOs operate under very different conditions that their private sector counterparts, and their performance, directly influencing the performance of the entire technology function in government, should be strengthened with professional membership, education, formal authority and organizational support. The difficulty with professional GCIO education is that it requires building capabilities for both leadership and continued learning, delivering a mix of leading-edge technological, organizational and policy know-how, and delivering a balanced specialist-generalist (depth versus breadth) curriculum. Few universities in high-income countries, not talking about developing countries where the demand for competent GCIO is particularly high, have the in-house expertise, experience and capacity to deliver such education. Recognizing the importance of the GCIO function, the Colombian Government enacted in 2014 the legislation to establish GCIO positions in the executive branch of government, and established the PEGEL (Excellence in Electronic Government) programme to enable the development of university and practitioner networks to support continuing formal and informal education of Colombian GCIO professionals.

    The purpose of this project is to carry out a set of activities focused on building institutional capacity for education and peer-to-peer support to GCIO professionals. These activities comprise: 1) designing a network of universities to deliver GCIO-related education programmes; 2) designing education programmes to build and maintain GCIO-related competencies at different levels; 3) defining, assessing and recognizing various education and career paths that lead to further development of GCIO competencies; and 4) designing a peer-to-peer network for GCIO practitioners to share their experience and know-how.