RE: eForesee malta-ict: Scenarios for Malta in ICT

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  • Subject: RE: eForesee malta-ict: Scenarios for Malta in ICT
  • From: [email protected]
  • Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2002 10:56:18 +0200

I would like to share with you an article I came across. It is taken from
Euroabstracts Vol.40-4/2002, published by the European Commission,
Innovation/SMEs Programme, August 2002. Here it comes :
A clear view of the haze
European policy-makers try to ensure that the education system offers the
skills high technolgy industries demand. In this complex, shifting job
market we need forecasting models that can predict tomorrow's skills gaps.
Unfortunately, information on skill levels in high-tech sectors is patchy.
The dot.com bubble, inflated by false expectations, sucked in thousands of
qualified workers. The mobile phone companies hired more and more expert
staff, seemingly safe in the promise of new generations of telephony.
Nobody predicted the subsequent collapse. The authors of this study concede
that it is impossible to forecast the specific skills needs of defined
sub-sectors of the industry, and in a short timeframe. They cite the "open,
dynamic, 'chaotic' properties of socio-technological development". They
could be describing the weather. On the other hand, it is possible in a
rather general way to forecast the need for certain types of skill - ICT
being a prime example - over a period of, say, five to ten years.
Ambitious pilot
This is a pilot study of seven high-tech sectors in just three countries:
the UK, the Netherlands and Norway. It investigates the possibility of
establishing indicators of demand and supply of highly skilled labour, based
largely on the Labour Force Survey (LFS), since this is the only source
available throughout the European Union. It also sifts the literature for
insights on skills gaps and mismatches which might inform public policy.
The Labour Force Survey is seriously limited, mainly because the samples for
the categories under study are very small. Some of the classifications are
also different from one country to another. Register data taken from a
census of the whole population would be much better. However, a register is
only available from Norway, and even then many of the variables being
measured are missing. Nevertheless, despite the rawness of raw materials,
the forecasting of skills appears to offer useful results. In this case, a
portrait painted with a very broad brush presents a recognisable face
Basic policy-making
The country analyses cover workforce stratification, training and mobility.
To see how the results might be applied in practice, let us look at the
picture in telecommunications services and computer services in the UK
during the 1990s. These two sectors have been chosen as they are key
drivers for knowledge-driven economy. Computer services have very high
stocks of educated workers and a high training provision, while
telecommunications services have lower stocks but higher training than
computer services. The rate of inflow of educated workers into computer
services is faster than outflow, reflecting the fact that the sector has
been expanding.
In telecommunications services, however, inflow and outflow rates show a
similar pattern, while both increased substantially over the decade. Thus,
telecommunications services have realtively more labour fluidity and more
problems retaining people than computer services. Therefore a policy-maker
might decide to introduce different kinds of training programme for
telecommunication services and for computer services , and to try to reduce
the outflows from telecommunication services. One way would be to offer
incentives to firms to encourage them to retain staff. The huge demand for
qualified staff in computer services means that computer related training
must be a priority.
The analysis provides no understanding of mobility within a sector. For
example, firms may have difficulties attracting and training employees who
then rapidly defect to rival companies.
Parallel analyses can be performed for the Netherlands and Norway. The
extra information from the Norwegian register data shows that the skill
composition of the telecommunications sector has been rapidly changing.
Could more sophisticated data perhaps give advance warning of seismic shifts
in the industry?
This information has been taken from "The supply and demand of high
technology skills in United Kingdom, Norway and Neherlands - a report from
the European Science and Technology Observatory (ESTO) - EUR 20122 EN,
European Commission, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies ,
Seville 2001. Fax +34 95 44 88 326, e-mail: [email protected]
Download : http://www.jrc.es/cfapp/reports/details.cfm?ID789
More related to this subject...........
Attracting researchers
Research depends not only on funding and infrastructure, but also on the
researchers themselves. Therfore the so-called "brain-drain" and the strong
competition for qualified staff is crucially important to most countries'
economies. The Irish Expert Group on Future Skill Needs advises on
strategies for attracting more research graduates and post-doctoral
researchers to Ireland. This study examines strategies and mechanisms that
have been put in place in other countries, by national governments, science
and technology organisations and universities.
Benchmarking mechanisms and strategies to attract researchers to Ireland
2001, Forfas 2002, English, 86pp, free of charge
Download : http://www.forfas.ie/pubs_index.htm
-----Original Message-----
From: [email protected] [
Behalf Of Ray Muscat
Sent: 26 August 2002 18:32
To: [email protected]
Subject: RE: eForesee malta-ict: Scenarios for Malta in ICT
Brian & Robert,
My earlier contribution referred to ICT graduates that might be interested
for a business career and not for those that are looking for employment. I
agree with Brian that the academic standards of graduates is indeed high and
compares very well (if not better) than foreign counterparts. Thus, I agree
that this is not a priority.
However, if we want to invest in the local potential (as other countries are
aggressively doing) then we must broaden horizontally the knowledge of our
graduates by the inclusion of or exposure to basic entrepreneurial modules.
I fail to see why ICT graduates shouldn�t start their own businesses.
Foreign ICT graduates do!
With regards University bashing � this is surely not the intention. Scenario
building is essentially the process of defining what one needs to achieve,
but in the context of what one already has or could realistically change. Of
course, the latter involves the careful assessment of how the status quo
could be challenged, think out of the box, consider the implications and
limitations and see where we could improve � and yes, all round 360 deg.
Surely, a non-entrepreneurial university is not only its problem, but more
so of the whole community. It may be interesting to note that in the EU, the
estimated number of spin-out programmes (not individual projects) involving
universities or research institutes amount to 308.
Ray Muscat
-----Original Message-----
From: CSM chair []
Sent: 27 August 2002 02:00
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: eForesee malta-ict: Scenarios for Malta in ICT
you've made a very important point.
In a previous discussion it has been said that perhaps the university is not
turning out the required high level of ICT graduates. I believe that this
is incorrect, and that the University is turning out graduates to the
required academic level.
However, an adequate supply of suitably-qualified ICT graduates will not
give us what we're after, which is growth of the ICT industry in Malta.
Perhaps ICT students are not entrepreneurial by nature, perhaps any
entrepreneurial spirit they may have has never been encouraged, or perhaps
they were never taught how to turn ideas into business.
Perhaps we don't even need ICT graduates who are also entrepreneurs.
Perhaps all we need is entrepreneurs, who can get an ICT business started up
and employ ICT professionals to develop his ideas.
In any case, there's a lot that needs to be done to develop the ICT industry
in Malta, but raising the academic level of University graduates is fairly
low on that list.
Brian Warrington
Chairman, Computer Society of Malta
----- Original Message -----
From: Ray Muscat
To: [email protected]
Sent: Monday, August 26, 2002 11:50 AM
Subject: RE: eForesee malta-ict: Scenarios for Malta in ICT
I like your contribution. Indeed, our current education system is failing.
Instead of trying to nurture the innovative and inquisitive elements of our
children, the system is filtering the few academically gifted students from
the many practical (and possibly those that do think out of the box)
students. The system is preparing students to University, which is itself
not entrepreneurial, leading to graduates that are indeed very low on
creativity. On the other hand, given the opportunity (such as Young
Enterprise), our youngsters prove to all that they can indeed be creative.
Ray Muscat
-----Original Message-----
From: Juan Borg Manduca []
Sent: 22 August 2002 14:17
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: eForesee malta-ict: Scenarios for Malta in ICT
I'd like to add to this suggestion (see email from Leonard Bezzina below)
because it particularly interests me.
Since I have been involved in formative assessments for some time now, an
area worth pursuing is how to develop a system which will evolve the
present system of education (exam based) into one which will take into
consideration the special needs of 'individual' students.
In fact, the National Minimum Curriculum makes reference to introducing
formative assessments as part of a school's delivery mechanism.
In many cases, exams are actually detrimental to our children, and instead
of achieving the desired target of 'educating' our children, are actually
harming them by focusing on getting the students 'through' exams.
The major problem with today's system is that it does the exact opposite of
what such a system is supposed to do ie instead of the system being made to
fit the student, the student is being forced to fit the system.
I would categorise students into three main groups, a) bookworm, b) learning
by observation, c) learning by 'hands-on'.
The present system caters for only the bookworm (as we all know), and all
other students end up falling through the net, and in most cases being
branded as failures. This branding of students occurs at as early an age as
5-6 years.
The advent of ICT presents us with a unique opportunity to design a case
study, eg take the syllabus of one particular subject in one particular year
and present the same syallabus in three different formats to suit all groups
of students (ie one format will address the bookworm and may not differ
considerably from today's presentation method, but the other two would of
course ensure that the student learns by using techniques customised to that
particular group). The use of computers will be the fulcrum of delivery of
Of course, proper tests are to be designed in order to be able to categorise
students properly.
In this manner, one could use this case study on a group of students from a
particular school (willing to participate), and results (statistics) could
then be used and compared in order to gauge success (or failure) of the
These are just my thoughts..........
----- Original Message -----
From: Leonard Bezzina
To: [email protected]
Sent: Thursday, August 22, 2002 1:18 PM
Subject: Re: eForesee malta-ict: Scenarios for Malta in ICT
Dear Jennifer,
I would like to suggest the following scenario:
Malta would become a centre of excellence in ICT in education (practice and
theory). This implies a situation where all teachers are making the best
possible use of ICT in order to enhance teaching and learning in all areas
of the curriculum and at all levels of our education system (primary,
secondary, post-secondary and tertiary). This vision includes making most of
the communication capabilities of current and future technology in order to
promote learning at a distance and at all times of the day (e-learning) and
at facilitating communication between parents/guardians and the school. It
also implies a situation where Malta develops innovative ways of making use
of ICT in our classrooms. Once such a vision is in place we can become a
Mediteranean centre of excellence in teacher education in this area. We can
then offer appropriate University level courses mainly through distance
Leonard Bezzina
Jennifer Cassingena Harper wrote:
Dear Colleagues, We would like to initiate an on-line discussion on
alternative futures for Malta in ICT. We would like you to send us up to ten
different scenario themes for Malta in ICT. These can be scenario themes
focused on:
* specific niche areas (e.g. Malta as an e-learning hub)
* or ICT-enabled initiatives (e.g. on-line gambling)
* or telecomms-related initiatives
* or any other ideas in general !!
Ideally, this exercise should not involve too much time - maximum 30
minutes - just jot down what comes immediately to mind. So send us your
feedback if possible by Thursday 22 August.Looking forward to hearing from
you, Jennifer
___________Dr. Jennifer Cassingena
Head, Policy Unit,
Malta Council for Science and Technology
Villa Bighi, Bighi, Kalkara CSP 11, Malta
email: [email protected] http://www.mcst.org.mt
direct dial-in: +356 23602125
tel. +356 21 660340 (fax) +356 21 660341
Dr Leonard Bezzina
Department of Mathematics, Science and Technical Education
Faculty of Education
University of Malta
Msida MSD 06
E-mail address: [email protected]
Telephone number: 3290 2404


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