Colombia to Equip State School Pupils with Tablet Computers

Colombia’s ICT Ministry has set aside nearly $45 million USD to purchase tablet computers for students learning in government-run schools. This is just the latest in a series …

Colombia’s ICT Ministry has set aside nearly $45 million USD to purchase tablet computers for students learning in government-run schools. This is just the latest in a series of efforts Colombia is making to bolster its IT human capital.

A good knowledge of information technology is increasingly crucial to obtaining a high-paid job in the South American country; candidates with IT skills have a 98% chance of finding employment.

The news of the distribution of tablets follows the government’s announcement that it plans to launch six software development centers across the country, each dedicated to developing software for specific verticals of the economy.

Last year, the Colombian government allocated about $4.7 million USD primarily to finance its IT workforce.

Colombia, according to official figures, grew 5.1% in the third quarter of 2013, with foreign direct investment rising in November to $15.17 billion. Yet the country has to go a long way to produce enough workers for its booming technology sector.

Under a program called Digital Talent, Colombia is offering wide-ranging courses in IT, including oracle, SAP and Adobe. In addition, the country’s software association Fedsoft is training more than a thousand people in scrum agile software development.

In 2013, it eliminated tax on IT service exports and revealed plans to double the size of its IT industry revenue, which reached $3.9 billion USD in 2012. The IT services sector is growing at about 13% year-on-year, reaching $1.85 billion in 2011.

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According to Proexport , Colombia’s export promotion agency, outsourcing accounts for around 40% of the IT services sector. The outsourcing sector contributes over 13% of the country’s total services export revenues.

The IDB, which lent Colombia $12 million to help promote the country’s outsourcing services industry, says the South American country has immense potential to grow as a global outsourcing destination.

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