Strengthening the Ministry

 Strengthening the Ministry

This component aims to strengthen the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology so that it can meet the current and future challenges and do it role efficiently and effectively. This component will be implemented through the following sub-components:

  1. Restructuring of the Ministry
  2. Cyber Security Centre
  3. Capacity Building in MCIT as well as other Ministries
  4. Chief Information Office (CIO) cadre across the Government,
  5. Creating a Resource Center for the Government on ICT mainstreaming,
  6. Information and Communication Training Institute

 

1.Information Security Directorate

The recent evolution of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the substantial innovation in the sector have resulted in a significant increase in productivity as well as the emergence of a wealth of new goods and services. Keeping organizational information assets secure in today’s interconnected computing environment is a true challenge that becomes more difficult with each new “E” product and each new intruder tool. Realizing the need for information security and reliability MCIT calls for establishing ISD (Information Security Directorate). The aim of establishing ISD is to develop a common understanding among all stakeholders on the nature and implementation of information security measures in Afghanistan. ISD can rapidly respond to contain computer security incident and recover from it. Another aim of creating ISD will be to establish relationships with other CERTs (Cyber Emergency Response Teams) and security organizations, which can facilitate the sharing of response strategies and early alerts to potential problems.

 

The objectives of the activity is:

  • Establishing the ISD in Ministry of Communications and IT
  • Raising the floor of Cyber Space security in assisting the sites in proactive security ventures, while increasing the awareness of security incidents and assisting the community in applying the best security practices

Proposed action plan will be

  • Recognition of ISD to be in the beneficial interest of all stakeholders. 
  • Drafting the general ISD technical, business, and operational policies.
  • Defining Constituency/Target users
  • Defining scope of operations
  • Defining operation procedures
  • Defining services to be provided
  • Educating users
  • Liaison with other CERTs
  • Establishment of ISD in Kabul.

Even the best information security infrastructure cannot guarantee intrusion or other malicious acts will not happen. When computer security incidents occur, it will be critical for an organization to have an effective way to respond.

The speed with which an organization can recognize, analyze, and respond to an incident will limit the damage and lower the cost of recovery. ISD can be on-site and able to conduct a rapid response to contain computer security incident and recover from it. ISD may also have familiarity with the compromised systems and therefore be more readily able to coordinate the recovery and propose mitigation and response strategies.

ISD can focus attention on security, and provide awareness training to the constituency. It can also provide expertise to do preventive and predictive analysis to help mitigate against future threats.

ISD will assist the Ministry of Interior, Attorney General Office and Supreme Court in investigating, gathering the forensics and supporting the prosecution during court related to cyber crimes.

2.Chief Information Office (CIO) Cadre across the Government

The Ministry of Communications and IT is the core body to promote, design, implement and adopt ICT in the country. In order to establish the basis for Government Wide Information Technology (GWIT) leadership and decision-making, EGRC will establish the CIO culture within the government. This will help (i) focus on coordination across Government related to various funding sources and the private sector, (ii) focus on Return on Investment (ROI) related to both expenditure and information models, (iii) creates and maintains strategy and planning models for GWIT and aligns it to GWIT resources, (iv) Implements uniform IT Governance based on world class models,(v) establishes policies and procedures for Investment Management to include budget preparation and management, requirements, procurement, vendor selection, and asset management, (vi) establishes Project Management methods and metrics, (iiv) Establishes an Enterprise Architecture for GWIT, (iiiv) Uses e-government to enhance citizen knowledge, contact and services.

Afghanistan has made considerable progress in the adoption of ICT for governance and development and is committed to E-Government transformation. Adoption of CIO concept and structure in the public sector of Afghanistan is a natural next step in its E-Government transformation process. Though the country has over the last several years taken important steps towards ICT adoption in the government and in the society in general such as expansion of telephone infrastructure, development of legal and regulatory framework, establishment of ICT and E-Government standards and frameworks, expansion of ICT infrastructure and systems etc and indeed the expansion of ICT skills within the government and outside there is need for establishment of the organizational and institutional structure within the government that would create the important institutional base to carry forward the E-Government agenda of the Government.  Adoption of CIO concepts and structure is one of the most important steps to be taken in this regard. The following course of action is recommended.

  1. CIO Concept and Structure should be adopted within the public service of Afghanistan as an essential and integral part of the long term E-Government program of the Government.
  2. MCIT as the lead ICT and E-Government agency of the Government should spear head the CIO adoption process within the public service of Afghanistan. In collaboration with the Afghanistan Civil Services Commission and other relevant agencies of the Government the MCIT would need to initiate structural adjustments in the organization of its various Ministries, Departments and Agencies so as to establish the post of CIO in each of its institutions in senior management cadre of the Afghanistan public service.
  3. A CIO council would be established under the chairmanship of the Minister of Communication and IT and executive leadership of the Director General of ICT at MCIT. An executive committee, as described in this document, would also be established to provide oversight and strategic directions for CIO adoption project of the government. CIO council would provide the forum for collaboration, information, and knowledge sharing and skill development of CIOs. A CIO council website need to be designed and launched.
  4. The recruitment and training of CIOs should be centralized with the MCIT. The CIO designates would be imparted intensive training and orientation before their assumption of duties in the various institutions of the Government. MCIT has already initiated CIO training for some officers of the Government. This training program will need to be repeated and scaled up as described in this document. Other training program may need to designed and delivered that address specific technical or management areas of interest to CIOs.

 

MCIT will recruit 10 CIOs through this project and will deploy them in 10 Ministries during the time frame of the project. These CIOs will be empowered by the ICT Law; they will ensure that the line ministries adopt the policies and standards and also obey the e-Gov and IT audit procedures, which will help the EGRC to maintain good inventory of ICT platforms and products across the government agencies. EGRC will revisit them on time-to-time bases to ensure the platforms are being used properly and there is no misuse of the system. This will guarantee the investments from the donor funds and as well from the development budget of the government.

3.Information and Communication Training Institute

1973 ITU in collaboration with UNDP had established a very well equipped “Telecommunication Training Centre, TTC” in Kabul Afghanistan. At that time the TTC had been recognized as an especial junior college by Ministry of Education of Afghanistan to train the students at Telecommunication Technicians level. According to the TTC curriculum, 9th grade students of high schools were admitted to the TTC and after 5 years of successful studying and passing 14th grade they could be graduated as telecommunication technicians. This center was the only educational institute for training telecommunication experts in Afghanistan.

Most of the existing technical staff of Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies (MCIT) are graduates of this center or were trained in this center.

At the beginning of the new era in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Communications and IT included development of human resources among its highest priorities. Development of human resources in communication and information technology plays a significant and important role in the reconstruction and development of the country both from social as well as economical point of aspects. In fact, telecommunication is the key ingredient of economic development. The whole process of development of this sector depends on the availability of trained and qualified people in the market. The huge task and challenge in reconstruction of Telecom sector and its modernization, depends on training young Afghan students and full capacity development of the existing staff that have been disconnected from the new era of the information and communication technology and the advances made in the last two and a half decades.

 

Information Communication Technology Institute (ICTI) is established in 2007. It is a well-equipped institute with a new curriculum. In Afghanistan, each academic year starts on March 21st and lasts for nine months in a form of two semesters (four months and half each) and academic holiday is in winter for three months and the academic year ends in November. Presently, a total number of 209 students are studying at ICTI; 58 out of whom are freshmen, 55 are sophomore, and 62 are junior and 34 are senior students. There are 10 female students; ICTI tries to encourage more girls to get admission in this Institute. All students are introduced to this Institute by Ministry of higher education according to their grade in the national entrance exam for universities.

Ministry of Communication and IT presents this four-year educational assistance project request formulated to help MCIT to further strengthen this newly established ICT Institute to the donor community.

 

Objectives

The main objective of this project is providing capacity building facilities to the lecturers of ICTI and academic enhancement of ICTI lecturers and technicians with following details:

  • A two-year master degree courses for lecturers and instructors according to ICTI requirement.
  • Providing non degree fellowships for ICTI lecturers and especially for technical instructors and assistant due to ICTI requirement and its curriculum
  • Providing refresh courses at ICTI for lecturers and technician instructors by International instructors

It is expected that at the end of “Four-Year Educational Assistance Project” i.e. at the end of 2014, the ICTI instructors will have enhanced their technological knowledge to be able to conduct their relevant academic courses without outside assistance.

Outputs:

The following outputs are expected under this project:

  • ICTI lecturers get master degree to get qualification for becoming future professors.
  • ICTI technicians gain required skills and knowledge to mange to teach and work as librarians in ICTI labs
  • On-job –training and refresh courses for current lectures and technicians