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ETSI offers a Novel Approach to Standards Education

March 2019 by Marc Jacob

ETSI has released a new set of classroom teaching materials on ICT standardization. A comprehensive textbook, “Understanding ICT Standardization: Principles and Practice”, together with an extensive slide pack have been developed with the support of the European Commission and the EFTA Secretariat. The textbook and slides, written by six experts who have both academic and practical standardization experience, are available for download for free from the ETSI website, at

Standardization has become a key business process in the ICT industry. Most standards professionals have acquired their technical knowledge through education, training and life-long learning. But it is unlikely they received much formal education or training in standardization. Generally, third-level students in science and engineering courses have limited exposure to the world of standards, beyond studying or working with specific technical specifications. Yet aspects of standardization are also relevant for students of corporate strategy, economics, innovation management and law. Before tackling detailed topics, students need to acquire a basic understanding of the standardization system and the standards development process.

There is increasing recognition of the need to improve the understanding of standardization among students. China, for example, has recently established the Belt and Road University Alliance for Standardization Education and Academics. APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) has encouraged the exchange of best practices in standards education among its members. The European Union’s Joint Initiative on Standardization has commissioned studies on the need for standardization education. While some universities have quite advanced programmes of study and research on the topic of standardization, these are relatively few. There are few teaching resources readily available, and even fewer which focus on ICT standardization.

The new materials from ETSI will help remedy this situation. They follow a modular design to enable students to focus on the aspects which most concern them. Topics covered include:
• Standardization basics
• The standards ecosystem
• The production of standards
• Standardization and innovation
• Standardization and strategy
• A business perspective: Standardization and intellectual property rights (IPR)
• The economic benefits of standards

The teaching materials, already being trialled in universities, are available for download from and the Powerpoint version of the slides is available with a license enabling lecturers to adapt and integrate the slides in their existing teaching materials. Printed copies of the textbook will be available for purchase shortly.

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