Transforming Education: The Power of ICT Policies

Posted by ccarlon on Oct 04, 2011
Transforming Education: The Power of ICT Policies data sheet 878 Views
Alnoaimi, Tayseer, Mario Brun, J. Enrique Hinostroza, Shafi ka Issacs, Robert Kozma, and Philip Wong
ISSN/ISBN Number: 
Publication Date: 
May 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

The world is experiencing a major shift from an economy and society based on mass production to one based on knowledge creation. The book examines the range of educational experiences, practices, and issues and presents them in a way that can be used by decision makers crafting ICT policy in education. The book begins by considering the broader technological, economic, and social trends that have been sweeping the globe and moving toward an information economy and knowledge society. It examines the dramatic increase in capabilities and use of ICT and their related social and economic impact – positive and negative – in both developed and less developed nations.

The cases analysed in this publication are taken from different regions of the world – Africa, Arab region, Asia and Latin America – illustrating the global dimension of the changes that ICT bring to education systems and policies. The wide diversity offered by the selected countries - Jordan, Namibia, Rwanda, Singapore and Uruguay – in terms of economic and educational development, suggests that the issues at stake are not limited to a particular group of privileged countries. ICT can have a transformative effect on education regardless of the economic conditions, in very advanced school systems as well as in poorly resourced ones. The choice of the policy mix varies according to particular circumstances but the vision and the potential of ICT to transform education is universal. This is the key message that this publication attempts to articulate.

The dissemination and use of information and communications technologies (ICT) in schools has come to be seen by education policy-makers as a significant opportunity. They are attracted to the prospect that ICT can improve student achievement, improve access to schooling, increase efficiencies and reduce costs, enhance students’ ability to learn and promote their lifelong learning, and prepare them for a globally competitive workforce. As the power and capability of computers have increased, as they have become interconnected in a worldwide web of information and resources, as they provide a conduit for participation and interaction with other people, as they have become linked to other devices, and as their costs have come down, policy-makers, particularly those in developing countries, have come to see ICT as a viable, and even dramatic, way of responding to the multiple challenges that they face.

Once policy-makers consider making significant investments in ICT, a host of questions emerge: How many computers are needed in a school? Where should they be located? How should the network architecture be structured? How should the computers be distributed equitably? What additional resources are needed to support their use? What kind of training do teachers need to take advantage of these resources? How can they use them in their teaching? Are these uses effective? Are these even the right questions?

The position taken in this book is that while these questions represent important implementation issues, they are not the questions that should frame ICT policy. ICT can have a greater impact when the policies and programmes designed to implement them are crafted in the broader context of social and economic goals and when they are implemented in support of coordinated change of all the components of the education system, aligned to a vision of economic development and social progress – that is, when ICT policies and programmes support educational transformation.