In general, the surveys are meant to help answer the following key questions:
- How are ICTs currently being used in the education sector in each region, and what are the strategies and policies related to this use?
- What are the common challenges and constraints faced by countries in each region related to ICT use in education?
- What is actually happening on the ground, and to what extent are donors involved?
Initiated at the request of infoDev's donors, the surveys are meant to document the lessons learned from the past decade’s investment and activities, successes and failures, related to ICT use in education, in order to inform policy dialogue and project preparation activities going forward.
ICTs are widely believed to be important potential levers to introduce and sustain education reform efforts. However despite evidence of increasing use of ICTs in education around the world, there is little guidance for policymakers and donor staff working in developing countries who are contemplating the use of ICTs to meet the education-related Millennium Development Goals.
Despite donor and government interest in this area, there is no consolidated documentation of what has actually happened—and is happening—in Africa and the Caribbean, related to the use of ICTs in education "on the ground," and of how governments are responding to the challenges posed by such initiatives (when indeed they know about them). Information that does exist is highly fragmented, and often out of date.
Conversations with colleagues—from donor organizations, governments, civil society, universities, and the private sector—who are interested in ICT and education issues in these regions, suggest that many could benefit from these data collection efforts. infoDev is working with various groups to coordinate these efforts and share the resulting data as widely as possible.
While the various organizations have different objectives in collecting such data to serve their own constituencies, it would make sense to coordinate efforts in certain areas, and infoDev is willing to help lead such coordination efforts. At a minimum, this should help prevent duplication of efforts, as well as "survey fatigue" on the part of potential information sources on the ground.
More information on these survey initiatives can be found on the related pages on the infoDev web site:
On a related note:
infoDev and UNESCO are co-sponsoring a high level forum for education ministers and a workshop for planners and policymakers, in Fiji from 25-30 September 2006, to help raise awareness of ICTs and education issues among small island developing states of the Pacific, and to complement the planning processes for various regional educational initiatives.
For more information about this activity, please see the related page on the infoDev web site: