This essay on policy coherence examines the different elements that must be addressed in any policy framework that seeks to effectively integrate ICTs in education.
This essay on policy coherence examines the different elements that must be addressed in any policy framework that seeks to effectively integrate ICTs in education. It delineates an “ICT for Education Ecosystem,” where coherence needs to be achieved between different arms of the government, different implementation agencies and supported by financial allocations, detailed implementation plans, monitoring and evaluation strategies, as well as a community demand for ICTs. The essay provides a study of existing policies in the focus countries, both in the education and the ICT sectors, to see what are the enabling features and the gaps with respect to key aspects such as content development, curriculum design, infrastructure and capacity building, monitoring and evaluation, as well as use of ICTs in education management. In most focus countries in the region while infrastructure remains a key bottleneck, focusing on adequate strategies for content development and capacity building would maximize benefits and overcome some of the infrastructure gaps. The uneven nature of infrastructure availability in most of these countries means that large sections of the population may not be provided with basic infrastructure, including ICT infrastructure, whereas the urban centers in these countries are a market for increasingly sophisticated applications to run on the existing infrastructure. Therefore, in all these countries a range of ICT applications are available for the education sector. In some cases, ICT affords a cost-effective way of ameliorating disadvantages of location in remote areas, where adequate teaching staff and school infrastructure is difficult to establish, by providing virtual access. The essay highlights the need for organically developed integrated ICT for education policies that are firmly grounded in pedagogical practices and which use ICTs primarily as a tool to achieve the desired learning objectives.