Expanding Educatio...

Expanding Education's Reach in South Asia through ICTs

A new infoDev paper shows that while ICTs are no substitute for formal education, the role of technology can support educational goals and widen the reach of teachers and school systems.

ICTs for education have the potential to create inclusive environments and provide educational content to students who live in remote locations, have special learning needs, have physical disabilities, have dropped out of school, or who have difficulty succeeding in a traditional learning environment.

ICT in School Education (Primary and Secondary), an infoDev-commissioned paper by PriceWaterhouseCoopers India, examines the key issues and challenges in the effective implementation of ICTs in school education and provides suggestions to address these challenges.

The fourth essay to be released, ICT in School Education (Primary and Secondary) accompanies the Survey of ICTs for Education in India & South Asia and focuses on the trends and dominant features of the use of ICTs for school education as profiled in different initiatives captured in various country reports. The essay highlights the spectrum of experiences from high-end technology solutions to low-end TV/radio-based initiatives that have been successful in different countries at the K-12 level.

This infoDev / PWC India report identifies several emerging areas for education in South Asia:

-mobile technology to enable access to education

-content development through learning objects and repositories

-teachers and online learning activities

The hope is that ICTs will be able to assist countries in reaching target Millennium Development Goals but this essay also identifies some of the challenges that educators and policymakers typically encounter, such as:

-availability of infrastructure to support ICT

-availability of funds to implement ICTs

-capacity building of teachers

-resistance to change

-lack of awareness

-internet usage

-language barriers

-monitoring and evaluation mechanisms

The essay puts forth key learnings to aid countries in crafting a comprehensive, end-to-end, systematic approach, with a phased and learn-as-you-go strategy for implementation that can be adjusted to adapt to the specific needs of changing educational environments. A carefully thought-out, integrated approach to introducing computers and the Internet into learning environments in developing countries can have a significant impact on teaching and learning. In countries where learning resources are limited and teachers never dream of having a fully stocked library, let alone the Internet, teachers and students have been introduced to a new world of learning. As a result, those with access to ICTs have been greatly empowered, and now believe they can compete in a global knowledge-based economy because they know that their knowledge, ideas, culture, and passions are as valuable as any in the world.

Stay tuned for the one remaining thematic essays on policy coherence to be released on the Survey website in the coming months!

ICT4E in India and South Asia - Extended Summary ICT4E in India and South Asia - Full Report Innovating and improving education through ICTs

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