Many Countries Unp...

Many Countries Unprepared to Advance Non Formal Education (NFE) Using ICTs

To fill the gap for comprehensive and comparative information about Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and education, infoDev launched its "Survey of ICTs for Education in India & South Asia" on 21 April, 2010, along with five thematic essays.

One such essay, entitled ICT in Non Formal Education, investigates and analyzes examples of how governments and individuals leverage ICTs when planning for and providing NFE. This style of learning offers previously excluded adults and children the opportunity to reach educational goals outside of a traditional classroom setting. This essay examines current practices as a way to realize the ambition of truly living in a "knowledge society."

Summary of Findings

While the adoption of technologies, such as computers, among government entities has been widespread, the formulation of strategies to use these tools specifically for NFE is lacking. This essay identifies being people-driven rather than technology-driven as a necessary component for success in using ICT for NFE. Investing in technology must be complimented by an investment in people and an understanding of their needs. Other critical success factors include:

  • Need for a coherent policy.
  • Technology infrastructure and an understanding of emerging trends, like mobile (m)-learning, games-based platforms, and WiMax.
  • Effective planning and programme design.
  • Development of content that is relevant to the learners.
  • Planning for sustainability.
  • Ensuring multistakeholder partnerships.
  • Continuous monitoring and evaluation.

This essay also emphasizes the necessity of public-private partnerships. The full range of actors, including government, the private sector, civil society, and international and regional institutions, must be involved in order to reap the benefits of ICT for education.  Without this collaboration, a holistic approach is not possible and gaps in understanding might occur because:

  • as of yet no standard coordinating body is responsible for the formulation of a country’s ICT in education policies
  • there is no standard repository for existing ICT in education-related national policies
  • successful policy requires consultation with a diverse group of stakeholders and the exchange of information related to successes and failures will encourage successful and sustainable models for ICT-enabled NFE

This thematic essay is one of five that accompanies the “Survey of ICTs for Education in India & South Asia.” By gathering and comparing on-the-ground information from eight countries, illustrating successes and challenges, and drawing out key lessons learned, this survey will help decision-makers to plan, coordinate, implement and evaluate successful ICT4E initiatives in India, South Asia and beyond.

Stay tuned for the four remaining thematic essays on capacity building, gender equality, ICT in primary and secondary education, and policy coherence to be released on the Survey website in the coming months!

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