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A Survey of ICT & Education in the Caribbean

Michael Trucano's picture

infoDev Caribbean surveyinfoDev has released its two-volume Survey of ICT & Education in the Caribbean.  This work, which includes an overview of regional trends and initiatives, as well as sixteen country reports, complements earlier work that infoDev did in Africa and that UNESCO released (way back in 2004) for the Asia-Pacific region.

This study finds that:

In general, the experiences and situations among the countries examined vary only within a limited range. Countries differ in terms of their goals for the introduction of ICT and in the pathways they have chosen to achieve those goals. And, certainly, some governments and some institutions have invested more, attempted more, and achieved more than others. However none of the countries included in the Survey have “lapped the field” by achieving either system-wide adoption of ICT or the ICT-supported transformation of teaching and learning.

The Survey pays particular attention to the state of policy and planning in the region in this regard; the current usage of ICT in the primary, secondary and tertiary systems; pre-service and in-service teacher professional development issues; and identifies a set of critical challenges (and offers some specific recommendations to help policymakers address them).

As was the case with the infoDev Africa survey work, the results were not the result of an exercise in primary data collection, but rather attempt to synthesize key findings that emerged from previously documented individual country experiences.  The Caribbean survey means to serve as an illustrative snapshot of what was happening at a given point in time, noting that "ICT use in education is at a particularly dynamic stage in the region, which means that there are new developments and announcements happening on a daily basis somewhere in the region".

It also also poses three general questions going forward: 

Will system-wide efforts aimed at integrating technology across the curriculum improve student learning and educational relevance if and when they succeed?
What other approaches and tools might better enable students to develop the skills required in today’s workplace?
Can those alternative approaches also enhance the relevance and practical value of education?