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Hi Tanya,

Thanks for your comment.

Whether or not, as you state, "ICT should by now have vanished from the development dictionary", there is no denying that it is widely used. If there is better, more convenient shorthand, I would most certainly use it. (Please do feel free to suggest a better formulation!)

I think you may have missed the reference to the World Bank's education sector strategy at the top of the post, which addresses some of the items you mention. One of the challenges of writing a blog post is to keep things concise -- linking over to the strategy itself, and noting that my comments above were meant to complement and extend what is said in the strategy (as well as in publications like 'Efficient Learning for the Poor') was one way to try to keep my word count down.

I am not going to disagree here with anything substantive that you included in your comment. Your three recommendations seem rather sensible to me. But let me offer another perspective.

Let's imagine for a moment that there is an education system somewhere in the world where your three recommendations may not be terribly practical in the short to medium term, at least they relate to current realities and immediate needs faced by students in the most remote, poorest communities, while acknowledging that they are of critical importance over a longer time horizon.

Have you articulated some goals and approaches relevant in the longer term? Absolutely. Should an education system be thinking along these lines *now*, even if they may not be achievable for many, many years? Yes. But until then: Am I to understand that ICTs (or whatever you choose to call them) aren't even worth talking about? Even in cases where we are, for example, challenged by a ministry of education to suggest approaches that may be better calibrated to be useful in the type of contexts identified in the italicized quoation near the top of this blog post?  Let's imagine that, for better or for worse, a government has decided to try to 'use ICTs' (a formulation that I concede you do not like, but which the government itself is using -- as you did in your comment above) to help address *some* of the unmet needs of students and teachers in these sorts of communities. What would you say to them? You can advise them to do the three things you recommend. You could recommend that they not talk about "ICTs", as once these other things are in place, new technology adoption will take place. But in the interim ... what exactly?

According to this recent report, Tanzania currently has a deficit of almost 50,000 teachers http://www.ei-ie.org/en/news/news_details/2428. Are discussions related to the use of technologies of various sorts, regardless of the convenient shorthand we use to label them, not relevant to considerations in such a place related to how to recruit, train, and support thousands and thousands of new teachers in the coming years (let along to help current teachers upgrade their existing skills and content mastery)? If so: Might there be some important differences in how an education system (including not only the government, but also civil society and community groups, as well as private sector firms) may wish to plan activities that may be enabled or complemented in some way through the use of technologies in middle class communities in the capital, versus what is most useful and effective in schools in poor, rural communities? The bias and conceit of this blog (and this blog post in particular) is that such considerations are relevant. Not (only) relevant because we at the World Bank think they should be, but because we are, for better and for worse, regularly asked to help various groups as they think through and explore the potential for utilizing things like mobile phones, computers and radios in pursuit of the types of goals you outline in your comments (and in pursuit of many other ones as well).

You are right, I think, to posit that a number of things may need to be in place in order for 'transformation' to take place. A lot of countries are considering approaches in which 'ICTs' play a critical enabling role in helping to put such things in place. My plea, I guess, is that, where (for example) a decision has already been made to 'use ICTs' along the way, consideration also be made of how such use of information and communication technologies can be better (if not best) directed to help meet the needs of students and teachers in poor, rural communities in ways that are useful, practical and sustainable.

Cheers,
 Mike