The World Bank's infoDev program recently released the latest volume in its periodic surveys of the use of information and communication technology in the education sector around the world.
Following on earlier efforts that examined the Caribbean and Africa (and UNESCO-Bangkok's much earlier examination of the Asia-Pacific region), ICT for Education in India and South Asia catalogues what is happening related to the use of educational technologies in this important part of the world.
[Disclaimer: I helped initiate this series when I was at infoDev, and was a reviewer for this latest work, and so am not a neutral disinterested observer here!]
The series of reports include:
- An extended summary of the findings
- Individual country-level reports for Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka
- Four state-level profiles from India: Delhi, Karnataka, Rajasthan, and West Bengal
- Two profiles of distance education and teacher training in Pakistan
- Five thematic essays on gender equality, policy coherence, non-formal learning, capacity building, and primary and secondary schooling
- A discussion of the methodology and database of consulted experts and documents
Key findings highlighted in the reports include the:
"importance of fostering an ICT 'ecosystem' with numerous constituent parts working in collaboration to provide opportunities for innovative educational approaches. ICTs can be seen as a platform to overcome the worst parts of education and learning. Meeting this demand can take many forms - from distance learning on a radio or TV, to newer devices like the widespread mobile phone. Through it all though, the importance of local context and systematic capacity building is key. Furthermore, careful monitoring and evaluation, and coordination, is critical to success."
Such findings may not be a surprise to regular readers of this blog, but infoDev's continued efforts to document what is actually happening 'on-the-ground' in countries around the world (many of which receive little international attention) is a welcome counter to the overheated and speculative rhetoric that many times characterizes examinations of the uses of educational technologies in such places.
All individual reports from the Survey, including the country reports, are available here.
On a related note: If you are interested in summaries of what's happening with ICT use in education in Europe, you should check out the excellent Insight reports from the European Schoolnet.
The August version of the popular online EduTech debate coordinated by infoDev asks the question:
Nicholas Carr, who wrote the widely discussed article of the same name (which he has since expanded into a book , The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains), will kick off the discussion, which will also feature Steve Vosloo, Inés Dussel and Marion Walton.
As always, you are welcome to participate.