The Use of ICT in Education Reform: Sharing the experiences of Jordan and Indonesia -- and Singapore


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screen shot from ICT and education videoconference, Indonesian speakersEarlier this month, the World Bank and the Global Distance Learning Network (GDLN) helped to facilitate a "South-South" dialogue on the use of ICT as part of larger education reform initiatives.  The video for the event is now available online.  This dialogue, mediated by one of Indonesia's leading talk show hosts and watched live by groups in eight Asian countries, included exchanges between the ministers of education in both Indonesia and Jordan, as well as contributions from other leading figures involved in education and technology in those two countries.  Dr. Thiam Seng Koh of the National Institute of Education in Singapore brought in perspectives from the experiences of Singapore, considered one of the world leaders in thinking -- and action -- in this field.

While the conversation was too rich to adequately summarize here, HE Dr. Tayseer Al-Nahar, Jordan's Minister of Education, provided one of the most useful, succinct sets of practical lessons and guidance for senior policymakers that I have heard delivered by a senior education official on the use of ICTs, and which is worth transcribing here:

1. We have to be patient ... it takes time
2. ICT can not fix a bad education system
3. It's not about purchasing computers to schools but upgrading skills and knowledge of teachers
4. Education systems have to develop e-content materials ... if there is no e-content developed ... it is like building roads without cars on the road.
5. [You must have] change management at the school level ... involvement of school principal in training and all aspects of ICT integration is very important.

Jordan's experience with introducing technology in schools is perhaps not long, but it's well worth our attention.

For more information about the use of ICTs in schools in Jordan:



Michael Trucano

Global Lead for Innovation in Education, Sr. Education & Technology Policy Specialist

Michael Trucano
April 22, 2009

Thanks for your comment, Chris.

I was encouraged to see that you found the Minister's comments (which I tried to transcribe verbatim from the video) as spot-on as I did.

Many people in Jordan have gotten very sophisticated about the use of ICTs in the education sector very quickly. Hopefully events like the public videoconference described in my posting, which was designed to share lesson based on practical experience (not just theories), and things your your blog, this blog here, and a variety of other outlets, will help to keep informing the quality of discussions on these topics in positive ways.

Kibinkiri Eric
April 24, 2009

The use of ICTs in education has been of great interest to me. In fact I have been carrying out studies on this particular subject for close to four years today. I always ask myself the following questions:

What is the role of ICTs in education?
What is the role of the teacher involved with or using ICTs?
What is the role of the student using ICTs?
What is the role of the institution involved with ICTs?
Finally what is the role of the decision or policy makers?

In answering the above questions, the issue of model or approach to adopting these technologies comes in. As a matter of fact, It is the kind of model or approach adopted that will clearly define what we really mean by using ICTs in education and the part that each stake holder has to play. This is greatly reflected or determined by the realities of that particular society. The kind of technology available, accessible and affordable will also give a clue to the solution to some of the questions above.

Secondly, the competence of the people involved especially the teachers matter. In my country it is common to hear people who have never had any pedagogic training trying to give answers to these innovative tools in education. I think this is the right time for educators, curriculum designers and others with a wealth of knowledge in education to re-examine their existing practices and to know that the future of education is in their hands. In so doing, does who still doubt what ICTs can do to a nation as far as development is concern should be sent back to the classroom for in-service training or give way to those who are interested in shaping the future of education and the world.

Now coming to your blog Mr Trucano I totally agree with all your ideas. One thing I will like to add is that people should not be too crazy about these technologies and forget the fundamental role these techs can play in shaping the lives of people around the world. ICTs are not a panacea but a means to an end. They have come to make life easier and to help us move to another level of thinking. As these technologies are increasing, so too are the problems facing mankind. Their complexities also lead to increasing complexities in life. Having access to these techs or owning them is a necessity but not a sufficient condition. Therefore we as educators must develop ways to make maximum use of these technologies and improve lives across the world.

In conclusion, ICTs in education will only create a positive impact on the community when the role of every stake holder in education is clearly defined and effectively implemented. This can only be done by people with a sound knowledge of Education and ICTs.

Thank you Trucano

Kibinkiri Eric

Chris Coetzee
April 20, 2009

I write a blog on the future of education. I would like to use this opportunity to comment on your summarized points, while also encouraging you to have a look at my thoughts on this topic:

In my blog you will see that the development of e-learning content, platforms and certification will be one of the most important factors influencing the future of education. Concerning your summarized points, the following:

1. We have to be patient ... it takes time

I think it will probably take a lot more time than most people realize. This is one of the 'cathedrals of cyberspace' which James Martin mentions in his book 'The meaning of the 21st Century'.

2. ICT can not fix a bad education system

This is undoubtedly true and should not be viewed as a cure-all. However, it could be a very useful tool in bringing about the reforms necessary to improve a 'bad' education system.

3. It's not about purchasing computers to schools but upgrading skills and knowledge of teachers

I agree. Computers require upgrades and maintenance. Smaller, cheaper, hand-held devices will probably be the solution in many locations where resources are restricted.

4. Education systems have to develop e-content materials ... if there is no e-content developed ... it is like building roads without cars on the road.

There are three issues here: Firstly, the development costs have to be borne by someone and at this point in time, at least, there seems to have been little coordinated effort to discuss who should foot the bill. Secondly, the greatest e-content in the world will mean nothing if it cannot be navigated effectively. Thirdly, for e-content to have any use in an education system, we need to develop certification procedures. Without a stamp of approval, students, teachers and education systems are unlikely to spend what limited time they have on e-learning.

5. [You must have] change management at the school level ... involvement of school principal in training and all aspects of ICT integration is very important.

This is very important, because school principals, who are slightly older, tend to have the same 'systemic' distrust of e-knowledge that is shared by a generation of people who have never even heard of the wiki, weeblee or webquest. This 'systemic distrust' accounts for much of the slow pace in educational reform. Most adults in education will require an 'e-crash course' because our students have already become our masters where technology is concerned.