Educational Technology in India: Boon or Bust?

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cross-posted on the infoDev web site

ImageOn 21 April 2010 infoDev will launch the first draft of its Survey of Information and Communication Technology for Education in India & South Asia.

The launch, to take place at the World Bank office at Lodi Estate in New Delhi, India, will be accompanied by a lively Oxford-style debate on the motion:

"Most investment in technology
in schools is wasted.

The event is open to the public and will be webcast (visit the event web page to register to attend the event and/or to receive webcast details via email).

The Survey

The first draft of infoDev's Survey of Information and Communication Technology for Education in India & South Asia was commissioned from Price Waterhouse Coopers India. The report is the latest in a series of regional surveys of the current state of the use of technology in education, following on past efforts examining Africa and the Caribbean.  The report compares Indian and South Asian experiences and expertise on such topics as policy coherence in the use of ICTs for Education, use of ICTs in non-formal education and capacity building for effectiveness. The report includes detailed case studies of eight South Asian countries and several local surveys.

The Debate

The Oxford-style debate will line up discussants for and against the motion "Most investment in technology in schools is wasted" and invite the audience to vote for the winning side.  There is a general consensus among education practitioners that ICTs such as radio, TV, computers, the Internet, and mobile phones can be leveraged to increase the educational experience of learners. But is this opportunity being overhyped? 

Dr. Tim Kelly, Lead ICT Policy Specialist for the World Bank's infoDev program, will chair a lively discussion on the following key topics in ICT and education:

  • Are the educational systems South Asian nations ready for large-scale use of ICTs?
  • If so, what are the organizational and financial preconditions for success?
  • What changes are needed in systems, practices and oversight arrangements?  
  • How should we measure success?
  • What are the existing good practice experiences in the region that can guide us?

Each discussant will start with only five minutes and the power of their arguments to sway the audience. There will then be a panel and audience discussion before each panelist gets a final three minutes to conclude their arguments. The audience will have the last word, voting FOR, AGAINST or UNDECIDED on the motion both before and after the debate. The side that swings the most votes during the course of the debate will be declared the winner.

Invited Discussants:

  • Ashish Garg is the Asia Regional Coordinator for Global eSchools and Communities Initiative, and based in New Delhi
  • Atanu Dey is a noted speaker on ICT in education and an economist at Netcore Solutions in Mumbai, India
  • Benjamin Vergel De Dios is a Programme Officer for ICT in Education projects at UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Nilaya Varma is Director of PricewaterhouseCoopers India which has written the Survey of Information and Communication Technology for Education in India & South Asia
  • Sam Carlson is a World Bank Lead Education Specialist and project team leader for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in India
  • Wayan Vota is an ICT in education consultant to infoDev and the moderator of the online Educational Technology Debate


A reminder: Matthew Kam of Carnegie Mellon University will be speaking at the World Bank in DC on Monday, 12 April on "Mobile Phones and Language Literacy in Rural Communities".  This event is open to the public, but you must RSVP to attend.  You can also participate via on-line webinar beginning at 12:20 pm DC time that day.


Michael Trucano

Visiting Fellow, Brookings, and Global Lead for Innovation in Education, World Bank

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