The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aim to prioritize development strategies in order to address the most pressing global issues. While somewhat unrealistic in their scope, they do succeed in outlining eight development sectors. The MDGs address ICT use in Goal 8, and more specifically section 8F. Goal 8 is to develop a global partnership for development, while Target 8F states: “In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications”. Although Target 8F is the only implicit inclusion of ICT use for development, ICTs have the potential to enhance development projects throughout all of the eight MDG goals.
Chile has adopted this strategy by using ICTs to target the second MDG, to achieve universal primary education. ICTs have played a major role in the revision of Chile’s education policy. This includes the introduction of ICT, the training of teachers in its use, and the development of an educational portal on the Web (Kozma, 2005). In order to address inequalities in the education system, special attention was given to schools in rural communities in order to close the education gap (essentially addressing the “digital divide”). As a result of this new policy, by 2004 80% of the nation’s schools were equipped with digital resources and 55% had Internet access, while more than 60% of rural schools had broadband Internet access (Kozma, 2005). Chile gives an example of how ICTs can be applied to individual Millennium Development Goals outside of the goal for global partnerships for development. This opens up the possibility for ICT use in other sectors as well.
In considering the MDGs it is important to consider how ICTs can offer solutions to problems in all eight development sectors. Their application through Chile’s education policy is a testament to their effectiveness when correctly applied.
(Image from http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/education.shtml)