ICTs, Education& Development, Oh my!

So, per my rant in class on Thursday I decided to write my blog post on the relationship between education, ICTs and development. The piece I found was not so much an article but a report by the Global E-Schools and Communications Initiative (GESCI) on how ICTs and Education interact, and how this affects development.


I focused on the ‘Professional Development’ sector, and in one of the first sentences GESCI cited the need for highly-qualified teachers for how to use ICTs in developing countries. Automatically this requires either technical assistance from developed countries or an implemented program to train these highly qualified workers in the local country! Though GESCI suggests using “online professional development courses”, the bottom line is the opportunity to take these courses is still only open to the literate population with access to the internet! This perpetuates the education divide and widens it by giving the top sector a new high to reach, without providing aid, support or opportunities to the lowest educational sector. While the idea is that this information and these skills will “trickle down”. The paper even cites Australian programs targeting these programs at teachers and how are they going to incorporate ICTs into their curriculums.

Ready for the rant?


HOW CAN YOU DO THAT IF YOUR POPULATION IS STILL STRUGGLING TO READ?!If you add another obstacle for the highest educated to reach you create a larger gap from the least educated. “Implementation of training is focused on trainers, producers of content, field level facilitators, and other key personnel.” What about the people who need it the most?


Are we suggesting to the rest of the world that we’re only interested in developing “key personnel?” yikes.


One response to “ICTs, Education& Development, Oh my!

  • etuttlem

    First of all, it is assumed that these e-courses are targeted at literate teachers and pupils – because even though they are in remote areas, people who are old enough to enter an ICT profession have had enough education that they’ve learned to read. Secondly, spotty internet connection, and even electricity to power computers, are huge issues you raise for remote areas. But I think your frustration comes from the misinterpretation of GESCI’s target audience: online professional development courses are targeted at small medium enterprises (SME’s) most-likely urban areas – where yes, there is still an education gap like there is say in New Orleans, but the infrastructure like internet and electricity have already been relatively established. You didn’t provide the link to the article so I can’t actually see who GESCI’s courses target, but you point out an unfortunate pattern that many ICT4D projects don’t actually have a clearly defined target population. So urban-designed projects for literate people end up being implemented in remote, illiterate populations. Hopefully in your professional career, when you decide to work in remote and or urban settings, this is something you will be more conscious of.

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