In the fall of 2012 I studied abroad in Thailand. During my time there, I not only attended a university located in Northeast Thailand, but I also was able to spend days in multiple elementary schools and observe their schools. Many of these schools were in very rural parts of Thailand where many people were farmers and were also very poor. These schools had very limited amount of computers, access to the Internet, interactive whiteboards, or any other forms of information communication technologies. During my time at these schools I noticed that although some technology tools were present, they seemed to be relatively ignored and majority of teachers taught the traditional way, without any help from technology. In these schools I was able to see firsthand the challenges of ICT development in the education sector, in the developing world. It was very clear in these schools that not only students, but also teachers were inexperienced and weren’t really aware of how to use the technology and how to teach the students to use it. The computers were very old and outdated. Schools had little money to replace them.
This week in class we discussed teacher needs. I believe this is one of the greatest challenges facing the educator sector in the developing world. There needs to be more professional development programs, continuous technological support for teachers, cooperation and leadership of school principals and more engagement of community and family. The UNESCO website states that ““Information and Communication Technology can contribute to universal access to education, equity in education, the delivery of quality learning and teaching, teachers’ professional development and more efficient education management, governance and administration.” Hopefully with more support from teachers, families and even the government, technology will play a larger parts in schools like these and will really help make lasting changes,
For more information about education in the developing world check out the UNESCO website here.