The use of ICTs can solve many challenges associated with poor infrastructure and lack of good school facilities in both urban and remote areas of developing countries. But access to technology, or transfer of a specific new or innovative technology to learning environments is not the panacea for improving education.
The foundation of IICD’s work in education is the recognition that the integration of ICTs in teaching and learning must be driven by users’ needs, and that they must fit the particularities of the local context. Employing a participatory, multi-stakeholder approach to address structural challenges to education, IICD’s ICT for Education projects were identified and co-created by teachers, school administrators and managers, parents and local communities, and government representatives who best know the specific needs and opportunities of particular schools and their learners.
IICD’s work in using ICTs to strengthen education began in 1998 with the establishment of the Global Teenager Project (GTP), designed to enrich teaching and learning activities in classrooms around the globe by engaging students in collaborative learning, fostering cross-cultural understanding and supporting the development of 21st century skills. Since the pioneering work of the Global Teenager Project, IICD’s work in education continued to focus on enhancing teachers’ competencies, developing young people’s learning skills and realising an overall improvement of the learning process through ICT.
Working at both the grassroots and the policy levels, and spanning primary, secondary and vocational education, our aim has been to use ICT to bring about sector-wide improvements in education though:
- enhancing teachers’ competencies
- improving school management
- enriching educational materials
- strengthening youth employability, and
- integrating ICT into national education policies and strategies
For IICD, the quality of teachers has always been the cornerstone of education – their continuing professional development is fundamental to paving the way for improved learning environments and quality education. IICD’s projects built the capacity of teachers so they can benefit from integrating ICTs in their daily work – both inside and outside the classroom.
Availing the right ICT solutions, enables teachers and school staff to more efficiently manage school administration activities, to make use of the most relevant available education materials, to enrich their teaching methods, and to provide students with the right digital skills in preparation of their future. Teachers take the lead in exploring the power and potential of integrating ICTs into their method and practice of teaching. They start using the internet to access up-to-date information and a growing availability of online and digital learning tools, and create their own locally relevant content. The creation and use of culturally and linguistically contextualised educational material has been particularly important to cater to the needs and requirements set out by intercultural bilingual education policies in countries such as Bolivia and Peru. IICD’s education programmes have sought to enhance the quality, equity and relevance of education provision in the participating schools and communities. Harnessing the power of multimedia, local educators have been able to find creative paths forward by using digital and audiovisual tools to produce images, audio and video recordings of local knowledge to prepare and present their classes. They also have trained pupils in using such tools to produce content in local languages, documenting and transmitting indigenous/traditional knowledge, and facilitating broader community participation in education.
Operating through partnerships with international organisations, government agencies, ministries, schools, teachers, civil society organisations and the private sector, IICD developed and implemented programmes in 11 countries in Africa and Latin America. With support from these programmes, more than 8000 teachers now better manage their overcrowded classrooms and creatively deal with the shortage of learning materials through using stimulating and relevant digital learning content, benefitting the educational experience of over 240,000 students. By using suitable school management information systems, 1500 schools increased the efficiency and effectiveness of their school administration. What’s more, these programmes will continue to deliver benefits over time, as students move on to participate in the economic, political and social structure of their countries.