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Projects: ICT in Education - Policy

Policy Makers' Toolkit Workshop.

In order to make successful use of ICT in enhancing the reach and quality of teaching and learning, policy makers need to be aware of how ICT can be of best value in their country's education system, and need to develop a supportive policy environment and framework at the national level for the integration of ICT into their education systems.

The UNESCO "ICT in Education Policy" project aims to promote appropriate policy models and strategies for the integration of ICT into education in the Asia-Pacific region, with special emphasis on developing policies which utilize ICT to remove barriers to participation in education and enhance the quality of education.

A key component of this project is the UNESCO ICT in Education Policy Makers' Toolkit, which was developed in response to recommendations made by decision makers in the Asia-Pacific region, who identified a need for a systematic approach to integrating ICT into education in the region.

Rapid developments in information and communication technologies (ICT) in recent years have resulted in significant changes in the way the world operates and communicates. This in turn has had an impact on educational needs, both in terms of the content and the delivery of educational services, and there has been increasing pressure on decision-makers to aquire new technologies. At the same time, forms of ICT are multiplying with an increasing array of ICT options for decision-makers to choose from when integrating ICT into education.

Faced with this situation, policy makers many countries thought that to simply equip schools with PCs and train teachers in their use would prepare pupils for the demands of the 21st century. We know, however, that simply providing access to ICT is not going to radically change education systems for the better. An overall view of what education should be seeking to achieve is needed in order for ICT to be utilized to their full potential within education systems. Decision makers and policy makers need to formulate appropriate policies based on their specific situation and educational goals.

The "ICT in Education" policies of countries in the Asia-Pacific region vary greatly. While some have not yet formulated any specific visions or plans, others are at an advanced stage of ICT integration, that is, they are focusing on the meaningful integration of ICT (including radio, television and DVD) into teaching and learning processes.

It is a UNESCO concern to ensure that ICT does not become a source of further inequality, with the digital divide accentuating already existing disparities. Access to computers, the Internet, and the capacity to make use of ICT are related to factors such as socioeconomic status, ethnic background, gender, age, educational background and geographical location. It is important that education policies acknowledge the gap and promote ICT in ways that will not widen the gap further.

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