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The findings > Applying new technologies in basic education > Part 5
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5 . ASSESSMENT OF EXPERIENCE

We examined the different needs of varied educational audiences in section 4. We now seek to assess this experience, for the range of technologies examined, looking in turn at outcomes, costs, conditions for success, and funding arrangements. Two themes run through the discussion of these areas. First, we are short of hard data. This is true, especially in relation to costs and outcomes, alike for rich, middle-income and poor countries. Investment in some technologi

es, and near-abandonment of others, seems to have followed fashion at least as much as a rational process of resource allocation on the basis of knowledge about costs and effects. Second, while that much is common, the application of technologies differs widely from country to country. In this overview, and in the following section on possible lines of development, we need constantly to keep in mind available national resources and to shade any policy recommendation by reference to national wealth or poverty.


5.1 OUTCOMES

We can expect outcomes to be of three kinds. Using new technologies in education may widen access and therefore move towards increased equity, or raise quality, or change the curriculum. Assessment of outcomes is complicated because each kind of change is likely to be marked by a different indicator. Thus, while we are critical of the scarcity of studies that demonstrate improvements in quality following the introduction of new teaching technologies, we may be falling into a category error in seeking them. If computers in the classroom change the nature of what children do, shift the process of their learning, and mean they learn more of one skill and less of another, then comparative studies of learning gain or examination passes are of limited value.

5.1.1 Access and equity

Quantitative assessment is difficult and needs to be cautious. As section 4 has shown, there is a wealth of experience of the use of varied technologies in order to extend education. In principle communication technologies make it possible to reach out to audiences who cannot be brought into a school or adult learning centre. The potential for using technologies to widen access to education remains important today as it has over the last century. But in practice this experience tends to be piecemeal, under-reported and difficult to evaluate, and often on a modest scale. Furthermore, the dramatic stories about widening access tend to be low technology: BRAC and Escuela Nueva, for example, are essentially adaptations of conventional education rather than major uses of new technology. Projects using print and broadcasting have some solid achievements in widening access, especially at the level of junior secondary education. The well-established Telesecundaria project in Mexico was reaching over 750 000 students in 1997-8 in 12 000 centres, over 15 per cent of the total junior-secondary population (cf. Murphy 1995: 62; International Bureau of Education 1998). It was, therefore, providing an alternative system of education to children in rural areas where there were too few conventional junior-secondary schools to provide an alternative. The evidence on using similar methods in Africa and Asia is more equivocal. Study centres in Africa, which have historically enrolled significant proportions of the junior-secondary age-group seem to be in decline. Malawi, for example, has decided to transform its distance-education based study centres into community schools. The Asian open schools propose to reach extremely large rural audiences. One Indian forecast suggested the system might reach 40 million students in ten years while Indonesia hoped to enrol 2 million by 2008-9 (Mukhopadhyay 1995: 104; Sadiman et al. 1995: 77-9). Existing numbers, as shown in table 5.1, are more modest and it remains to be seen whether expansion at the level forecast is a realistic objective.

Table 5.1 Some out-of-school enrolment data

Institution
Year of most recent data
Enrolment (000)
National secondary enrolment 1995 (000)
Mexico Telesecundaria
1998
757
7589
Malawi: Study centres
1994
57
142
Zambia Study centres
1990
11
290
Zimbabwe: Study centres
1992
23
661
India: National Open School
1998
130
66 634
Indonesia: National Open School
1996
172
12 224


Source: UNESCO Statistical Yearbook for national figures; Mexico: IBE 1998; Malawi: Basic education statistics 1995; Zambia: Siaciwena 1994; Zimbabwe: Secretary for education and culture annual report 1992; India: National Open School Profile 1999; Indonesia: Sadiman and Rahardjo 1997
Note: a. 1994

As already noted, the use of technologies will not, of itself, increase equity. (Many projects, discussed in section 4, have other aims.) There is a danger that the use of computer-based technologies may widen the gap between countries, and between richer and poorer citizens or regions within the same country. Metropolitan schools with computers - and children whose families have computers at home - are likely to be at an advantage as contrasted with the rural and poor.

There, may, too be a widening of gender differences if boys successfully elbow girls away from computers. Where, as in Mexico and in the newer Asian open schools, technology is being used to widen access it does so at the risk of creating two classes of schools - conventional for the more fortunate, and more urban, and nonconventional principally for the rural poor. In summary, then, there is some evidence of the success of using distance-education methods to widen access at junior secondary level. With the partial exception of the Latin American radio schools, in their heyday (see below) we have not found comparable evidence at primary level.

5.1.2 Raising quality

Technologies have been used in two main ways to raise the quality of basic education - through the use of broadcasts in classrooms and through teacher education. (We treat the use of computers in classroom below, considering their significance as a means of changing the curriculum.) While conventional school broadcasting remain under-researched, the various Interactive Radio Instruction projects have been researched with solid evidence to confirm their effectiveness. Projects have raised the quality of learning, as measured by tests of learning gain. There is some evidence to suggest that children's attendance at school is improved through their participation in interactive radio (Leigh and Cash 1999: 27-30). We consider below (section 5.2) the extent to which these gains are at a sustainable cost.

There is solid evidence, too, of the effectiveness of distance-teaching approaches, using a variety of technologies, for teacher education. We saw in section 2, above, that a decade ago there was already wide experience of the use of distance education. Although we have relatively few studies that investigate the effectiveness of technology-based training on subsequent classroom performance, the limited data available are positive. Evidence on the costs and outcomes of some teacher education projects are shown in table 5.2. They show that, by and large, distance-education programmes do succeed in getting trainee teachers to pass their examinations. Where we have evidence on teaching performance, teachers trained at a distance compare adequately with those trained conventionally. Most of the cost evidence is consistent that, above a threshold in terms of numbers, teacher training at a distance costs less than conventional training (see 5.2.1 below).

Table 5.2: Costs and effects of some teacher education projects (not available)

5.1.3 Curricular change

Various technologies have been used to advance curricular change. This was one of the aims of many broadcasting projects and has been the motive for some computer-based initiatives. The evidence appears to show that the introduction of computer-related education can bring benefits to learners and may increase learning. We have, however, little comparative data that would enable us to choose between - say - various types of computer use or an expanded programme of broadcasting in terms of their comparative effects on student learning. The crude and simple answer must be that increasing expenditure on education is likely to improve its quality but we are some way from having a metric that will provide a simple economic measure for choosing one technology rather than another.

There is anecdotal evidence of shifts in classroom practice following the use of computers, much of it from industrialised countries. An important comparative review of computers in schools in Chile and Costa Rica found evidence of educational gains following from the carefully planned use of LOGO in the classroom. This project was, however, exceptional in that the 'programme, which was launched in 1987, was designed as a total system underpinned by constructivist pedagogy and the Logo programming language. Its goal has been to contribute to the transformation of Costa Rican education through changes in learning and teaching that are brought about by the use of computers, the training if teachers, and the excitement generated by children's self-directed learning, knowledge creation and problem solving' (Inés et al. 1998: 27). We have a less clear view of the outcomes of the many computer projects introduced to enhance learning about computers or to facilitate communication and access to databases.

To sum up, communication technologies can be used within the context of curricular change; it is unreasonable to expect them to change the curriculum unless their introduction and use is seen as part of such a strategy.

5.2 COSTS

In planning for the use of technologies to support basic education we need to ask fundamental questions about their costs, and how these compare with the costs of conventional education. Unfortunately there are no simple answers to the planner's questions: how much will it cost, and will it cost more or less?

The cost of conventional basic education sets the context for any analysis of the costs of alternatives or additions to it. By far the greatest proportion of expenditure on conventional education is for staffing, with teachers' salaries accounting for around 90 per cent of the total recurrent cost of basic education in many developing countries. Capital and other fixed costs are often a small proportion of the total, as are school supplies such as text books. In contrast the use of technology usually demands significant investment over and above the cost of employing teachers - for items like the production and transmission of broadcasts, for computer hardware and software, for the development and management of distance-education programmes.

There are three consequences. First, as technology requires different kinds of expenditure, so we cannot simply compare the cost of classroom teaching with technology-based teaching. We need to know something about scale - such as the number of students listening to a broadcast - before we can calculate a cost per student or cost per learning hour. Second, as many uses of technology demand centralised and up-front investment in the production of teaching materials, so their costs may be acceptable only if there is a large audience. A radio programme, or piece of computer software, that costs $50 000 to produce is likely to be uneconomic for an audience of ten but may be economic, with a cost per student that seems reasonable, for an audience of 100 000. Third, technology can reduce educational costs only where it substitutes for teachers. If it is used in the classroom, to support or enhance their work with no reduction in the quantity or quality of the teaching force (as reflected in their pay) its economic effect is to increase educational costs. We generally find technology-driven reductions in cost only in programmes of out-of-school education where technology has replaced the teacher or made it possible to employ less qualified monitors, rather than teachers with lower wages.

In practice, technologies seldom stand alone. Computers in school require support from teachers and technicians; most interactive radio projects assume there is a teacher in the classroom; effective distance education is likely to demand student-support systems along with teaching provided at a distance. Technology-based school projects require inservice training for the teachers involved. These human elements do not allow for the economies of scale that mark the use of communication technology considered by itself.

5.2.1 Costs achieved in practice

Available data make it possible to draw some conclusions about the level and behaviour of costs for various different applications of technology in support of basic education and then to consider, technology by technology, how their costs will compare. We look in turn at the use of radio and computer technologies in school, out-of-school education for adults and adolescents, and the use of technologies, including distance education for teacher education.

As we saw in section 3, the two main ways in which technology has been used to raise quality in school are the use of broadcasting and of computers. While school broadcasting is long-established, we have few recent cost studies of regular programmes of either radio or television. Interactive radio instruction is better documented and we have a few studies of the costs of computers in school. Some exemplary figures, which are drawn from records of actual expenditure rather than budgets, are shown in table 5.3.

The latest figures for interactive radio instruction are higher than earlier calculations. In a review of all the evidence Adkins (1999) concluded that the cost per student per annum was likely to be around $8.25 with 100 000 students and falls to $3.12 at 1 000 000 students. There are, therefore, significant potential economies of scale but ones which are open only to relatively large countries.

Table 5.3 Comparative costs of technology in school (not available)

Earlier figures showing significantly lower costs are probably an under-estimate. While these figures are modest, they have to be seen in the context of educational expenditure for non-salary items and, as noted in section 3 above, have proved unsustainable in a number of cases.

A small number of studies have been made of the use of computers in schools in developing countries. (There is a remarkable apparent shortage of studies in industrialised countries.) A study of their introduction to primary schools in Chile - a middle-income country - showed that this would require between 10 and 37 per cent of the total primary education budget, varying with the size of the school, with actual expenditure between US$22 and $83. In Costa Rica, where computers have been used in both primary and secondary schools, found that the cost per student at secondary level was US$38, or about 13 per cent of the expenditure per student per annum. This allowed students a maximum of two hours per week of work on the computer. These figures are relatively higher than the actual level of expenditure in industrialised countries: figures in England for 1998 showed annual expenditure per student in primary school at £11 ($18) and at secondary level £38 ($63). These figures were 0.6% and 1.6% respectively of total expenditure per student. (Department for Education and Employment 1999, Audit Commission 1999). Annual costs of $70 were reported in the United States with slightly higher figures in France. The American figures represented 1.3 per cent of total expenditure on schools (Orivel forthcoming). This level of cost strengthens the argument, made above, that in many countries it is probably unrealistic to consider deploying computers in primary schools. At secondary level, where there may be strong curricular arguments for some investment, this is likely to make for significant increases in total educational expenditure if it is to allow students more than rare and occasional access to computers. The few available figures suggest that many countries may want to deploy computers in school libraries, in teacher-training institutions, and perhaps in telecentres but stop short of seeking to do so in every classroom.

In section 4 we examined a number of approaches to the education of adults and adolescents. As these are out-of-school programmes, they do not demand school buildings or the employment of teachers at conventional staffing ratios, and we might therefore expect to find costs that compare favourably with an in-school alternative. Some exemplary data sets are given in table 5.4

They show that, in their heyday, the Latin American radio schools, using radio, print and limited support by monitors or animateurs, were operating at a cost that compared with that of conventional schools. These are unusual figures, not replicated in other parts of the world, and apparently achieved partly by the large scale on which they were working and partly by the heavy input of, uncosted, support from the Roman Catholic church. A radio campaign for farmers in Zambia was operating on a large enough scale to have unit costs that compared favourably with face-to-face alternatives but, as with nonformal costs generally, did not compare favourably in terms of cost per learning hour with those of primary schooling. The same conclusion can be drawn from a functional education project for adults in Pakistan. The long-established Telesecundaria project in Mexico shows that, when operating on a large enough scale, a television based alternative school project can have costs that compare reasonably well with those of conventional schooling. (Similar results are reported for Telecurso in Brazil (Castro et al 1999).)

The general conclusion is that primary education, at least in many ldc's, has such modest unit costs that with the rarest exceptions, technology-based out-of-school projects cannot match them. At junior-secondary level, where the costs of conventional education are significantly higher than at primary level, out-of-school costs compare more favourably. Telesecundaria and Telecurso in Brazil show that despite the heavy investment in television programmes, and the employment of staff to support learners in a technology-based, rural, school system, the scale on which large-country projects can operate mean that, their costs can compare favourably with those of regular school education. (It is less surprising that open-school costs in India and Indonesia are lower than those of conventional schools as they have more limited systems of student support and are technologically simpler.)

We have more figures on the costs of using distance education for teacher training. Figures were included in table 5.2. In considering them we need to bear in mind that the cost of teacher education is generally much higher than that of secondary education, and is sometimes nearer the level of university education. We have evidence from a range of teacher-education projects, many of them using print- based distance education, with varying amounts of student support and supervised classroom practice. Distance education in these circumstances allows savings on

Table 5.4 Costs of some adult basic education projects (not available)

Source: Perraton 2000; Castro et al 1999; Bradley and Yates forthcoming; Note: a Figures from three studies in 1975, 1988, 1997. One further study in 1981 had figures of $927.

staff costs, on accommodation and sometimes on student stipends. It is not surprising, therefore, that distance education for teacher training often achieves costs between one-third and two-thirds of those of conventional teacher training.

5.2.2 Technology choice and costs

While we have limited data on the comparative costs of different technologies, with much of the information coming from industrialised-country applications, we can say something about the orders of magnitude likely to be involved and the location of costs. The information is summarised in table 5.5. We can conclude first, that costs increase with sophistication. Television generally costs more than radio, computers more than television.

There is a distinction between the infrastructural demands made by modest and advanced technologies. Print, radio and even computers depend upon industries and services that are readily available for non-educational use. If we move towards new technologies, not yet fully established in the market place, such as direct-broadcasting satellites, we are likely to need investment in specialist equipment

Table 5.5 Technology choice and costs (not available)

where cost has not yet fallen in response to large-scale demand. Scale then assumes great importance: a technology that is appropriate for China may make little sense for Costa Rica. It may be that the scale demanded by satellite technologies will drive education towards international cooperation.

It is also important to consider where costs will fall. The sharpest contrast is between radio - where the user has to meet the cost only of a set and batteries - and a computer with access to the Internet. Here, central costs may be minimal but a school may need to meet the costs of acquiring the computer, staff training, software licenses, maintenance and charges for an Internet service provider and telephone line costs.

Allocation decisions also require us to consider how costs are likely to change in the future. We can assume that the costs of electronic equipment will continue to fall. Communication costs, that have till recently been a function of distance are now both falling absolutely and becoming independent of distance. We can, therefore, assume that some of the costs of using technology in education will continue to fall.

But there are two major constraints to this process. First, staff training, and technical support for teachers and the equipment they use, are critical for the successful use of any technology. There is no reason to think that these costs will decline. Indeed, the growing complexity of the technologies may mean that they are likely to increase. Second, one of the effects of computer-based technologies is to shift the location of expenditure and sometimes to increase it absolutely. Printing gives an example. Where text books are printed centrally, for a large market, and distributed through ministries of education, production, reproduction and distribution costs are likely to be met centrally even if a text book charge claws back some of the cost from an individual school or student. In contrast, where teaching material is available from the Internet, the cost of computer time, telephone charges, print, collating and paper all fall on the receiving institution or individual. As conventional printing still allows some economies of scale, the absolute cost of making print material available to any one school is likely to be increased. As schools vary in their wealth, decentralising expenditure in this way is likely to decrease rather than increase equity between them.

5.3 CONDITIONS FOR SUCCESS

We can distinguish between conditions that apply to the uses of technology generally and those that apply to a particular set of technologies.

Experience from a range of programmes and projects makes it possible to identify some conditions that apply regardless of the technology chosen - some of them, indeed, characteristics of successful educational innovation generally. The first condition, however, bears directly on the choice of technology. From television to computers a consistent lesson is that education needs to build on the general state of development of technology in the society or community rather than lead it. Educational projects which have been at the leading edge of technology run into difficulties and are rarely sustained in the long-term. It is cheaper, and easier, to introduce a form of technology into education, and keep it working, where education is riding on the back of large-scale developments by governments or the private sector. Television works for education when it follows rather then precedes television for entertainment; computers in schools can be maintained once commercial and private use has expanded to the point where there is an established service industry.

Then, a whole set of conditions have to do not with the technologies but with the support structures that go with them, essentially to do with people rather than with technology. The effective deployment of technology - from the simplest use of cassette tapes to computer-based learning - demands that there are arrangements on the ground that will ensure the effective use of the technologies and of teaching materials made available through them. Producing and delivering materials does not by itself ensure that they are used effectively. Success is likely to depend on training, on devoting adequate human resources to the development of materials and on the process and location of innovation.

Technological innovations make two kinds of demand for training. As they demand new skills from existing teachers, they make an immediate demand for training and updating of the large number of teachers who will be involved in their use, and the smaller number who will move into new jobs as media producers, managers, or software designers. Recent experience in the north suggests that effective computer-education projects, for example, demand as great an expenditure on training and software as on hardware. The second demand is for changes to the curriculum of preservice teacher training. If information and communication technology is coming rapidly into the classroom today, its use needs to form part of the curriculum of the education of the teachers of tomorrow.

A recurring theme of project and innovation literature is the need to devote enough - which often means more than originally planned - resources to the development of teaching materials such as broadcast scripts, distance-education materials, or computer software. From the Indian SITE project on, it has seemed easier to accept large budgets for capital expenditure on hardware than to devote the resources needed for the production of quality software. Success demands adequate investment in software. (This has implications for staffing. It may mean that the ablest teachers are asked to develop teaching materials when they are also wanted for many other activities. If technological projects are seen as marginal, it is difficulty to recruit or get the secondment of the ablest staff.)

Materials development is almost certain to raise questions of language. Language policy can foster national unity and identification or re-emphasise division. The pressure to maximise audiences, and so reduce unit costs, means that teaching materials are likely to be developed in an international language. Instructions on using technology, on-screen or off-screen, are even more likely to be in an international language. Most often it will be English and those with inadequate English may be doubly excluded if new-style, technology-based, education demands a higher level of capacity in English than they command, or than was necessary for more conventional education.

Success may depend on the location of responsibility for an innovation. Technological innovators face a dilemma. On the one hand, if an innovation, whether in-school or out-of-school, is to be sustainable it needs to be accepted by the educational establishment and gain a sense of ownership among teachers, administrators and budget holders. (Some of the defunct interactive radio instruction projects, for example, fell because they were seen as being externally imposed.) But, on the other hand, conventional decision-making systems and ways of allocating budgets may restrict innovation. Regular schemes of service, and conventional approaches to time allocation in terms of student-contact hours, for example, do not fit easily with the processes of developing teaching materials whether for computers, broadcasts or distance education. Successful technological innovation needs both adequate integration with the rest of education and a greater degree of freedom than is necessary for the day-to-day running of the more established parts of the education service.

The freedom to innovate needs to be accompanied by a sensitivity to those who will be affected by the innovation. Again, projects that are imposed, without consultation with beneficiaries and users, have been among the first to fail.

Finally, technologies are seldom neutral in their effect; a sensitive process of consultation needs to take account of the possible effects of a technological innovation on issues of gender and of language. There are many examples - from the need for measures to prevent boys, in some northern cultures, getting more than their fair share of limited time on the keyboard to the planning of radio programmes of rural adult education at a time convenient for men but when women are cooking.

5.3.1 Computers

As suggested above (3.3) decisions about the use of information and communication technologies in education need to start with the curriculum and with decisions about the curricular purpose of a proposed technological change. Quite different approaches to investment in hardware, software and training are needed, say, for increasing computer awareness among all children at school or for permitting access by health auxiliaries to information on the Internet.

The early experiments with computers in schools were led by enthusiasts, usually in a handful of schools, and using the computer in a restricted range of subjects, sometimes, indeed, limited to 'computer studies' or 'information technology'. But projects of this kind may be a poor foundation on which to build, limited as they tend to be to a handful of favoured schools and leaving large areas of the curriculum and the country untouched. A condition for national programmes is therefore likely to be a phased plan for introducing information technology into education that takes account of the availability of technical support - even in remote places - and considers the most appropriate use of resources if, say, schools can afford only one or at most two computers. At this level, the highest priority may be to use the computers to help overcome teachers' isolation, and to increase their familiarity with the technologies, rather than directly in the classroom. The plan will need to take account of the significant recurrent costs of regular computer use: for technical maintenance, for updating software and for the replacement of computers as planned obsolescence makes them decreasingly useful. Where they are used for school linking, or for access to the Internet, then costs for line charges and for an Internet service provider need to be added on.

A national (or local or school) plan for computers will also demand decisions on the purchase or development of computer software. If use is to be limited to generic software - such as spreadsheet or wordprocessing programs or occasional educational programs like LOGO - then programs will be available for purchase on the open market. They will demand adequate facility in (usually) English and will assume that students will develop the globalised skills demanded by universal software. It may be unrealistic to worry about their cultural appropriateness. If it is intended to use teaching programs, for computer-aided learning or simulations, for example, the choice is more complex. Again, it may be possible to import software, at present mainly developed in the industrialised north, regardless of its cultural appropriateness. Or, if the market and language group is big enough, it may be possible to embark on the local or national development of software. We have not been able to identify cases in which this has proved economically viable.

Training has proved to be a major constraint on the effective classroom use of computers. (Teachers may need training to keep up with students from affluent families who have become familiar with computers at home.) With limited availability of hardware and software, it may be unreasonable to expect teachers across all disciplines to acquire computer skills and go on to the harder questions about how to integrate them into the curriculum. But there is a case for introducing topics of this kind into teacher education so that the next generation of teachers has that kind of capacity and flexibility.

5.3.2 Broadcasts

If broadcasting is to be effective it demands access to airtime on a frequency that is available to listeners and at a time that is convenient to them. (FM broadcasting or direct broadcasting by satellite will be useful only if schools or learners have the necessary radio sets; terrestrial television may not reach all parts of large, rural, countries.)

Even though the costs of broadcasting may look modest when compared with those of computer-based education, they demand significant resources and there is therefore likely to be pressure to maximise the audience in order to reduce the unit cost. One way of doing this is to develop broadcasts that will meet the needs of more than one audience - formal education in school and informal outside. Another is to repeat broadcasts so that the initial production costs are spread over a longer period and a larger audience. The early studies of interactive radio suggested that programmes might be used for up to ten years. In practice, as teachers have become familiar, or over-familiar, with existing radio lessons they have pressed for change and become unwilling simply to repeat, with a new class, old materials.

5.3.3 Distance education

The effectiveness of distance education seems to turn on four factors. The first is good management and administration. Projects that have been based in a small, non-specialist institution (e.g. a teacher's college offering a single programme of teacher education) have tended to be vulnerable. The most promising way forward may be to work with an open university, or dedicated distance-teaching institution, whose responsibilities include education at lower levels.

Second, effectiveness depends on the development of good materials and, above all, on student support. (Students will often manage with mediocre materials but will be discouraged to the point of giving up if they are not supported in their work by some kind of tutoring system.) Success may therefore depend on judicious expenditure on that part of a distance-education system where economies of scale are not possible.

Third, evidence shows that motivation is all important. As already noted, programmes of teacher education using distance teaching have achieved impressive results and high successful completion rates, even with not very well-educated students, materials of mediocre quality, and imperfect student-support systems - when students can expect promotion and more pay on completing their course. In contrast, adults and adolescents in programmes that are something like an alternative school, and without that promised reward, have much poorer success records.

Fourth, for teacher education, it is imperative to develop links between what is done through distance education and the practical work of the teacher in the classroom. Unless the logistics of this kind of link are effective, distance-education programmes are likely to have only modest effects at best.

5.4 FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS

New technologies, and attempts to meet the needs of new audiences, may prompt a search for funding that differs from that conventionally applied to education. For many years, where broadcasting was used to support education - either for audiences within or outside school - transmission costs and sometimes production costs have been met by the broadcasting agency. With the trend towards deregulation of broadcasting, the advance of the private sector, and the development of new technologies, such as direct broadcasting by satellite, new patterns of funding may be necessary.

This change is one of a number that pose a dilemma: while new technologies may make it possible to expand and strengthen education, in the interests of equity, they may do so by demanding resources that are not available, prompting a search for funding options that prove to be irreconcilable with that pursuit of equity.

Three features mark current arrangements to fund the expanding use of technologies in education.

First, innovation has often been heavily dependent on funding from external funding agencies, including both donors and the development banks. External funding has tended to be available for hardware rather than software and for initial capital investment rather than for running costs. Externally funded projects have, over the years and for most technologies, faced problems of sustainability where governments have been unable or unwilling to take over responsibility for recurrent costs once external funds are withdrawn.

Second, the heavy demands of schooling, mean that ministries of education have often expected adults and adolescents, studying outside school, to meet the costs of their education. (Literacy campaigns and extension work are an exception and have been funded differently from other programmes for the education of adults.) Thus, adolescent studying at the Indian National Open School, for example, are expected to pay fees which are not charged to students at regular schools. The policy may be defended on the grounds that adults and adolescents are earning and can contribute to the costs of their own education, or criticised on the grounds that the most deprived audiences are required to pay for something that more favoured groups get free.

Third, some technological development is facilitated or accompanied by a move to decentralise funding and to tap new resources, sometimes from the community. As noted above, the distribution of teaching materials through computer networks transfers the costs of reproduction and distribution from the teaching agency to the learner. At a much more modest scale, the Grameen Bank loans for the purchase of cellular telephones are expanding a communication structure that then becomes potentially available for education, without central investment by government or the private sector.

We argue in the next section for the development of national and educational policies for communications. These policies will need to take account of appropriate funding structures.

 
 
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