ICT Use in Brazilian Education
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) play an increasingly important role in the way we communicate, learn and live. The challenge is to effectively harness these technologies in a way that serves the interests of learners and the larger teaching/learning community.
UNESCO considers that ICTs can contribute to universal access to education, equity in education, the delivery of quality learning and teaching, teachers’ professional development as well as improve education management, governance and administration provided the right mix of policies, technologies and capacities are in place.
UNESCO takes a comprehensive approach to ICTs in education. It is through the Organization’s Intersectoral Platform that it focuses on the joint work of the Communication and Information, Education and Science Sectors where the issues of access, inclusion, equity and quality in education can be addressed.
UNESCO - its country and regional offices as well as institutes ––in collaboration with its partners, develops resources that can help countries elaborate effective ICTs in education policies, strategies and activities. This includes ensuring that strategies meet the challenges caused by the digital divide and the most disadvantaged populations.
Its programme includes:
- Capacity building and policy advice for the use of technologies in education, particularly in emerging domains such as mobile learning
- Ensuring that teachers have the skills necessary to use ICTs in all aspects of their professional practice through tools such as the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT CFT)
- Supporting the use and development of multilingual educational resources and software which are available for use and re-use as a result of open licenses (open educational resources – OER; free and open source software – FOSS)
- Promoting ICTs for inclusive education, including for persons with disabilities and gender equality
- Collecting statistics and developing indicators on the use of ICTs in education
- Providing policy support to ensure that the potential of ICTs are harnessed effectively throughout the education system.
UNESCO works with the educational community worldwide – Ministries of Education, specialised institutions such as the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE), teachers, and of course learners - to effectively leverage the potential of ICTs in order to benefit quality teaching and learning.
ICT Use in Education in Brazil
Brazil needs to enhance teachers’ ability to make use of Information and Communication Technologies in education. The way that the educational system incorporates ICTs directly affects de reduction of the digital divide existing in the country.
Various issues have to be taken into consideration when trying to answer to questions such as: How can ICTs be used to accelerate the development towards reaching “education for all and throughout life”? How can they provide better balance between broad cover and excellence in education? How can they contribute to reconcile universality and local specificity of knowledge? How can ICTs and education prepare individuals and society in a way that they can dominate technologies that are present in all sectors of life, and how useful they can be to them?
- First, ICTs are just a part of a continuous technological development, starting from chalk and books. All technological devices can support and enrich the learning process.
- Second, ICTs, as any other tool, have to be used and adapted to serve educational needs.
- Third, various ethic and legal matters, such as the ones related to intellectual property, or related to the growing treatment of education as a merchandizing product, or related to globalization of education against the respect to cultural diversity. These issues interfere in the broad use of ICTs in Education.
Searching for responses to the questions above, UNESCO in Brazil cooperates with the Brazilian government in the promotion of actions to disseminate ICT-use in schools to improve the teaching-learning process, perceiving digital literacy as a natural consequence of the frequent use of such technologies. The Ministry of Education intends to universalise computer labs in all schools, rural schools included, by 2010. The Organization also cooperates with the TV Escola Programme (School TV Programme) to explore the media convergence to broaden the interactivity of television contents used in formal and distance education.
UNESCO in Brazil also has permanent partnership with UNESCO Chairs in Distance Education in various Brazilian universities that use ICTs as tools to promote the democratization of the access to knowledge in Brazil.