Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are both a necessity and an opportunity for education. ICT in Education can contribute to universal access to education, equity in education, delivery of quality learning and teaching, teachers’ professional development and more efficient education management, governance and administration.
UNESCO takes a holistic and comprehensive approach to promoting ICT in education through creating inter-sectoral Platforms for ICT in education. Inter-sectoral Platforms involve three major programmes, Education, Science and Communication and Information. The sectors work together towards the inclusion of all learners through ICT, reinforcement of quality education and training for all, and lifelong learning through the innovative integration of locally relevant ICT into teaching and learning processes. This also includes Open Access modalities, building communities of practice, global digital libraries and resource centers and digital learning tools. In general, the educational value of alternative and ICT applications are always explored.
The Organization studies the roles that ICT can play in shaping policies for education. Its role is both normative and informative, gathering facts, data and examples of ICT in education and making this information widely available. UNESCO is always exploring new approaches to encourage lifelong learning opportunities, create and reinforce literate environments and bolster income-generating activities. Some of the successful examples are use of ICT's at multi-purpose Community Learning Centres (CLCs) and Community Multimedia Centres (CMCs) and Virtual Campuses as knowledge providers and tools for development and poverty eradication.
New models of open and distance learning (ODL) benefiting lifelong learning are also practiced as well as use of ICT in teaching and learning, including the establishment of standards to strengthen ICT competencies for teachers and researchers and the development of strategies and best practices, resources and capacities for integrating Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and open educational resources (OER) in learning processes. UNESCO’s is also playing a role as global facilitator for the implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Action Line C7 “E-learning”.