UNESCO High-Level Policy Forum on ICT and Education for All: Achievements and the Way Forward
As 2015 approaches it is becoming increasingly important to understand better what has been the contribution of ICT to Education for All (EFA) goals and what are the lessons to be learned for the post-EFA agenda. It is against this context that UNESCO, with the support of the People's Republic of China, has organised a High-Level Policy Forum where some of the most important strategies by Member States, already implemented or currently undergoing, have been reviewed, while at the same time the discussions about the contribution of ICT to improve both access to education and a quality provision for all has been conducted.
The objectives of this Policy Forum were:
(1) To review the contribution of ICT to EFA goals.
(2) To facilitate the policy dialogue about supporting teachers for the pedagogical use of ICT.
(3) To discuss emerging trends in ICT policies in education.
(4) To elaborate some recommendations about the contribution of ICT to the post-2015 agenda, particularly to promote the transformation of teaching and learning.
The Forum was organised around three different themes:
- How have ICT contributed to EFA goals? How Member States have been dealing with the potential of ICT to increase access or to improve the quality of education? Particular attention was given to the on-going debates about the universal distribution of equipment and the need to devote enough efforts to teacher capacity development in this respect.
- How are governments supporting teachers' pedagogical use of ICT? While some countries may be still facing the challenge of equipping and training teachers for ICT use, sooner or later the issue of teacher empowerment for a pedagogical use of ICT emerges. Member States have developed alternative stratedies to ensure that teachers benefit from an efficient use of the affordances of ICT.
- How are governments planning to use ICT in education beyond 2015? Going beyond the issues related to funding and management, Member States have to design effective ways to support, assess and disseminate innovations. A number of new initiatives were announced and the discussion among Member States helped identify which were the core issues already embedded into the national strategic plans for ICT in education and suggested ways in which the work of UNESCO in this domain could support emerging needs.