Home / FT Education/ 5 ways to use ICT to address education challenges

5 ways to use ICT to address education challenges

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 4 January 2017 14:12

By Sungsup Ra

blogs.adb.org: To meet the increasing demand for a workforce with up-to-date skills and competencies aligned with globally competitive industries and continue driving Asian economic growth into the next century, education systems in the region have to embrace information and communication technology, as I explain in a co-authored research article.

ICT allows students to monitor and manage their own learning, think critically and creatively, solve simulated real-world problems, work collaboratively, engage in ethical decision-making, and adopt a global perspective towards issues and ideas. It also provides students from remote areas access to expert teachers and learning resources, and gives administrators and policy makers the data and expertise they need to work more efficiently.  

However, access to ICT in the region’s schools is limited due to infrastructure constraints, a lack of investment and research into the uses of ICT in education, and a lack of capacity of teachers and school leaders to use ICT to enhance the quality of teaching and learning.

Another challenge is equity, including financial, gender, and racial fairness in access to education. In some countries in Asia, many middle-income parents send their children to private schools, which diminishes the support for maintaining the quality of public schools. In addition, the poor, girls, and children from marginalised communities like castes and tribes sometimes have limited access to quality education.

Efficiency and accountability also needs to be improved. This includes improving student–teacher ratios as well as retention and dropout rates. The education provided also needs to be relevant to socioeconomic conditions, such as matching skills taught to those valued by the global market.

Five recommendations on how ICT can address these challenges include:

Take a holistic approach towards the development of ICT in education plans and policies. This includes support for ICT at both the national and individual school level. This includes measures such as involving education stakeholders in how to integrate ICT skills in the curriculum, or tap teachers to help develop policy plans. Build the capacity of teachers, administrators and other education leaders to use and integrate ICT in education systems. Education leaders should be provided with professional development opportunities so they can engage teachers and together demonstrate a shared commitment to ICT in education.

Share best practices and lessons learned among countries in Asia, and among schools within the country. This accumulated knowledge can then be used to inform the development of blueprints and tools to better support ICT in education practices.

Forge public-private partnerships (PPPs) and collaboration with tertiary institutions to bring in additional technical and management expertise, as well as financial resources. ‘Education PPPs’ combine the strengths and capabilities of both sides to ensure the sustainability and scalability of ICT in education initiatives. Governments should drive and facilitate partnerships that include attracting private sector investments on a sustained basis, and tap upon the expertise and resources of both private sector and tertiary institutions, with an emphasis on equal access to quality, ICT-enabled education.

Mobilise resources for research and evaluation of ICT in education to spur innovation and scale up its use. This includes working with tertiary institutions to act as research centres. Governments can create incentives for R&D on innovative uses of ICT in education, including for instance making software and hardware more affordable and relevant for students. Rigorous evaluation studies on ICT effectiveness  can  provide evidence-based justification for transforming the education sector to embrace ICT.

ICT provides countries in Asia and the Pacific the opportunity to transform teaching, learning, and management practices in schools. The need for this transformation is urgent, given the increasingly globalised world in which students and teachers now live. Without it, as future graduates they could end up as part of a workforce that cannot keep up with the demands of the 21st century.

(The writer is Director for Human and Social Development Division, South Asia Department, ADB).

Share This Article


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

The Brahmin footprint in Sri Lankan history

Saturday, 17 November 2018

It is generally said that there are no genuine “Sri Lankan” Brahmins in the island today, and that those Brahmins who officiate as priests in Hindu kovils (temples) are of Indian origin with close ties with Tamil Nadu.

The JR-MR effect

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Sri Lanka over the last few weeks has experienced a twin crisis. One is political provoked by its Constitution, and the other economic engendered by its politics. However, this crisis is the combined effect of two previous presidencies, those of J.R.

The fish that swallowed the whale

Friday, 16 November 2018

This is an easy-peasy, elementary effort of an ordinary citizen to comprehend the mad scramble for power among the political class. It is undertaken in the belief that the crisis we face is an opportunity to reject the family kleptocracy of Mahinda R

Courting democracy; Housing disaster?

Thursday, 15 November 2018

A small step was taken by a sovereign court the day before yesterday. It was a giant leap for the supremacy of the Constitution over all three arms of government in a recently benighted Sri Lanka. As well as being the tangible proof of intra-governme

Columnists More