Overview

Globalization and rapid technological change have made knowledge a critical determinant of competitiveness in the world economy. The World Bank is playing an important role in assisting countries in taking advantage of the opportunities in information and communications technologies (ICTs) to contribute to education goals and poverty reduction strategies. With globalization, the information revolution, and increasing demands for a highly skilled work force, it is clear that nations must accord high priority to building the capacity to effectively utilize technology in education.

The World Bank recognizes the critical importance of effectively utilizing new information and communication technologies (ICTs) to meet the growing need for a more sophisticated labor force, manage information systems, and contribute to poverty reduction around the world. Indeed, the vast majority of active World Bank education projects contain an ICT component. Support for ICT in education includes assistance for equipment and facilities; teacher training and support; capacity building; educational content; distance learning; digital literacy; policy development; monitoring and evaluation; and media outreach.

The World Bank works in partnership with governments and organizations worldwide to support innovative projects, timely research and knowledge sharing activities related to the effective and appropriate use of ICTs in education.

 

The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in education offers a clear promise for accelerating learning, and, given the much wider use of ICT in the workplace, a person’s facility for using technology is fast becoming a basic competency.

Because most ICT-related initiatives in education in developing countries to date have been focused much more on supplying schools with computers and Internet connectivity than on integrating technology into curricula at all education levels, ICT has so far largely failed to realize its promise as a twenty-first–century pedagogical tool.

The potential uses of ICT in education are not limited to the classroom. ICT can also allow better, more timely monitoring of the various dimensions of a national education system and is therefore a valuable tool for implementing a system approach to education reform. For example, ICT can lower the cost of implementing student learning assessments and can better link those assessment results to both teacher development and the allocation of education resources. ICT can also make it much easier to supply up-to-date information on teacher professional development programs to prospective trainees, as well as enable learning opportunities outside of formal school settings.

For more information about the World Bank's strategy related to the use of technology in education, please see the related background note prepared as part of the World Bank's Education Sector Strategy 2020.

 

The majority of World Bank education projects contain components related to the use of information and communication technologies in some way. Projects in many additional sectors, including the ICT sector, can contain 'education components' as well.

Some notable past projects include:

In Russia, the World Bank enhanced the national capacity to produce high quality learning materials, support teacher training in the educational use of ICT, and develop a network of interschool ICT resource centers.

In Jordan, the World Bank is helping to transform the education system at the early childhood, basic, and secondary levels to produce graduates with the skills needed for the knowledge economy.

In Turkey, the World Bank supported the provision of ICT training as a core competency for youth to function in a modern knowledge economy

In addition to its lending activities to countries, the World Bank increasingly is engaged in providing technical assistance and advisory services to countries to help them better plan, implement, monitor and evaluate their efforts to introduce and sustain technology use in education to aid a wide variety of development efforts. These advisory services draw on good practices from around the world and are informed by a variety of supporting research activities, including SABER-ICT.

The World Bank’s popular EduTech blog regularly profiles lessons and results from these and other projects around the world which have utilized information and communication technologies to support activities and goals in the education sector.

 

The World Bank maintains active partnerships with many like-minded organizations around the world to support research, knowledge-sharing and initiatives related to ICT use in education.

Most notably, these include partnerships with the Government of Korea (including KERIS) and UNESCO, as well as participation in the mEducation Alliance and the technical advisory panel convened by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) to help guide efforts to collect globally comparable data related to the use of ICTs in education.

 




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