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ICT & education policies

While the potential and promise of ICT use in education is clear in many regards, so too are 'perils' related to the disruption of existing traditional teaching and learning practices, high costs, increased burdens on teachers, equity and issues around data privacy and security.

Policies related to technology use in change and evolve over time, often along a somewhat predicable path, and technological innovations often outpace the ability of policymakers to innovate on related policy issues. Such policies take different forms and are formulated and proposed by different institutions in different countries. No matter the country, a lack of rigorous, relevant evidence typically complicates attempts to draft impactful ICT/education policies.

As part of the work under the World Bank's Systems Assessment for Better Education Results (SABER) initiative, the World Bank is attempting to document national educational technology policies around the world and their evolution over time.

A related SABER-ICT policy framework has been developed to assist policymakers as they attempt to analyze and benchmark their own policies on ICT use in education against international norms and those of comparator countries around the world, identifying key themes and characteristics, drawing on an analysis of a related policy documents. 

Eight policy themes are commonly identified in educational technology policies around the world. These relate to (1) vision and planning; (2) ICT infrastructure; (3) teachers; (4) skills and competencies; (5) learning resources; (6) EMIS; (7) monitoring and evaluation; and (8) equity, inclusion, and safety. Four stages of policy development can be identified related to each of these themes.

It is important to note that this framework only considers policy intent – not the extent to which policies are implemented in practice, nor what the impact of such policies may be, and that rapid developments and innovations in the technology sector challenge the abilities of policymakers to offer useful related policy guidance that is forward-looking.

Policymakers may find the SABER-ICT policy framework useful as a means by which to help benchmark the current state of related policy development in their country; anticipate potential future policy directions; and draw inspiration from other countries.

Updates on work under SABER-ICT are available on the World Bank's EduTech blog. Of particular interest might be the following posts:

(A full list of related posts is available here.)