Education and Technology Overview

World Bank strategy related to ICT use in education

As the World Bank Group (WBG) supports ICT use in education through financing, policy advice, technical support, and research, several key messages will continue to inform related policy discussions:

Technology should support teachers—not replace them. Technological innovations have the potential to increase learning, provided that they enhance, rather than circumvent, the teacher-learner relationship. Introducing new technologies will not replace teachers. In fact, experience from around the world shows us that, over time, teachers’ roles become more central— and not peripheral— as a result of new technologies.

Training is essential. Opportunities for technical training and ongoing professional development and support for teachers are essential if schools and countries want to reap the benefits that ICTs can provide. Ongoing training and professional development helps motivate teachers to use the equipment they’re provided more efficiently, and can help them explore innovative new pedagogical practices. 

ICT is more than just distributing computers. ICT can be used broadly, not just in the classroom, but as a tool that transforms the way that students, teachers, parents and schools communicate and support each other. Online and mobile messaging tools can help learners and parents to communicate with teachers about assignments and materials; repositories of digital learning resources can provide free materials for educators and parents to design age-appropriate development activities.

In addition to its lending activities to countries, the WBG is increasingly 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 their development efforts. These advisory services draw on best practices from around the world and are informed by a variety of supporting research activities, including the WBG’s Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER). SABER-ICT helps policymakers make informed decisions about how best to use ICTs in pursuit of core developmental objectives in the education sector.

The WBG is actively engaged in and supports a wide variety of applied research activities related to technology and innovation in education, in order to:

  • Explore emerging and frontier policy issues;
  • Investigate, evaluate and document “what works” (and what doesn’t); and
  • Contribute to the broader related global knowledge base, debates and policy dialogues on related topics.

As policymakers and development experts explore the potential for ICT in education, it’s important to remember that technology in and of itself isn’t a panacea. Harnessed correctly, ICTs can be critical to our efforts to give children a solid education that equips them for success, now and in the future – at school, at home, on the job, and in their communities.

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