Integrating Information And Communication Technologies Into Sustainable Development And Education Programs In Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs)


Integrating Information And Communication Technologies Into Sustainable Development And Education Programs In Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs)

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) outlines within its Human Development Report that development focuses on four measurements of achievements: health, education, income, and lastly the dimensions of participation and empowerment. Within this concept of development, there has been a rising merge towards the emergence of an “information society” as a developed society, where information sharing and the application of knowledge are easily accessible and permissible.

Some international agencies even propose that information and communications technologies enable development to be achieved more effectively and efficiently. UNESCO highlights several points that must be addressed. First is that ICT must be considered and used as a tool, and adapted to serve educational goals. Second, many ethical and legal issues intervene in the widespread use of ICT in education, such as ownership of knowledge, the increasing exchange of education as a commodity, and globalization of education in relation to cultural diversity. While there are multiple success stories of ICT in development programs, there is a recognition that not all investments in information technology bring about growth or economic development. For this topic, delegates are asked to think if policy solutions in a resolution that will yield to positive results and the implementation of ICT tools and processes within the development process.  

Definitions

 ICT

Information and communication technologies (ICT) have become the defining hallmark the twenty-first century. Technology has ultimately impacted the ways in which humans have interacted through business, politics, and socially allowing for instantaneous access to primary accounts and sources. It is important to note that ICT are only a part of a continuum of technologies, starting with chalk and books, all of which can support and enrich learning. They have far too often been interpreted as merely in the very restricted notion of the use of computers and the internet for teacher training, rather than in the wider sense of the technologies used to deliver a diversity of learning solutions. There are many more forms of ICT including but not limited to printed text materials, radio, video and face-to-face practical experiences alongside the use of computers and the internet that enable people to learn effectively in ways that are appropriate to their needs. UNESCO 2007-2013 Midterm report stated that the organization will focus on three ICT-related areas: the inclusion of all learners through technologies (e-learning), enhancing open access, and exploring the educational value of alternative and new ICT applications.  

Sustainable development

Much talk has occurred about sustainable development in reference to the environment and the allocation of natural resources. The most accepted definition as outlined by the United Nations Millenium Development Goals is “development that takes places that accounts for the programs of the current generation without compromising the needs of future generations. In the context of ICT and education, sustainable development means integrating ICT in a manner that encourages these societies to utilize these tools in a way that allows them to expand on their own programs in the future. Development programs in LEDCs should have the ability of accounting for changes in the material fabric of society because of the dynamic nature of ICT with its rapid turnover.  

Education programs

 Education programs are an investment by nations to encourage increased engagement of individuals within society. Ultimately education programs, especially those that manifest as vocational training programs or higher education programs, lead to an increased sense of empowerment of individuals within their society, and increases their capabilities to perform successfully.  The UNESCO Midterm Strategy also placed specific emphasis on achieving gender equality in education, and developing and promoting good practices, policies and legislation in this area. UNESCO has also stated that it shall on the contribution of policy research networks working on obstacles to the implementation of the right to education.

Positive outcomes of ICT The use of ICT as a tool in educational development focuses on providing the skills needed for the creation of the “knowledge society” that matches with the need of the labour market through the use of the multiplier effect .Moreover, the incorporation of ICT encourages the process of life-long learning for those in the community in order to constantly use their skills in order to search for new information, a skill that will be vital with the current market economy and methods of information sharing). Also by encouraging the use of ICT, the private sector becomes involved creating public-private partnership in order to address the current political, social and economic issues. There is emerging agreement amongst development practitioners on the general set of principles that need to be in place for ICT to be used effectively in teacher training, and this has stemmed largely from a bias from the US.  Emphasis has been frequently placed on the necessity for teachers first to be trained in basic ICT skills.  The 2002 UNESCO review has stated that ‘For education to reap the full benefits of ICT in learning, it is essential that pre- service and in- service teachers have basic ICT skills and competences’ .Once this is in place, it is generally argued that the following four competencies need to be addressed: pedagogy, collaboration and networking, social issues and technical issues .The report highlights four key themes are seen as essential in any successful program: context and culture, leadership and vision, lifelong learning, and the planning and management of change.  Such arguments build on the increasingly widely accepted principles of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education that technology should be infused into the entire teacher education program; be introduced in context; and that students should experience innovation technology-supported learning environments in their teacher education program. 

The value placed in ICT is seen to become higher as its use in the organization progresses from being just a facility to that of an enabler.

It is important to view technology as a tool to enable individuals and communities to establish their own forms of knowledge sharing and interactions in a way that will benefit them in the ways that they see fit. This development process is one that takes times and that will ultimately sustain itself as the access to technology becomes engrained in social methods. The most successful examples of ICT development stem from South East Asia, specifically from India, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea, where these nations have used such technologies to enhance operations. More importantly, these nations allow ICT to be used in a way that encourages creativity, and this is why they are currently on the top of this market as they are the led manufacturers coming up with new ways in which technology can be used in society.  

 

About the Author
Author: Anant Mishra
Anant Mishra is a former youth representative United Nations.Almost 4 years of experience, he has served in number of committees including United Nations Conference for Trade and Development and Economic and Social Council primarily focusing on international trade, finance, economics. food crisis and disputes. Currently he is serving as a Mentor & a Member for the organising committee of Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2014. He is also the state convener, chhattisgarh for a nation wide think tank, Centre for Education Growth and Research, New Delhi. Beside this he is an editor, foreign affairs for political mirror, columnist for business digest and iReporter for the CNN. He is also an author for the Indian Economic Review, an yearly journal for Delhi School of Economics.

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