Information and Communication Technologies for Development in

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International Journal of Knowledge, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Volume 1 Nos. 1 2, 2013, pp. 82--90

Information and Communication Technologies for
Development in Education

Suleyman Demirel University, Kazakhstan
Received 15 June 2013; received in revised form 24 June 2013; approved 02 September 2013

                                                        Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
                                                                                                     Steve Jobs

ABSTRACT In order to foster meaningful development it is essential that people understand both how
to use ICTs and the benefits that ICTs can provide to their country and region, because technology is
becoming increasingly important in both our personal and professional lives, and our learners are using
technology more and more. Universities are compelled to be innovative and lead by using cutting-edge
technology to meet youth expectations. The objectives of paper are to consider three major issues of
ICTs for development in education: ICTs' potentials, higher education and teacher training, and to
show innovative solutions and challenges which provide us high technologies. The importance of large-
scale reform in educational policies and practices and in the understanding of the role of ICTs in educa-
tion cannot be stressed enough. Real learning gains and improvement in an educational system will
only come when all the elements of educational change, from policies and practices, to teachers and
learners come together in a partnership to benefit from the potential offered by the ICTs.

Keywords: Information and Communication Technologies, education, development, higher education,
teacher training.


In the twenty-first century, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become vital
tools for developing innovative solutions to development challenges. The use of ICTs provides equita-
ble access to information, knowledge and education for the poor and the rich in developing and devel-
oped countries and it gives us opportunities to enrich our lives by positive developments in print,
broadcast (radio and TV), digital (computer and Internet), mobile technologies. In such circumstances,
education plays an important role in the ICT development as the main source of valuable human capi-
tal. Because the students in future assume the roles of policymakers and key decision makers in govern-
ment, academia, private sector and civil society, they recognize and leverage the link between ICTs
and developmental goals. By using ICTs students gain valuable knowledge and insights and also the
inspiration to harness their own creativity and energy along with the power of technologies to change
this world for the better. The world today is very different from what it was even twenty years ago.

Today, it best fits the description of a global village, where everyone can be connected irrespective of
time, space, culture, language and distance. ICTs have created new opportunities to enhance the reach
and quality of education. The objectives of paper are to consider three major issues of ICTs for devel-
opment in education: ICTs' potentials, higher education and teacher training, and to show innovative
solutions and challenges which provide us high technologies. The accelerating shift to high technology
and information technology economy requires sustained human resource development and training.
Driven by globalization and pressures to teach and train knowledgeable, skilled and competitive pro-
fessionals, education faces a huge challenge in increasing access to education and improving the quality
of education against the stark reality of decreasing resources. Without doubt, the demands of the 21st
century will pressure more education to modernize its systems and practices.
   Numerous studies of technology implementation in organizations in the 1950s (Nancy Law, Allan
Yuen, Robert Fox, 2011, p.114) were followed by a number of policies on information and communi-
cation technology (ICT) in education in many countries (Pelgrum et al., 1999; Yuen et al., 2010). The
early 1970s were marked with higher education institutions' engagement in ICT-mediated administra-
tion and management in areas such as "student admission and records, examination results and tran-
scripts, finance database, human resources database and management information" (UNESCO, 2009,
p. 26). For example, Hosie (1995) describes a quality framework applicable to higher education and
examines factors governing the acquisition, storage and retrieval of data pertinent to a human resource
information system. He argues that a human resource information system enables an institution to
format a profile of its staff in terms of strengths and weaknesses, and thus "the right people will be in
the right place at the right time" (p. 35). McClea and Yen (2005) propose a framework for utilizing
ICT in university admissions and seek to achieve the improvement in the general admissions process.

ICTs' Potentials in Education

There is often confusion in understanding what the term "ICTs in education" means. In some instances,
it has meant "ICT education", that is the creation of a pool of human resources to cater to the growing
knowledge society needs. In other countries, the use of ICTs in education has meant "ICT supported
education" and this has resulted in a large number of distance learning systems providing learning op-
portunities and consequently increasing access to education. In still some other cases, the term has
meant "ICT enabled education"  essentially meaning the use of ICTs as a primary channel of educa-
tional interaction that is e-learning and m-learning. Very rarely has ICT education been understood as
ICTD (development) education or the deployment of ICTs to address development goals (Reddi,
2011, p.89). The right to education is well recognized as fundamental, and education is seen as a vital
input to addressing issues of poverty, gender equality and health in the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs) by the United Nations by 2015.
    This has led to an expansion of demand for education at all levels. Given limited education budgets,
the opposing demand for increased investment in education against widespread scarcity of resources
puts intolerable pressure on many countries' educational systems. Meeting these opposing demands
through the traditional expansion of education systems, such as building schools, hiring teachers and
equipping schools with adequate educational resources will be impossible in a conventional system of
education. ICTs offer alternate solutions for providing access and equity, and for collaborative practices to
optimize costs and effectively use resources. Just as there are different pathways to achieving a coun-
try's educational goals, different ICTs have different potentials to contribute to the different aspects of
educational development and effective learning. Planning for use necessitates an understanding of the
potential of various ICTs to meet different objectives. This understanding affects the choices of tech-
nologies and the modalities of their use.
    The impact of ICTs on education has been second only to their impact on business practices around
the world. A quick broad survey of national efforts will reveal that the use of ICTs is as extensive as it
is diverse (Singapore Master Plan for IT in Education), ranging from a long history of use of conven-
tional media-radio and TV in countries like China, India and Mexico  to the more recent and very
successful use of ICTs in education in Singapore. Decision makers and teachers, who were earlier very


skeptical, now want to know how this innovation will increase access to educational opportunities,
what the costs are and what impact there will be on the key issues plaguing developing countries' at-
tempts to address educational issues related to access, equality, resources and quality. Generally, ac-
cess and equity are enabled by extending reach, while quality of digital content remains the same irre-
spective of time and distance, and ICT-based systems are cost effective in the long run.
       Besides, technologies are means of better communication, better processing and exchange of
information, better comprehension of our environments, ICTs have the next opportunities and bene-
fits for development education (figure 1):

                    Opportunities                                            Benefits
    Access to high quality learning materials irre-      Learning material developed anywhere accessi-
                 spective of location                                    ble anywhere
           Connectivity between learners                            Collaborative learning
                     Interactivity                            Networked ICTs allow interactivity between
                                                                      learners, teachers and learners
              Remove spatial constraints                    Distance, isolation is no longer a determinant of
                                                                         quality or cost of learning
               Management of learning                       Admissions, assessment, and certification can be
                                                            organized lowering costs of educational manage-
    Figure 1. The opportunities and benefits of using ICTs in education

ICTs are emerging and involve in the areas of open learning models (both as distance learning and as
knowledge networks), the collaboration and sharing across schools and school systems (Schoolnets),
the creation of text and audio-visual resources as "learning objects" (a learning object is a resource,
usually digital and web based, that can be used and reused to support learning) available as open educa-
tional resources (Open educational resources), and the different ways in which teachers are using ICTs
to enhance teaching and learning processes in their classrooms. Adding to the array of applications are
the sectors in which ICTs are increasingly being deployed  formal, non-formal, distance and teacher
education settings, and for broad educational and specifically instructional purposes.

ICTs in Higher Education

Higher education is a key area to maintain a country's competitiveness in the global economy. As pro-
claimed in the Communiqu adopted by the participants of World Conference on Higher Education in
July 2009, "At no time in history has it been more important to invest in higher education as a major
force in building an inclusive and diverse knowledge society and to advance research, innovation and
creativity" (UNESCO, 2009). The demand for higher education has accelerated worldwide. Between
1999 and 2008, the number of students enrolled in higher education institutions (HEIs) increased by
65 million, with much of the growth being seen in East Asia and the Pacific (UNESCO, 2011). In fact,
the global demand for higher education is predicted to expand from less than 100 million students in
2000 to over 250 million in 2025 (UNESCO, 2011a). This is likely to include the rising numbers of
adults who seek to enroll in courses to upgrade their skills and qualifications. The Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development has estimated that participation rates of 40-50 percent in
higher education are essential for strong economic growth (UNESCO, 2011a). Despite the impressive
statistics, most regions around the world have yet to reach this target. Governments and educational
institutions are looking for innovative ways to increase access to higher education and improve the
quality of their programmes and courses in a bid to improve their competitiveness.
    The prevalence of information and communication technology (ICT) and the impact it has made in
all aspects of our lives are compelling reasons for HEIs to try to capitalize on 21st century tools and

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