Access to information and communication technology (ICT) in education can help individuals compete in a global economy by creating a skilled workforce and facilitating social mobility. Policymakers emphasise that ICT in education has a multiplier effect throughout the education system, by:
- enhancing learning and providing students with new sets of skills;
- reaching students with poor or no access (especially in rural and remote regions);
- facilitating and improving the training of teachers;
- minimising costs associated with the delivery of traditional instruction; and
- improving the administration of schools in order to enhance the quality and efficiency of service delivery.
What is the role of the UIS?
The UIS is mandated to administer data collections on the availability, use and impact of ICT in education in order to establish internationally-comparable and policy-relevant indicators.
The Institute has piloted new regional questionnaires on ICT in education to gather internationally-comparable data, which will enable countries to benchmark their progress and to learn from the experiences of others in setting priorities and developing policy. The results from these data collections are presented in a series of regional reports on Latin America and the Caribbean, the Arab States, Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
The questionnaires were initially developed with the International Working Group on ICT Statistics in Education (WISE), which was established by the UIS. The working group provided invaluable insight into the design and implementation of the survey instruments and related methodologies, including the Guide to Measuring Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Education, UIS Technical Paper No. 2.
More recently, in anticipation of the first global survey, the Institute assembled a technical advisory panel (TAP) meeting to inform the redesign of the UIS questionnaire, the selection of new core indicators, and other methodological issues to keep pace with the evolving policy needs of countries related to ICT in education. The first global survey will occur in November 2015.
The UIS has also collaborated closely with UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector, Education Sector, and other strategic institutional partners. In addition, the UIS is a member of the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development, which brings together a wide range of international organizations. Within this partnership, the Institute is responsible for developing indicators on ICT use in education and tracking them globally. This includes the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) indicators and targets.