Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative

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The Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative is an international not-for-profit organisation providing demand-driven assistance to developing countries seeking to harness the potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to improve their education systems.

Background[edit]

GeSCI was established in 2003, borne out of the work of the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force which identified education as an area in critical need of development, and one where ICT has the potential to make positive impacts. The UN ICT Task Force approved a proposal for a UN-affiliated organisation to provide demand-driven assistance to developing countries seeking to harness the potential of ICT to improve the quality of teaching and learning in primary and secondary education. GeSCI is governed from Dublin, with the support of Irish Aid, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

ICT4E in the Knowledge Society[edit]

Education is considered one of the cornerstones of social economic development. Research has shown that education contributes to poverty reduction and increased economic growth, which in turn leads to an increase in the individual's standard of living; enables the individual to participate in wealth generating activities, leads to the creation of employment and the overall development of society. However, the traditional role of education to promote socio-economic development is being re-examined as greater emphasis is placed on access to education, quality and outcomes of the education system.

The education sector is seen as the natural source for the creation of technological literacy and the development of new technological skills as well as other skills that are needed in the new millennium, like problem solving skills, collaboration skills, critical reading and information retrieval, etc. For new technologies like ICT, the creation of these new skills has meant the introduction of ICT into educational institutions and the introduction of computer literacy or media literacy courses as well as new teaching and learning methods.

The relationship between ICT, education and development in a knowledge economy is increasingly being captured by developing country governments through their poverty reduction strategies [1]

These efforts have been spurred on by the setting of internationally agreed development goals, such as the MDGs and the Education For All (EFA) goals.[2] Recent monitoring efforts [3] have revealed that several countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and the Arab states will find it difficult to approach Universal Primary Completion in the coming decade, while participation rates for secondary education are lowest in SSA (25%), South and West Asia (53%) and the Arab State (66%). This has led to initiatives such as the Fast Track Initiative (FTI). For countries to achieve the MDG and EFA goals, UNESCO [4] notes that there will be a need to, not only allocate more resources to education, but to have these resources planned for and used more effectively. Many donors, including the World Bank, now also acknowledge that ICT can be leveraged to solve some of these challenges facing the education sector.

References[edit]