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How to invest in ICT in Education

Why support ICT in education? 

ICT is broadly supportive of education. It helps with the achievement of national education goals and drives teaching and learning, particularly when it comes to developing and delivering on the curriculum. It also helps to support the business of education, promotes whole-school development, creates value for stakeholders, and aids in the production of empowered digital citizens.

There are a few challenges facing schools, however, including a lack of sufficient funding or financial sustainability (it doesn’t help to have computers in classrooms if internet connectivity is not continuous and reliable, for example). The shortage of basic infrastructure and equipment obviously needs to be addressed.

While it is laudable to have basic computer skills, it is also vital that both educators and learners have the means to acquire more skills and become confident digital citizens. There can be a disconnect between the home and school experience of technology, and this can be driven by the cost of data, the lack of a personal computer, or the fact that internet access may be too slow for connectivity.

Rural schools and schools with special needs are also more likely to be left behind than urban schools.   

Examples of intervention models:

  • School and Infrastructure Support

    This model focuses on the provision of the computer hardware, software and infrastructure needed in order for learners to benefit from access to ICT. The focus is often on the rural areas of South Africa, where there is a critical need for learners to be provided with internet access, computers, tablets, and workspaces, in order to benefit from digital technology and gain access to the information society. Click here to view examples of this model

     

  • Supporting Teachers

    This model focuses on the professional development of teachers – their abilities, skills and capacity – as well as helping then with their teaching and learning activities and their administrative work. ICT is particularly helpful when it comes to content development, preparation, teaching activities and assessment.
    Many teachers grew up with limited access to technology and find ICT adoption more difficult than their learners do. Interventions assist by equipping teachers with the digital tools and skills they need to teach and manage their duties. Teachers who have achieved high levels of competence in digital learning have also been recognised. Click here to view examples of this model.

     

  • Supporting Learners

    Learning in the digital age is increasingly becoming an important medium for simplifying learning and supporting curriculum delivery. In South Africa, many learners come from under-resourced contexts where access to digital technology is rare or non-existent. Various education stakeholders have committed to increasing access to ICT for learners and teachers, in order to ensure that all students ultimately gain equal access and exposure to ICT initiatives that will equip them to match the needs of our changing world.

    Encouraging student engagement can be a challenge but various studies have found that ICT use greatly contributes to students’ motivation for learning. By incorporating digital tools and interactive resources, rather than the teacher simply lecturing on the topic, learners can do their own research and interact with the materials directly. 


    Digital literacy promotes the development of skills such as content creation, critical thinking and evaluation skills. As the world becomes more technology-centred, these skills are essential in preparing learners for future employment prospects. Click here to view examples of this model.

 

Recommended Resources

  • Providing ICT in schools

    In 2016, the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services met jointly with the Department of Basic Education regarding the provision of ICT connectivity in all schools throughout South Africa. The meeting involved stakeholders like the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA), and other representatives of educational and network operations. The outcome of the briefing is outlined this Parliamentary Monitoring Group briefing.

  • Managing ICTs in South African Schools

    In 2005, the South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE) published Managing ICTs in South African Schools: A Guide for School Principals. This publication is based on research conducted into the use of computers for teaching and learning in South African schools. It indicates that one of the reasons why ICT projects in schools do not succeed is that principals are often not properly informed about what ICTs can or cannot do. This hampers their ability to manage the introduction of ICTs into their schools. As a guide, the publication provides useful information on how principals and senior school management can provide leadership in their schools.

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