Table of Contents

  • Issues in Education and Technology addresses two important topics that currently preoccupy many decision-makers. There is hardly a more topical issue in today's world than the impact of technology on society, as it fuels unprecedented changes which influence how we live and work within different countries as well as across national boundaries. These changes offer the hope of increased benefits for many countries, but they also raise fears that some developing countries will be left behind and so become even further marginalised.

  • Issues in Education and Technology is a response to the needs expressed by Commonwealth Ministers of Education at their thirteenth Triennial Conference (13CCEM) held in Botswana in July 1997. Ministers and delegation leaders were anxious that their education systems and their societies should not be left behind in the rapid advance of information and communication technology (ICT), which has profound implications for all societies in an era of globalisation. They were aware, however, that there are difficult choices to be made and complex issues to be clarified, as governments strive to take sensible decisions about investments in technology for education.

  • There is an important three-way link between education, technology and development that is becoming critical in an age of globalisation. Technology has always been a major driving force in the development of nations. At the same time the direction and pace of technological progress have been greatly influenced by the development goals and policies that constitute every nation's vision for the future.

  • Decisions about investing in technology for education are not purely a matter for the Ministry of Education. Such decisions depend on broad national development policies and involve other ministries including Finance, Economic Planning, Telecommunications and Development. It is therefore important to highlight not only key educational issues, but also the development-related arguments that can be used to justify national investment in technology for education.

  • Successful management of education systems has always depended on having the necessary information available, as much as on having personnel trained and experienced in management. It is equally important to have this information in a timely manner, and in a form appropriate for the intended purpose. Information enables education officials to keep their fingers on the pulse of the system, and make sensible decisions affecting the status and routine administration of education in the country.

  • It would not be an exaggeration to argue that most teaching and learning aids are largely extensions and enhancements of the basic face-to-face method of education. In a conventional school setting, these aids promote greater effectiveness and efficiency within the finite real-time encounters of face-to-face learning situations. How can one teach the history of a foreign country in two 40-minute periods, or complex mathematical theorems in three lessons?

  • There can be little doubt that for developed and developing countries alike, education has become one of the top priorities for individuals, communities and national governments. It has also become a major area of focus for international organisations, aid agencies and non-governmental organisations. It seems that in a period of rapid change and uncertainty education has become something of a repository for our hopes for the future.