INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES
FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT
1 – 3 Nov 2011, Johannesburg, South Africa
Parallel Session - Mapping the State of Rural
Development and ICT
Focus of parallel session – education
Presentation - Why education is critical to rural
Why education is critical to rural
Countries are increasingly embracing a
vision for the development of a
knowledge/information society and
adopting policies and strategies to
encourage this development.
Education is vital in the
• In SSA, education systems have been slow to
identify the trends and to implement relevant
policies, build curricula, ensure there are sufficient
and appropriately trained teachers, the resources
and technology that is necessary.
• Where countries have identified the need to
develop its knowledge society, there has been
attempts to define ICT policy and to develop
policies and implementation plans to construct an
education system that can enable its people to
Education in SSA
• Education is accepted as the platform for
social and economic development in any
• There is international agreement that
education is necessary for any country’s
development. This is captured in the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
• MDG Goal 2 - Ensure that, by 2015, children
everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able
to complete a full course of primary
Update on Education MDGs
There is agreement that universal education
by 2015 will not be achieved
Enrolment in primary education will have
reached 89% in the developing world, with
the countries that will not reach 100%
enrolment being mainly in Sub-Saharan
Africa and Asia.
• Enrolment in primary education in developing regions – 89%
in 2008, up from 83 % in 2000.
• About 69 million school-age children are not in school.
• Almost half of them (31 million) are in sub-Saharan Africa, and
more than a quarter (18 million) is in Southern Asia
• African countries - invested heavily in education over the past
• Real expenditure on education - risen by 6% annually across
sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) over the ten years leading to 2008.
• Funding for this expense was from governments, donors and
the private sector. Donors contributed US$2.6 billion in 2008,
representing 5.6% of the SSA regional total expenditure on
education for the year.
Key Challenges facing Education in SSA
• Policy and curriculum frameworks
• Professional teacher development,
• Teacher and student assessment,
• Teaching and learning resources,
• Textbooks and other learning materials
• School infrastructure – including physical spaces
where learning and teaching takes place and
technology that support learning, teaching and
education administration and planning.
• Research, monitoring and evaluation
• Adopted a number of policies and strategies to
construct their education system that can embrace the
knowledge and information societies.
• At Microsoft we have been involved with national
Departments of Education and supported their efforts
to create a 21st Century Education System.
• Using a process successfully adopted in many
countries (including Africa) we work with government
to identify opportunities and challenges - Country
• Agree on a range of solutions and create a roadmap
identifying ‘good, better and best’ solutions based on
the government stated directions
• Speakers – Neil Butcher & Jacqueline
• Focus - how ICTs could address some of
these challenges, concrete case studies
and examples of good education projects
in rural areas.
• Critical questions
Critical Questions – rural education
• Is ICTs a realistic option for rural learners? Can it make a difference
given the context that learners find themselves in, i.e. poor health,
nutrition, lack of infrastructure, lack of good teachers, etc.?
• Is there a role for other role players in promoting ICT for rural
education? Is there a role for donor agencies, NGOs, corporates?
Should education be within the total domain of government with no
external influences from NGOs, donors, corporates?
• Given that most technologies are developed by companies, what is
the value proposition for such companies to continuously innovate
and build new technologies that can support rural education?
• How can ICTs improve access to education and ensure high quality
education for rural based students?
• Is there a human rights issue with respect to connectivity and what
this means for ensuring equity of access in rural areas?
• Mobile phones – is this realistic for learning or just a useful tool to
support school administration and exam preparation.