UNESCO and TAG-Org speakers during the launch of the project
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization (TAG-Org) have recently launched a new ICT in Education Indicators for Arab States pilot project.
The project aims to build capacity in Arab states by strengthening national capabilities to define ICT in education indicators for measuring the use and impact of applying ICTs in education, as well as to manage the ICT in education policy development and implementation cycle.
The project’s two-day Policy Developers meeting held in Amman included government representatives from seven Arab states in the Middle East and the Gulf as well as UNESCO experts and representatives from TAG-Org in the region. Participating in this first project’s activity were Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, the Palestinian Authority, Qatar and United Arab Emirates. In addition a link was made to a similar UNESCO activity for the Maghreb, so that a broad selection of Arab states is represented in this effort.
Although the application of ICT in education across the region varies significantly there is a common aspiration of taking full advantage of new ICTs both in effective school and learning management as well as to provide students with 21st Century skills. The Amman meeting identified a series of top national issues with regards to ICT in Education, and a common primary concern was the ICT infrastructure of the educational systems. Additional reoccurring issues were:
The lack of quality contents in Arabic language and opportunities for sharing them between countries
Teacher training and the incentives for change
Leadership in applying ICT in education
Research, monitoring and assessment of impacts, as to inform decision-making
Learning Management Systems as a source of relevant data if aggregated from individual schools to system level.
The Amman meeting further recommended a timeframe for the ICT in Education Indicators for Arab States project, including the collection of national ICT in Education statistics and the peer evaluation of this data before publishing the final results.