ICT in Education Policy: Isn’t it a task of building Rome again?

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Is there a big deal of difference if we used the word “in” instead of “and”, when  we talk about the linkages between information and communications  technologies on the one hand and education on the other? In October 2005, we organsed the first conference on Digital Learning India, trying to figure out from the participants’ experiences of what makes an ICT in Education  programme different from and ICT and Education programme. What we learnt and understood in that journey, was exciting and opened up a whole world of case stories, experiences and interventions, all over the world. A year from thereon, we are ready to be face to face with a stronger delegation of specialists who will be focusing mainly on policies, lessons learnt from the experiences, and with a special focus on schools. Given the high investment costs required to introduce ICTs into schools, it is important for countries to learn from the experience of others to make good decisions and to avoid repeating the errors
of others or losing opportunities. Namibia emerges as one of the leading  countries in this domain, that have made systematic policy making, strategizing and implementation. The pathway was not all that simple. But the processes that have been set in motion, are very much replicable, especially in countries with similar challenges and constraints. Be it Turkey, India, Australia, Philippines or Thailand, many ICT and Education projects and interventions have created a ripe environment to embark on a policy makingprocess, that can be set in motion.Global eSchools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI), an International body, set upby the UN ICT Task Force, has embarked on a mission to enable south-southsharing of experiences, learning, and facilitating policy formulation, transfer ofknowledge and skills and advocating for an effect ICT in Education Policy.We hope that the readers of Digital Learning magazine will benefit from the select analytical articles, and experiential sharing of policy making and tools to enable effective policies, which are presented in this special issue of the magazine. The resources provided in this issue are open for discussions, and can be translated into programmes that will enhance Learning objectives, and not just be mere technology interventions. They can be a useful guide for decision makers, both at the provincial level and at the federal level. We also look forward to  elcoming you in New Delhi at the second Digital Learning conference from  ugust 23-25, 2006. For those who cannot make it, do check out our website, and look out for the next issue, which will be a conference special.

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