Do new ICTs have a role to play in the achievement of Education for All?

Many commentators have suggested that the use of new information and communications technologies (ICT) has significant potential in providing access to, and improving the quality of, teacher education. Such an idea is particularly relevant for the global south it is argued, where tens of thousands more qualified teachers are required if universal primary education (UPE) is to be achieved. This paper explores six arguments commonly used to critique the relevance of ICT for development, encompassing technical, cost, philosophical, cultural and pedagogic issues. The arguments are categorized as the ‘technological’ view; the ‘donor’ view; the ‘anthropological’ view; the ‘standard’ view; the ‘individual’ view and the ‘transmissional’ view. Drawing on empirical research into ICT and teacher education in Sub Saharan Africa, including the work of the Digital Education Enhancement Project (Leach, 2006) six responses are used to review these arguments (‘developmental’, ‘democratic’, ‘cultural’, ‘deep’, ‘community’ and ‘pedagogic’). The author concludes that this contemporary data offers new ways of thinking about such debates and concludes with recommendations for policy makers, educators and the donor community.

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