This publication presents and analyses the major conclusions of research conducted in Central and West Asia in 2006 through 2011 to ascertain the impact of information and communications technology (ICT) investments on education. It presents a critical overview of the effectiveness of ICT policies and strategies in basic education in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, with shorter studies on Afghanistan, Armenia, Georgia, and Pakistan.
Among its many important findings, the research shows that while the importance of ICT in education has been recognised widely, it is still in its infancy in most of the region and its role and impact have yet to be fully determined or realised. The study has determined that the digital divide between education systems in developing and developed countries is widening dramatically. It stresses that while all the participating countries consider effective teacher training in ICT skills to be among the key determining factors in its effective ICT use, most are not providing sufficient training to use ICT to best effect. In the area of budgeting, the study shows that there is an urgent need for governments to adequately fund school ICT operational costs.
To help policy makers in the region, the study identifies critical gaps or issues in policies, strategies, and approaches to ICT in education; provides information on key issues to help improve decision and policy making; and gives clear recommendations arising from the research.