4.1 National policy reform

National “e-strategies,” framed within the WSIS Principles and Goals (Section 8), include policy areas such as connectivity, (e.g. broadband rollout), capacity building (e.g. training in use of ICTs for all sectors of society, including teachers and persons with disabilities), and education (provision of ICTs in schools). Policies and programmes in support of accessible ICTs in connected schools will therefore cut across several policy areas, including:

  • Education,
  • Telecommunications,
  • E-government,
  • Finance and public procurement,
  • Import/customs duties and taxation,
  • Welfare and employment, and
  • Equality.

UNESCO’s Institute for Information Technology in Education (IITE) views policy development for the use of accessible ICTs in schools as a “complex proposition based on the principle that technology is not only a tool,” it also requires “a shift in the focus from technology provision to the design of learning environments.”105 Policy development has, therefore, moved from an exclusive focus on the provision of hardware and software to the effective use of ICTs in different educational contexts. UNESCO suggests four stages for the successful integration of accessible ICTs in an inclusive educational environment. This includes the design and development of the accessible ICTs, their implementation and improvement, and the assessment of their benefits (Fig 4.1)

Figure 4.1 Stages for policy development

Source: UNESCO IITE

Based on these four stages, UNESCO IITE provides a useful listing of policy activities that policy- makers can undertake under each of these headings, plus a range of indicative sources of evidence and information for each.106 See Checklist for policy makers.

105UNESCO IITE ICTs in Education for People with Special Needs. http://www.iite.ru/pics/publications/files/3214644.pdf page 95

106UNESCO IITE page 96-97