1.3.1 Improved student achievement

Recent literature suggests that the impact of ICTs on student achievement is a long-term effect, especially if this is considered in terms of standardized tests associated with the curriculum. Medium-term impacts can be expected in the development of cognitive and non-cognitive skills.11

Over the long term, Internet connectivity in educational settings can be leveraged to ensure that students grow up with some level of familiarity, not only with basic operation of devices such as PCs, but also with the online resources that are available across the world. Such resources are rapidly growing, providing tools to enable research, collaboration, communication, trade, civic participation, and access to government services.

By enacting policies intended to teach a generation of students how to access and contribute to online resources, policymakers can help create adults who are able to use local and global online resources for greater individual participation in national and global economies. This, in turn, contributes to broad socioeconomic development, which is a key goal, particularly in developing countries.

For these reasons, improving and expanding connectivity for educational institutions is often a key component of national development plans, as well as national ICT plans and policies. While ICTs are key tools in enabling and promoting socioeconomic development, research has indicated that investment in ICTs alone is not as effective as investment in ICTs and education together.12

Encouraging evidence exists that developing countries are – in one fashion or another – taking educational goals into account in their ICT development plans. A 2007 survey carried out by infoDev found that among 48 African countries that had (or were developing) a national ICT plan, 39 also had (or were developing) plans for including ICTs in their education sectors.13

While plans for including ICTs in education programmes should address goals beyond connectivity, broadband connectivity certainly is a logical component of new and updated sector plans -- for both ICTs and education. Coordinating these plans and efforts can provide a key means to expand opportunities for socioeconomic development.

11: Eugenio Severin, Technologies for Education (TEd): A Framework for Action, Inter-American Development Bank Education Division,(SCL/EDU),, http://www.iadb.org/document.cfm?id=36635979 and http://www.iadb.org/document.cfm?id=36740151

12Morawczynski, Olga and Ojelanki Ngwenyama, “Unraveling the Impact of Investments in ICT, Education and Health on Development: An Analysis of Archival Data of Five West African Countries Using Regression Splines,” The Electronic Journal on Information Systems in Developing Countries, Vol. 25 (2007), No. 5, pp. 1-15.

13Country Surveys, p. 6, http://www.infodev.org/en/Document.353.pdf.

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