3.3.2 Stakeholder Coordination
A more consolidated vision for the development of initiatives can be achieved through stakeholder coordination and discussion, as well as careful planning between various elements affecting ICT in education and the establishment of a holistic approach. Planning should take into account financial, cultural and technological elements, as well as global and regional trends. Planning should then strike a balance among these elements. Against this background, stakeholders should analyse how ICTs may be used effectively for teaching, learning and administration; consensus should be reached on such issues. The integration of ICT in education is a complex task, requiring careful planning and consultations with various stakeholders.
Different stakeholders bring different concerns and competencies to school connectivity plans. ICT stakeholders are experts in infrastructure (connectivity and accessibility), whereas education stakeholders primarily focus on budget, curriculum, professional development and research. Developments in both sectors undoubtedly affect both the sustainability and scalability of school connectivity.
On the governmental level, in addition to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Communications, other government agencies have an interest in school connectivity. These other stakeholders should be incorporated into school connectivity plans to ensure coordination and consensus on strategies. Stakeholders can include elected government leaders, ICT ministries and regulatory agencies, national planning agencies or the entity responsible for managing the Universal Service Fund. In countries with a decentralized educational system, local governments also have a strong interest in school connectivity.
Beyond the governmental actors, private-sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can play key roles in advancing school connectivity. Their participation should also be taken into consideration when developing school connectivity plans.
The private sector -- particularly service providers and equipment vendors -- are likely to be engaged in the planning, deployment and operation of projects to expand connectivity, regardless of the project structure or funding process. NGOs, meanwhile, play leading roles in many countries by implementing projects to expand ICT access in schools. NGOs can provide valuable information to policymakers about what has and has not worked in their experience and potential challenges in replicating or expanding the scale of their programmes.
Countries also need to consider the interests and needs of the end users. In addition to school officials, end-user interests also include students and their families, as well as representatives of specific groups that may have special requirements, such as women and girls, indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities.
The participation and contribution of all these key stakeholders can make school connectivity plans more effective and sustainable. It also can increase support from constituent groups that feel they have had a meaningful impact on policy development.
Figure 3-1: Stakeholders in School Connectivity
An illustration of such collaboration can be found in Australia, where the government is investing over USD 2.1 billion to support the effective integration of ICTs in Australian schools. This is in line with the government’s broader education initiatives, including the Australian Curriculum. The National Broadband Network (NBN) will deliver high-speed broadband connections to individual schools, homes and workplaces. The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations is continuing to work closely with the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and school authorities to ensure that the bandwidth needs of schools are understood throughout the progressive NBN rollout process.73