UNESCO to launch ICT guidelines/standards to improve education

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UNESCO has said it will showcase its guidelines for teachers to enable them use information and communication technology (ICT) to improve education world wide.

According to a UNESCO press statement, issued in Paris and made available to PANA here, the world body will release its guidelines Tuesday in London, England, at a conference for young minds.

Called “moving the young minds conference”, participants are mostly education ministers from more than 100 countries and some members of the press.

Developed in co-operation with Cisco, Intel and Microsoft, as well as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), the guidelines or the ICT Competency Standards for Teachers have been designed to help educational policy-makers and curriculum developers identify the skills needed by teachers to harness technology in the service of education.

UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Abdul Waheed Khan, as well as representatives of UNESCO’s private sector and academic partners in developing this project, will present the standards at a press conference at the Thames Suite of the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre to the ministers.

“The ICT Competency Standards (guidelines) for Teachers provide a tool that will help policy makers and teacher training developers plan their use of information and communication technologies,” the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, said.

“These standards consist of modules that will help trainers prioritize their needs and design training curricula adapted to specific requirements and resources, reflecting UNESCO’s conviction that countries must occupy the driver’s seat of educational planning,” he added.

The guidelines consist of three parts — a policy framework explaining the rationale, structure and approach of the project; a competency standards modules structure which crosses the components of educational reform with various policy approaches to generate a matrix of skill sets for teachers and implementation guidelines providing a detailed syllabus of the specific skills to be acquired by teachers within each skill set or module.

UNESCO said the standards were born of the realization that having a computer in the classroom is not enough, in and of itself, to ensure that teachers are able to impart the skills needed to prepare students for work and life in the 21 st century.

”This is why the standards address much more than ICT skills: they examine these skills in the light of pedagogical developments, curriculum and school organization and the needs of teachers wishing to improve their work and ability to collaborate with colleagues,” it said.

UNESCO sources said the ICT standards should help to improve teacher practice overall, and contribute to the education of a better-informed citizenry able to advance economic and social development.

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