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New technologies for basic education and literacy Multi-lingual interventions in India and South Africa. IIEP/UNESCO Summer School 2009 Paris, 30 July 2009. Prof. Dan Wagner, Visiting Expert, IIEP International Literacy Institute University of Pennsylvania wagner@literacy.upenn.edu

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slide1

New technologies for basic education and literacy

Multi-lingual interventions in India and South Africa

IIEP/UNESCO Summer School 2009

Paris, 30 July 2009

Prof. Dan Wagner, Visiting Expert, IIEP

International Literacy Institute

University of Pennsylvania

wagner@literacy.upenn.edu

www.literacy.org

main points
Main points

Prefatory notes

a. What is ICT4D?

b. Why do this work?

  • Technology and literacy: Possible?
  • Trends: Fiscal and human investments
  • Can it be implemented? Examples from India and South Africa
  • Conclusions
why do this work
Why do this work?
  • Literacy remains the most important global educational outcome. What can global science offer to United Nations MDGs and EFA?
  • In education in LDCs, the biggest policy issue is multi-lingualism.
  • Lately, ICT is often considered to be the ‘answer’ – but what is the problem?
  • What can learning sciences bring to the table?
1 technology and literacy
1. Technology and literacy

Many policy-makers say impossible, because…

  • Infrastructure is not available
  • Costs are too high
  • Illiterates can’t use technology
  • Technology can’t really fight illiteracy

-> Current evidence suggests the contrary (see later).

…But there are R&D questions as well, such as…

  • Can ICT really enhance learning, and how much?
  • Who is the end-user (teachers, learners, kids, adults, in- or out-of-school)?
  • How to handle specific languages and orthographies?
  • What are tradeoffs between hardware and software solutions?
2 spending on icts is increasing worldwide
2. Spending on ICTs is increasing worldwide…

Overall Global ICT Spending

USD trillions

ICT Spending by Region

USD trillions

WISTA, 2008

2 but there is a problem of allocation
2. …but there is a problem of allocation
  • While “digital divide” is decreasing betweencountries…
  • Digital divide is increasingwithin countries.
  • More than 90% of ICT investments in education in LDCs go to secondary and higher education
  • This allocation excludes more than half the population (1-2 billion people) in poor countries.
2 similarly there is a problem of skill allocation
Large inequalities by gender, ethnicity and language

In poor (and ‘fragile’) countries, more the half the population may be illiterate or low-literate

For fragile states especially, 100-200 million children are out-of-school youth

80

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

0

2. Similarly, there is a problem of skill allocation

Youth and Adult Illiteracy Rates(15 years and older, 2000)

TechnologicalIlliteracy

Traditional Illiteracy

OECD countries

Africa

Arabregion

Latin America

East Asia & Oceania

South Asia

2 and by gender
2. And by gender

Adult Illiteracy by Gender (2004)

(15 years and older)

2 the kinds of ict inputs vary greatly
2. The kinds of ICT inputs vary greatly
  • Access
        • Improving dramatically, but limited learning impact
  • Connectivity
        • Improving moderately, mainly urban areas
  • Content (local languages and subject matter)
        • Modest efforts, and almost none among the poor
  • Building literacy competencies
        • Rare

Our goal should be: Focus on EFA – and beware of ICT-only (focused) solutions…

3 bridges to the future initiative bfi
3. Bridges to the Future Initiative (BFI)

India – Andhra Pradesh state

Target groups: Reaching the poorest people:

  • Girls and women
  • Ethnic and linguistic minorities
  • Lowest income and unemployed
  • Fragile states: out of school, refugees, etc.

South Africa –

Limpopo

3 india empowering a multi lingual approach
Emphasis on learning Telugu as main implementation language. – ICT support the value of local languages

Learning approach

- Relevance of content

- High quality instruction

- Extremely “user-friendly”

3. India: Empowering a multi-lingual approach
3 india important learning gains
3. India: Important learning gains
  • Two evaluations
  • Location, near Hyderabad
  • Ages: 15 - 25 years
  • Little or no schooling
  • Ave. 2 hours/week
  • Results: More than twice as fast rate of learning as control.
  • ALSO, replicated on young rural children in Grades 1-2
  • Costs: module production, about US$200K

Math

ICT-based

Reading

Control, no-ICT

Learning rate per hour

3 south africa limpopo province
3. South Africa: Limpopo Province
  • High poverty, poor schooling
  • 4 official languages in the Limpopo province (11 in S. Africa)
  • Mass Literacy Campaign
  • Multimedia cost: US$250K for basic literacy
3 moving forward the evidence agenda
3. Moving forward the evidence agenda

Monitoring and Evaluation of ICT in Education:

InfoDev/World Bank Handbook for Developing Countries

How to:

  • Use indicators to measure effects
  • Plan for M&E
  • Build M&E capacity
  • Promote “pro-equity” approaches
4 conclusions
4. Conclusions
  • Investments in ICTs are growing, but much is going to the wrong places
  • Thus…
    • Particular EFA needs (multiple languages and skill levels) should be carefully addressed
    • Increased ICT investments should be made in learning rather than hardware
    • More evidence needs needs to be gathered on learning outcomes of ICTs
    • Gadgets are not enough
    • Sustainability is a key issue – what are recurrent costs?
  • Learning sciences and global human development
    • We need to consider multilingualism and local skill base
    • We can open up new ways of motivating and learning
for more information
For more information
  • Literacy.org (for BFI reports and ILI docs)
  • INFODEV.org (for the Handbook)
  • Wagner@literacy.upenn.edu
slide22

BFI - India

The launch of the BFI in Andhra Pradesh, 2003