EI has announced a partnership with the international technology supplier, Intel. This partnership aims at improving the quality of learning and teaching tools, crucial to ensuring quality public education for all. It has also laid out a set of important principles to provide international technology suppliers with a roadmap to join with educators to deploy modern tools for teaching and learning to under-served and disadvantaged areas around the globe.
The agreement was announced in a meeting with Gordon Brown, Special Envoy for education to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. It begins a planning process in the coming weeks to match technology systems and strategies to the needs of teachers and students in specific areas and explore new collaborative efforts between teacher organisations and school authorities to provide student curriculum and teacher training.
Power of technology in research and teaching
“Teachers have been open source since the beginning of our profession - borrowing, sharing, and collaborating. Technology gives educators the opportunity to take professional practice to an entirely new level,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “Research shows that teachers, at home in their own time, are researching and developing curricula to reach their students, and create learning opportunities to improve their skills.”
Members of EI have seen the power of technology in the hands of professional teachers and their students, he added. “Although the digital divide is a stubborn reality in many parts of the world, the divide is shrinking as communication devices and methods considered unthinkable just a few years ago are now available. We want to put them to work in the hands of teachers.”
EI document on ICT in education
EI has also released a document, “Use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Education”, acknowledging that modern developments in ICT provide exciting possibilities to enhance the quality of education.
“Interactive education software, open access digital libraries, and cheaper and more intuitive technology may facilitate new forms of interaction between students, teachers, education employees and the community and enhance the quality of education by making it more accessible,” the document reads.
It also outlines that: “education may be enriched by integrating such technologies into traditional educational activities. However, it must be recognised that ICT may never displace the relationship between teacher and learner which is crucial to the learning and development process.”
ICT integral to quality education
EI believes that education unions should support the use of ICT as an integral part of the provision of quality education for all. Organisations representing educators should advocate for the use of ICT in education as a key modern aid to teaching and learning; advocate for free access for all teachers and learners, support professionals and administrators in education, to high quality dedicated ICT; and monitor the implementation of any agreements entered into by governments, national education or school authorities for the provision of ICT by commercial companies.
Highlighting the fact that education unions’ voices must be heard, the document calls on Governments and national education authorities to develop national plans for the use and promotion of ICT in education in consultation with education unions and education community interests and others with relevant expertise.
Agreements with commercial ICT companies
Where commercial ICT companies are engaged by Governments or national education or school authorities to contribute to the provision of ICT in education or become voluntarily involved in such provision, EI demands that that engagement be subjected to agreements which
- Recognise the professional integrity and independence of the education institutions and personnel who are affected
- Ensure that the primary purpose of the engagement is to provide support for teaching and learning
- Ensure that consultative processes with professional education staff are an essential element in the development of the software and hardware provided
- Include provision for monitoring mechanisms for the implementation of any such agreements which include professional education staff