025_G18_InSight_GlobalSociety

Global_18

Global Insight ICT for Education coming from governments to their schools – that’s the usual model. Then governments began to take refuge in that classic phrase, ‘Your ICT funding is reflected in your overall budget.’ I hated that phrase! That’s effectively what’s happened throughout Europe. But if organisations had instigated a good ICT culture in the school, then it became a dimension of fundraising as well. “One finance-related response to sustainability would be that laptops and tablets are getting cheaper and cheaper, the $100 laptop is fast approaching, if not the $100 tablet.” Government support for ICT in schools varies from country to country, but many African governments are keen to help provide equipment for schools. When Uhuru Kenyatta came to power in Kenya, he promised to provide a laptop for each child starting primary school – an initiative that is now underway. However, most ICT initiatives in African schools have been supported by outside funding, which is difficult to guarantee in the long term. “Donor policies can be short term,” says Morrrissey, “and changes of government can bring changes overnight. Having said that, big donors like the World Bank and the African Development Bank do provide consistent funding, but that goes directly to the ministry; then you have to see how much ministries will allocate for equipment.” Broadband availability varies greatly throughout Africa and the cost is a great deal higher than it is in the West, which means it is often only affordable if it’s sponsored. “Unfortunately, it is still multiples of European costs even where it is available, and that’s a shame. “To give you an example, for a 5 Mb line, you’re probably paying up to €1,000 a month,” says Morrissey. Cities close to the coast are often best served with broadband because the cables come from Europe and the USA through pipelines under the sea. Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Ghana have good broadband links in most urban areas, but rural parts of Africa, and cities that are too far inland, fare least well. There may be some teachers in rural areas who have not even held a laptop in their hands, but you can get over that quickly And, of course, some schools have a much more fundamental problem when it comes to accessing ICT – no electricity. For schools that are without power, there could be a solution around the corner that will enable them to use laptops. “There have been a few little attempts by Samsung and Safari.com to introduce solar, but I haven’t yet seen a decent, long-term sustainable solution where you could say to schools, ‘Well if you buy 20 laptops with their solar cells, you’ll be fine,’” says Morrissey. “There’s no real demonstration model that’s genuinely scaleable with a low cost yet. But I would love to see a solar answer.” Secondary school teachers get some pointers on using technology in the classroom for science, technology, English and maths lessons global second quar ter 2014 www.global -br ief ing.org l 25


Global_18
To see the actual publication please follow the link above