ICT Policy for Basic Education in Tanzania: Challenges, Strategies and Prospects

ICT Policy for Basic Education in Tanzania: Challenges, Strategies and Prospects

Inderjeet Singh Sodhi (Head, Department of Public Administration, St. Wilfred's Post Graduate College, Jaipur, India)
DOI: 10.4018/ijicthd.2013100103

Abstract

In developing countries, ICT is playing an important role in economic growth and nation-building. New emerging technological changes have made services enabled by ICT a pre-requisite for development of the education sector because it enables teachers, students and administrators to share and exchange information and knowledge. ICT is vital for the sustainable development of education particularly in developing countries like Tanzania where awareness and development is taking place after independence. On the guidelines of World Bank and UNESCO, many developing countries have formulated and implemented ICT Policy for education. To this course, several initiatives have been designed, devised and developed by the Government of Tanzania. The ICT Policy for Basic Education (2007) is a set of guidelines desired to position Tanzania at the universal level for which education is being implemented with concerted efforts for pre-primary, primary, secondary and vocational education. One of the major motivations for drawing this policy has been the desire to transform Tanzania from a knowledge driven society to information and digital driven society. This article delves the role played by ICT in the education sector particularly at the primary level and brings out the objectives, issues, and challenges in basic education that have been done so far in Tanzania. Although significant improvements have taken place in Tanzania, a lot more has to be done in primary level of education if it needs to compete favourably at an African and international stage.
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Introduction

In this emerging world, knowledge and information as a source of communication with each other are becoming cornerstones for the development of a society. It is the duty of government agencies/bodies, NGOs, civil society organisations (CSOs) and private sectors to prepare children and youth so that they can benefit in the information age. It is expected that every society/country should take advantage of the full range of information and communication technology (ICT) to build the foundation for a well-developed education and learning knowledge society.

Throughout the world, every country whether developed or developing, is giving emphasis on application of ICT in all its government working known as e-government which is “A government that applies ICT to transform its internal and external relationships”(UN, 2003). The use and application of ICT in education in every country is the bedrock of a knowledge and informative society and it not only will help the country to achieve education for All (EFA) as enshrined in the MDGs but will also reduce the digital divide existing in the society. The medium of ICT could be computer, internet, mobile, telephone, television, radio as well as the equipment and services associated with these technologies, such as electronic mail, text messaging, etc.

Since 21st Century, ICT advances have led to multiple convergences of content, computing, telecommunications and broadcasting. They have brought changes in other areas, particularly in information, knowledge management, education development and human resource development. It is accepted that ICTs are “tools that facilitates communication and the processing and transmission of information and the sharing of knowledge by electronic means” (UNDESA-GAID, 2009:5). ICTs are “tools or techniques that allow recording, storing, using, diffusing and accessing electronic information” (World Bank, 2002).

A survey of research and evidence demonstrates that despite major inequalities across the world and continued gaps on access and use of ICTs, these tools and techniques can have positive impacts for human development (UNDP, 2010). The rapidly growing impact of ICT has brought about a revolutionary change in every sphere of life (Kamal, 2002). ICT plays an important role in transforming teaching and learning (Dhar, 2002). ICTs applied to education offer huge potential to stimulate and realize the human capital inherent in the enormous number of young people (ADB, 2004: vi).

The link between education and development has been articulated in much of the planning and policy issues resulting in many initiatives to introduce integrated education information system. The present emphasis in development strategies in favour of education becomes one of the foundations for the priorities in information activities. In every developing country like Tanzania, the importance of information and communication technology (ICT) is being realised for improved access, equity and relevance of education. Information and communication technology (ICT) has important implications in terms of human development which provides the basis for a paradigm shift in developing goals, moving from needs to opportunities and it promotes capacities, jurisdiction and awareness.

Many regions/parts of Tanzania already possess information centres, libraries, documentation centres and educational statistical units. Earlier, the problem was how these largely traditional document-oriented institutions could meet the needs of multi-disciplinary, educational development concerns. Only the recent technological advances in remote sensing, communication and data processing possess the potential that can meet the challenges of innovative information collection, processing and delivery methods, and continuous research and development and updating of those methods.

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