2013-2017

Education

Working Group Co-Chaired by:

Irina Bokova
Director General
UNESCO
John Galvin
Vice President, Government and Education
Intel Corporation

In the first phase of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development (2010-2015), UNESCO and ITU put forward a vision to harness broadband and ICTs to achieve the Education For All (EFA) goals, enhance the availability of educational content which reflects cultural diversity, as well as ensure freedom of expression and universal access to this content, as the foundation pillars for building inclusive knowledge societies. 

As Co-Vice-chair of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, UNESCO is committed to advancing the objectives of the Commission within its field of competence. In its September 2016 meeting, many Commissioners underlined the importance and opportunities of broadband and ICT uses for education. In response to these intensive discussions, UNESCO’s Director-General offered to re-launch the Education Working Group and was joined by Intel’s Vice President of Government and Education as co-chair of the group.

Objectives of the 2017 Group:

  • Examine strategies and policies to better equip young people and adults with the digital skills and the flexibility to fully participate as citizens in digital economies, through education, training, lifelong learning opportunities;
  • Facilitate sharing of knowledge and promising practices on innovations in harnessing broadband and mobile learning to teach digital skills, prepare the professionals needed by the emerging digitalized economy, foster soft skills such as problem solving, collaboration and creativity, enable citizen participation, and support lifelong learning through online communities and resources including open education resources;                   
  • Review international evidence regarding the emergence of digitized societies, digital government and strategies, in both developed and developing countries, and its impact on skills, education and training;

  • Collect and share, from and within the members of the Broadband Commission, government and industry responses to promote and improve digital skills and support lifelong learning through broadband solutions.

Objectives of the 2013 Group:

  • The Working Group on Education (WG-E) aims to promote Education for All (EFA). 

  • What are the bottlenecks in achieving EFA and how can the Broadband Commission address them?

  • How can innovative use of mobile devices and mobile broadband be harnessed for achieving the MDGs and EFA goals?

  • Is broadband-based distance education a cost-effective solution for reaching the unreached? And what are the criteria for successful distance education?

  • How can broadband connectivity contribute to national coordination and international cooperation on EFA through better information management, coordination and sharing, including development of Educational Management Information Systems (EMIS) and shared knowledge resources (e.g. Open Educational Resources and Open Access to scientific information)?

  • What role might broadband-enhanced social media and user generated content play in student-centred education?​​

2017

  1. The re-launch of the group was proposed in New York (USA) in September 2016. 
  2. The Group held one meeting (conference call) in January 2017.
  3. The group had an onsite meeting at the Broadband Commission Spring meeting 2017 held in Hong Kong SAR of China on 15th March.

2013

  1. T​he WG-E held its inaugural meeting in Paris on 5 June 2011 to define the scope and purpose of its activities, with a second meeting on 24-25 February to present the report “Technology Broadband and Education: 
  2. Advancing the Education for All Agenda” to the conference of the WSIS+10 review process in Paris. The report was presented to press representatives at an event at Mobile World Congress on 27 February 2013.
  1. The Working Group on Education launched its final report “Digital Skills for Life and Work”, in New York on the 17th of September 2017. Read the Press release.

Outcomes

Education

Digital Skills for Life and Work

The Digital Skills for Life and Work Report observes that in today’s broadband society, digital skills are key. The ability to operate a smartphone, navigate the internet, engage in online environments, and organize and safeguard digital information are essential ‘literacies’, skills and competencies needed by all people. Schools and other educational institutions have had trouble preparing people to thrive in technology-rich environments. They are only beginning to map digital skills and launch initiatives to teach them in ways that are equitable, inclusive and sustainable.

Technology, Broadband, and Education

Advancing the Education for All Agenda

The report begins with a brief overview of the rationale for expanding and improving the use of ICTs in education. It stresses that participation in the global economy is increasingly dependent on the 21st-century skill of navigating the digital world. However, traditional school curricula tend to prioritize the accumulation of knowledge above its application, and many systems fail to adequately train students in how to become responsible digital citizens, or prepare them to sustain their employability throughout their lives in a knowledge economy. 

Expanding access to, and proper use of, ICTs will solve this challenge, while at the same time increasing the efficiency of school systems, improving teacher training and resources, and extending learning opportunities beyond the classroom and to disadvantaged groups. Governments – in developing countries in particular – need to explore ways to bridge the digital divide and implement policies that encourage increased investment in ICT in education. 

Throughout the report, and in the case histories contained in the Appendix, there are concrete examples of these strategies in action.

Membership, 2017

Broadband Commissioners

  1. Varkey Foundation
  2. Dr Carlos M. Jarque
  3. South Africa
  4. KT
  5. Ericsson