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									          ADB TA No. 6278-REG    Contract No: COCS/60-026    RTI Project No 0210103


    Innovative Information and Communication Technology in Education and
        Its Potential for Reducing Poverty in the Asia and Pacific Region



    From Policy to Pupil: How Governments
         Encourage ICT in Education
                                       December 2007

                                Appendix 7 of Final Report




                                       Julian Watson




f
Technical Assistance Consultant’s Report
Project Number: TA No. 6278-REG
December 2007

Appendix 7 of Final Report




Regional ICT Policy and Strategy Report: Innovative
Information and Communication Technology in
Education and Its Potential for Reducing Poverty in
the Asia and Pacific Region: “From Policy to Pupil:
How Governments Encourage ICT in Education”
(Financed by the Poverty Reduction Cooperation Fund,
Asian Development Bank)
Prepared by
Julian Watson
RTI International
3040 Cornwallis Road
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194
USA

For
Asian Development Bank
ATTN: Jouko Sarvi
Principal Education Specialist
Capacity Development and Governance Division
Regional and Sustainable Development Department
6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City
1550 Metro Manila, Philippines




This consultant’s report does not necessarily reflect the views of ADB or the Governments concerned, and ADB and the
Governments cannot be held liable for its contents.



RTI International is a trade name of Research Triangle Institute.
                                                                                                                                             iii


                                                             CONTENTS


ABBREVIATIONS ....................................................................................................................... vii

I.        EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ..................................................................................................1
          A.      Background of the Study ..........................................................................................1
          B.      Study Findings and Conclusions ..............................................................................2
          C.      Study Recommendations .........................................................................................6

II.       STUDY INTRODUCTION, SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY .............................................7
          A.      Study Introduction and Context ................................................................................7
          B.      Scope of the Study ...................................................................................................8
          C.      Study Methodology...................................................................................................8

III.      RELEVANT CONTEXTUAL ASPECTS IN STUDY COUNTRIES ....................................9
          A.      Social and Demographic Aspects ............................................................................9
          B.      Geographic Aspects ...............................................................................................12
          C.      Economic Aspects..................................................................................................13
          D.      Country Context: Summary and Conclusions ........................................................14

IV.       EXISTING ICT POLICIES IN STUDY COUNTRIES .......................................................16
          A.      Mongolia.................................................................................................................16
          B.      Samoa ....................................................................................................................18
          C.      Nepal ......................................................................................................................19
          D.      Bangladesh ............................................................................................................20
          E.      Cambodia ...............................................................................................................22
          F.      The Philippines.......................................................................................................23
          G.      Thailand .................................................................................................................24
          H.      ICT Policy Implementation .....................................................................................25
          I.      Common Elements of ICT Policies.........................................................................26
          J.      ICT Policy: Summary and Conclusion....................................................................27

V.        INTANGIBLE FACTORS AFFECTING ICT POLICY AND STRATEGY IN
          EDUCATION ...................................................................................................................28
          A.      Demand for Innovative ICT in Education................................................................28
                  1.         Overview..................................................................................................... 28
                  2.         General Evidence ....................................................................................... 29
                  3.         Country Evidence ....................................................................................... 29
iv


        B.     Perceptions and Misconceptions of ICT in Education ............................................32
               1.         Overview..................................................................................................... 32
               2.         Teachers’ Attitudes..................................................................................... 34
               3.         What Are the Results of Misconceptions?.................................................. 37
        C.     A Vision for Change ...............................................................................................38
        D.     Intangible Aspects: Summary and Conclusions .....................................................40

VI.     ISSUES OF PLANNING ON ICT IN EDUCATION..........................................................42
        A.     Integrated Planning within Total Country Needs ....................................................42
               1.         Overview..................................................................................................... 42
        B.     Sector-Wide Approaches .......................................................................................44
        C.     Government–Donor Planning and Cooperation .....................................................45
        D.     Planning: Summary and Conclusions ....................................................................47

VII.    LEGAL AND REGULATORY ISSUES ............................................................................48
        Overview on Legal and Regulatory Issues......................................................................48
        B.     Regulatory Frameworks in the Focus Countries ....................................................49
               1.         Mongolia ..................................................................................................... 49
               2.         Samoa ........................................................................................................ 49
               3.         Nepal .......................................................................................................... 50
               4.         Bangladesh................................................................................................. 51
        C.     The Need for Regulation ........................................................................................53
        D.     Licensing ................................................................................................................54
        E.     Taxation of Products and Services.........................................................................55
        F.     Special Technology Development Funds...............................................................57
        G.     Intellectual Property Right Issues...........................................................................58
        H.     Legal and Regulatory Issues: Summary and Conclusions.....................................60

VIII.   ISSUES OF CONTENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE ........................................................61
        A.     Free and Open Source Software............................................................................61
        B.     Localization ............................................................................................................63
               1.         Overview..................................................................................................... 63
               2.         Localization of Operating Systems ............................................................. 65
        C.     Affordable Computers and Equipment Packages ..................................................67
        D.     Connectivity............................................................................................................72
               1.         Overview..................................................................................................... 72
               2.         Cost of Connectivity.................................................................................... 75
                                                                                                                                          v


                 3.         Government Policy for Increasing Connectivity.......................................... 76
                 4.         Connectivity in Focus Countries ................................................................. 76
          E.     Content and Infrastructure Issues: Summary and Conclusions .............................80

IX.       ISSUES OF INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURES AND PARTNERSHIPS ..........................82
          A.     Technology Parks ..................................................................................................82
          B.     Centers of Excellence ............................................................................................84
          C.     Public/Private Education Partnerships and Initiatives ............................................86
          D.     Institutional Issues and Partnerships: Summary and Conclusion ..........................88

X.        STUDY SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS.............................................88
          A.     Overall Summary of Findings .................................................................................88
          B.     Conclusion .............................................................................................................91

XI.       STUDY RECOMMENDATIONS......................................................................................92
          A.     Recommendations .................................................................................................92
          C.     Synthesis................................................................................................................94

XII.      REFERENCES................................................................................................................96

APPENDIX: COUNTRY CONTEXT INFORMATION ON MDGS AND THE GENERAL
     TRANSPORTATION, COMMUNICATION, AND INFORMATION
     INFRASTRUCTURE .....................................................................................................102



                                                        List of Exhibits


Exhibit 1. Selected Social and Demographic Indicators ............................................................11

Exhibit 2. Country Comparison on Selected Geographical Characteristics ...............................12

Exhibit 3. Country Comparison of Per Capita GNI and ADF Classification................................14

Exhibit 4. Tangible and Intangible Factors Affecting the Enabling Environment of Effective
        Use of ICT for Education.................................................................................................28

Exhibit 5. The Weighted Percentages of the Rankings for e-Readiness ...................................38

Exhibit 6. The Rankings for e-Readiness for 14 ADB Member Countries .................................39

Exhibit 7. What Localization Problems Are DMCs Facing? .......................................................65

Exhibit 8. Sixteen ADB Member Countries that Do Not Have Computer Operating Systems
        in Their Official Languages and their Population ............................................................66
vi


Exhibit 9. Expenditure per Student as a Percentage of GDP Per Capita in the Four Focus
        Countries.........................................................................................................................69

Exhibit 10. Village Connectivity: Top 10 Developing Countries by Rural Population .................74

Exhibit 11. Anomalies: Cost vs. Connectivity.............................................................................75

Exhibit 12. Framework of an Enabling Environment for the Effective Use of ICT for
        Education Focusing on Tools and Aspects That Can Be Controlled and Nurtured by
        Government ....................................................................................................................95
                                                                               vii



                         ABBREVIATIONS


ADB       Asian Development Bank
ADF       Asian Development Fund
ADSL      asymmetric digital subscriber line
APDIP     Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (UNDP)
ASEAN     Association of Southeast Asian Nations
AusAID    Australian Aid Agency
BCC       Bangladesh Computer Council
Becta     British Educational Communications and Technology Agency
BTRC      Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission
BTTB      Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board
CAGR      compound annual growth rate
CATV      community-access television
CES       Central Electricity System (Mongolia)
CMDG      Cambodian Millennium Development Goals
CRC       Communications Regulation Commission (Mongolia)
CSL       Computer Services Ltd. (Samoa)
CSO       civil society organization
DEET      Department of Employment, Education, and Training (Northern Territory,
          Australia)
DMC       developing member country
EFA       Education for All
ESP II    Education Sector Project, Phase II
EU        European Union
FBCCI     Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry
FOSS      free and open source software
GAPP      Government Assisted PC Program
GDP       gross domestic product
GNI       gross national income
GNP       gross national product
GP        Grameen Phone
GSM       global system for mobile communications
GT        Grameen Telecommunications
HLC-IT    High-Level Commission for Information Technology (Nepal)
ICT       information and communication technology
ICTA      Information and Communication Technology Authority (Mongolia)
iEARN     International Education and Resource Network
IIREM     ICT for Innovative Rural Education in Mongolia
infoDev   Information for Development Program
IOSN      International Open Source Network
IPR       intellectual property right
ISP       Internet service provider
IT        information technology
ITECC     Information Technology and E-Commerce Council (Philippines)
ITU       International Telecommunications Union
KOICA     Korean International Cooperation Agency
LCD       liquid crystal display
MCC       Millennium Challenge Corporation
viii


MCIT             Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (Samoa)
MDG              Millennium Development Goals
MECS             Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science (Mongolia)
MESC             Ministry of Education, Sports, and Culture (Samoa)
MOEYS            Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport (Cambodia)
MOI              Ministry of Infrastructure (Mongolia)
MOIC             Ministry of Information and Communication (Nepal)
MOU              memorandum of understanding
MTC              Mongolia Telecom Company
NAEM             National Academy of Education Management (Bangladesh)
NCED             National Center for Education Development (Nepal)
NECTEC           National Electronics and Computer Technology Center
NGO              nongovernmental organization
NICT             National ICT Commission (Mongolia)
NITC             National Information Technology Center (Nepal)
NITP             National Information Technology Park (Mongolia)
NTA              Nepal Telecommunications Authority
NTC              Nepal Telecommunications Corporation
NUS              National University of Samoa
OCR              ordinary capital resources
OECD             Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OLPC             One Laptop per Child
OSS              Open Source Software
PC               personal computer
PfE              Partnerships for Education
PLDT             Philippines Long Distance Telephone Company
PMO              Prime Minister’s office
PPIAF            Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility
PPP              public-private partnership
PPTA             Program Preparation Technical Assistance
PSTN             public switched telephone network
R&D              research and development
RETA             Regional Technical Assistance
RTDF             Rural Telecom Development Fund
RTI              Research Triangle Institute
RTP              Research Triangle Park
SEAMEO           South East Asia Ministers of Education Organisation,
      INNOTECH   Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (Philippines)
SEDP             Second Education Development Project (Mongolia)
SES              Statement of Economic Strategy
SICT             Support to ICT Taskforce
SMS              short messaging service
ST               Samoan tala (currency)
SWAp             sector-wide approach
TA               technical assistance
TCO              total cost of ownership
TEDP             Third Education Development Project
Tk               Bangladesh taka (currency)
TOT              training of trainers
TQI              Teaching Quality Improvement
TTI              Teacher Training Institute (Bangladesh)
                                                                             ix


TVET     technical and vocational education and training
UN       United Nations
UNDP     United Nations Development Programme
UNESCO   United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
UNFPA    United Nations Population Fund
UPU      Universal Postal Union
USAID    United States Agency for International Development
VAT      value-added tax
VoIP     Voice over Internet Protocol
VSAT     very small aperture terminal
WAN      wide-area network
WLL      wireless local loop (community-access television)
WSIS     World Summit on the Information Society
WTO      World Trade Organization
                                                                                                   x


                                      Acknowledgments


In writing a policy report on a subject as wide as “ICT in Education and Its Potential for
Reducing Poverty in the Asia and Pacific Region,” a researcher must inevitably rely on a large
number of people for information and opinions. It would be impossible to list them all here but
special thanks must go to the following for giving time, help, opinions, and, above all, their
knowledge to helping me in the writing of this document.

Australia: Paul Schapper, IGS. Bangladesh: Golam R. Hiru, Bangladesh Education &
Resource Network; Kamal Uddin Ahmed, Mohammud Mamunur and Rashid Chowdhury,
Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC); Muhammed Omar Farooq, Bangladesh
Telecommunication Regulatory Commission; Safiqul Islam, BRAC; Manzoor Ahmed, BRAC
University Institute of Educational Development; Mohammad Tipu Sultan, Citycell; Mahmud
Hasan and Ananya Raihan, D.Net; Nazrul Islam, Directorate of Secondary and Higher
Education; Manir Hassan, Government of Bangladesh; Mohammed Nazrul Islam, Ministry of
Education; Mohammed Ashraful Moqbul, Ministry of Education; Wahid-uz-Zaman, Ministry of
Science & ICT; Munir Hasan, Strengthening the ICT Capacity of Prime Minister's Office.
Cambodia: Their Excellencies. Mak Vann, Koeu, Nay Leangand, Chhay Aun, Ministry of Youth
Education & Sport. Mongolia: Ulaankhuu Yumjav, Government Communications Department;
Batpurev Batchuluun, InfoCon Co. Ltd; E. Zolbayer, Information Communication Technology
Authority; E. Oyunbileg and S. Sukhbold, Khan Bank - Agricultural Bank of Mongolia;
Sukhbaatar Enkhjargal, Mongolian Information Development Association); Gmbosuren Batbold,
MOECS; Ayush Batjargal, National Information Technology Park; Gerelmaa Amgaabazar and
Dashdeleg Baljid, Open Society Forum; Philippa Ramsden and Otgonjargal Okhido, Save the
Children UK, Mongolia. Nepal: Manohar Kumar Bhattarai, High Level Commission for IT; Pavan
S. Shakya, Internet Service Providers' Association Nepal; Indra Prasad Subedi, Mero Mobile;
Ram S. Karki, Nepal Radio; S. K. Kansacar, Nepal Telecom; Bishwa Prakash Maskey, Nepal
TV; Laya Sangroula, Nepal TV. New Zealand: Robert Hanmer, ANZDEC Ltd.. Philippines: Min
Tan, Commission on Information and Communications Technology; Zenalda T. Domingo,
SEAMEO INNOTECH. Samoa: Mark Burns, ANZ Bank; Leota Valma Galuvao and Amanda
Roberts, AusAID; David Main, Computer Services Ltd; Gerard Williams, Datech Ltd; Junji
Ishizuka, JICA; James Potoi, National University of Samoa; Philip Hewitt, New Zealand High
Commission; Tim Barker, South Pacific Business Development; Georgina Bonin, UNDP
Singapore: Jonathan Kushner, Microsoft; Habibullah Khan, Universitas21Global. Thailand:
Christine, Apikul, Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme; Shaid Aktar, former Head
of Asia- Pacific Development Information Program, UNDP; Pornpun Waitayangkoon, Institute
for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology; Benjamin, Vergel, de Dios, UNESCO.
United Kingdom: Helen Butcher, Wiveliscombe Primary School. United States of America
Ann Carlson Weeks, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland.

In addition, I would like to acknowledge the support of the ADB staff in Manila and in the focus
country missions for their support. Special thanks must go to the staff of the ADB library in
Manila and the editing staff of RTI who have helped to produce the finished document.
                                                                                                     1


                                      I.      EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


A.        Background of the Study
1.     With the aim of providing developing member countries (DMCs) with better guidance to
use information and communication technology (ICT) effectively in education, the Asian
Development Bank (ADB) funded a 21-month regional technical assistance (RETA) in
Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia, and Samoa. The RETA researched approaches to using ICT in
education in ways that succeed in improving teaching and learning and also are sustainable
given the region’s development challenges. The study was implemented by RTI International in
partnership with iEARN-USA. Titled “Innovative Information and Communication Technology in
Education and Its Potential for Reducing Poverty in Asia and the Pacific Region,”1 the program
commenced in April 2006. Study outcomes from all four countries were shared at an
International ICT for Education Conference that took place 16–18 October 2007 at ADB
headquarters in Manila, Philippines.

2.     The study’s aims were (i) to highlight promising models of ICT integration and best
practices, (ii) to identify drivers and barriers to successful ICT integration, and (iii) to share
lessons learned, with a specific focus on rural and remote areas. The study combined policy
analysis, program evaluation, and small-scale activities. Countries chosen by ADB, based on
geographic and demographic characteristics, provided their perspectives and country context.
The study linked with existing education projects in each of the four participating countries that
already featured ICT elements. The RETA was structured along three technical components:

          •   Policy and Strategy component (regional),

          •   e-Resources component (Mongolia and Samoa), and

          •   e-Teacher Training component (Nepal and Bangladesh).

3.     The Policy and Strategy component was designed to support DMCs and ADB in
designing policies and strategies to promote appropriate and increased use of ICT in education
in the Asia and Pacific region. The main task of this component was to identify, investigate and
discuss key aspects to be considered in such a context. The Policy and Strategy component
was undertaken in parallel with the other two study components and was grounded in outcomes
of that research, specifically as they pertain to national policy and strategy. Therefore, in
addition to original research this report therefore draws on the findings of the Country Reports—
Mongolia,2 Samoa,3 Nepal,4 and Bangladesh,5 —and combines them with outcomes from
sessions and discussions during the October 2007 International ICT for Education Conference.

4.    To achieve its objective, the Policy and Strategy component identified and investigated
issues along the following dimensions:

          •   Intangible Factors

          •   Issues of Planning

1
     Referred to as “the study” from here forward.
2
     See Appendix 8 of the RETA Final Report, the Mongolia Country Report.
3
     See Appendix 9 of the RETA Final Report, the Samoa Country Report.
4
     See Appendix 10 of the RETA Final Report, the Nepal Country Report.
5
     See Appendix 11 of the RETA Final Report, the Bangladesh Country Report.
2


          •    Legal and Regulatory issues

          •    Issues of Infrastructure and Content

          •    Issues of Institutional Structures and Partnerships

          •    Human Resources Development

5.     To research these dimensions, the Policy and Strategy study component (from hereon
called “the study”) featured formal missions to the four focus countries—Bangladesh, Mongolia,
Nepal, and Samoa. Cambodia, Indonesia, The Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand were also
visited to increase regional focus and complement outcomes from the four focus countries.

B.        Study Findings and Conclusions
6.    According to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) an enabling
environment can be described as “a trustworthy, transparent and non-discriminatory legal,
regulatory and policy environment”, which needs to be created by governments “to maximize
the social, economic and environmental benefits of the Information Society.”6 With this
background it becomes clear that appropriate ICT policies and strategies are at the core of an
enabling environment for ICT.

7.        All the subject countries have some form of ICT policy. Some even have specific ICT
policies and strategies for education. The ICT policies include some common elements and
address similar sectors, but the study found great variation in the extent to which these policies
and strategies have been implemented—that is, with specific action plans, appropriate budget
allocations, and clear attribution of roles and responsibilities among stakeholders. This research
suggests that contextual factors, as well as tangible and intangible factors, play a role in the
design and implementation of such policies and ICT strategies. Intangible factors, such as broad
stakeholder demand, a shared vision for ICT in education, prevailing perceptions on ICT, or
political stability, have to date not been comprehensively discussed in publications on either ICT
policies and strategies, or critical aspects of an enabling environment for ICT development. The
study found that commitment to tangibles without addressing the intangibles weakens a
country’s ICT development considerably. Governments that want to nurture appropriate and
increased use of ICT for education will therefore have to incorporate all these factors into their
planning. The research under this component identified six dimensions, mentioned in
paragraph 4 above, which are conceptualized as six pillars of a comprehensive ICT policy and
therewith at the heart of an enabling environment, as a guiding structure for the many factors to
be considered. The RETA researched the first five of these in more detail. Human resources
development as it pertains to development and training of information technology (IT) specialists
was outside the scope of this RETA. Also, it is not assumed that this list of pillars or the selected
issues researched in this study are exhaustive in covering all the factors involved in the area of
ICT policies and strategies.

8.    At the outset of any initiative on ICT in education, there has to be a solid understanding of
the need for contextualization. This study found some best practices on nurturing appropriate
and increased use of ICT in education, but no universal solutions. Because the countries in the
Asia and Pacific region are diverse on social, demographic, geographic, and economic


6
     World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). 2003. Plan of Action. Geneva. 6. Available:
     http://www.itu.int/dms_pub/itu-s/md/03/wsis/doc/S03-WSIS-DOC-0005!!PDF-E.pdf.
                                                                                                    3


indicators, approaches and models of ICT integration—and related policies and strategies—
used in one country must be carefully evaluated and adapted to another country’s local context.

9.      Intangible Factors. Lack of demand for ICT and prevailing misconceptions on ICT are
closely related to a lack of awareness and information about the potential of ICT and its use in
education. The study found that where governments take an active role in generating public
awareness, such as through marketing and information campaigns and communication of good
local practices, stakeholder demand is high. At the same time, ignorance about ICT—often
expressed as a limited view that ICT is only computer training—is low. Addressing
misconceptions is critical. Findings suggest that groups in different DMCs appear to have
varying perceptions and therefore expectations of technology in education. Misconceptions can
lead to disappointment and even cynicism about the benefits ICT can offer for education.
Political instability and a lack of transparence in regulations and their applications are also
among the intangible factors that negatively impact ICT development. Study findings indicate
that the government’s vision and commitment is pivotal in this process. ICT, however, must not
be treated as a magic bullet to quickly solve education problems and deliver political promises.

10. Planning. Effective use of ICT in education requires diligent planning at all levels, from
classroom to school to local authority to regional authority and to the Ministry of Education.
However, the Ministry of Education’s plans, as often expressed in education sector development
programs, have to ensure that micro-level needs arising from the schools are also integrated
into macro-level national policy, because systemic integration of ICT depends heavily on factors
outside of the education system. Examples include needs and demands from other sectors and
ministries, such as labor, health, transportation, and communication. In addition, all sector plans
are subject to fiscal plans demarcated by ministries of finance. Such external influences and
demands need to be determined, ideally through an inclusive planning process, to define the
parameters of a feasible sector-wide approach (SWAp). In addition, governments need to
ensure that donor and private sector support is aligned with this demand. Donor-funded pilot
projects are one important way to discover local lessons learned. However, they also have to
include sufficient funds to evaluate the costs of introducing, and maintaining alternate ICT
models, so that it can be known how applicable they are to the larger system. Fragmented
implementation of pilot projects and initiatives is inefficient. The study found that planning for the
integration of ICT into education, therefore, has to be concerted, long term, systemic, and
holistic, yet flexible enough to accommodate innovation and change.

11.     Most critically, if ICT is to be integrated in a way that achieves sustainable change, it has
to be driven by educational objectives, not technological desires. This is also expressed in the
“value of investment” concept. As a complement to total cost of ownership (TCO) deliberations,
this concept centers the discourse on an understanding that the goal for schools is ultimately
education (as compared to a return-on-investment discourse that focuses on business goals in
revenue generation or cost reduction). Schools and education systems have to have clear
educational goals and know how investments in technology can contribute to their achievement.
The value of investment in technology is therefore determined by a profound understanding of
the anticipated benefits versus the cost of implementation and ownership.

12.      Legal and Regulatory Issues. The emergence of new technology often requires
regulation. For example, the allocation of radio spectrum frequencies is necessary to protect the
integrity of wireless communications for various important government and civilian applications.
Research under this RETA revealed that strong, independent, and transparent regulatory
bodies backed by enforceable law are absolutely essential for innovative development of ICT.
Government can put the legal and regulatory frameworks in place to create a vibrant,
4


competitive telecommunication market that lowers costs to consumers and encourages
expansion of access to underserved areas. To stimulate the ICT industry, governments have
used tools such as licensing, tax breaks, or special technology funds that may encourage
providers to build infrastructure in rural areas. The study found that none of the countries under
investigation has fully optimized use of such tools. This leaves opportunities for future initiatives.
Laws also must protect intellectual property rights and create an environment in which new
businesses can quickly develop and, increasingly important, be assured of digital security. Even
where such laws exist, examples from DMCs indicate that implementation and enforcement are
lagging. Careful review of the existing legal and regulatory frameworks, therefore, should be a
key task for governments that aim to put in place a framework that truly nurtures ICT
development.

13. Infrastructure and Content. Selection of appropriate technology should be driven by
education development objectives, not by technology or by interests from external partners.
Alternative technology models need to be evaluated carefully against overarching educational
development objectives, as well as the social, geographic, and economic context of a country.
Considerations of total cost of ownership and value of investment are applicable here. The
study identified and described several equipment packages and current affordable computer
initiatives, as well as strategies for providing connectivity, to highlight various approaches and
options. It goes without saying that if there is no access to ICT, it cannot possibly be used to
improve access to and quality of education. Study findings suggest, however, that effective use
of ICT to improve teaching and learning does not necessarily require high-tech computer labs,
or schemes in which every student receives a laptop, or 24/7 broadband connectivity. Instead,
what is needed is careful consideration of the contextual factors mentioned, consideration of
existing human resources and capacity, and—most of all—clear objectives. In regard to content,
decisions on the use of licensed or open source software are difficult ones. The study found that
there is no universal answer as to which solution should be adopted and to what extent (i.e., as
part of national policies and strategies, or not). In any case, decisions have to be informed by
careful consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of each of these solutions. There
are several other issues regarding this dimension that need consideration, but have not been
researched in detail as part of this study. This includes general IT applications (e.g., databases
or management information systems), as well as services (e.g., e-commerce or e-government
services). The area of electronic teaching and learning material has been researched in detail
under the e-Resources component of this RETA.

14. Institutional Structures and Partnerships. This research also investigated the
establishment of institutional structures, such as technology parks or centers of excellence; and
partnerships that can support governments in nurturing effective use of ICT for education. The
study found that both technology parks and centers of excellence can be effective tools in
promoting ICT development. Their contribution, yet again, depends on the clarity of their role
and objective, on the long-term costs involved, and on contextual factors. Study findings
suggest that for technology parks specifically, critical aspects may be proximity to vocational
and higher education institutions as pools for qualified human resources, and proximity to other
research and development sites. However, the study did not find any research into the cost-
effectiveness of such endeavors. Centers of excellence can play a key role in training
technicians, computer engineers, and even researchers to a level that can sustain their home
indigenous ICT industry. Partnerships, among public sector actors, as well as between the
private and public sector, are critical building blocks in ICT development. Public-public
partnerships are one approach to integrate ICT-related planning and nurture ICT development.
They can start with pooled interests and public funds for infrastructure development—balancing
the needs and demands of different sectors; or they can engage in joint strategic initiatives to
                                                                                                    5


address sectoral needs. Partnerships with the private sector are also attractive approaches for
governments to address issues of infrastructure, content, or human resource development;
large-scale examples from Bangladesh and Thailand show their potential impact. Such
partnerships, however, require a clear understanding of mutual responsibility and need to be
integrated with overall ICT policy and education sector development plans. Governments need
to be strong enough to balance their public responsibility for education with the private sector’s
commercial interest. On the other hand, such partnerships have to be attractive to the private
sector. Given the right circumstances, however, private sector companies are beginning to
devise means of making profits by serving the bottom of the social and financial pyramid.
However, not just donors, governments, and the private sector, but also civil society or
professional associations, can assist and enhance interventions in areas of strategic importance
in ICT development.

15.    Conclusions. In the course of the research, it became evident that the degree to which
governments in the DMCs were successful in nurturing ICT can be categorized. The countries
throughout the region could be placed into four broad categories—although none of the DMCs
appears in the fourth (yet).

       1)    Countries without cohesive planning for ICT in education.
       2)    Countries that have paper plans but lack the structures, means, political will, or
             stakeholder buy-in.
       3)    Countries that have well-defined objectives and interconnected plans that include
             time-based implementation strategies, and are at least developing enforceable
             regulatory systems, and strive to stimulate stakeholder buy-in and demand.
       4)    Countries in which strategic planning, clear objectives, and enforced and
             transparent regulatory frameworks supported by realistic funding are ubiquitous
             current practice, and are coupled with strong political will and public awareness and
             support for the use of ICT for education.


16.     All four focus countries had national education plans. Nepal and Bangladesh, both
experiencing great political instability, however, seemed to have difficulties at the time of the
study of moving out of category 2—countries with paper plans but no structures, means, or will
to implement. Samoa, on the other hand, has appointed an independent regulator and its
telecommunications market is rapidly freeing up, so that country appears to be moving toward
category 3. Mongolia is firmly within category 3. As noted, no current DMC has yet reached
category 4. This study discussed what elements are necessary to move into category 4, and
what tools governments have at their disposal which they can apply to encourage ICT in
education and benefit those who are currently unconnected. Examples are:

       •    the stimulation of public awareness and demand

       •    the institutionalization of integrated ICT planning

       •    the constructive use of SWAps

       •    the taxation of products and services

       •    the granting of licenses
6


       •   the imposition of special technology development funds

       •   the constructive use of IT parks

       •   the establishment of centers of excellence

       •   the development of strategic partnerships

17. In none of the DMCs were all these being used to the best advantage of ICT in education.
It would be beneficial for ministries of education to consult with the appropriate government
authorities to rectify this and incorporate agreed reforms to benefit their education sector plans.
It is this sort of innovative planning that in other countries in the region, Singapore in particular,
has stimulated demand for ICT in education and encouraged the creation of a critical mass that
brought about reform.

C.     Study Recommendations
18.    This section outlines some selected recommendations from the RETA research under
this component.

19.     Study findings indicate that although there are many important stakeholders controlling
effective use of ICT in education, only government spans the entire process from policy to pupil.
Macro strategies and plans have to be in place for the child in the classroom, on the micro level,
to benefit. Government therefore has a strategic role to play in driving the advancement of ICT
in education. The speed at which a country develops its ICT capacity and at which it may reach
category 4 above is therefore in the hands of government.

20.      Government is the coordinator and the legislator; however, it is not enough for a
country’s leaders to pass the right legislation, then sit back and expect a blossoming ICT sector
that will lead automatically to economic growth. Its obligations are to embed ICT into the
education system in such a way that it will help in improving the quality of and access to
education. Improved education has positive impacts in terms of reducing poverty and the
supporting economic growth. Specifically, government must:

       •   Not just look at demand as a static force. By informing the public of the benefits of
           ICT, government can stimulate demand in such a way that pupils, parents, and
           teachers, as well as education administrators and politicians both understand and
           have the will to implement the educational changes that ICT brings.

       •   Show the will and demonstrate leadership in ICT by planning, guiding, and informing
           as a part of good governance.

       •   Regulate in a fair, evenhanded, and transparent manner so that the interests of all
           stakeholders are considered when major strategic decisions are made.

       •   Not only put regulations, such as intellectual property rights, for example, in place,
           but also impose and enforce them.

       •   Plan ICT investment in such a way that capital from the private sector can be
           combined with the government's own tax resources and donor support to deliver an
           efficient and dynamic telecommunications service that will ultimately connect the
           rural poor on an equal footing with the more advantaged urban populations
                                                                                                   7


          •   Consider using the leverage of taxation—by attaching conditions to the sale of
              licenses and allowing tax breaks to subsidize recurring costs—to stimulate ICT
              development.

21. An overarching theme, however, has to be a major shift away from a concept of ICT in
education, to a concept of using ICT for education. Just as mathematics has been described as
“the queen of the arts and the servant of the sciences,”7 so can ICT be seen as a both subject of
study and a useful tool and a catalyst for change. The ultimate aim of governments, therefore,
should be to mainstream ICT into education to such an extent that it becomes an integral part of
education sector planning and budgets.

22. Chapter II of this report introduces the study, describes its scope, and provides an
overview the methodology used. Chapter III discusses the social, geographic and economic
context of each DMC under investigation. Chapter IV describes the investigation into existing
ICT policies and strategies. The following chapters, Chapters V-IX, provide the study findings
along five of the six main pillars outlined above. Chapter X outlines a study summary of findings
and conclusions. Chapter XI provides specific recommendations. Chapter XII contains a list of
references consulted for this study. Finally, in the Appendix, further contextual information along
indicators of human development and general infrastructure are given for selected countries of
the region.

                   II.      STUDY INTRODUCTION, SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY


A.        Study Introduction and Context
23. This study was designed to help DMCs and ADB design policies and strategies that
promote appropriate and increased used of ICT in education in the Asia and Pacific region. The
main task of this study was to identify, investigate, and discuss possible government
interventions that encourage effective use of ICT to improve access to and quality of education.
In addition to its original research, this study is grounded in findings from the e-Resources and
e-Teacher Training components of this RETA with respect to issues of national policy and
strategy. This also includes outcomes from sessions and discussions during the 2007
conference that took place at ADB headquarters in Manila, (October 16–18), titled “Optimizing
ICT for Education: Sharing Practical Experiences from the Asia Pacific Region. What Works,
What Doesn’t, and in What Circumstances,” which was part of this RETA.

24. The study was implemented in two phases. In a first phase, contextual aspects of the
focus countries were being investigated, hand in hand with an analysis of existing ICT policies
and strategies, their content, nature, and level of implementation. Based on the findings from
this phase, the study identified key aspects that seem to affect appropriate use of ICT for
education and related policies and planning, and proceeded to investigate these in detail.

25. In researching such interventions and aspects, this study contributed to existing
knowledge about the enabling environment for ICT in education, a concept frequently discussed
in the context of ICT policy and strategy. Appropriate ICT policies and strategies are at the core
of an enabling environment. According to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS),
an enabling environment can be described as “a trustworthy, transparent, and non-
discriminatory legal, regulatory, and policy environment,” which needs to be created by
governments “to maximize the social, economic, and environmental benefits of the Information

7
     Attributed to Sir Isaac Newton, Fellow of the Royal Society (4 January 1643—31 March 1727).
8


Society” (from page 6 of footnote 6). An earlier ADB investigation stated that a sound and
energetic enabling environment implies the following factors:8

          •    Political commitment at the highest level;

          •    An institutional framework that will map broad policy guidelines;

          •    Implementation mechanisms that will ensure a level playing field for competition;

          •    Strategies to support special funding to encourage the extension of communications
               services to schools, libraries, hospitals, community centers, and other public facilities
               where economic viability may not be achievable in the short term;

          •    Transparency in public operations;

          •    Balanced rates for persons and business;

          •    Affordable access for remote and rural areas; and

          •    Standards of quality in services.

26. This study featured formal missions to the four focus countries—Bangladesh, Mongolia,
Nepal, and Samoa. These countries were chosen by ADB for their geographic and demographic
diversity and because they already featured existing ADB-funded education projects with ICT
elements. Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand were also visited to
meet specific individuals and representatives of international educational institutions with a
particular regional interest in the development of ICT that would add value to the research. Site
visits to education and IT institutions, as well as interviews with key stakeholders were
conducted in each of these countries.

B.        Scope of the Study
27. This study focused on the impact of ICT on formal education, but also considered
vocational education in the ICT technical support skills required to support implementation of
ICT programs. The study did not examine supporting education administration except in the
general context of policy and planning. This study considered the use of ICT in tertiary
education only with respect to teacher training. The concept of centers of excellence (which are
often attached to tertiary institutions) was, however, considered.

28. This study and the RETA as a whole was not an investigation into the acquisition of
computing skills. It was an investigation into how technology can enhance teaching and
learning. In particular, investigations were concerned with the practical means of integrating
affordable ICT seamlessly into education through constructive but innovative planning from the
macro level of sympathetic government political structures to the micro level of the remote rural
primary school—from policy to pupil.

C.        Study Methodology
29.      The study methodology consisted of the following four elements:


8
     Cited from Loxley, William and Patrick Julien. 2004. Information and Communication Technologies in Education
     and Training in Asia and the Pacific. ADB. Manila. 55/56.
                                                                                                                      9


          1)     Missions to focus countries with field research

          2)     Visits to non-focus countries to study particular issues

          3)     Desk research

          4)     The outcomes from the October 2007 International ICT for Education Conference.

30. Interviews during missions and the conference were conducted with a diverse range of
stakeholders, including school teachers, school principals, district and provincial education
administrators, and staff from the ministries of education, communications, technology, and
finance, as well as members of special IT commissions in all four focus countries. Discussions
were also held with academics both with specialist interest in ICT in education and from other
disciplines. In addition, representatives from private enterprises that surround ICT development,
including equipment suppliers, service suppliers, software developers, as well as banking
institutions were interviewed. Information was gleaned from major international donors and
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), as well as a regional and local United Nations (UN)
staff. Government regulators were also interviewed. In Bangladesh, the researcher held a
conference discussion with a 10-member delegation from the Chambers of Commerce that
included newspaper proprietors and garment manufacturers. These varied groups had in
common an interest in the development of ICT in education.

31. Aligned with the study objective and the specific areas under investigation, a site
assessment framework and specific questions were developed to guide missions and
interviews. While such tools helped structure the research, the issues under investigation also
generically developed during site visits and interviews, as new, critical policy and strategy
elements were being discovered and investigated. For the selection of interviewees, a snowball
sampling technique was applied, where interviewees identified through desk research or by the
RETA domestic team would suggest future interview participants.9

32. Desk research was conducted, identifying, reviewing, and assessing existing research
and documentation relevant to the area under investigation. Finally, information gathered
through the methods described above was combined with what was gleaned from plenary
discussions, group sessions, and individual discussions with participants at the 2007 ICT for
Education Conference at ADB headquarters in Manila.

                III.     RELEVANT CONTEXTUAL ASPECTS IN STUDY COUNTRIES


A.        Social and Demographic Aspects
33. For each focus country, several country context indicators and aspects were identified,
investigated, and compared. These include population and population density, the poverty
rate,10 existence of a specific poverty reduction plan, the numbers of mobile phone


9
     “Snowball sampling is a special nonprobability method used when the desired sample characteristic is rare. It may
     be extremely difficult or cost prohibitive to locate respondents in these situations. Snowball sampling relies on
     referrals from initial subjects to generate additional subjects. While this technique can dramatically lower search
     costs, it comes at the expense of introducing bias because the technique itself reduces the likelihood that the
     sample will represent a good cross section from the population.” Quoted from StatPac. Undated. Sampling
     Methods. Available: http://www.statpac.com/surveys/sampling.htm.
10
     Percentage of the population below poverty line.
10


subscribers,11 and the percentage of mobile phone subscribers in population.12 Such data are
complemented with information on the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for mobile phone
subscriptions, as well as the number of Internet subscribers13 and the percentage of Internet
subscribers in the total population.14 These indicators are presented in table form in Exhibit 1,
below. Further country context information on the status of relevant Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs) and the general transportation, communication, and information infrastructure is
provided in the Appendix. The same indicators have also been researched for Cambodia, the
Philippines, and Thailand to compare with focus countries and to provide an extended regional
perspective.

34. Mongolia. As can be seen from Exhibit 1, Mongolia is the least populated country among
those under investigation (and in the world, in fact). More than a third of its population is living
below the poverty line. Among the four focus countries, it features the highest mobile phone and
Internet subscription rates, surpassed only by the Philippines and Thailand when considering all
seven countries. At the same time, its annual mobile phone subscription growth rate is the
second lowest of all countries investigated.

35. Samoa. Samoa is the smallest country in the sample in terms of population, but shows
the second highest diffusion of mobile phone and Internet subscription among the four focus
countries. Its annual growth rate of mobile phone subscriptions is the third highest in the entire
sample. Extreme poverty is not regarded as a critical issue in Samoa (due to an influx of
remittances from oversees Samoans, making up about 17% of gross national income [GNI]).15

36. Nepal. Nepal has the highest compound annual growth rate for mobile phone
subscriptions, indicating that its currently relatively low rates of diffusion of this technology will
soon be changing. Compared to the other countries presented in this analysis, it has a
moderate Internet subscription diffusion rate. A third of its population, however, lives below the
poverty line.

37. Bangladesh. Bangladesh features the highest population density among all countries in
the sample. It also has the highest poverty rate. At the same time, the country shows moderate
mobile phone and Internet subscription rates among the focus countries and among all
countries the second highest mobile phone subscription growth rate.




11
     The term “mobile phone subscribers” refers to users of portable telephones subscribing to an automatic public
     mobile telephone service using cellular technology that provides access to the public switched telephone network.
12
     Calculated from the total population.
13
     The term “Internet subscribers” refers to the number of dial-up, leased line, and broadband Internet subscribers.
14
     Calculated from the total population.
15
     ADB. 2007. Report and Recommendation of the President to the Board of Directors. Proposed Asian
     Development Fund Grant – Independent State of Samoa: SchoolNet and Community Access Project. Project
     Number 36513. Manila. 28.
                                                                                                                              11


Exhibit 1. Selected Social and Demographic Indicators

                     Mongolia      Samoa         Nepal            Bangladesh       Cambodia          Philippines      Thailand
Population a         2,590,000     179,200       25,880,000       138,800,000      14,200,000
                                                                                              b
                                                                                                     87,000,000       65,230,000
Population           1.1           64            176              940              78                290              127
Density c
Poverty              36.1%         Not avail-    30.9%            45%              35%               40%              10%
Rates d              (2004)        able (n/a)    (2004)           (2004 est.)      (2004)            (2001 est.)      (2004 est.)
Mobile Phone         775,300       24,000        1,572,021 f      19,131,000       1,140,000         42,868,900       40,815,500
Subscribers e                      (estimate)    (2007)
Percent (%)          29.93%        13.39%        6.07%            13.78%           8.03%             49.27%           62.57%
Mobile Phone
Subscribers
of Population
Mobile Phone         31.8%         76%           146%             105.7%           38.5%             28.7%            40.1%
Subscription
CAGR g
Internet             71,000        1,300         62,600           150,000          12,800            1,440,000        2,403,700
Subscribers h                      (estimate)                                                        (estimate)       (estimate)
Percent (%)          2.74%         0.73%         0.24%            0.11%            0.09%             1.66%            3.68%
Internet
Subscribers
of Population
a
    Population figures used here are taken from the respective country pages of ADB. 2007. Key Indicators 2007: Inequality
    in Asia. Manila. Available: http://www.adb.org/documents/books/key_indicators/2007.
b
    More than 50% of the population is under 21 years old.
c
    Figures for population density (persons per square kilometer) are taken from ADB. 2007 (see note a above).
d
    Poverty rates are taken from The World Factbook Web site: United States Central Intelligence Agency. Undated. World
    Factbook. Washington, DC. Available: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook.
e
    Figures for mobile phone subscribers are from 2006 and are taken from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
    free statistics provided by country, from the ICT Eye. Available: http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/icteye/Indicators/Indicators.aspx.
f
    Regarding the number of mobile phone subscribers in Nepal, there seems to be a mistake in the ITU statistics table.
    There, the total number of mobile phone subscribers as of 2006 was given as 11,571,000, which would bring penetration
    to more than 44% of population. Given other sources, such as ADB and UNDP, this number cannot be correct. Most
    recent data from 2007, which also appear to be valid, were found in a country report by the executive director of the
    National Information Technology Center, Ministry of Environment, Science, and Technology Nepal, and were used here.
    Available: http://www.unescap.org/icstd/events/Info%2DSociety%2DStats%2DWorkshop%2D2007/Nepal.pdf.
g
    Figures for CAGR were measured using data from 2001–2006, and are taken from the ITU free statistics provided by
    country, from the ICT Eye (see note e above). The figure for Nepal has been calculated following ITU CAGR calculation
    guidelines due to a mistake in the original ITU numbers, on the basis of the number provided for 2007.
h
    Figures for internet subscribers are from 2006, and are taken from the ITU free statistics provided by country, the ICT Eye
    (see note e above).


38. Cambodia. Cambodia features some of the lowest technology diffusion rates, and more
than a third of its population lives in poverty. Internet subscription rates are extremely low.
However, annual growth rates for mobile phone subscriptions are moderate compared to the
rest of the sample.

39. The Philippines. The country has one of the highest population densities in the sample,
together with high rates of technology diffusion both in mobile and Internet subscriptions. At the
same time, it features a relatively high poverty rate, with over 40% of the population living below
the poverty line. Its CAGR is the lowest in the sample.

40. Thailand. Thailand represents the most advanced country in the sample, when it comes
to the percentage of population that has a mobile phone and Internet subscription. Internet
12


subscription nearly reached 4% of population in 2006. Its poverty rate, at 10% according to a
2004 estimate, is the lowest among those countries with available data.

B.        Geographic Aspects
41. Exhibit 2, below, outlines some of the key geographical aspects and characteristics of
each country under investigation. Geographic aspects were considered when ADB selected the
four focus countries for this RETA. As can be seen from this table, the seven countries show
high diversity not only in population density, but also in geography. Bangladesh, with the highest
population density, has the most uniform topographic profile. Mongolia and Nepal are both
landlocked countries featuring extensive mountain ranges including, most significantly, Nepal’s
Himalayan mountain range. Mongolia, the largest of all countries here, features extended desert
areas in the south. Samoa is in an isolated island, and while small, it has a more varied
topographic profile than Bangladesh or even Cambodia.

            Exhibit 2. Country Comparison on Selected Geographical Characteristics

                                             Pop. Density
                                              (persons                                Geographical
     Country           Area (km2) a            per km2)                                Character b
                                                                  Vast semidesert and desert plains, grassy
                                                                  steppe, mountains in west and southwest; Gobi
      Mongolia              1,564,116               1.1
                                                                  Desert in south-central. Lowest point: 518 m;
                                                                  highest point: 4,374 m; landlocked location
                                                                  Two main islands (Savaii and Upolu) and several
                                                                  smaller islands and uninhabited islets; narrow
         Samoa                   2,944               64           coastal plain with volcanic, rocky, rugged
                                                                  mountains in interior. Lowest point: 0m; highest
                                                                  point: 1,857 m; isolated island location
                                                                  Flat river plain in south, central hill region, rugged
           Nepal              147,181               176           Himalayas in north. Lowest point: 70 m; highest
                                                                  point: 8,850 m; landlocked location
                                                                  Mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast. Lowest
    Bangladesh                144,000               940
                                                                  point: 0 m; highest point: 1,230 m
                                                                  Mostly low, flat plains; mountains in southwest
     Cambodia                 181,040                78           and north. Lowest point: 0 m; highest point:
                                                                  1,810 m
                                                                  Mostly mountains with narrow to extensive
    Philippines               300,000               290           coastal lowlands. Lowest point: 0 m; highest
                                                                  point: 2,954 m
                                                                  Central plain; plateau in the east; mountains
       Thailand               514,000               127           elsewhere. Lowest point: 0 m; highest point:
                                                                  2,576 m
a
    Data on area are based on information from the US Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook. Available:
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html.
b
    Geographical characteristics are based on information from the World Factbook (see note a above).
                                                                                                                      13


C.        Economic Aspects
42. Exhibit 3 below compares the gross national income (GNI) per capita16 for the eight
counties and their Asian Development Fund (ADF)17 eligibility classification. ADF classifications
are interesting for analyzing financial aspects in that they provide information beyond obvious
economic indicators. There are two general criteria applied to establish ADF eligibility. These
are a country’s income, measured by its GNI per capita,18 and a country’s debt repayment
capacity. In addition to the current country criteria, a country’s size and its location, specifically
whether it is landlocked or isolated, are also taken into consideration. The reason for this,
according to ADB (paragraph 41 of footnote 17), is that both of these aspects

               affect the general economic circumstances of a country and hence its debt
               repayment capacity. Broadly speaking, the larger the country, the wider its economic
               base and consequently the more robust its long-term debt repayment capacity;
               conversely, the smaller and more isolated the country, the more adverse are its
               economic circumstances, including vulnerability to shocks, high costs of
               infrastructure, etc.

43. Two of the four focus countries, Mongolia and Nepal, are landlocked; Samoa is an
isolated island.

44. Also, as can be seen from Exhibit 3, below, among the four focus countries, the variation
in GNI per capita is between $290 in Nepal and $2,270 for Samoa. This means that the GNI per
capita in Samoa is nearly eight times higher than that of Nepal. To provide another regional
comparison data point, Singapore’s GNI per capita is more than 100 times higher than that of
Nepal. This clearly indicates that there is high regional variation in GNI per capita. Among the




16
     GNI per capita (formerly gross national product [GNP] per capita) is the gross national income, converted to US
     dollars using the World Bank Atlas method, divided by the midyear population. GNI is the sum of value added by
     all resident producers plus any product taxes (less subsidies) not included in the valuation of output plus net
     receipts of primary income (compensation of employees and property income) from abroad. GNI, calculated in
     national currency, is usually converted to US dollars at official exchange rates for comparisons across economies.
     Source: World Bank national accounts data and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
     (OECD) National Accounts data files. Source of the data for all countries: World Bank. Undated. Development
     Data and Statistics. Washington, DC. Available:
     http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/DATASTATISTICS/0,,contentMDK:20535285~menuPK:1192694~
     pagePK:64133150~piPK:64133175~theSitePK:239419,00.html
17
     “The Asian Development Fund (ADF) has, since 1973, been a major instrument of concessional financing in
     support of equitable and sustainable development for the region. ADF, funded by ADB's donor member countries,
     offers loans at very low interest rates [compared to those applicable to loans under ADB’s ordinary capital
     resources (OCR) and grants that help reduce poverty in ADB's poorest borrowing countries…The Bank has at
     present a three-tier country classification system: Groups A, B, and C. This three-tier classification allows for a
     differentiation among groups in regard to ADF eligibility. Group A DMCs are ‘fully eligible,’ Group B DMCs are
     eligible for ‘limited amounts in particular circumstances,’ and Group C DMCs are ineligible for ADF
     resources…The policy implies the progression (although no country has been formally reclassified or graduated
     since the adoption of the policy in 1977) of a DMC from Group A through Group B to Group C. The policy does not
     envisage a stage beyond Group C when a DMC would cease to be eligible for Bank assistance.“ Quoted from
     ADB. 1998. A Graduation Policy for the Bank’s DMCs. Manila. Available: http://www.adb.org/Documents/Policies/
     Graduation/default.asp.
18
     In its 1998 documentation on the ADF graduation policy, ADB used the term Gross National Product (GNP). More
     recent ADB documentation also utilizes GNI. For the purpose of this report, unless in an explicit role, the term GNI
     is being used.
14


           Exhibit 3. Country Comparison of Per Capita GNI and ADF Classification

                                                                  GNI Per           ADF
                        Country             Population
                                                                  Capita       Classificationa
                         Mongolia                 2,590,000            $880            A
                            Samoa                   179,200          $2,270            A
                             Nepal               25,880,000            $290            A
                      Bangladesh               138,800,000             $480           B1
                        Cambodia                 14,200,000            $480            A
                      Philippines                87,000,000          $1,420            C
                          Thailand               65,230,000          $2,990            C
       a
           ADF categories for qualifying countries are: Group A = ADF only; Group B1 = ADF with limited OCR; Group B2 =
           OCR with limited ADF; Group C = OCR only. Group A includes countries with low per capita GNI and limited
           debt repayment capacity; Group B includes lower-middle income countries at intermediate levels of economic
           development and with increasing capacity to service their debt; and Group C includes upper-middle income and
           high-income countries with relatively high debt repayment capacity.



four focus countries, Bangladesh is the only one that is categorized as a member of Group B1
of the ADF classification scheme, which includes lower-middle-income countries at intermediate
levels of economic development. This indicates that Samoa, despite having a relatively high
GNI per capita compared to the other three focus countries, seems to be struggling with other
aspects beyond the purely monetary ones. This may be its debt-repayment capacity, or, as
pointed out earlier, issues related to its isolated location as an island state facing specific
economic, financial, and infrastructural challenges. Bangladesh has a lower GNI per capita than
Samoa, may not face similar constraints that could challenge debt repayment capacity or
economic growth. With a GNI of $290 per capita, Nepal is clearly among the lowest-income
countries in the world.

D.     Country Context: Summary and Conclusions
45. The countries under investigation are very diverse demographically, socially,
geographically, and financially. For example, Mongolia features a very low population density in
a large landlocked country with, however, a fairly high diffusion of both mobile phone and
Internet technology, with 29.93 mobile phone subscribers per 100 inhabitants and 2.74 Internet
subscribers per 100 inhabitants. Samoa, an isolated island, also has a rather low population
density. However, among the focus countries it has a relatively high mobile phone and Internet
subscription penetration rate. Among the four focus countries, current mobile phone subscrip-
tion penetration is lowest for Nepal, a country marked by extreme differences in topography.
Internet penetration is lowest in Bangladesh, which has a rather uniform topographic profile. At
the same time, both these countries show the highest annual growth rates for mobile phone
subscriptions. Thailand and the Philippines, both countries with comparably high GNI per capita,
lead the field among all seven countries when it comes to technology diffusion—Thailand more
so than the Philippines. Cambodia, on the other, which was not one of the focus countries,
features some of the lowest penetration rates for both Internet and mobile phones. Despite their
different social, demographic, and geographic contexts, all of the four focus countries, except for
Bangladesh, are still classified as ADF Group A, featuring low per capita GNIs. In comparison,
two of the three non-focus countries, the Philippines and Thailand, have already reached
                                                                                                               15


Group C, indicating that they are considered upper-middle or high-income countries among
ADB DMCs.

46. Contextual information for countries examined under this RETA clearly demonstrates the
diversity of the challenges facing DMCs in the Asia and Pacific region. It emphasizes that each
country must work within its demographic, geographic, technological, and economic context. For
example, the geographic diversity highlights the different challenges faced when supplying
telecommunication connections to schools and teacher training institutions. This has also been
made clear in the findings of the RETA e-Resources component, and the design of the pilot
studies under the RETA e-Teacher Training component. In Bangladesh, for example, the RETA
e-Teacher Training pilot study capitalized on the strong diffusion of mobile phone technology,
with, already in 2005, more than 80% of the population covered by mobile telephony.19 The
study took place in an area where schools are very remote and transportation and other
communication systems are poor, posing a challenge to conducting face-to-face in-service
training and school-based supervision. Nearly 80% of study participants owned a mobile phone
at the outset of the study, and therefore had some basic familiarity with this technology. Studies
comparing teacher training integrating mobile phone technology in distance mode with
traditional face-to-face training found that distance mode can be as effective as face-to-face
training, and in fact is the training method strongly preferred by study participants (see
Chapter VIII in footnote 5).

47. The following two quotes from the Country Reports of the RETA e-Resources component
in Mongolia and Samoa, respectively, further illustrate the importance of such contextual
factors:

              The extreme geographic profile of Mongolia, featuring a small population distributed
              across a large landmass, with large distances between rural schools, requires
              special considerations in the design and implementation of ICT initiatives. The
              experiences in terms of the equipment package [one laptop, one liquid crystal display
              (LCD) projector and one digital camera per school], tailored for low-tech, low-
              electricity environments are certainly worth consideration [for similar contexts].
              (Quoted from paragraph 349 of footnote 2)

              An additional concern related to the ICT environment is directly related to
              maintenance and replacement of equipment. Experiences from both [Samoa]
              SchoolNet and this study [RETA research in Samoa] show major difficulties in the
              initial procurement of equipment. Availability of parts, shipping times, and customs
              hold-ups all played a significant role in delays experienced by both projects. In the
              context of the Pacific island states, especially, but most likely not exclusively, there is
              no mail-order store for computer parts. Even if the budgets are in place and funds
              are available, therefore, procuring or replacing any equipment may be a major
              challenge. Stability of electricity, as well as the cost of power, seemed to be a big
              problem for most of the schools, especially the more rural ones.… possibilities for
              using solar power should be explored. Indeed, a pilot initiative already implemented
              in Samoa, as part of the ITU [International Telecommunications Union] Telecenter
              initiative…provides relevant local experience in this regard. (Quoted from paragraphs
              180–181 of footnote 3)



19
     World Bank. 2007. ICT at a Glance. Bangladesh. Washington, DC. Available: http://devdata.worldbank.org/
     ict/bgd_ict.pdf.
16


48. In addition to wide demographic and geographic variations, the DMCs investigated during
this study face varied economic constraints, some of which may be directly linked to relatively
low GNI per capita, as is the case for Nepal, Bangladesh and Mongolia; others to other
economic challenges possibly related to their geographic location (Samoa). Within these
constraints, DMCs are faced with developing national ICT strategies that recognize the unique
challenges of each educational institution, the need to develop specific solutions for each
context based on careful analysis of alternatives, and the need to integrate operating costs into
education sector budgets.

49. The findings of this study highlight the need for a highly contextual design of ICT policies,
strategies and initiatives. Replication of approaches seen in other countries, even in the region
or close proximity, without careful adaptation to specific local contexts and factors, is unlikely to
be successful. Instead, policies and strategies should recognize and build on the unique
strengths that the specific location, demography, or technology diffusion profile offers for ICT
development.

                       IV.      EXISTING ICT POLICIES IN STUDY COUNTRIES


50. This study examined major elements of existing ICT policies and strategies in each
country. This complements and updates (as applicable) information already collected in 2004 by
the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).20 Key findings
are summarized in the following sections.

A.        Mongolia
51. National ICT Policy. The e-Mongolia program of 2005 outlined a seven-year
development policy. The program aims to establish the information society and found a
knowledge-based society in Mongolia by enhancing extensive IT applications in all sectors of
society, to help Mongolia become one of the top ten developed countries in Asia by the year
2012. The program features seven core elements:21

          1) Legal and Regulatory Framework

          2) Infrastructure and Access

          3) Leadership and Reform

          4) Interoperability and Applications

          5) ICT enabled Economic Growth

          6) Public Awareness and Participation in Governance

          7) ICT Skills and Human Resources Development

52. The program also outlines initiatives for government cooperation with the private sector,
NGOs, and the international community. The specific initiatives mentioned are:

20
     UNESCO. 2003. Meta-Survey on the Use of Technologies in Education in Asia and the Pacific 2003-2004.
     Bangkok.
21
     From Invest in Mongolia. Undated. E-Mongolia Program. Ulaanbaatar. Available: http://www.investmongolia.com/
     forum/projects/tusul77.pdf.
                                                                                                                    17


          •    Policies: Creating an enabling environment for enhancing and extending the use of
               ICT and the Internet by adopting, creating, and/or strengthening appropriate
               standards, regulations, policies, financial support, mechanisms, and institutions

          •    Infrastructure: Ensuring that a modern, cost-effective, competent, and universally
               accessible telecommunications infrastructure exists across the country

          •    Education and training: Developing the human resources base upon which a
               Mongolian information society will be built, grown, and sustained

          •    e-commerce: Strengthening the capacity of the private sector to make beneficial and
               commercial use of the Internet and of ICTs, and to generate employment and profits

          •    Government services: Enhancing capacity to deliver government services across the
               country and encouraging greater citizen involvement in the governance of the
               country

          •    Community access: Providing support for public computer access to the Internet at
               the local community level

          •    Strengthening Mongolian content on the Internet

          •    Enhancing the presence of Mongolia on the Internet

          •    Strengthening the capacity of scientists, researchers, and other experts and
               professionals to collaborate using the Internet for the greater development and
               advantage of Mongolia.

53. ICT in Education Policies and Strategies. The ICT in Education Vision 2010, ratified by
the Mongolia Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science (MECS) in 2001, is the primary guide
for ICT in education for Mongolia. This Vision document is made up of four key components:22

          •    Training: full utilization of ICT in each educational level’s curriculum and contents in
               order to introduce opportunities provided by ICTs and gain knowledge and skills to
               use it;

          •    Hardware: supply of hardware allows the conduct of training according to different
               level of modern ICT development and provides possibilities of free access to
               information;

          •    Teaching staff: supply of teachers who have the capability to develop their own
               knowledge and skills in line with rapid development of ICT;

          •    Information ware: creation of available and accessible information service by
               establishing educational information database and network.

54. The development of the Vision was coordinated with the allocation of budgetary funds
and implementation plans. Related to this, in 2002, Resolution No. 256 was approved by MECS,

22
     Quoted from Choijoovanchig, Lhaichin, Sambuu Uyanga, and Mendee Dashnyam. 2007. The Informatics
     Olympiad in Mongolia. In Olympiads in Informatics. 2007. Vol. 1. 31–36. Institute of Mathematics and Informatics.
     Vilnius. 31f.
18


stating that the subject of informatics shall be taught not only at the high school level, but also at
the secondary school level, starting in grade 5. Seventy hours of informatics instruction was
therefore added to the basic education level. The informatics curriculum includes areas of
information management, computer (computer and application skills), algorithms (understand
and develop algorithms), modeling (understand and develop models), and information
technology (Internet, e-mail). In 2006, MECS approved a new and updated vision, the ICT in
Education Vision 2015, via Ministerial Order No. 450 of 2006. The new Vision better addresses
integration of ICT into education and aims to reduce the number of students per computer, to
train teachers in e-learning methodology, to establish e-schools, and to provide primary and
secondary schools with professional informatics teachers (paragraph adapted from
Section III.D. in footnote 2).

B.        Samoa
55. National ICT Policy. A National ICT Committee was formed following the appointment of
an ICT strategist in 2001. It is now housed in the Ministry of Communications and Information
Technology (MCIT). The Samoan national ICT committee includes key experts from several
government institutions and is chaired by the Prime Minister. It is responsible for ICT
development and policy implementation. Its vision is to provide ICT to every Samoan, and it
follows the principles outlined in the Pacific Islands Information and Communication
Technologies Policy and Strategic Plan—a regional ICT policy and planning framework. The
strategy for Samoa includes the following policy statements that have been developed within
each area with respect to implementation:23

          •   Human Resources: ICT will be used to inform and connect the population of Samoa
              and ensure that it benefits from flexible and appropriate education, training, and
              experiences.

          •   Infrastructure Development: Appropriate ICT infrastructure [will be developed] to
              support development for Samoa.

          •   Cooperation between Stakeholders: Easy access to information through ICT will
              strengthen cooperation between stakeholders while advocating the Statement of
              Economic Strategy (SES) championed by the Government of Samoa to ensure good
              governance, development in the private sector, and improvement in service delivery.

          •   Appropriate Policy and Regulation: ICT policies and regulations will facilitate
              development and the implementation of the previous guiding principles, while
              maintaining their appropriateness to the people and culture of Samoa.

56. ICT in Education Policies and Strategies. For the education sector, the Samoa Ministry
of Education, Sports, and Culture (MESC) developed an Information Technology Strategic Plan
2000–2003, followed by an ICT Master Plan 2004–2007. The current MESC strategic policy and
plan, running from July 2006 until June 2015, incorporates ICT, and is guided by the following
vision:

              Educational planning and management, teaching, and learning that is enhanced
              through the use of cost effective ICT.


23
     Quoted from Government of Samoa. 2002. Samoa Information and Communication Technologies. Policy and
     Strategic Plan. Apia.
                                                                                                                 19


57. While significant investments have been made internally to better leverage ICT—
especially for education planning and management, and including the use of a number of
information systems—MESC also identified several key challenges facing the education system
and its ability to optimize ICT use for education. These include challenges in the areas of ICT
management and sustainability, standards, process reengineering, and Internet access for both
the ministry and the schools (paragraph adapted from Section III.B in footnote 3).

C.        Nepal
58. National ICT Policy. The Government of Nepal wishes to successfully integrate ICT into
a viable policy framework, increase access to ICT and employment opportunities for the general
public, transform Nepal into a knowledge-based society, and create ICT-based industry.
Specific sector strategies of the National ICT Policy are:24

          •   Private Sector Infrastructure Development: It is noted that ICT policy shall be utilized
              to create an atmosphere conducive to attracting investment in the private sector.

          •   Infrastructure Development: The Government of Nepal commits itself to creating an
              information superhighway via a broadband network, an IT multimedia park, and the
              necessary accompanying telecommunications and electrical services.

          •   Human Resources Development: The Government of Nepal is dedicating itself to
              addressing ICT in educational institutions at all levels. The strategy will involve
              compulsory phased IT interventions for teachers and students via public and private
              initiatives in both public and private institutions.

          •   Dissemination of IT: To fulfill its vision for ICT development, the Government of
              Nepal wishes to expand the use of and access to ICT within education, health, and
              governmental services. This plan intends to expand services for rural and urban
              centers. The Government of Nepal intends to use the expanded ICT access to link
              rural communities with educational, health, and governmental services via the
              Internet.

          •   e-Commerce: The Government of Nepal is dedicated to creating and promoting an
              appropriate environment for initiating and expanding e-Commerce initiatives and
              opportunities through a combination of tax incentives and legislative processes. The
              purpose of these processes is to protect and meet local and international standards
              of conduct for ICT in banking and cultural material, including intellectual property
              rights.

          •   Governance: A governing body called the National Information Technology Center
              has been created by the Government of Nepal to oversee and direct ICT policy and
              initiatives. The National Information Technology Center (NITC) was created to act as
              the functionary outlet for regulatory controls of ICT creation, use, and distribution.

          •   Legislation: As mentioned above, the Government of Nepal intends to create a
              suitable and hospitable legal environment for the development and use of ICT
              material and processes to meet domestic and international standards. A specific
              provision is made for the review and amendment of legislation every 2 years.

24
     Adapted from Government of Nepal. 2000. Information Technology Policy, 2057 (2000). Kathmandu. Available:
     http://www.npc.gov.np/it/it_policy.pdf.
20


59. ICT in Education Policies and Strategies. The country is currently at the end of its
Tenth 5-Year Plan (2002–2007), which includes the following specific goals for education:
improving access to education through decentralization and transfer of responsibilities to school
management committees; improving access to literacy, income-generating, vocational, and
nonformal education programs; enforcing minimum qualifications for entering teaching
professionals and strengthening supervision at all levels of education; and mobilizing youth and
sports activities. The tenth plan has also articulated a long-term vision for the usage of ICT in
education, specifically emphasizing the use of technology with a view to addressing the
“country’s need of the human resources.”25 Implementation of the required infrastructure,
however, has been slow to follow. There is also no explicit ICT in education policy or strategy,
apart from the National ICT Policy, which covers some aspects of ICT in education in areas of
human resources development, as outlined above (paragraph adapted from Section III.C in
footnote 4).

D.        Bangladesh
60. National ICT Policy. Bangladesh ICT policy aims at building an ICT-driven nation
comprising a knowledge-based society. It promises to ensure access to information for every
citizen to facilitate empowerment of people and enhance democratic values and norms for
sustainable economic development by using the infrastructure for human resources
development, governance, e-commerce, banking, public utility services, and online ICT-enabled
services. The specific objectives are to:26

          •   Create required infrastructural facilities and legal framework necessary in order to
              give a thrust to the ICT sector and expeditious development of a software industry
              and its export;

          •   Provide effective incentives for the development of the ICT sector to both local and
              foreign entrepreneurs;

          •   Develop an efficient ICT infrastructure that provides open access to international and
              national networks;

          •   Promote and facilitate the use of ICT in all sectors of the economy to improve
              transparency, good governance, and efficiency;

          •   Establish legislative and regulatory frameworks for ICT issues such as intellectual
              property rights (IPR), data security and protection, digital signature, e-Commerce,
              and ICT education, as well as to ensure that private organizations provide quality ICT
              education;

          •   Set up national databases that are reliable and easily accessible to all citizens;

          •   Promote the use of ICT by providing special allocations for ICT project
              implementation in the public sector. Train the decision makers in ICT use and
              promote an ICT culture;


25
     In Government of Nepal. 2002. Tenth Plan. Chapter on Education and Sports. Kathmandu. 3. Available:
     http://www.npc.gov.np/tenthplan/english/Chapter%2023-Education%20and%20Sports.pdf.
26
     Adapted from Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology (MOSICT). 2002. National
     Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy. Dhaka. 5. Available:
     http://www.mosict.gov.bd/ministry_files/ICT_Policy_English19.9.doc.
                                                                                                                    21


          •    Develop a large pool of world-class ICT professionals to meet the needs of local and
               global markets;

          •    Set up a high quality ICT institution27 to continuously promote and foster the ICT
               Industry; and

          •    Enact laws and regulations for the uninterrupted growth of ICT, in conformity with
               World Trade Organization (WTO) stipulations

61. The government's ICT policy is focused on encouraging human resource development for
the global ICT market. This translates into a concentration on training for basic ICT skills,
beginning in the school system at all levels and culminating in computer science and
engineering degrees at the university level. To build capacity within the administration of
education, the 2004 ADB Teaching Quality Improvement (TQI) project proposed reforming the
National Academy of Education Management (NAEM) to serve as the one central “institutional
home of excellence.” Three science and technology universities have been established under
the fifth Five-Year Plan, and in-service training is planned to upgrade the skills of professionals
in the public and private sectors (paragraph adapted from Section II.B in footnote 5).

62. ICT in Education Policies and Strategies. As indicated in the paragraph above, human
resource development for the global ICT market is one of the cornerstones of the Bangladesh
National ICT Policy. There is no explicit ICT in education policy or strategy. Within the Training
and Human Resource Development objective of the National ICT Policy, however, in addition to
what has been mentioned above, there are several policy statements that also apply to the
education sector. These are (quoted from pp. 6–7 of footnote 26)

          •    The shortage of trained and qualified teachers and trainers for ICT training is a
               bottleneck to the HRD [Human Resource Development] plan. To address the issue,
               IT-Capacity-Building of the Teachers Training Institutes (TTI) … will be taken up. To
               teach the teachers and trainers, intensive post-graduate diploma courses will be
               introduced in TTIs. Training programmes to train and retrain them periodically to
               keep them up-to-date with the technological progress in the area of ICT will be
               introduced. ICT literacy will be a desirable requirement in the recruitment and
               selection of teachers. Divisional training centers of BCC [Bangladesh Computer
               Council] will provide TOT (Training of Trainers) to build up sufficient number of
               skilled trainers.

          •    As it would be difficult to train teachers in ICT in large number using the present
               infrastructure, deploy virtual ICT trainers wherever possible. CD and Web-based
               courseware development and use shall be encouraged to promote computer-aided
               education at all levels of education.

          •    Use the potential of ICT for delivery of distance education to help stretch the
               country’s limited teaching resources and ensure quality education to all.



27
     It has not been possible to find any exact definition or nature of this institute. This suggestion came from the
     Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), which formed a committee, called
     “FBCCI Task Force on ICT Policy of Bangladesh,” consisting of FBCCI, Bangladesh Association of Software
     Information Services, Bangladesh Computer Samity, Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh, and
     TechBangla.
22


          •   Qualified and skilled teachers will be brought in from abroad in the fields where local
              teachers are not available.

Although the National Education Policy recommends compulsory computer courses at the
secondary level, and the government’s stated policy towards ICT in education includes building
facilities to promote ICT education and computer-aided education at all levels, these plans have
yet to materialize (see also page 175 of footnote 8).

E.        Cambodia
63. National ICT Policy. Cambodia developed a draft ICT policy in 2003, with assistance
from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and its Asia Pacific Development
Information Program (APDIP). The National Information and Communications Technology
Development Authority (NIDA) has been leading this effort and has been formed to make policy,
promote ICT, monitor and evaluate ICT projects, and oversee their implementation to develop
economic growth. The draft policy outlines policy statements in six key areas:28

          1) Leadership and National Commitment

          2) Legal and Regulatory Frameworks

          3) Human Capacity

          4) Content

          5) Infrastructure

          6) Enterprises

64. ICT in Education Policies and Strategies. In 2004, the Ministry of Education, Youth,
and Sport (MOEYS) developed a comprehensive policy and strategy for ICT in the education
sector. The guiding vision for ICT in education is to “ensure equal access to quality basic
education for all citizens and to prepare its citizens to play an active role in reconstructing the
country as well as integrating Cambodia to the knowledge-based global community.” 29 To
achieve this, the ministry was planning to implement a number of initiatives in regard to ICT in
education to improve the effectiveness of education and produce a workforce that is technology
literate as well as productive and critically thinking.

65.      As specific goals, the policy document states (from page 4 of footnote 29):

          •   Increased access to basic education for all, both formal and nonformal, using ICT as
              one of the major tools for learning, teaching, searching, and sharing information;

          •   Improved quality of basic education and promote independent and lifelong learning,
              especially for post-primary education;




28
     NIDA. 2003. Draft ICT Policy Cambodia. Phnom Penh. Available: http://www.nida.gov.kh/activities/
     ict_policy/ict_draft.php
29
     Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MOEYS). 2004. Policies and Strategies on Information and
     Communication Technology in Education in Cambodia. Phnom Penh. 4. Available: http://www.moeys.gov.kh/
     en/education/ict/ict_edu_en.pdf
                                                                                                        23


          •   Availability of workforce with the ICT skills needed for employment and use in a
              knowledge-based society; to ensure that Cambodia can compete and cooperate in
              an increasingly interconnected world.

F.        The Philippines
66. National ICT Policy. The Philippines has a long tradition of IT policies and strategies,
with the first national information technology plans already emerging at the end of the 1990s.
The Philippines have recognized the high-growth potential of ICT and e-commerce, and has
outlined an ePhilippines vision, under the leadership of the Information Technology and E-
Commerce Council (ITECC), which was founded in its current form in 2000. ePhilippines aims
for an “electronically enabled society where the citizens live in an environment that will promote
access to technologies providing quality education, efficient government service, greater
sources of livelihood, and, ultimately, a better way of life.”30 Five strategies are anchored into
the ePhilippines vision. These are

          •   To develop the country as a world-class ICT services provider,

          •   Provide government services to stakeholders online,

          •   Provide affordable Internet access to all segments of the population,

          •   Develop an ICT-enabled workforce, and

          •   Create an enabling legal and regulatory environment.

67. ICT in Education Policies and Strategies. According to the 2003 UNESCO Meta-
Survey, the Philippines Information and Communication Technology Plan has the following
objectives regarding education (from page 122 of footnote 20),

          •   To provide physical infrastructure and technical support that makes ICT accessible
              and useful to students, teachers, administrators, and support staff

          •   To develop competence in using technology in designing, producing, and using ICT-
              based instructional materials

          •   To ensure access to the latest developments in ICT and to support research and
              development

          •   To undertake a curriculum improvement program focused on the integration of
              technology

          •   To promote the use of appropriate and innovative technologies in education and
              training.

68. The 2004-2010 Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan31 component for education
also integrates ICT but is mainly limited to ICT use in higher education. It also features a


30
     Quoted from Information Technology and E-Commerce Council (ITECC) [Philippines]. Available:
     http://www.itecc.gov.ph/ephilippines.htm.
31
     Government of the Philippines. 2004. Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan. Manila. Available:
     http://www.neda.gov.ph/ads/mtpdp/MTPDP2004-2010/PDF/MTPDP2004-2010.html
24


chapter on science and technology, with a focus on research and development. No up-to-date
specific ICT for education policy could be found.

G.        Thailand
69. National ICT Policy. Over the past decade, ICT has been recognized as a potential
enabler for national economic and social development and for strengthening Thailand’s
competitiveness. In 1996 already, Thailand developed a first IT policy. This was followed by the
Information Technology Policy Framework 2001-2010, Thailand Vision Towards a Knowledge-
Based Economy, also known as IT 2010. The government already set up the National IT
Committee in 1992, in the form of a high-level policy body chaired by the Prime Minister. The
National IT Committee is supposed to develop policies and plans that promote ICT development
and utilization in the country. The secretariat office of the National IT Committee is hosted by
the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC), a semiautonomous
government agency under the then new Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment.32
Until recently, Thailand’s ICT development was also guided by the National ICT Plan, 2002-
2006, which went hand in hand with the 9th National Economic and Social Development Plan. A
new ICT Master Plan, spanning 2007-2011, was submitted for cabinet approval in September
2007.33

70. ICT in Education Policies and Strategies. Under IT 2000, one of the main initiatives
implemented was Thailand SchoolNet. The IT 2010 is slated to drive Thailand even more
towards a knowledge-based society and economy and classified e-Education as one of the
flagship areas. E-Education includes issues of life-long learning, computer literacy, human
resource development, and virtual education. An ICT Master Plan for Education was developed,
also covering the period 2007-2011. The plan focused on three specific areas:

          1) Quality of learning through increased access to new learning resources and
             improved teaching approaches,

          2) Educational management and ICT-led management information systems,

          3) Quality of ICT graduates and need for ICT specialists.

71.      Furthermore, specific goals for the use of ICT for education are the following:34

          •   Provide all teachers, college lecturers and professors, school children, and college
              students with opportunities to learn to use ICT. The goal is to employ ICT as an
              enabling tool to access information and gain knowledge through self-paced learning,
              or through interactions with teachers and fellow students.

          •   Link schools, colleges, universities, and libraries electronically to provide students,
              teachers, and lecturers an enriched environment in which distant resources can be
              made available remotely at finger tips.

32
     Adapted from Koanantakool, Thaweesak, and Chadamas Thuvasethakul. 2002. National ICT Policy in Thailand.
     Africa Asia Workshop. Bangkok. Available: http://www.nectec.or.th/users/htk/publish/20020302-National-ICT-
     Policy-v16.doc.
33
     From Boonnoon, Jirapan. 2007. ICT Ministry Has Another Master Plan. The Nation online. July 31, 2007.
     Available: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2007/07/31/technology/technology_30043034.php
34
     Quoted from Muangkeow, Suchart. 2007. Integration of ICT in Higher Education Provision: The Case of Thailand.
     Paper presentation at the Regional Seminar on Making a Difference: ICT in University Teaching/Learning and
     Research in Southeast Asian Countries. Jakarta. 3. Available:
     http://www.rihed.seameo.org/uploadfiles/ict/ICT_Thailand.pdf.
                                                                                                    25


           •   Make maximum use of ICT and distance education to meet the needs and
               aspirations of all citizens for continuing education and skills upgrading without
               constraint regarding age, profession, distance, or geographical location.

H.         ICT Policy Implementation
72. As shown above, ICT policies and even ICT in education policies or strategies do exist in
most countries investigated. Research under the e-Resources component of this RETA,
however, provides some perspective on the actual status of implementation of ICT policies in
Mongolia and Samoa. For example, both Mongolia and Samoa have in recent years included
basic computer training in teacher pre-service education programs. Mongolia has even gone a
step further and is preparing to make ICT knowledge part of national teacher certification
requirements, with recertification required every 5 years. Both countries have recently included
new ICT in education initiatives in upcoming ADB loan or grant-funded education sector
development projects. In Samoa, this will extend to all secondary schools in the country,
including equipment provision, teacher training, and content development; in Mongolia, this will
extend to at least another 30 schools. Significant progress has been made in some countries,
but important work remains. For example, comparing the existing Bangladesh ICT policy, as it
exists on paper, to what was found during the research in country shows a lack of a
comprehensive regulatory and financial environment for supporting the use of ICT. Furthermore,
while research under this RETA in Mongolia found that Mongolia has made great strides in
terms of policy formulations and aligning initiatives and activities with an overarching vision for
ICT in education, it also outlines several strategic aspects to address existing gaps in areas of
engaging key actors in the education system and addressing challenges in ICT infrastructure.
Specifically, the Mongolia report states (quoted from Executive Summary of footnote 2):

           •   Future initiatives need to acknowledge and strengthen the role of training managers
               [deputy principals in Mongolian schools] as pedagogical leaders at their schools.
               Training managers need to have the capacity to function as role models for their
               teachers, to give methodological feedback on effective integration of ICT to enhance
               student learning, and to train teachers in this regard. At the same time, they need the
               capacity to link elements of student assessment, instructional practice, and teacher
               evaluation. Investments done under this study [the RETA component in Mongolia] in
               this area need to be strengthened and scaled up to other schools.

           •   More appropriate solutions for hardware maintenance and servicing have to be
               found, especially in soum35 schools. Given an increased focus on technical and
               vocational education and training (TVET) in upcoming education reform approaches,
               such as under the Third Education Development Project (TEDP) and the proposed
               activities supported by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), there may be a
               possible opportunity for public-public partnership in this regard and for strengthening
               of regional capacity in areas of computer repair, networking, and maintenance. In
               addition, alternative models need to be explored.

73. The gap between ICT policies existing in theory and their actual implementation was also
an issue found relevant in Samoa. There, the RETA e-Resources component research found
(quoted from paragraph 212 of footnote 3) that

               …the experiences from SchoolNet, as well as the country context literature review
               conducted for this study [RETA research in Samoa] …seem to indicate that at a

35
     A soum is a Mongolian subnational administrative unit, similar to a village level.
26


           national level, Samoa has not yet managed to couple existing policies with
           appropriate action plans and clear budget allocations. Most of all, there is no clear
           assignment of roles and responsibilities to actors and stakeholders who should be
           involved in policy implementation.

74. Furthermore, despite the existence of a national ICT Policy and a specific ICT in
education policy, the RETA research in Samoa found (quoted from paragraph 175 of footnote 3)
that

           …there also seem to be issues of buy-in at the national level. It is questionable
           therefore, not only for teachers but also for other education stakeholders, whether
           ICT can truly offer to improve the quality of education, and, at the same time,
           personal productivity. It is obvious that anybody who has not yet had a chance to see
           or experience the value of a new tool may not have a realistic and informed view of
           what it may serve. It is questionable whether in Samoa at this point in time, there is
           the needed common shared understanding at all levels of the education system of
           the potential benefits, but also the challenges, ICT integration may introduce.

I.     Common Elements of ICT Policies
75. The previous section shows that ICT policies in the countries studied have similar high
level objectives and policy statements. Nearly all of them outline high level objectives and policy
statements in areas of legal and regulatory issues, human capacity development, and
infrastructure. In fact, according to research by Loxley and Julien, there are four areas that can
be identified as common elements in ICT policies in the Asia and Pacific region (quoted from
page 58 of footnote 8):

       •   Development of legislation and policies for diffusion of IT, adoption of standards,
           development of ICT industries, trade policies for ICT-related goods and services
           (e.g., WTO), pricing and taxation of electronic services, protection of intellectual
           property, privacy of personal data, safeguarding and promoting cultural and linguistic
           diversity, and protection against illegal and harmful content.

       •   Development of ICT infrastructure, including hard and soft infrastructure expansion,
           modernization, protection, and development; development of technical standards;
           interoperability of information systems and applications; enhancement and
           dissemination of public services; cost savings in service delivery, purchasing,
           communication, etc.; and electronic commerce and secure transactions.

       •   Development of skills, including ICT education and training, asynchronous learning,
           research and development, training for call centers and outsourcing, and multimedia
           illustration of specific applications.

       •   Institutional and regulatory structures, and institutional development and coordination
           issues that address national ICT development planning and coordination;
           international interface and cooperation; affordable and equitable access to
           appliances and applications; access to modern infrastructure; access to current and
           accurate information; monitoring ICT progress, results, and costs; monitoring the use
           of ICT and sharing results; and measurement of the impact of ICT.
                                                                                                27


J.     ICT Policy: Summary and Conclusion
76. All countries studied have an ICT policy or strategy in some form. Some have specific
ICT policies for education. These policies share some common elements in what they include
and the sectors they address. There is greater variation in the extent to which these policies and
strategies have been implemented by specific action plans, coupled with appropriate budget
allocations and a clear attribution of roles and responsibilities among stakeholders. Specific
examples from Mongolia and Samoa illustrate that point. This indicates a possible lack of
information, models, and examples in terms of what tools governments may have at their
disposal that help move from a theoretical ICT (in education) policy, on paper, to its actual
implementation.

77. Desk research found few publications on these subjects for the Asia and Pacific region.
As an example, there are few studies or reports that would discuss specific aspects of the legal
and regulatory environment, and the options and tools governments could consider in this area.
Site visits and interviews confirmed this and also revealed a number of aspects for discussion,
which would help DMCs not only formulate policies and strategies but also make more informed
decisions about their actual implementation. Such aspects include taxation, sector-wide
planning, the role of special technology funds, licensing, the role centers of excellence or
technology parks can play, or issues of intellectual property rights and copyright. These aspects
were therefore included for investigation under this study.

78. Comparing the four elements outlined in the section above with the definition of an
enabling environment as defined earlier in this report (paragraph 25), indicates that ICT policies
seem to be at the core of such an enabling environment.

79. At the same time, these common elements identified do not mention the more intangible
issues that seem to play a role in actual implementation, such as stakeholder buy-in, a joint
vision for ICT in education on all levels, and public awareness. It is these factors, however, that
were identified as key challenges to effective use of ICT for education, for example in Samoa.
Among the countries under investigation, few stress such issues as critical in their national
policies and plan. The exceptions are Mongolia and Cambodia: The e-Mongolia program states
“Public Awareness” as one of its seven key elements. In Cambodia, “Leadership and National
Commitment” is one of the six main policy statements in the national plan (through it focuses
mainly on the government and its responsibility to fully embrace and exploit ICT to address
social and educational challenges in the country). None of the other countries explicitly include
buy-in, vision and commitment among their main policy objectives or statements. Furthermore,
interviews with stakeholders in the countries visited for this study also revealed that the demand
for ICT in education and ownership over policies and initiatives are strongly influenced by
prevailing perceptions and misconceptions of education stakeholders about ICT and its
potential. Such issues, categorized as “intangible factors,’ were therefore considered for further
research under this study.

80. Exhibit 4, below, demonstrates the interrelationship between tangible and intangible
factors that are keys to understanding why some countries are using available tools effectively
to encourage appropriate and effective use of ICT in education while other countries are not.
28


     Exhibit 4. Tangible and Intangible Factors Affecting the Enabling Environment of
                            Effective Use of ICT for Education

              Tangible Factors                                 Intangible Factors
                     Law                                               Stability
                 Regulation                                         Transparency
                   Taxation                                        Encouragement
              Economic Planning                                       Nurturing
              Trade Negotiation                                      Perceptions
              Purchasing Power                                        Demand
                Infrastructure                                          Vision


81.     As mentioned earlier, all of these different aspects that evolved as critical for further
investigation can be categorized six dimensions, conceptualized as six pillars of a
comprehensive ICT policy and therewith at the core of an enabling environment. These provide
a guiding structure for the many factors to be considered. The RETA researched the first five of
these in more detail. Human resources development as it pertains to development and training
of IT specialists was outside the scope of this RETA. The six pillars are:

       1)    Intangible factors

       2)    Issues of planning

       3)    Legal and regulatory issues

       4)    Issues of infrastructure and content

       5)    Issues of institutional structures and partnerships

       6)    Human resources development


82. Following chapters outline findings from the research along the first five dimensions that
fell under the scope of this study, beginning with intangible factors affecting ICT policy and
strategy in education and government planning.

V.      INTANGIBLE FACTORS AFFECTING ICT POLICY AND STRATEGY IN EDUCATION


A.     Demand for Innovative ICT in Education

1.      Overview
83. Many of those who do not express a demand for innovative ICT are unaware that they
are already ICT consumers. The use of a simple CD player to supply music for a dance lesson
in Thailand, the teacher listening to a professional training support program on the radio in
Nepal, or the Mongolian herdsman watching sport on a television are all using ICT. The Asia
and Pacific region has seen a rapid expansion of the use of mobile phones, and growth has
been built broadly on social factors outside education. The text message that is used in
developed countries to arrange an appointment has been successfully integrated into poverty
                                                                                                                  29


reduction programs developed by the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Education slots on public
television channels such as those in use for teacher training in Nepal are now common.

84. Distance learning has a long history of popularity in development.36 Demand is often
articulated in the DMCs for the expansion of this form of education—particularly in the Pacific
islands where geography strongly determines access to information. However people are very
often not aware that elements of distance learning are ICT. Even in the simplest form, using a
CD in a computer that enables a teacher to use to professional development training at her own
convenience is merely an extension of taping information—something which many distance
learners would hardly consider to be ICT.

85. Convergence of digital media has revolutionized teaching possibilities and methods.
Boundaries between the written word, sound audio, and visual material have disappeared and
the means of transmitting and receiving information over long distances and in remote areas
have been fundamentally altered by this revolution.

2.        General Evidence
86. In the Asia and Pacific region, the introduction of Internet cafés in urban areas and
telecenters among the rural populations has increased awareness of the possibilities provided
by the digital revolution to a surprisingly broad public. Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) is also
a driver in increasing demand. It can help to break down barriers and lead people to realize the
possibilities of ICT. All of the countries studied have large overseas populations working and
remitting money to their families. Lowering voice communication costs by using free and low-
cost VoIP services can be a first step in opening demand by increasing familiarity with
computers—a first step in learning to use a computer as a tool. Ironically, at the time of writing,
VoIP remained illegal in both Bangladesh and Nepal, despite strong demand for VoIP services.
It is difficult for regulatory agencies to keep demand for VoIP at bay. For example, Government
efforts to curb illegal VoIP use in Cambodia were abandoned after three months.

87. As efficient and secure means of transmitting remittances electronically become
available, they too will help to overcome ICT inhibitions. Where reticence is overcome, demand
will rise as parents see that ICT is not a complicated technical tool for use by the well-educated
but something that can affect and improve their everyday lives. If parents understand this, the
demand to have their children educated in the use of computers rises. A real understanding of
ICT may come later.

3.       Country Evidence
88. The country studies showed that there are a wide range of demands for ICT in education.
During a training intervention in Mongolia, participants expressed their demand for further
capacity building on using ICT for teaching and learning, while in the Samoan SchoolNet
project, the community demand for ICT had already started to rise where a small number of
schools were able to provide Internet access . In Nepal, interviews with study participants
revealed that trainers used the video cameras for recording many different types of classroom
activities, including games, group work, student presentations, and teaching materials prepared
by the teachers. Participants mentioned (paragraph 159 of footnote 4) that

               similar exercises at the school level, followed by presentation to the community and
               parents, could help to improve school-community relations by showing parents the

36
     The University of London has offered distance learning degrees since 1858 and the University of South Africa has
     offered correspondence education courses since 1946.
30


              role of teachers, and the difference that participatory, creative, and joyful learning
              environments can make to the classroom experience. In turn, perhaps, parents
              would begin to demand better performance on the part of teachers, and begin to
              invest more (personally and financially) in school operation.

89. Demand in Mongolia. In Mongolia, there is an overwhelming demand for ICT in all
sectors because the government has, through its implementation of the e-Mongolia plan,37
informed the public and made them aware of the benefits that digital technologies can bring to
all sectors and particularly to education.38 Such demand can be seen in a high commitment
among teachers and school principals to embrace ICT integration in their schools, by education
officials in provincial education offices, as well by many government sector’s action plans and
strategies integrating and stressing ICT development.

90. Demand in Samoa. On the basis of a case study done in Samoa, it was felt that existing
ICT in education initiatives in the country had stimulated demand. Specifically the researchers
found that all the schools visited were enthusiastic about being part of an ICT initiative, and it
can therefore be assumed that the demand is universal. Teachers, ICT administrators, and
principals were looking for more training and support in order to further the aims of their
initiatives.

91. Part of the SchoolNet program was to generate revenue by charging the community for
access to ICT equipment, but there did not appear to be a great deal of use by local people.
This may have been due to external challenges—such as the fact that the centers could only be
used by the general public at night at inconvenient times. It is difficult therefore to assess the
true extent of public demand; however, there were frequently queues for workstations in the
Internet cafes in Apia. There was also the issue of equity, in that there should be equal ICT
opportunities for urban Apia and rural Savaii. The communities associated with SchoolNet have
begun to inquire about using the facilities, but SchoolNet managers were of the view that they
need properly qualified staff to help nonstudent users—a compelling argument for further formal
training for their ICT administrators. With the right facilitators, the growing demand for computer
skills training for the community might be met.

92. Demand in Nepal. An insight into demand in Nepal can be gleaned from the statements
below (quoted from page 260 of footnote 20):

              •    The fact that there is little demand for ICT in Nepal is not surprising considering
                   the number of constraints existing in the country. These include the lack of
                   infrastructure, high up-front costs, widespread illiteracy, language barriers,
                   absence of local content, poverty, and the lack of public awareness about the
                   Internet and its use.

              •    Other constraints of lesser importance include inadequate human resource
                   development and the brain drain of qualified specialists, lack of sufficient funds
                   needed for the huge investment required to create a telecom infrastructure, and
                   inadequate numbers of computers in schools.



37
     Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science (MECS) [Mongolia]. 2007.Order No. 183 of 2007, June 5, 2007.
     Ulaanbaatar.
38
     See specifically Government of Mongolia’s E-Mongolia Strategy (2005), sections “Public Awareness and
     Participation in Governance” and “ICT Skills and Human Resource Development.”
                                                                                                                        31


93. Despite this gloomy prognosis given in 2004, education in Nepal stands to gain a great
deal from ICT development, especially Internet connectivity and increased mobile phone
coverage. The terrain acts as both a stimulus and an inhibitor of ICT development. Because
many schools are isolated, they need ICT to aid teaching in classrooms and, more importantly,
for the professional development of teachers, as is shown in the Nepal Country Report (see
footnote 4). However the general awareness of the possibilities of ICT is low. The original vision
to advance Nepal to a state of common access by 2005 has been lost. The civil war has all but
halted infrastructure projects, and the lack of electricity in large areas of the country has further
stifled ICT growth. Specifically, just over a third of the population has access to electricity. In
some districts however, not even 6% does (compared to other districts, presumably more urban
ones, where more than 97% of the population has access to electricity).39

94. Low awareness invariably results in low demand, particularly when power and water are
higher on the list of necessities for the rural poor, and yet it is the very fact of remoteness that
would make ICT such a strong lever for change. Teachers’ feelings of isolation when they return
to remote villages was mentioned to the researchers as a factor that significantly lowered the
impact of training received in Kathmandu (see paragraph 79 of footnote 4). A large part of the
population lives in these isolated communities, with overall statistics indicating that only 17% of
the population lives in urban areas (page 128 of footnote 39).

95. However, mobile phones with short messaging service (SMS) capabilities could deliver
vital support to a simple teacher professional development program. Their use could provide
substantial backing for an implemented plan. In Nepal the monitoring and evaluation report from
National Center for Educational Development (NCED)40 observed that, despite regular
government radio programs being transmitted to support in-service training for teachers, the
training was often not put into practice when the teachers returned to their villages. One of the
many reasons cited was that training was seen as an isolated activity and the follow-up support
given by the radio programs was often not listened to. During the site assessment and
accompanying interviews, the RETA team found that a great deal is invested in the production
and dissemination of the radio training, but it does not seem to enhance the distance learning
experience (which is also supported through print and tutoring sessions) because it is at an
inconvenient time, and it is not interactive (see Section V.B in footnote 4). If the connectivity
existed (which it doesn’t in rural Nepal) a simple process of linking teachers by mobile phone to
their tutors who could then check that they had listened to the radio programs and answer
questions and be given support within the structure of the professional development program
could mean a larger involvement and better outcomes from the training.

96. Demand in Bangladesh. Demand for ICT in Bangladesh is high, as can be seen from
growth rates for mobile phone subscriptions, indicating an annual growth rate of over 105%.
However, at the same time, Bangladesh also features the lowest Internet subscription
penetration among the focus countries. Clearly, demand for ICT has to be differentiated in this
regard. RETA investigations show that the lack of demand for some ICT may be directly linked
to cost issues: “Due to costs, technologies remain inaccessible to most individuals.…It costs
about 1,000 Bangladesh taka (Tk) per month (about $14) for an Internet connection using
Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution41 technology after an initial purchase of a Tk9,000

39
     ADB. 2007. Key Indicators 2007: Inequality in Asia. Manila. Available: http://www.adb.org/documents/
     books/key_indicators/2007. 7.
40
     National Center for Educational Development (NCED) [Nepal]. 2005. Monitoring Report of Teacher Training
     Programmes. Kathmandu.
41
     This is a particular type of connectivity for mobile users, with data transfer speeds of up to 384 kilobits per second
     available on global systems for mobile communications (GSM) or time division multiple access networks.
32


modem. Dial-up access costs about Tk500 per month ($7). To put this in perspective, a typical
secondary school teacher makes less than $50 per month” (quoted from paragraph 22 of
footnote 5). At the same time, RETA participants, schools and teacher training institutes visited,
as well as education stakeholders interviewed, all expressed great interest and positive attitude
towards ICT and a will to further its development and use for education. In general, however, a
lack of public awareness of ICT and use of ICT in education has been observed.42

B.        Perceptions and Misconceptions of ICT in Education

1.     Overview
97. One of the recurring problems in all the DMCs visited was the many misconceptions that
surround ICT. In short, ICT means different things to different people in different countries, and
the result is confusion that leads to disappointed expectations.

98. The most common misconception is to limit “ICT in education” to the sole application of
ICT as in “informatics.” Informatics includes the science of information and the practice of
information processing. Informatics studies the structure, behavior, and interactions of systems
that store, process, and communicate information. Informatics is therefore often more broadly
used as the study of computers as machines and exploring their physical capabilities in much
the same way as a mechanic operates and maintains a car.43 Informatics is essentially a skill
that can be taught or acquired. It has a place in the modern curriculum in order to provide
students with critical skills needed in their future lives and jobs.

99. In several conversations with stakeholders, the RETA team observed that senior officials
in education departments, as well as parents and children, see ICT as an addition to the
curriculum; another subject to be studied. This is significant because it underlines the
misunderstanding that ICT in education is only informatics.

100. This is not the only inhibitor in conceptions of ICT. Other limited perceptions or
misconceptions found during the regional study were:

          •    You must speak English to use ICT

          •    ICT is learning to use a computer

          •    ICT will bring employment

          •    ICT will achieve Education for All (EFA) goals

          •    ICT is a Millennium Development Goal (MDG).

101. Amongst people who have not had the opportunity to use the Internet, there is a widely
held belief that to use the Internet, one has to be able to speak English. It is understandable
how this has arisen when the vast majority of the content of the World Wide Web is in English
and many computers are delivered with English user interface software. Most are also delivered


42
     Kundu Kumar, Ashis. 2007. Bangladesh. Country Paper on Information Society Statistics: Core ICT Indicators.
     Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. Dhaka. 17. Available:
     http://www.unescap.org/icstd/events/Info%2DSociety%2DStats%2DWorkshop%2D2007/Bangladesh.pdf
43
     The definition of informatics is very different in each country. This definition was adapted from Wikipedia. Undated.
     Informatics. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Informatics.
                                                                                                                 33


with Roman character keyboards. This issue is specifically addressed in Section VIII.B,
Localization, in this report.

102. Furthermore, a natural conservatism is often hidden beneath a financial argument in the
Books vs. ICT debate. (Here the word “books” is used as shorthand for conventional learning
materials.)

103. Many argue that policies that introduce ICT are a luxury where schools are dilapidated
and children starved of books. The question of prioritization when planning education programs
often arises, and more often than not, this is based on two factors: (i) a narrow conception of
technology, and (ii) a misunderstanding of the role that it can play within an existing education
framework. ICT is therefore considered "gold-plating" education instead of underpinning it. It is
important when introducing ICT programs for education planners to be sure of not only their
immediate goals, but also to ensure that all stakeholders have understood those goals.

104. When Steven Hurd and Malcolm Dixon of Liverpool John Moores University and Joanna
Oldham of Liverpool Hope University analyzed data collected from more than 6,000 primary
schools in the United Kingdom and then surveyed 540 principals, they came to the conclusion
that spending $200 per pupil on books had a greater impact on average test scores across
English, math, and science than the same amount spent on ICT or staffing.44

105. At an informal meeting in Samoa with the directors general of the Catholic, Mormon,
Methodist, Congregational, and Seventh-Day Adventist schools a strong feeling was expressed
that the supply of books should take precedence over the supply of ICT equipment.

106. In interviews for the Mongolia Country Report, study participants identified some of the
major problems faced especially by remote schools. One was the lack of general information
and communication channels, as well as sufficient books, training materials, and other
resources. ICT was not specifically identified as a separate issue. Focus groups suggest that
Mongolians consider ICT as a tool to address some of the challenges their remote schools are
facing.

107. This is partly illustrated by other findings of this RETA in Mongolia: Teachers in schools
that participated in the ICT initiatives under investigation (the ICT for Innovating Rural Education
in Mongolia [IIREM] project and this RETA’s interventions) make more frequent use of the
teaching and learning materials that are available at the school than teachers in schools that did
not participate in the ICT initiatives. This refers to a broad spectrum of teaching and learning
materials in addition to the regular subject matter textbook, and includes library books, visual
aids, science models, as well as “old” technologies, such as cassette recorder and TV (see
Section VIII.C.7 in footnote 2). This may be a powerful argument against a debate of “either-or,”
“Books vs. ICT,” and stresses that the debate should rather center on what is the best possible
approach to effective classroom teaching, given the educational objective and situational
context of a specific classroom or country at large.

108. The Books vs. ICT debate is not new and has in some form taken place in other
instances where innovative approaches or tools have triggered or supported educational
change. Similar discussions already took place in many developed countries, e.g., in the USA


44
     Ward, Helen. 2006. Goodbye Computer Chips. Times Education Supplement. The UK Publishers' Association
     said spending on books in primary schools fell from £21.84 per pupil in 1999 to £16.65 in 2003–2004—a 23%
     fall—while expenditure on ICT rose from £68 million to £201 million—a 296% increase.
34


during the introduction of film, radio, and instructional TV during the 1950s-1970s.45 Proponents
and opponents of innovation both play important roles, providing information and perspectives
critical for informed decision making. It is important for governments to consider the different
perspectives, but then also to adopt a clear justification or rationale for investments in ICT in the
education sector, when committing to it.

109. In this context, there have been investigations into the rationales for ICT in education,
findings of which may help DMCs in justifying allocation of human and/or financial resources to
the use of ICT for education. Comparing ICT in education policies in a number of developed and
developing countries, a recent study has identified that there are four such rationales prevailing,
awareness of which may help DMCs to clarify communication and policy foci.46

110. The first is the role it can play in preparing a future workforce and supporting economic
development: “Support Economic Growth.” Singapore is cited as an example from the Asia and
Pacific region, where such a rationale is driving ICT in education.

111. The second rationale to be found is that of “Promoting Social Development.” Under this
premise, ICT investments are justified “with policies that promote their use to share knowledge,
foster cultural creativity, increase democratic participation, make government services more
widely available, and enhance social cohesion and the integration of different cultural groups
and individuals with different abilities” (see page 4 of footnote 46).

112. The third prevailing rationale focuses on ICT’s potential in regard to “Advancing
Education Reform.” According to the report (see page 5 of footnote 46),

               The kinds of education reforms that have been associated with the introduction of
               ICT include curriculum reforms that emphasize high levels of understanding of key
               concepts within subject areas and the ability to apply these concepts to solve
               complex, real-world problems…Other curriculum reforms emphasize what are
               sometimes called “21st century skills,” qualities that prepare students for the
               knowledge economy, such as creativity, information management, communication,
               collaboration, and the ability to direct one’s own work and learning.

113. Finally, “Support Education Management” is being stated as one of the four rationales to
justify investment in ICT in education. As a regional example, Malaysia is given, which has an
ICT policy that emphasizes ICT’s potential, through office automation and data analysis, to
increase productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of education management.

2.      Teachers’ Attitudes
114. As with all innovative education changes, schemes to introduce ICT in education,
specifically in teaching and learning in the classroom, rely heavily on teachers. The experience
from the developed world is that there is often initial resistance within the profession. The
introduction of computers into the classroom, especially if taking place on large scale, as is
planned under some currently debated areas of “affordable computers” (see Section VIII.C,
Affordable Computer and Equipment Packages, below), will place both teacher and pupil on an
equal footing in terms of learning. This is very often an uncomfortable experience for teachers,

45
     Cuban, Larry. 2001. Oversold and Underused. Computers in the Classroom. Cambridge. Available:
     http://www.hull.ac.uk/php/edskas/Cuban%20article%20-%20oversold.pdf.
46
     Adapted from Kozma, Robert. (in press). Comparative Analysis of Policy for ICT in Education. To appear in the
     International Handbook on Information Technology in Education. New York. Available:
     http://robertkozma.com/images/kozma_comparative_ict_policies_chapter.pdf.
                                                                                                                   35


particularly in societies where child-centered learning is not the norm. It was observed through
interviews in Bangladesh that many teachers believe that learning alongside their pupils
undermines their authority. In the case of one of the proposed affordable computer schemes,
that of ‘one laptop per child’ (OLPC), there is an optimistic view that teachers will learn
alongside their pupils, which is a radical rejection of the educational approaches that they have
hitherto experienced—and this in an environment where the laptops are planned to replace
books and learning materials with which the teachers were originally trained. As has been
pointed out by the pioneer in personal computer design, Lee Felsenstein,47 when the teachers
find out that they are considered obstacles, not part of the process, they will resist the process.
There is also indication that teachers may be concerned about the personal investment required
from them to engage with the technology. In Samoa, the RETA found (quoted from paragraph
171 of footnote 3) that

               not all teachers in all schools are interested in engaging with ICT. Instead, these
               teachers prioritize other activities, especially during their free time. Reluctance to
               engage and actively participate in ICT initiatives have many reasons. These may be
               attitudinal in nature, such as fear of change, general negative attitude to technology,
               or negation of the need for professional development to improve teaching practice.
               There may be other reasons, such as a lack of information or clarity on the potential
               and benefits of ICT to enhance education. Systemic issues may also play a role,
               where personal engagement and initiative are not being rewarded and appreciated.

115. When creating strategies to introduce ICT to schools, policy makers should be aware that
there is a real fear amongst teachers that ICT will somehow undermine their authority and, by
democratizing the access to knowledge, diminish their professional position in the eyes of their
students. Teacher confidence in the use of technology is therefore critical. However, as many
studies, also in developed countries show, teacher’s confidence in the use of technology in
classrooms and even more so their confidence in using technology didactically appropriate in
the classroom is rather low. Such confidence seems to be directly linked to other aspects, such
as their personal access to ICT, the amount of technical support available, and the amount and
quality of training available.48

116. Original research from this RETA provides other viewpoints as well: Teacher attitude to
ICT has been one of the areas under investigation in this RETA’s work in Mongolia. Findings of
the assessment showed that in general, there is a high degree of confidence and positive
attitude toward ICT among the 58 teachers participating in the study. Illustrating the general
pattern of replies, responses to “I enjoy doing things on a computer” showed that more than
68% of all teachers strongly agree and nearly 32% of teachers agree with this statement; not
one teacher disagrees. “I think it is critical for teachers to learn how to use new technology in
the classroom” is similarly supported: 59% of responding teachers agree, an additional 41%
even strongly so, and none of the responding teachers disagrees (for more information, see
Section, VIII.D.6, Attitude Toward ICT in footnote 2). Furthermore, the study found significantly
higher job satisfaction among teachers in schools that participated in the activities under IIREM
and this RETA, compared to teachers in schools that did not, a fact that provides a glimpse into
the potential of ICT for education, where appropriately integrated and supported at all levels.

47
     Lee Felsenstein, chief technical officer of Fonly, a product development firm in Palo Alto, CA, quoted in Perry,
     Tekla S. 2007. The Laptop Crusade. IEEE Spectrum Online. 2007. Issue April 2007. Available:
     http://spectrum.ieee.org/apr07/4985.
48
     British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta). 2004. A Review of the Research Literature
     on Barriers to the Uptake of ICT by Teachers. Coventry. Available: http://www.becta.org.uk/
     page_documents/research/barriers.pdf.
36


117. In Nepal, where the RETA explored the use of video in in-service teacher training, study
findings showed that technology generated a great deal of enthusiasm on the part of both
trainers and trainees, and according to them, not only improves the reputation of the training, as
it is a symbol of a more modern approach, but also improves practice on the part of the trainers
as a result of being recorded and viewing their performance on the video. Finally, study
participants stated that the video-supported training improves the learning experience and
learning retention (for more information, see Section, VIII.A, Use of Video in Teacher Training,
in footnote 4). Participants also identified a number of positive aspects of the technology (quoted
from paragraph 139 of footnote 4). Some of these are listed below:

          •   Makes training interesting, exciting, unique, fun, and creates learning environment

          •   We could know about our performance, get feedback, and identify our weaknesses

          •   Permanency; having a record for a long time of our performance and activities

          •   Visual/sound is more effective way of learning

          •   It is helpful for trainers to conduct training (organization, workload, and more active)

          •   Can view colleagues activities, share best practices, and get to know other places

          •   Arouses competition among participants

          •   Can show the videos to students and parents

118. Other international experience from research conducted in Scandinavia found the
following: 49

              The study [“e-Learning Nordic 2006”] shows the great potential of ICT. One of the
              results indicates that the pupils and teachers who experience the greatest impact
              from ICT are also the ones who use ICT the most often. The same results are found
              among teachers who integrate a greater number of different technologies.

119. The research in Mongolia also identified some of the drivers of the use of ICT in
classroom teaching, which also could contribute to an understanding of an enabling
environment on school level, and, as findings in Mongolia suggest, are linked to teacher attitude
to and practices with ICT. Selected drivers on school level are (quoted from Exhibit 47 of
footnote 2):

          •   Policies on teacher ICT competencies and strategies/planning for professional
              development and their follow-up

          •   Incentive structures for teacher innovation and engagement that align with policies
              and teacher evaluation practices

          •   Participatory planning and decision making regarding ICT

          •   Opportunities for regular collaboration among teachers

49
     Ramboll Management. 2006. E-Learning Nordic 2006 – Impact of ICT on Education. Copenhagen. 41. Available:
     http://wwwupload.pls.ramboll.dk/eng/Publications/EvaluationAndResearch/ElearningNordic2006_English.pdf.
                                                                                                               37


          •   Opportunities for exchange with other schools

          •   A critical mass of champion teachers who promote ICT integration and lead
              exploration of innovative practices

3.       What Are the Results of Misconceptions?
120. Misconceptions about the role and potential of ICT for education can have significant
ramifications. In many DMCs, the ever widening gap between the promised and the delivery
rate on millennium development targets may lead to a tendency to search for and grab at
supposedly quick and promising solutions to educational problems. Postulating ICT as a magic
bullet to fulfill political promises, however, is in fact detrimental to its effective integration and
ICT development at large. In such a context, ICT can easily become a scapegoat for failures to
achieve complex educational challenges and reaching MDG targets. Differentiation on both the
role of ICT and the specific educational objectives it is to support are key. Education objectives
are varied, but in any case, ICT can never be a means but only a lever to their achievement—
i.e., combined with other approaches, ICT can serve to enhance teaching and learning, to
support efficiency in education administration, to support access to education via e-learning
approaches, etc. In and of itself, ICT cannot take on such a role. International knowledge clearly
indicates that its impact on teaching and learning, for example is directly related to the way it is
being used.50 Clarity on these aspects among policy makers are one step in the right direction.
A shared vision on its role among stakeholders another one. According to Tinio,51

              The ramifications of these misconceptions can be profound. The school does not
              exist in a vacuum, and for an ICT-enabled project to succeed the buy-in of parents,
              political leaders, business leaders and other stakeholders is essential. Innovation
              can happen only when all those who will be affected by it, whether directly or
              indirectly, know exactly why such an innovation is being introduced, what the
              implications are on their lives.

121. Parents, students, teachers, principals, administrators, educators, politicians, donors, and
businesses in different DMCs all appeared to have different concepts and therefore
expectations of technology in education. Misconceptions led to disappointment and therefore
cynicism about the benefits of ICT in education. These intangible, social aspects have to be
recognized, addressed. The unused computer in the classroom—or more often in the principal's
office—has become a cliché amongst critics of the use of ICT in DMCs, and this has had a
detrimental effect beyond the accusations of the misuse of resources. Because the prime local
movers of ICT in education may be blamed for the failure of the project, such setbacks cause
people who would normally be champions in their area of influence to be much more
circumspect toward similar future ventures. ICT’s tainted image may extend to people such as
officials in other ministries, parents, and administrators, and may take years to alter (page 218
of footnote 8). As indicated earlier in this report, addressing the intangible aspects that affect the
effective use of ICT for education and government planning in this regard is critical to also
address issues of buy-in and local ownership, challenges identified specifically in Samoa under
research of this RETA. Also from Samoa, however, an example emerges of how specifically
public awareness can be created. Findings from the e-Resources component in Samoa indicate
that the public awareness campaigns organized under the Samoa SchoolNet Pilot project,
specifically a 15-minute television program, community consultations, and a newspaper article,
50
     In European Schoolnet. 2006. The ICT Impact Report. A Review of Studies of ICT Impact on Schools in Europe.
     Brussels. 5.
51
     Tinio, Victoria L. 2003. ICT in Education. UNDP-APDIP. Kuala Lumpur. Available:
     http://www.apdip.net/publications/iespprimers/ICTinEducation.pdf.
38


helped provide parents and school community members in participating schools with critical
information about the pilot initiative and raised their demand for access, both, for their children
and for themselves.

C.        A Vision for Change
122. Key to overcoming misconceptions, addressing some of the intangible aspects mentioned
in this chapter, and therefore promoting ICT development and the effective use of ICT in
education, however, is government will and vision. In Mongolia such government will is
exemplified by inclusion of public awareness as a key element of the national E-Mongolia
program and by allocating a budget to its ICT in education action plan. The importance of
government vision and such policies are further stressed by a recent investigation done by the
Economist Intelligence Unit52 —a worldwide e-readiness ranking of 69 developed and
developing countries, 14 of which are ADB member countries. Its significance for policy
planning is that the study gave a total of 30% of category weighted scoring to some of the more
intangible aspects of ICT policy and strategy, that is issues of the social and cultural
environment, as well as issues of government policy and vision. Both of these aspects are given
a higher weighting than legal environment. Exhibit 5, below, provides an overview of the ratings,
with the two more “intangible” aspects of the list in bold.

              Exhibit 5. The Weighted Percentages of the Rankings for e-Readiness

                                                                               Weighted
                       e-Readiness Ranking Criterion
                                                                               percentage
                       Consumer and business adoption                               25%
                       Connectivity and technology infrastructure                   20%
                       Business environment                                         15%
                       Government policy and vision                                 15%
                       Social and cultural environment                              15%
                       Legal environment                                            10%
                     Source: Pages 22–23 of footnote 52.

123. The overall scores given in Exhibit 6, below, illustrating the results of the ranking among
the 14 ADB member countries included in that investigation, are out of a maximum of 10. The
final column gives their ranking within the 69 countries considered. None of the focus countries
was featured because the state of readiness for all was considered too low. The surprising
feature is the rather low rating of India, commonly thought of as an ICT powerhouse because of
its vibrant IT industry, at rank 54 out of the 69 countries investigated. Ultimately, these ratings
are about the potential of ICT within the selected countries—in other words countries that
provide digitally enabled people and businesses as many options as possible to determine their
own most productive path forward.

124. In this example, e-Readiness is not a comprehensive way of rating the progress of less
developed countries—for a start, the ranking includes countries from the developed world. The
ranking indicates that sound governance is becoming an increasingly large factor in ICT


52
     The Economist Intelligence Unit. 2007. e-Readiness Ranking: Raising the Bar. A white paper from the Economist
     Intelligence Unit. London. 25. Available: http://graphics.eiu.com/files/ad_pdfs/2007Ereadiness_Ranking_WP.pdf
                                                                                                                                                                                        39


development. The investigation report stresses this in a clear and succinct statement on
governments’ role. According to the paper (page 17 of footnote 52),

           Governments play a pivotal role in the facilitation of e-readiness. No other agent of a
           country’s economic growth has the ability to set in motion several catalysts for digital
           transformation simultaneously: implementing policy that will facilitate technology
           adoption through infrastructure development and education; providing for a
           framework that accepts digital transactions as legitimate; and adopting technology
           itself as a way of saving its taxpayers time and money, as well as of attracting less e-
           ready businesses and citizens to follow.…An e-ready government uses digital
           channels to communicate with its constituents. It provides citizens and businesses
           with Internet-based services that are more efficient than traditional channels. It
           leverages technology to create efficiencies in its own operations.


         Exhibit 6. The Rankings for e-Readiness for 14 ADB Member Countries




                                                                                                                            Government Policy



                                                                                                                                                Business Adoption
                                                                              Social and Cultural



                                                                                                    Legal Environment




                                                                                                                                                                    Ranking within 69
                                             Connectivity and




                                                                                                                                                  Consumer and
                                              Infrastructure
                             Overall Score




                                                                Environment


                                                                                Environment
                                               Technology




                                                                                                                                                                      Considered
                                                                                                                               and Vision




                                                                                                                                                                       Countries
                                                                 Business




            Country




           Hong Kong,
                             8.72                   8.5          8.62                 6.8                 9.7                      9.1                 9.5                4
                  China
             Singapore           8.6                8.1          8.67                        7      8.55                           9.4            9.45                    6
           Republic of
                             8.08                   7.1          7.47                 8.2                 7.8                 8.75                8.85                   16
                  Korea
          Taipei, China      8.05                       8        7.96                        8           7.8                  8.15                     8.2               17
                 Japan       8.01                   7.5          7.16                        8                          8     9.05                     8.3               18
              Malaysia       5.97                   5.3          7.38                 4.6           5.55                      6.45                6.35                   36
               Thailand      4.91                   3.1          6.97                 4.4           5.65                           5.4            4.85                   49
                   India     4.66                   2.9          6.25                 5.2                 5.5                      4.6                 4.5          54 (tie)
            Philippines      4.66                   2.7          6.43                 4.4           4.65                      5.05                     5.1          54 (tie)
              People’s
            Republic of      4.43                   3.5          6.37                 4.8                 3.6                      3.7            4.55                   56
                  China
             Sri Lanka       3.93                   1.8             5.9               4.4                5.4                  3.75                     3.7               61
           Kazakhstan        3.78                   2.4          5.93                 4.2                 3.4                 2.85                4.05                   64
               Vietnam       3.73                2.25            5.98                 3.6           4.05                      4.25                     3.2               65
              Indonesia      3.39                   2.1          6.33                 3.2                2.8                       3.4                        3          67
       Source: Page 25 of footnote 52.
40


D.     Intangible Aspects: Summary and Conclusions
125. The level of demand for ICT in education is difficult to quantify particularly in those DMCs
where few members of the population have been exposed to its benefits yet. It is however
evident by observation that where there is comparatively easy access—and this nearly always
means in urban areas—ICT is in demand. Part of easy access is financial in nature, and in rural
areas, even where facilities are available, the cost of the connection can be prohibitive. This
further obfuscates the chicken-and-egg argument of supply and demand.

126. Governments could play a much larger part in informing populations of the benefits of
ICT. Where this has been done in Mongolia, the general public is aware of the necessity of
learning ICT skills and the advantages of using accessed knowledge in their everyday lives.
Ignorance of the opportunities stifles demand.

127. Apart from ignorance, misconceptions of ICT in education are widespread, among all
groups of education stakeholders. A common misconception is that ICT is only computer
studies/informatics and computers skills, and stakeholders are focused on using ICT as
vocational training. Other uses of ICT, such as its potential to serve as an effective tool in
subject matter teaching, if integrated properly, are not commonly known. This may also be
linked to a lack of information on evidence of return on investment or value of investment in ICT
for education in comparison with investments in traditional learning media and methods.

128. Specific groups and their misconceptions cannot be tabulated as part of this study, but it
is clear that misconceptions are not confined to a particular stakeholder group only. Because
different groups in different DMCs appear to have different concepts and therefore expectations
of technology in education, misconceptions can lead to disappointment and even cynicism
about the benefits of ICT in education in some quarters. These social aspects have to be
recognized and addressed and realistic outcomes agreed at planning stage.

129. Addressing buy-in on all levels, as well as teacher attitude, this RETA identified several
macro (national) and micro (education institution/school) level approaches that may support this
process:

       •   On a national level, organize marketing activities or public awareness campaigns
           that provide information to stakeholders and stress the desired educational objective,
           the potential ICT has to offer for education in this context, but also the challenges
           that may be linked to it.

       •   On all levels, provide opportunities for education stakeholders, but especially for
           teachers to safely (e.g., without supervisor presence) access and explore different
           ICTs and related resources selected and tailored for their specific field of work.

       •   On national, province, and district levels, organize study tours and field visits for
           education administrators in ministry and education offices to be exposed and “see”
           how ICT can support education administration and how it can impact classroom
           teaching and learning.

       •   On national level, amend/update existing teacher training policies to include
           requirements for compulsory ICT training.

       •   Update existing teaching training curricula for computer training to better meet
           teachers’ every day work situation, focusing less on actual computer training, and
                                                                                                41


           more on the convergence of pedagogy, curriculum, and technology to enhance
           classroom teaching.

       •   Re-design in-service teacher training programs that frame professional development
           as subject matter-specific continuous education, rather than “computer training” (and
           invoking possible fears of ignorance and failure).

       •   On education institution level, organize “open door” sessions in schools and/or
           teacher training institutions, where champion teachers/teacher trainers can
           showcase their work and offer workshops for their peers and community members.

       •   On school or teacher training institute level, consider developing ICT policies and
           strategies in a participatory approach between school/institute management and
           teachers (or even student), that would outline a joint vision for ICT to support school
           development, structure access to the ICT equipment, clarify mutual expectations on
           the purpose and frequency of ICT use, specify available support, and also clarify
           possible incentives available for teachers/teacher trainers who actively seek
           professional development and improvement of their teaching practice with ICT.

130. Many DMCs, facing the halfway point in achieving the MDGs devised optimistically in
2000, may reach for ICT as a quick path to fulfilled promises in education. In these cases,
where the goals ultimately go unmet, ICT could become blamed for failures to deliver in other
quarters.

131. A critical element in the process of stimulating demand for ICT in education and
addressing prevailing misconceptions, is government will and shared vision for ICT in education.
Stressing this, the Economist e-Readiness report mentioned earlier states: “Asian countries
have also experienced significant boosts in the 2007 rankings, thanks in no small part to the
vision and commitment demonstrated by their governments in pushing digital development”
(page 3 of footnote 52).

132. There are several approaches to promoting government vision and commitment; possible
key actors in this regard are local champions, professional associations, civil society
organizations (CSOs) or NGOs, as well as the private sector or donors.

133. The role of local champions can be especially influential. Champions are people with a
clear understanding of ICT’s potential for driving innovation. Depending on their role and
influence, they can play a key role in agenda-setting, awareness raising and promotion of ICT,
and therewith drive ICT adoption and policy making. In both Mongolia and Samoa, for example,
RETA research has identified a number of such individuals, in a variety of positions and roles
within and outside of government, who are strong contributors to ICT development and policy
making.

134. Professional associations, CSOs, and NGOs can also be valid partners in the process of
nurturing appropriate and increased use of ICT in education and promoting government vision
and commitment. Such organizations can research and provide lessons learned, document
experiences, or develop resources to inform and advise government on possible approaches to
ICT integration. Where appropriate, they may also be key partners in implementing ICT
strategies, for example in developing standards for teacher training with ICT or teacher and
administrator ICT competencies, in drawing up certification requirements for private training
providers, or in the provision of actual training or infrastructural services.
42


135. The private sector can play a role in strengthening government commitment as well. For
the most part, many such actors are already active in lobbying for new or revised government
policies and regulations that better address their needs. Commercial interests in a vibrant ICT
industry can be channeled to meet public needs for connectivity and infrastructure (more on this
in subsequent chapters) in remote areas of the country, content or equipment development, and
more.

                    VI.     ISSUES OF PLANNING ON ICT IN EDUCATION


A.     Integrated Planning within Total Country Needs

1.      Overview
136. As discussed in Chapter IV, Existing ICT Policies in Study Countries, nearly all of the
countries under investigation do not only have, at least on paper, a national ICT policy, but also
specific ICT in education policies and visions. While many of the issues relevant to ICT in
education policies and related planning may be similar to other sub-sectors of education, ICT
introduces a new dimension to the planning process. ICT plans from any and all sectors,
education included, have to be workable within the infrastructure, costing, and development of
the general communications policy at the national level. A plan as to how to use ICT in the
classroom can be drawn up but if it requires continual electricity, and the needed infrastructure
is not available, either for physical or financial reasons, the classroom plan is unworkable.
Similarly, it is no help to teachers if the e-resources they rely on are available on the Internet but
there is no connectivity in the schools. Stakeholders in ICT in education have therefore an extra
dimension to their work that did not exist in the same way in a purely print-based education
system.

137. Conventional approaches would follow the trail upwards from the smallest micro-needs
assessment within the classroom through local, district, and regional education administration
and so on to the ministry. However, there remains the extra dimension that such ICT plans are
dependent on policies created outside the education ministries; that is, unlike most elements of
education sector planning, the ICT plan has not only to fit in with the strategy of the Ministry of
Education, but at the same time is partly defined by a nationwide ICT policy, which is itself
dependent on a strategy for infrastructure development (provision of electricity and
telecommunication services). That strategy itself is required to serve not only education or even
the whole of the social sector but also interests in other sectors, such as agriculture or the
military. Concerns of the Ministry of Labor may also play a role in agenda setting for ICT
development. Furthermore, all sector plans are subject to fiscal plans demarcated by ministries
of finance.

138. This presents a planning dilemma. How should the ‘bottom-up’ needs in the classroom be
integrated with national telecommunications policy?

139. Clarification of overall national policy is the first step in creating a national plan that
involves all sectors including education, taking place in parallel with need and demand
assessments on the micro level (schools and other education institutions). Because the ICT in
education plan is only one part of the overall national ICT plan and strategy, it cannot be
developed in isolation. To achieve the holistic integration of ICT in education into a realistic
implementable national ICT plan, therefore, there must be an alignment of ICT in education not
only with national education development objectives, informed by the micro-level needs
assessment, but with the overall national ICT policy itself. Some governments, e.g., in Samoa,
                                                                                                 43


have instituted National ICT Steering Committees to provide a forum for regular communication
and exchange and to develop such integrated plans.

140. A second important aspect to planning is that ICT plans in general must also be
realistically phased. Expectations from a few years ago on the speed of technology diffusion
and adaptation have only partially been fulfilled, especially where expectations and targets were
unrealistic. Macro-level planning must be pragmatically integrated and balanced with micro-level
use and adoption of ICT. Such micro-level adoption takes time, however. This is clearly visible
on school level, where whole school reform, as required for effective ICT integration, is not
something to be achieved in 1 or 2 years’ time. The RETA study findings from Samoa clearly
illustrate this point.

141. Another aspect to consider in terms of phasing is that unlike many other aspects of
education planning, ICT plans must also be flexible enough to adapt to future technological
developments. An education sector plan usually covers a period of 10 years, and technological
changes within those 10 years can be immense. No policy maker can predict the technological
advances that may emerge in the next decade, so it is essential that policy makers leave
options open so that current strategies can be revised and built on in the light of innovative
changes. At the same time, if appropriately integrated, ICT will support and complement other
measures of an education sector plan in bringing about education development and
improvement. ICT then functions as a lever to achieve specific education objectives. On this
premise, even long-term education sector plans that focus on and integrate ICT for the
achievement of education development objectives rather than integrate technology for
technology’s sake, will remain valid tools—action plans for a well-articulated vision for the use of
ICT in education. In this, education sector plans will complement infrastructure and information
and communication policies and strategies that also tend to be long term and progressive.

142. In Mongolia, the Information and Communication Technology Authority (ICTA), which is
chaired by the Prime Minister, has played a proactive role together with MECS in the
development of the education sector plan. This has enabled the ICT component of the
education sector plan to be firmly embedded in the ambitious connectivity plans of the ICTA and
phased in accordingly. In so doing, the ICT in education strategy is not simply a subsection of
the MECS e-strategy but is built into the government’s Economic Growth Support and Poverty
Reduction Strategy first developed in 2003. The government of Mongolia has published an “ICT
Vision 2010 In Education Sector of Mongolia” and a corresponding “ICT Action Plan of the
Education Sector of Mongolia,” with the stated purpose of supporting the implementation of the
national ICT development vision of Mongolia. ICT has also been integrated as a focus area of
the 2006-2015 master plan of education. It specifically states the following as one of the seven
priority areas: “Connect all educational institutions, schools and kindergartens to Internet, and
introduce ICT into training, information exchange, monitoring, evaluation and registration
systems.”53

143. What the Mongolians have learned is that each government activity should be founded on
localized practical needs assessment so that these needs can be fed into and become part of
the national plan. In education, the key to these localized needs assessment are the self-
assessment frameworks and tools used at the school level. They generate the education sector
plan, which is the cornerstone of policy development.

144. Instruments have been developed to help the DMCs create national plans. The most
recent of these is the ICT in Education Planning Toolkit produced by UNESCO in their Bangkok
53
     MECS. 2006. Master Plan to Develop Education of Mongolia in 2006–2015. Ulaanbaatar. X.
44


regional office with inputs from many countries in the Asia and Pacific region. It has been
created on the premise that policy makers within the DMCs face larger obstacles than their
counterparts within developed countries. The project officer of the ICT in Education Unit,
UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau, Bangkok, has stated that

           these obstacles are both basic, such as lack of awareness and policy capacity, as
           well as systemic, such as lack of political will and ineffective coordination between
           departments with ICT responsibilities.

145. It is important for the users of the toolkit to realize that it describes a tool that does not
make decisions for them, but helps to ask the critical questions and to collect the relevant
information in one place—to allow for informed decision making. Through a series of questions
and check lists it also helps stakeholders fully explore the ramifications of decisions and
ensures that the ICT in education plan is vertically integrated into the national ICT plan.

B.     Sector-Wide Approaches
146. Focusing on the education sector, the last 10 years showed a change in the way donors
support education in the DMCs. As Asian economies grew and the process of development
progressed, the inherent faults in project-oriented support became increasingly apparent. The
need to build capacity within ministries of education so that systems will eventually be able to
work effectively without external support led donors and recipients toward a policy of sector-
wide approaches.

147. SWAps are valuable in linking the planning of other sectoral development to education.
Health in particular is involved, with awareness education on disease, nutrition, childbirth, and
sanitation—all of these can benefit from integration with the formal education system. Here, ICT
can play a strong educational role. Properly considered, SWAps and education sector plans can
focus donors on assistance and interventions in areas of high strategic importance as well as
coordinate development partners including government, civil society, the private sector, and
other donors.

148. The adoption of SWAps has resulted not only in progress in governance, but also in a
concerted effort by donors to avoid duplicating the efforts of other donors’ and the host country
government. SWAps require ministries of education to produce long-term sector plans, greatly
to the benefit of ICT in education. Education sector plans have, with the encouragement of
donors—especially ADB—been widely adopted in the region. In Samoa, for example, ADB has
taken the lead in acting as an umbrella organization for various donors so that the current
Samoa Education Sector Project, Phase II (ESP II) is logically funded and implemented in a
concerted fashion. Similarly, in Bangladesh, ADB is the lead donor for a comprehensive SWAp
in primary education. All countries visited for this study had education sector plans in some
form. Mentioned above is the Mongolia Master Plan to Develop Education, 2006-2015; in
Samoa, this is the current MESC Strategy Policies and Plan 2006-2015; and in Bangladesh, the
Secondary Education Sector Development Plan 2006-2013.

149. SWAps are critical to the holistic integration of ICT. Without them, ICT integration remains
a collection of fragmented initiatives, much less effective than a concerted effort that focuses on
capacity building and change management both horizontally and vertically within the education
system to produce real, sustainable change.
                                                                                                45


C.     Government–Donor Planning and Cooperation
150. Study findings indicate that where government authority is strong, its capacity for long-
term planning is high, and there is a vision and clarity on the role of ICT for education,
cooperation and negotiation with donors are more informed, thus enabling concerted,
constructive support for ICT integration. This seems to be the case in Mongolia, and to some
extent in Samoa, where the governments are strongly pushing through national ICT plans. The
small and informal nature of Samoa makes donor coordination a comparatively easy task, but
the Mongolian MECS has shown determination in planning what it requires to implement its
strategy for ICT in education and in adhering closely to its education sector plan and vision for
ICT in education.

151. The role of each of the development partners must be considered by policy makers when
formulating education sector plans. It is not simply donors but government, civil society, and the
private sector that can give assistance and enhance interventions in areas of strategic
importance in ICT.

152. There is another aspect of planning as it relates to donor involvement. In an interview, the
chief ICT officer at the Mongolian MECS expressed his personal enthusiasm for the ICT for the
IIREM project and said that he was well aware of its benefit to teachers but, from the Ministry's
point of view, the program could not stand up to any cost benefit analysis.

153. This underlines the necessity when researching results of ICT interventions of
considering what has worked, and what it has cost, and comparing the costs and benefits. At a
$100,000 per school, it is not feasible for a country to fund an ICT initiative; at $20,000 it just
may be. The RETA team did a cost consideration analysis as part of its work under the e-
Resources component. According to this calculation, the cost of (1) consultant services, travel,
communication, and miscellaneous other costs, (2) training activities, (3) e-resources (a set of
computer self-learning software and e-resources for subject matter teaching), and (4) equipment
(one laptop, one LCD projector, and one digital camera per school) provided under this RETA in
Mongolia were at a level of $14,306.10 per school. This RETA profited from lessons learned
and also economies of scale in the production and distribution of e-resources already under the
IIREM project. The actual per-school cost of all activities under IIREM, considering that this was
the first such project in Mongolia, could be estimated at about $27,288.89. Finally, the Samoa
SchoolNet Pilot project, also the first of its kind in Samoa, incurred an estimated $152,000 per
school, including a rather heavy technology package of an estimated $35,000-40,000 per
school.

154. Both, monitoring activities of the IIREM project, as well as results of this RETA indicate
that the ICT interventions conducted had a positive impact on teaching quality. Unfortunately,
these lessons learned have not been available in time before the Program Preparation
Technical Assistance (PPTA) for a Third Education Development Project took place, and were
therefore not considered in its design. Also, no midterm review of the Second Education
Development Project (SEDP) in Mongolia had been conducted prior to fielding the PPTA team
at the beginning of May 2005, so there was no assessment of what had or had not worked in
SEDP (which had focused ICT interventions on the strengthening of informatics instruction,
whereas IIREM focused on using ICT to enhance teaching and learning in rural and remote
schools). With the conclusion of this RETA and its comprehensive research activities in
Mongolia, information on what worked, what did not work and under what circumstances and
46


recommendations for future activities is now available. However, by now, TEDP has already
been designed with yet another small-scale/pilot initiative planned:54

              At least 30 schools will be selected as model schools for effective teaching. …These
              model schools will be developed to serve as venues for in-service teacher training,
              including the application of ICT-based training to improve student-centered teaching
              and learning methods based on the new curriculum.

155. It remains to be seen to what extent this information will be considered in planning
activities under TEDP, which began implementation in 2006.

156. Pilot initiatives, which are often donor funded, are important to yield local lessons learned
in new areas of education development. To date, many such ICT pilots have been implemented
in the region and have yielded important experiences that should be included in future design. It
is important, however, that pilots not be implemented only as academic exercises without a
serious intention to scale up, or without funds to assess the value of the investment (for an
explanation, see paragraph 165), so that governments can make an informed decision about
possibilities for scale-up after the end of the pilot.

157. Another approach can be seen in Samoa. There, a pilot project for which this RETA
identified a number of challenges, will be scaled up to all secondary schools in the country in
coming years. Given the fact that information on its outcome to date consist of trends rather
than facts, the scale-up project is planned to be implemented in two stages. This will allow for
more time to carefully evaluate the value it adds, in its current form, to improving the quality of
education in Samoa. A first stage will also be used to conduct careful financial modeling
exercises to calculate the TCO for the initiative and to collect critical data for its longer-term
sustainability.

158. Given the rapid evolvement of the sector and the constant contribution of new knowledge
to experiences in this area, donors and governments need to cooperate closely in the design of
longer-term education sector initiatives that may include ICT components. Flexible designs, built
on sound monitoring and evaluation and value of investment analysis, as in the case of Samoa,
acknowledge these rapid developments.

159. In addition to (often donor-funded) pilot projects, models for large-scale ICT in education
initiatives exist. However, here as well, there is little documentation on the subject of scaling up,
particularly on initiatives in developing countries that grew out of pilot projects. This is
unfortunate as it not only would throw light on the viability of successful pilot projects, but also
would yield information on how these initiatives have been funded in the longer term (and
insights into sustainability considerations), given that pilot initiatives all too often tend to be very
resource intensive, as can be seen from the simple cost estimates above. To date, funding for
existing large-scale ICT initiatives has come from a variety and combination of sources. In
China, the funding has generally been through direct initiatives through government funding; in
India, public-private partnerships (as in the Indian state of Karnataka) have been more common;
in Malaysia, there have been private sector initiatives directed by government or NGOs; and in
Thailand, these efforts have been affiliated with government at some point in their development,
while in the Philippines they often have not.


54
     Quoted from ADB. 2006. Report and Recommendation of the President to the Board of Directors. Proposed Loan
     and Technical Assistance Grant – Mongolia: Third Education Development Project. Project Number 34187.
     Manila. 11/12.
                                                                                                           47


D.        Planning: Summary and Conclusions
160. Policy making for ICT in education is a network of planning and decision making that
stretches from the rural classroom through regional administrations to heads of government. It
has a mesh that if broken in any one place will make the whole less efficient. The rapid change
of technology is constantly opening new opportunities for ICT applications in education but
without a clear vision of the direction that education should take, ICT strategies will fail.

161. Systemic integration of ICT also is heavily dependent on factors outside the education
system. This includes needs and demands from other sectors and ministries, such as labor,
health, transportation, and communication. National ICT policies should therefore integrate
specific needs and demands of a variety of actors. This can improve efficiency and provide
opportunities to pool funds strategically in ways that serve the interests of several sectors (e.g.
provide connectivity in rural and remote areas).

162. ICT plans should be phased realistically and should incorporate lessons learned from
other initiatives in the region. Such lessons clearly indicate that any effort to integrate ICT into
development takes time, especially if it is to be adopted by stakeholders at all levels of the
system, including teachers, school managers, district education officials, and national ministry
staff.

163. Planning for the integration of ICT into education, therefore, should be concerted, long
term, systemic, and holistic, yet flexible enough to accommodate innovation and change. Most
critically, planning for ICT integration should be driven by educational objectives, not
technological fascination, to allow for sustainable change.

164. Piecemeal approaches and perpetual piloting of ICT in various areas of education do not
promise long-term gains in education quality or increased efficiency in education administration.
However, well-monitored, evaluated, and documented pilot initiatives, integrating ICT into
different areas of the education system, are important to provide local insights and lessons
learned. It is also important for future pilot studies to include sufficient funds to evaluate the
costs of introducing, scaling up, and maintaining alternate ICT models. Such costs contribute to
an understanding of the total cost of ownership of ICT integration.

165. TCO, however, is only part of the picture when planning ICT integration; critical to the
discussion are also considerations of the value of investment. The concept “Value of
Investment” stands for a shift in focus from the more prevalent “Return on Investment”
discourse. It indicates that while the goal for businesses is return on investment in terms of
revenue or reducing production costs, the goal for schools should be education. This requires
schools and education systems to clearly understand their educational goals and how
investments in technology can contribute to their achievement. In this, the value of an
investment in technology is determined by understanding anticipated benefits versus the cost of
implementation and ownership.”55

166. Critical, however, is that micro-level learning from any pilot or ICT initiative is factored into
macro-level decision making.

167. After determining specific education objectives, the next step for governments in creating
a national plan that involves all sectors should be clarifying national ICT policy. Specific steering
committees or advisory/working groups with delegates from relevant ministries and sectors can
55
     Adapted from Kaestner, Rich. Undated. The Value of Investment for K-12. Converge Online. Available:
     http://www.convergemag.com/story.php?catid=236&storyid=97099.
48


be a practical step towards such concerted planning. It is critical however, that such
“instruments” have a clear mission and related tasks, as well as the necessary authority and
budget, rather than pro-forma committees without clear mission or authority. Steering
committees or advisory groups, if used effectively, can also help align and pool funding from
donors to the achievement of educational objectives, to avoid several fragmented efforts and
perpetual piloting.

168. National-level policy and planning efforts should be carried out in parallel with need and
demand assessments in schools and other education institutions. Self-assessment frameworks
and tools can help clarify school needs and priorities. Findings from such assessments should
be used to draw up school development plans. Such micro-level plans then inform district-level
education sector development plans. These, in turn, contribute to the generation of overall
education sector plans—the cornerstone of policy development. Tools for micro-level self-
assessment in areas such as human resources, infrastructure resources, and materials, are
used in DMCs, some of which have been created and are being implemented with support from
donors. There are also specific tools that support self-assessment on the education institutional
level, with a focus on integrating ICT to support educational objectives. Research reveals many
such tools that can inform local efforts. For example, the British Educational and Technology
Agency’s (Becta’s) self-review framework aims to support schools in using ICT more effectively
for education.

169. The conclusion drawn from studying DMCs in the region (not just the focus countries) is
that integrated planning across sectors and within the education sector is essential for three
primary reasons. First, integrated planning will allow all stakeholders to have a sense of
ownership. Second, such planning would avoid overlapping funding. Finally, planning allows
coordination with other ministries and departments where the introduction of ICT in education
will be affected by their strategies.

                          VII.   LEGAL AND REGULATORY ISSUES


Overview on Legal and Regulatory Issues
170. The emergence of new technology often requires regulation. For example, the allocation
of radio spectrum frequencies is necessary to protect the integrity of wireless communications
for various important government and civilian applications. Used with great care, government
regulation can establish a competitive playing field that fosters economic and social
development. For example, a single monopoly state-owned telecommunications company does
not permit a country to take advantage of rapid advances in telecommunications technology.
Throughout the Asia and Pacific region, this model has been largely abandoned. To allow and
encourage ICT to develop, DMCs need to address regulatory issues in radio frequency
allocation, e-commerce, online content, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), satellite
communications, and intellectual property rights. This list is by no means exhaustive, but some
regulation is necessary for ordered and stable expansion of the industry. One of the
weaknesses of current international regulation and existing regulation in many DMCs is that it
was devised before the existence of many of the technologies associated with ICT. It is
therefore necessary to draw up a regulatory framework that not only serves today’s purposes
but has the flexibility to incorporate challenges hitherto unknown.

171. DMC governments have chosen either to bundle these topics with umbrella legislation or
to revise existing legislation. A piecemeal approach to legal reform is more likely to be subject to
different interpretations and therefore less likely to provide the stability that it is designed to
                                                                                                 49


foster. It may be more beneficial for countries to completely overhaul the legal framework for
ICT law within one act. In this way, conflicting interests can be resolved. However, the
relationship between ICTs and education is a complex one, confronting policy makers,
educators, and the international community with a new spectrum of ethical and legal issues.

172. The question is, how can the governments of DMCs introduce a regulatory structure that
is conducive to ICT development and balances the interests of social development and
commercial gain?

B.     Regulatory Frameworks in the Focus Countries

1.      Mongolia
173. In the mid-1990s the Government of Mongolia implemented a telecommunications sector
reform program that lead to the effective liberalization of all market segments, partial
privatization of the fixed line incumbent, Mongolia Telecom Company (MTC), and the
establishment of the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC) as an independent
regulatory authority.

174. Originally, the overall policy maker for ICT in Mongolia was the National ICT Commission
(NICT). The NICT committee had representatives from the government, the public sector,
NGOs, and the education sector. This committee, headed by the Prime Minister, was an
advisory body to the government. When the NICT set up the Information and Communication
Technology Authority (ICTA) in October 2004, its mission had been achieved. The ICTA is
officially charged with the duty to manage, evaluate, and monitor program implementation and
to coordinate cooperation and alliance between implementation agencies. However when
visited in September 2006, there were a number of sub-regulators, including the Ministry of
Infrastructure (MOI), to whom the government has assigned most ICT-related issues as the
main governmental authority. The MOI is also responsible for coordinating donor’s initiatives in
the ICT field. The CRC on the other hand is the regulatory body established by the Act on
Communications (2006) to develop an effective and fair environment for competition between
market participants; issue, suspend, and revoke licenses; ensure adherence by licensees to
their license conditions; determine and set technical standards; certify network equipment; and
approve a full range of tariff, interconnection, and policy functions. The Post and
Telecommunication Authority was the legal stakeholder of the governmental share of the
telecommunication infrastructure, operated by Mongolia Telecom. The Post and
Telecommunication Authority also has minor operational responsibilities such as network
planning and network procurement and deployment.

2.      Samoa
175. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology was appointed by the
government to be the implementer of the Samoa National Strategic Plan for ICT 2004–2009
while the Samoa National ICT Steering Committee oversees the implementation. One of the
steering committee’s specific mandates is to integrate ICT in all public services especially
education and health. Another is to respond to the needs of the increasing number of students
with no ICT curriculum offered in their schools.

176. A major development in Samoan telecommunications was the separation of the
regulatory agency, MCIT, from the service provider, Samoa Communications Ltd., leading to the
establishment of an independent regulator. Since 2002, the telecommunications corporation has
changed from Samoa Communications Ltd. to SamoaTel. The new management has increased
the number of connections. The Samoa telephone infrastructure is extensive in the Apia urban
50


area, and a fiber optic backbone has been laid to enhance connectivity. Fax communication is
widespread. Wireless communication was provided by Telecom Samoa Cellular (now taken
over by Digicel), and in September 2003, service was extended to Savaii. More dramatic
changes in the telecommunications industry took place with the arrival of Digicel in 2006,
opening the Samoan mobile telecommunication market, most notably with a prepaid
subscription format. This was followed closely by the launch of SamoaTel’s “Go-Mobile” in
January 2007. Intense competition between two competing carriers has helped bring down the
costs of telephony in both land and mobile lines. A local landline call now costs 4 sene56 per
minute57 (less than US1 cent) and a local mobile phone call ranges from 34–70 sene58 per
minute ($0.13–$0.26), compared to 12 sene per minute ($0.45) and 1.20 tala (ST) per minute
($0.45) in 2005 (adapted from paragraph 15 of footnote 3).

177. During the time of the RETA research, new ICT legislations were introduced by the
Government of Samoa to regulate the communication sector and the issuing of new 3G
licenses.

3.     Nepal
178. The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) was formed in 2006. It is formally the
regulatory body, but responsibility for advising the government comes from the High-Level
Commission for Information Technology (HLC-IT). The HLC-IT was formed after the National
Information Technology Center and National Information Technology Co-ordination Committee
were disbanded. The roles of both the council and the committee were subsumed into the HLC-
IT by an act of Parliament in 2003. The HLC-IT, in turn, has four subcommittees: (i) Information
Technology Education, Training and Research Committee; (ii) Information Technology
Awareness Committee; (iii) Information Technology Standardization Committee; and (iv) the
Rural Telecentre Coordination Committee.

179. In 2000, an ICT policy was promulgated and in 2003, the HLC-IT was formed. The
formation of HLC-IT was the Nepalese government's response to an aggressive growing
competition in the private sector. The national policy document mentions education 17 times but
in 8 of these references, it is within the context of computer education skills and not ICT as a
tool to enhance teaching and learning or render education administration more effective. In
interviews with members of the HLC-IT, the RETA team discovered a confusion of
responsibilities. On all issues, stakeholders have to deal with four rather uncoordinated
government bodies (Ministry of Information and Communication, Ministry of Science and
Technology, the Nepal Information Technology Centre, and the HLC-IT.) There is often
confusion as to who is the guiding authority over any particular issue. For instance, Internet
service providers (ISPs) have to go to the licensing authority to obtain permission. The NTA is
the regulatory body, although wireless issues are handled by the Ministry of Information and
Communication (MOIC), which allocates frequencies. To put up an antenna tower, permission
has to be given by the Ministry of Forests. Each ministry can block the process. In addition, the
NTA is both the regulator of all ISPs and of the mobile phone providers and, as Nepal
Telecoms, itself a provider along with Spice and United Telecoms Ltd. The NTA is also part of
the Ministry of Information and Communication and the NTA’s Secretary is a member of both
organizations. One of issues facing the sector is that the NTA will not license ISPs for VoIP,
which, with a large number of migrant remittance workers, is one of the facilities most wanted by
the rural population.

56
     100 sene is 1 Somoan tala (ST).
57
     SamoaTel rates.
58
     SamoaTel and Digicel rates.
                                                                                                                       51


180. The HLC-IT functions by making recommendations directly to the Cabinet, which has
always ratified the committee's suggestions. However, the restraints of money and lack of
coordination within government means policies are seldom implemented. In theory, the Ministry
of Education should make its own ICT policy within the guidelines that have been set by the
HLC-IT. The Ministry of Education should then cost their plans and integrate them into the
regular education budget. However, in practice this does not seem to happen.

181. A member of the HLC-IT mentioned during the interview for this research that the
government remains unreceptive to ICT ideas, and this, in his opinion, was because the Cabinet
believed that there was no compelling evidence that ICT develops the country. The government,
he stated, had yet to receive evidence from an ICT expert who could make a convincing case,
although it was conceded that this may be because the transformative potentials of ICT take a
long time to show and, as a general rule, DMCs require the development of a localized industry.
The current thinking of the HLC-IT is that the government should encourage ICT development
through a five-pronged development plan, which would prioritize the following:

          1)     Fund connectivity for schools and supply computers

          2)     Adopt strategies aimed at the capacity gaps in teacher training

          3)     Focus on developing Nepalese content

          4)     Connect teachers and education officers with the Ministry of Education in a holistic
                 fashion that enables a professional teaching network

          5)     Ensure that the curriculum is altered to make IT a specific subject.

182. At the time of the RETA mission to Nepal, a new ICT policy was in place, having just
been revised, and was awaiting approval by the government. The continuing political unrest in
the country means that reform is coming slowly, as ICT is not a priority for the government in the
face of civil strife.

4.      Bangladesh
183. In 1998, Bangladesh issued the National Telecommunications Policy as a precursor to
the liberalization and reform of the ICT industry. In 2001, the Bangladesh Telecommunications
Act was passed, and in January 2002, the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory
Commission (BTRC) was formed to act as an independent regulatory body. Its senior staff was
drawn from the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB), a state-run provider. To
this day, the private sector is not represented on the board of the BTRC. Of the nine BTRC
commissioners, all are retired BTTB employees or government officials.

184. Meanwhile the use of mobile phones in Bangladesh has burgeoned. According to
Grameen Telecoms, as expressed during one of the study interviews, 12% of all telephones
bought globally in the year 2006 were bought in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has adopted the
mobile phone as a core, rather than an adjunct, feature of ICT development. The number of
mobile phone subscribers has increased from a total of 520,000 in 2001 to 19,131,000 in
2006.59 Already in 2005, about 11% of the population (6% in rural areas) had a mobile phone,60


59
     Figures are taken from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) free statistics provided by country, the
     “ICT Eye.” Available: http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/icteye/Indicators/Indicators.aspx.
60
     Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. 2005. Statistics for Monitoring Attainment of MDGs in Bangladesh. Dhaka. 17.
52


and nearly 80% of the population was covered by mobile telephony (footnote 19); today these
numbers can be expected to be much higher.

185. This explosion in communications has not been paralleled by a similar advance in ICT
infrastructure. Landline density remains low (in 2006, 14% of the population were telephone
subscribers, compared to 44% in Nepal [footnote 59]) which introduces difficulties for schools,
especially in remote areas to use dial-up services to connect to the Internet. Some have blamed
this on the close relationship between BTRC and BTTB. Although BTRC has watched over a
market where call prices have plummeted, it has nevertheless seemed to favor BTTB
particularly over the question of international connection through the submarine line and VoIP.

186. While the issue of VoIP is not necessarily a critical concern to the development of ICT in
education, international connectivity is. Restricting international connectivity by price effectively
aggravates digital divisions. A member of the Global System for Mobile Communication
Association stated in an interview with the RETA team that the Bangladesh government protects
BTTB's monopoly over the international phone call business. There is therefore a suspicion that
foreign investors are reluctant to inject funds into the country's telecom sector.

187. For the study, a group of 12 businessmen who are members of the Federation of
Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) were interviewed. They were
vociferous in their complaints about government initiatives in ICT. The lack of regulatory control
over BTTB and, more particularly, the blurring of the line between the regulatory authority BTRC
and BTTB affected business on a practical level. One member of the group complained that
BTTB's dominance over the submarine cable and connections with the outside world caused
him to pay inflated prices for communication. He had received a grant from the Danish Embassy
to set up a typesetting and design facility that is now producing five Danish newspapers
overnight in Bangladesh, but the cost of his connections to the outside world were, in his
opinion, unreasonably high. He felt that the BTRC was holding back telecommunications
advancement by failing to deregulate an effort that would be better left to the market. He
estimated that e-commerce was responsible for $47 billion in trade in 2005,61 but the necessary
regulatory framework was not working.

188. Whether or not the relationship between BTTB and BTRC is less than ideal is not the
point. It is merely an example of how a weak regulatory system is stifling ICT development and
access (beyond mobile phone services). Transparent governance remains essential for
developing the sector.

189. Furthermore, all those present complained of a lack of computer literate employees,
despite this being a cornerstone of the country’s ICT policy, and particularly of the lack of
teachers for computer and ICT skills. This position amongst the Bangladeshi businessmen was
reflected in Samoa, where the National University of Samoa has on average only five graduates
per year in computer science. All those graduates find jobs in the private sector. The result is a
lack of skilled teachers to teach the computer studies class and a heavy reliance on Peace
Corps volunteers to do this work (see Executive Summary of footnote 3).

190. Understandably from their perspective, the members of the FBCCI felt that it was not
important for Bangladesh if staff migrated from the public to the private sector once they had
obtained computer skills. They FBCCI members said that computers were available at every
level of society and that they had constantly lobbied government for ICT development but were
not clear on the process. They felt that there was an innate fear of modernization within the
61
     This number could not be verified in subsequent research, and has to be read with care.
                                                                                                               53


government, and that whereas in the private sector, promotion could be conditional on computer
learning and certification, there was no such parallel within the civil service.

C.        The Need for Regulation
191. It is important for government to understand the economic and social benefits of a well-
regulated, competitive, ICT market. Private enterprise is quicker to adapt and innovate in a
rapidly developing market, and government responsibility for ensuring equal access to
technology for the poor may come into direct conflict with commercial interests. Historically,
telecommunications has been allied with postal regulation, which was logical in an era where
the telephone and the letter were the only sources of the transfer of information. Today, the
plethora of communication possibilities created by the new digital technologies has made this
model obsolete. Yet governments are often reluctant to give up ownership of uncompetitive but
lucrative monopolies. It takes a sea change in thinking to realize that the regulation of the new
technologies extends a government's ability to better serve its citizens by encouraging national
development and open governance. A transparent competitive regulatory environment will
encourage competition and will encourage the private sector to invest to reduce the burden of
capital investment on the state. This has the double benefit of simultaneously reducing the tax
burden and the cost of communication to the citizen, as had happened in Samoa.

192. Governments that encourage investments that reduce regulatory risk are essential, but so
too are independent regulators resistant to political influence and corruption. The digital
development of some of ADB’s member countries, Hong Kong, China; the Republic of Korea;
Singapore; and Taipei, China—provide the best evidence that a transparent and predictable
regulatory framework will attract investors who are prepared to pay for telecommunication
assets, provided they can operate in a stable, impartially regulated setting.

193. There are also international aspects to be considered in this context. For example, the
second oldest international regulatory organization, the Universal Postal Union,62 played a
pivotal role in facilitating international communication of paper messages. It established that:
(i) there should be a more or less uniform flat rate to mail a letter anywhere in the world;
(ii) postal authorities should give equal treatment to foreign and domestic mail; and (iii) each
country should retain all monies it collected for international postage.

194. Today, the WTO, especially through its General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
takes on a similar international role with respect to electronic communications. WTO members
are required to modify their laws to comply with the GATS telecommunication commitments,
addressed under the Basic Telecommunication Agreement. This includes implementing
transparent regulatory structures and procedures, establishing an independent regulator, and
removing market access barriers. While liberalization is an inherent part of GATS, deregulation
is not, which allows individual members to regulate the supply of services based on national
policy objectives. Furthermore, many members, especially developing countries, have
negotiated special arrangements that are more appropriate to their development levels and
specific situation.63 There are also regional frameworks that can further help to establish
government accountability and adherence to a certain level of transparency as well as market-
oriented regulation. Both Bangladesh and Nepal established an independent regulator after
joining the WTO.
62
     The Union was created in 1874 by the Treaty of Berne. Of the 192 UN member states, 188 are Universal Postal
     Union-member countries, three of the exceptions being in the Asia and Pacific Region: Marshall Islands, the
     Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau.
63
     Adapted from infoDev. 2008. The ICT Regulation Toolkit. Chapter 3.2.1 Role of the World Trade Organization.
     Washington, DC. Available: http://ictregulationtoolkit.org.
54


195. An important step for DMCs lies in the adoption of regulations that have the potential to
converge into an internationally recognized ICT regulatory environment. This may not come
quickly, but it can be constructed from country, to regional, to international level, considering the
special needs of DMCs in the process. What is certain is that if governments of the DMCs do
not create regulations that can be agreed upon by their neighbors, they will have no chance of
international support.

196. In any case, it is clear that all and any regulation is meaningless without enforcement. In
regard to WTO membership, meeting WTO regulatory commitments is mainly voluntary
compliance. Where voluntary compliance is not forthcoming, WTO will draw on its dispute
settlement mechanism.

D.     Licensing
197. The licensing of the ICT industry, including the leasing of frequency bands, gives
governments another strong pillar with which to support ICT in education. Mechanisms that
provide preferential tariffs for educational usage are sometimes known as e-rates; this involves
using licensing agreements to make providers give discounted rates to certain customers.
E-rates could be a particularly effective statutory obligation that should be used more by DMC
governments to widen connectivity by making it an obligation under a licensing agreement for
the provider to connect and give heavily discounted rates to all education establishments,
including schools. However, while governments are responsible for education and training, they
are also responsible for infrastructure and may not feel inclined to give priority to the use of ICT
in education, but might prefer to give tax breaks in other sectors.

198. The number of licensing opportunities can be demonstrated by the regulation of licenses
in Mongolia where licensing is conducted in accordance with the Business Licensing Law. There
are separate licenses required for each of the following services.

       •   Public switched telephone network (PSTN)

       •   Transmission

       •   Wireless local loop (WLL)

       •   Mobile

       •   Internet–ISP

       •   VoIP

       •   Datacom (wide-area network [WAN])

       •   International gateway

       •   Community-access television (CATV) and terrestrial broadcast

       •   National radio and television

       •   Local radio and TV (frequency and service license required).

       •   In addition there are licenses for frequency utilization.
                                                                                                                   55


199. Licensing can be used by governments as a means of regulating content—as in the case
of Singapore—or as a source of revenue, and sometimes as both. The process is pertinent to
ICT in education because the license-granting authority also has the opportunity to place
conditions in terms of supplying free or subsidized services to schools. In none of the countries
visited under this study was this powerful lever being used to extend connectivity, and this was
clearly a missed opportunity. Conditionalities could be a powerful pressure point on private
enterprises to encourage them to extend services to the most disadvantaged who, in all the
DMCs, live in areas that are remote by distance or geographical conditions. In other industries,
the granting of conditional licenses is the norm, but nowhere was this powerful enabling tool
being used to benefit the poor by giving them access to the Internet.

E.        Taxation of Products and Services
200. Policies of taxation often play a part in strategies to encourage the development of ICT,
and governments have many instruments that they can use. These include tariffs, sales taxes,
licensing, value-added tax (VAT), corporate taxation, excise duties, special levies, tax rebates,
and tax holidays, as well as the ability to set bank interest rates and to encourage industry
through investment promotion institutions and ICT technology parks. All can be used singly or in
combination to foster the development of ICT in education.

201. Most common is the reduction of import tax on computer hardware and software, which is
to be encouraged. The concept that electronic goods are somehow luxuries must be replaced
with the thinking that they are essential educational tools. Few of the DMCs tax the written word
in the form of books, but many tax heavily the elements needed to access knowledge
electronically. The Grameen Bank has shown in Bangladesh that there are wide innovative uses
for the mobile phone and argued that the remaining high taxes and duties on their import and
sale have been a constraint on extending information communication services to poor people.64

202. While emerging industries can benefit strongly from tax incentives, the micro advantages
of tax exemption against the long-term macro disadvantages of a fragmented taxation system
must be considered. The seemingly common practice of giving educational equipment,
software, and service tax exemptions may look attractive on the surface but can run against
fiscal policies at the state level. In Cambodia, friction between the policies of the Ministry of
Education and the Ministry of Finance, both of which are operating with different donor
regulations, has led to long delays in the supply of learning materials to schools.

203. For tax concessions to work efficiently there must be a well-regulated and strong tax
base. If this tax base is missing, tax incentives are useless and prone to exploitation. Again in
Cambodia, half of the central government budget depends on donor assistance. Low income
and corporate tax rates mean a low level of government tax revenue, so government spending
is also low, and the state receives a significant amount of its income from publicly owned
businesses. In 2005, overall tax revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) was
only 8%. Corruption is perceived as widespread. Cambodia ranked 130 out of 158 countries in
Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2005. Under these
circumstances, tax concessions provide little incentive to the private sector.65

204. At the other end of the scale amongst the ADB member countries, Singapore has built a
thriving IT industry with tax incentives playing a key role. It continues to offer tax incentives for
64
     Information from interview with staff of the Village Phone program initiated by the shareholders of Grameen Phone
     and implemented by Grameen Telecommunications in cooperation with Grameen Bank.
65
     Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal. 2007. Index of Economic Freedom. Cambodia. Washington, DC.
     Available: http://www.heritage.org/research/features/index/country.cfm?id=cambodia.
56


pioneering investments, incentives for skills and research and development, and special
reduced taxation for specific industries and technologies—among them IT.66

205. A question to be considered when incentivizing through tax concessions is at what point
tax exemptions should be reduced or phased out. While encouraging ICT development in the
short-term, the goal of governments in using tax leverage must be to establish a thriving ICT
industry.

206. Many economists believe that the benefits of tax reductions that stimulate the ICT
industry allow governments to recoup their investments because the tax reductions generate
additional tax revenues that outweigh the exemptions.67 The acquisition of a PC triggers
expenditure on printer consumables, PC accessories, Internet connections, and possibly e-
commerce. It should also be remembered that Internet access tariffs normally include taxation
of some sort.

207. The government of Mongolia has been examining the pros and cons of providing tax
incentives and even introducing subsidies to encourage the installation of new technology. It
has made progress on putting incentives from local investors on a par with those for foreign
investors—a harmonization that releases localized investment, and is also taking development a
stage further by making a conscious effort to include the market for access to international
telecommunications circuits.

208. Samoa has decided that government owned, funded, or controlled organizations will not
deduct the statutory withholding taxes from payments to Samoan ICT solution providers,
software developers, local assemblers and manufacturers of ICT equipment, ISPs, and Web
hosting and Web site design companies, as well as ICT equipment maintenance. It has also
begun a program of liberalizing the licensing regimen toward ISPs. The Samoans are also
looking at the options of giving teachers tax rebates to purchase professional tools and for any
investment they make in developing and upgrading studies.68

209. In Nepal, software may be directly depreciated and deducted from taxes, and information
technology equipment is allowed an accelerated depreciation of 2 years.

210. In Bangladesh, FBCCI has played an active part in lobbying successive governments to
encourage ICT development through a number of fiscal reforms. The members have stated that
the continued levy of duty and taxes on communication products has been a big hindrance to
the WAN industry. They point out that government revenue collected from ICT-related products
is so insignificant and the resulting stimulation of the economy so large that the withdrawal of
duties and taxes on the industry would in fact increase revenue. In a paper issued in 2002,
entitled FBCCI Recommendations National Policy. Dhaka, the members of the FBCCI
suggested that tax holidays for the ICT industry should be allowed for a minimum of 10 years.69
More radically, they put forward the case for providing tax credits for all companies that offer

66
     Labelle, Richard. 2005. ICT Policy Formation and e-Strategy Development. APDIP. Bangkok. Available:
     http://www.apdip.net/publications/ict4d/ict4dlabelle.pdf.
67
     See Intel. 2005. Government Assisted PC Programs (GAPPs). Santa Clara. Available:
     http://intel.mrmworldwide.com/business/bss/industry/government/gappbackgrounder.pdf. It states on page 3:
     “OECD research suggests that ICT investments accounted for between 0.3 and 0.8 percentage points of growth in
     GDP per capita between 1995 and 2001.”
68
     Helsinki Consulting Group and ANZDEC Limited. 2004. Equity, Quality, Relevance, Efficiency: Education Sector
     Review of the Independent State of Samoa. ADB TA No. 4256–SAM. 58.
69
     Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI). 2002. FBCCI Recommendations:
     National Policy. Dhaka.
                                                                                                    57


ICT training in an attempt to spread ICT skills horizontally and not simply to benefit the ICT
industry alone.

F.     Special Technology Development Funds
211. One strategy that has received some support in the DMCs is to levy a charge on ICT
services in the private sector to be used for the development of ICT within the country. In Nepal,
where the Information Technology Policy, 2057 (2000) had envisioned to “ICT-driven nation
comprising of knowledge-based society by the year 2006,” (page 4 of footnote 24) an
information technology development fund, called the Rural Telecom Development Fund (RTDF)
was established. The government levies a 6% revenue tax charged on all ICT revenues, 4% of
which goes to the government and 2% to the RTDF. In addition, there is an export of software
service charge of 0.5%, which pays into the fund.

212. The Nepalese RTDF was established with the express purpose of creating public
awareness about IT, assisting rural networking, developing IT with market management,
generating the required manpower for this sector, and making social services (presumably
including education) easily available where such technology is used. Arrangements were made
for financial contributions toward this fund from the government, the private sector, donor
agencies, and others. The NITC has been tasked with operating this fund. According to the
chairman of the Nepal ISP Association, however, this account has never been used but had, in
early 2007, accumulated approximately 60 million rupees (nearly $1 million).

213. The government of Samoa supports a National ICT Development Trust Fund, which
amongst its other activities, should provide venture capital financing to the start up of small and
medium enterprises in the ICT sector. The MCIT has been charged with managing this fund, but
at the time of the study site visit in June 2006, there was no information on how funds were
raised or the amount of money involved.

214. One of the disadvantages of special technology development funds is that they can easily
be absorbed into the normal taxation system, which appears to be what is happening in Nepal.
However, if properly administered and ring-fenced, they can be a valuable resource in
developing ICT in the social sector. This is perfectly feasible. Governments can use the funds to
provide ICT equipment, connections, and training over a fixed period as a diminishing grant
similar to the UK government’s special grants to primary schools for ICT development. In the
UK, money was given to every primary school in the country as a designated fund to be used
only for ICT development. The sums diminished over a period of 3 years, but were over and
above the standard school grant, so that during those 3 years every school had a block grant to
adopt ICT equipment and practices and time to build the TCO into their recurring budgets to
ensure sustainability. The money could be used for nothing else. This targeted form of funding
can be very effective, but it requires rigorous research into what is needed and does not include
subsidizing the TCO.

215. An argument against such special funds is that they merely levy an additional financial
burden on the very businesses and market that the government is trying to develop. There is
certainly little purpose in levying additional charges if the government also has a policy of tax
relief to try to encourage a homegrown ICT industry.
58


G.        Intellectual Property Right Issues
216. Intellectual property rights (IPRs) can be understood as a heterogeneous group of rights
that protect creative, inventive, or economic efforts.70 IPRs can protect a variety of endeavors
such as technical inventions, artistic and literary creations, names, and written and recorded
media. Intellectual property law includes copyright, trademarks, and patents. Copyright in its
broadest terms is a set of exclusive rights granted by government for a limited time to regulate
the use of a particular form, way, or manner of expressing an idea. It does not, however, protect
the idea. It does recognize that the creator owns his or her intellectual work in expressing that
idea. It acknowledges that the expression is a property that can be bought and sold like any
other. It protects intellectual property against theft, restricts the rights of others to copy it, and
thereby ensures that the creator of intellectual property can be paid for his work.

217. Software is protected by copyright because copyright was generated as an idea to reward
those who, through intellectual labor, generate new ideas. The idea of international copyright
came not from science but from the arts. It was Victor Hugo’s displeasure at the fact that he
received no reward from Russian publishers who reproduced his fiction that eventually resulted
in The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works 1886—an international
convention still in force today (amended in 1909, 1976, and 1988) and the basis of ensuing
international copyright law.

218. Of course, the granting of exclusive rights to one person restricts the rights of another.
This is relevant to this study because of the impact of copyright and copyright policies on access
to knowledge in educational materials, both electronic and printed. It works by giving individuals
the opportunity to commercially benefit from their new and innovative ideas through monopoly
rights.71

219. In formalizing localized regulations, governments should consider the balance between
plagiarism and what is acceptable as “open” knowledge. This is particularly tricky for learning
materials, and it raises the debate of how flexible regulations can be in permitting teachers to
use materials downloaded from the Web to integrate into classes and teaching programs.

220. When knowledge was mostly drawn from the printed word, there was a tacit agreement
among publishers in the UK that 300 words of any document could be quoted in a second
document without the need to obtain copyright permission, but this was a voluntary industry rule
rather than a regulation enshrined in law. Such approaches are needed to define the use of
Web-based materials, and currently they do not exist within the Berne Convention. In the
absence of international regulation, rules must be made nationally and, having been made,
enforced by governments. Although nobody wishes to undermine the concept of IPRs, their
pragmatic enforcement is necessary to allow teachers to use the Web as a source of ICT
material.72

221. Each country that has signed the Berne Convention can pass legislation that further
refines copyright law. Of our focus countries, Mongolia, for instance, has the Mongolia Copyright
70
     General resources and guidance on intellectual property rights can be found here: http://www.ipr-helpdesk.org.
71
     Lallana, Emmanuel C. 2004. Overview of ICT Policies and e-Strategies of Select Asian Economies. APDIP.
     Bangkok. Available: http://www.apdip.net/publications/ict4d/ict4dlallana.pdf.
72
     See Consumers International. 2006. Copyright and Access to Knowledge: Policy Recommendations on
     Flexibilities in Copyright Laws. Kuala Lumpur. Available:
     http://www.consumersinternational.org/Shared_ASP_Files/UploadedFiles/23775AAE-3EE7-4AE2-A730-
     281DCE859AD4_COPYRIGHTFinal16.02.06.pdf. The national copyright laws of 11 developing countries in the
     Asia Pacific Region were examined to discover to what extent exceptions to copyright protection have been
     incorporated in national law.
                                                                                                               59


Law 1993 (amended in 1997 and 1999) that extends the rights granted under the Berne
Convention, but the Copyright and Access to Knowledge report found that all 11 Asian
countries73 investigated, including Mongolia, “have given copyright owners far more protection
than the intellectual property treaties they have signed up require.”74 In effect, access to
copyrighted material is much more restricted than required by international agreements.

222. Bangladesh has gone further than most in its ICT4D National Policy (2002), advocating
the enactment of the software copyright provision within an ICT act designed not only to provide
a secure ICT environment but also to protect against ICT crimes specifically. In the Samoan
SchoolNet Student Use Rules, “using the network is a privilege and may be revoked at any time
for unacceptable conduct [which includes] using facilities of the learning centre and the network
for illegal activities, including plagiarism, copyright, or contract violations.”75 This aspect was
given more weight than others, including downloading unlicensed software; hacking;
pornography; violations of privacy; and sexual harassment.

223. The issue of piracy remains a troubling area for software. This is by no means confined to
the DMCs or even the Asia and Pacific region. Proprietary software can be easily downloaded in
Europe together with code cracking software that can generate authorization codes. Whether
software is available on CD covertly, as in Indonesia, or in the general markets, as in Cambodia,
is not really the point. The fact is that the market is reacting to unrealistic pricing by producers of
proprietary software. Microsoft’s reduction of a simplified version of Windows to a $3 retail price
in certain markets in China recognized the revenue efficiency of supplying goods at a cost that
the local market can bear. Piracy flourishes where prices do not reflect local economics and
intellectual property rights laws are not understood or respected.

224. Nowhere is the debate hotter than in the area of open source software, or software
whose source code is openly available. IPR protection enables the creative software developers
to choose how they are rewarded for their efforts— by voluntarily contributing to the pool of
localized education assets protected by free and open source licensing,76 by selling of related
technical services, or by protection and commercial licensing of their products.

225. Work done at Stanford Law School suggests various degrees of copyright protection. The
result has been the idea of Creative Commons licenses, which are licensing alternatives that
enable copyright holders to grant some of their rights to the public while retaining others.77
There are four options, which they have summarized as follows:

          1)     Attribution—Gives permission to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work
                 and derivative works based upon it but only if credit is given.

          2)     Noncommercial—Gives permission to copy, distribute, display, and perform the
                 work and derivative works based upon it but for noncommercial purposes only.


73
     Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines,
     and Thailand.
74
     Consumers International. 2006. Summarised Financial Statements and Annual Report. London. 7. Available:
     http://www.ingoaccountabilitycharter.org/cms/cmsfiles/ci_report.pdf.
75
     Helsinki Consulting Group. 2007. Samoa: Supporting the Samoa SchoolNet and Community Access Pilot Project.
     Final Report. ADB TA4305–SAM. 34.
76
     “Open source license is a copyright license for computer software that makes the source code available under
     terms that allow for modification and redistribution without having to pay the original author.” Quoted from
     Wikipedia. 2007. Open Source License. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_license
77
     The Creative Commons licenses. Available: http://creativecommons.org.
60


       3)    No Derivative Works—Gives permission to copy, distribute, display, and perform
             only verbatim copies of the work but not derivative works based upon it.

       4)    Share Alike—Gives permission to distribute derivative works only under a license
             identical to the license that governs the original work.

226. This concept can be used by policy makers to draft regulations or legal instruments
without stifling local ICT development.

H.     Legal and Regulatory Issues: Summary and Conclusions
227. Findings from focus countries show that there can be no reason why governments cannot
appoint perfectly satisfactory regulatory bodies and then stand back and allow them to enforce
regulations. This appears to have happened in Mongolia and the process is well underway in
Samoa, but in Bangladesh and Nepal, a worrying overlap between government and genuinely
independent regulation remains. Essential ICT infrastructure and services development can only
flourish where the private sector is encouraged to operate communication infrastructure. This is
held back by what are effectively unreconstructed state-owned monoliths. In the majority of all
DMC countries where telecommunications have been tightly state controlled, there is often a
dominant state enterprise that if not 100% state-owned is nevertheless the heir to a monopoly in
which the government has a strong interest. In Bangladesh the state-owned BTTB continues to
be both a governing body and a competing ISP. A similar situation exists in Nepal where the
boundaries between the MOIC and NTA remain blurred. These are examples of how a weak
regulatory system can weaken ICT development, and highlights that transparent governance
remains essential for developing the sector.

228. What governments need, therefore, is to develop a regulatory atmosphere that is liberal
enough to attract the maximum investment from the private sector while ensuring the maximum
opportunities for all citizens to benefit from ICT development. To do this, they must put in place
a regulatory framework that is fairly and transparently enforced. Laws must protect IPRs and
create an environment in which new businesses can quickly develop and, increasingly
importantly, endure digital security.

229. Licensing can be used as a source of revenue, e.g., through leasing of radio frequency
bands, as well as a means to regulate content. However, in none of the countries visited did
governments seem to fully leverage licensing to provide free or subsidized services to the
schools and education institutions.

230. Applying a variety of tax breaks was much more commonly found. Concessions on taxes,
such as tax rebates and VAT exemptions only work effectively, however, if there is a strong tax
base. This is not the case in some of the countries under investigation. Where appropriate, tax
breaks can act as an incentive for ICT development, but if used they must be considered part of
a long-term fiscal plan and carefully targeted at specific sections of society (sometimes referred
to as industry or demographically based schemes). At the same time, the concept that
electronic goods are somehow luxuries must be replaced with the thinking that they are
essential educational tools. RETA findings suggest that few of the DMCs tax the written word in
the form of books, but many heavily tax the elements needed to access knowledge
electronically.

231. Special technology development funds have shown to be a powerful tool in some
countries and contexts, but run the risk of levying an additional financial burden on the same
market that they intend to nurture. Similarly to tax breaks, therefore, such funds need to be
                                                                                                                 61


clearly targeted, especially in terms of their use, and need to be carefully assessed along with
other approaches, such as policies of tax concessions.

232. New technology has bought the need for new legislation and regulation. The overriding
purpose of changing law is to clarify rights within a globalized and digitalized world. However, it
must be done in a way that balances the contradictory demands of access and knowledge
sharing with commercial interest and the reward of intellectual labor. International law provides
an acceptable framework on which local legislation can be built, but that legislation should not
aim to restrict access to knowledge by any means—including financial.

233. Where ICT policies exist, they tend to include policy statements clearly promoting
appropriate legal and regulatory environments (see Chapter IV), but as can be seen, in practice,
some governments fall short on implementing and enforcing such a framework. DMC
governments should therefore engage in careful review, based on comprehensive discussions
with stakeholders from both public and private sectors, of their existing legal and regulatory
frameworks. Without such a framework, an enabling environment for ICT in education cannot be
fully functional, and opportunities to stimulate appropriate and increased use of ICT for
education are lost.

                        VIII.    ISSUES OF CONTENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE


A.        Free and Open Source Software
234. Open Source Software (OSS) refers to software that is liberally licensed to grant the right
of users to study, change, and improve its design through the availability of its source code.”78
Under OSS licenses, users are free to modify and to redistribute the source code of a program
or application. Not all such software is free of licensing fees. OSS that may be used without
paying licensing fees is referred to as free and open source software (FOSS). FOSS is
beginning to make inroads into the near monopoly of proprietary desktop software. Examples of
open source software are Linux-based operating systems; the Open Office suite for text and
spreadsheet processing; Gimp for photo editing; Freemind, a mindmapping software; and
Moodle, a learning management information system.

235. Microsoft’s Office suite owns about 98% of the market share for desktop software.79 The
company’s success in dominating the market gives it an enormous advantage when it comes to
deciding which operating system (Windows or Vista in the case of Microsoft) will be stated as
the preference in a country’s ICT education policy. Many education systems do not analyze
FOSS alternatives carefully before making this decision.

236. The decision is not a simple one. Often a country’s computer training resources are
heavily geared toward Microsoft’s proprietary software and, when the primary objective is to
increase computer literacy, there are advantages in using software that is already widely
accepted and understood. Furthermore, those who are computer literate often have acquired
their skills using proprietary software and may be reluctant to transition to comparable FOSS
products. In Mongolia, for example, the e-Resources component of this study found that none of
the computers in any of the 12 study schools used any sort of FOSS, whether operating
systems or software applications (see paragraph 224 of footnote 2).
78
     Quoted from Wikipedia. 2007. Free and Open Source Software. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FOSS.
79
     Gartner Inc., quoted in Newmann, Matthew. 2007. EU Asks Microsoft Rivals About Word, Excel Dominance
     (Update4). In Bloomberg Online News. March 27, 2007. Available: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/
     news?pid=20601087&sid=a4GPYA7R4Xy4&refer=home.
62


237. Key in understanding the potential of FOSS is the fact that its development is usually a
collaborative effort among volunteer programmers and developers. These programmers are
often paid by organizations that benefit directly or indirectly from the resulting software product.
Other programmers donate their own time because of their technical interest, to enhance their
technical skills or reputation, or because they sell technical services related to the software. In
some cases, organizations that use the resulting software product or sell related technical
services also help fund the programmers. Early examples of software may be released to the
general public, after which groups or individual developers who happen to have an interest in
dedicating their time to improving this product may get involved. Such modifications or
improvements—e.g., new modules or functions of software—are then made continuously
available to the general public. Extensive communities of practice have developed around
individual products in this process.

238. While FOSS does not incur software licensing fees, it is not cost free. Human resources
may be required to localize or customize the software to meet specific needs, to develop
documentation, to offer technical support, to conduct training on the system, or to maintain and
administer the software. Since documentation for FOSS in maintained by volunteers, it is often
incomplete and outdated. The software development process may also be poorly controlled.
Local technical skills in FOSS technologies are often weak in comparison to skills in dominant
proprietary technologies. These factors tend to increase costs.

239. FOSS does offer several key benefits, including:80

          •   Reduced duplication of effort, due to the pooled efforts of like-minded individuals

          •   Building upon the work of others

          •   Better quality control, through collaborative problem solving

          •   Reduced maintenance costs; where there is a vibrant developer base, updates and
              improvements will happen continuously and purchasing of upgrades is no longer
              necessary.

240. FOSS solutions also have several long-term benefits. Chief among them is the sharing of
development resources, the strengthening of indigenous computing skills (and possibly a home-
grown computing industry), the increased likelihood of localization (both of language and
content), and the important freedom from being wedded to a single supplier.

241. The question is whether commercial software packages, with their licensing costs—are a
better long-term solution.

242. The advantages of established proprietary software packages include:

          •   A well-controlled development process and managed software updates

          •   Formalized technical support

          •   Complementary resources, such as well developed manuals and training resources


80
     Adapted from Wong, Kenneth and Phet Sayo. 2004. Free/Open Source Software. A General Introduction. UNDP-
     APDIP. Kuala Lumpur. Available: http://www.iosn.net/foss/foss-general-primer/foss_primer_current.pdf.
                                                                                                               63


          •   A large, managed base of knowledge for applications, technical support, and training

          •   Availability of high-end enterprise-class products not commonly available from the
              FOSS community

          •   Interoperability with other systems, especially other commercial software packages.

243. In making decisions about operating systems and software, governments and schools
should carefully analyze the advantages and disadvantages of FOSS versus proprietary
software. Most of all, software such as ICT equipment packages should be selected with clear
educational purpose. In some instances, this may mean choosing a proprietary commercial
product. In others, investment in FOSS may be justified by greater flexibility, increased
independence, and lower cost. A comprehensive, regionally relevant insight into FOSS has
been developed by the UNDP-APDIP. It includes several e-primers, articles and reports.81

B.        Localization

1.      Overview
244. A broad definition of localization as used by the Localization Industry Standards
Association is that “localization is the adaptation of a product to make it appropriate to the target
locale (country/region and language) where it will be used and sold.”82

245. “Localization” is defined by three interlinked factors that together enable wider use of ICT
in a developing country by presenting information in localized forms. These are (i) the use of
local language and character sets for the operation of ICT equipment, particularly for operating
systems; (ii) the development of non-Roman scripts in standard software; and (iii) localization of
content. Localization of content involves creating learning materials for pupils and teachers that
are appropriate to local requirements and the placement of information on the Web in local
languages. Sound localization policies will in turn lead to the development of local software
industries that produce applications and content useful locally.

246. It is almost impossible for students, teachers, or administrators to use a computer if they
are unable to understand the menus, buttons, and instructions that are necessary to perform the
simplest tasks. Despite the array of languages widely spoken in the Asia and Pacific region—
such as Chinese in its varied forms—English remains dominant both in software creation and
Web site content. As long as this situation persists, large sections of societies will be shut out
from the benefits that ICT can bring to education. The rural underprivileged are unlikely to be
able to benefit from ICT products in English. The vast majority of teachers, let alone pupils, do
not read, speak, or write English. Even in the Philippines, where English is widely spoken, there
are demands for localization from the grassroots to ensure the widest possible pool of
beneficiaries of the advantages of IT development.

247. Localization involves both technical and political decisions. At the simplest level,
governments face the dilemma of whether it is more important culturally to develop the home-
grown software industry or to train and support ICT development in a second language.

248. Localization takes into account not just language but also cultural conventions and the
requirements of the local population to maximize the ICT experience in education and make it

81
     Available: http://www.apdip.net.
82
     Quoted from the Localisation Industry Standards Association. 2008. Frequently Asked Questions about LISA and
     the Localization Industry. Available: http://www.lisa.org/info/ faqs.html#localization.
64


both relevant and useful. A fact often overlooked by educators working with ICT is that for many
potential ICT users, the interfaces are incomprehensible. It is indicative of the challenges that
although Bangla is the primary language of 130 million people in Bangladesh, localization of
desktop software in this DMC with a fast-expanding ICT market is not rapid. Nevertheless, if the
digital divides between socioeconomic groups within countries are to be breached, governments
must realize localization is important to reach the greatest number of citizens and to preserve
local identity and culture. Only through government leadership in the localization of education
will the full benefits of ICT integration be felt in commerce.

249. The dilemma for government remains in recognizing that languages spoken by small
populations are sometimes of great complexity, but the population must nevertheless develop
its own ICT industries to retain the country’s national identity. Should policy makers in DMCs
adopt proprietary software and English user interfaces, which currently offer the fastest route to
computer literacy and ICT awareness, or should they invest in developing a localized ICT
industry, localized user interfaces, and localized content?

250. Well-localized content means that users receive messages and documents in their own
language and in a manner compatible with local customs and culture. It also means that the
software meets the local regulatory requirements.83 The government of China has stated that it
wants to create localized hardware and software industries that will avoid dependency on
foreign intellectual property rights. Rather than becoming dependent on foreign hardware and
software vendors, China is trying to develop its local technology industry, and FOSS fits well
into its software needs.

251. As a small demonstration of the diversity of language, below are listed the target
countries visited in research for this study, along with their official languages and, where
appropriate, the percentage of the population that speaks those languages:

          •    Mongolia: Khalkha Mongol, 90%; Kazakh; Turkic; and Russian.

          •    Samoa: Samoan and English

          •    Nepal: Nepali, 47.8%; Maithali, 12.1%; Bhojpuri, 7.4%; Tharu (Dagaura/Rana),
               5.8%; Tamang, 5.1%; Newar, 3.6%; Magar, 3.3%; Awadhi, 2.4%; other, 10%;
               unspecified, 2.5%

          •    Bangladesh: Bangla (or Bengali) and English

252. In Exhibit 7 below, the majority Cambodian language illustrate the range of difficulties that
are faced by DMCs trying to write indigenous software, create operating systems, and increase
content on the Web. These challenges are unlikely to be met by commercial interests and
therefore rely on dedicated amateur development.




83
     In Thailand, the We Say Project: Empowering Language Development Using ICT is developing some new
     software called “We Say: Words” that is designed to help communities to build a dictionary in their own language.
                                                                                                           65


                  Exhibit 7. What Localization Problems Are DMCs Facing?

     Some idea of the problems faced in just two DMCs illustrates the overall challenges of
     language in the Asia and Pacific region. The World Factbook* states that in Papua New
     Guinea, where Melanesian Pidgin serves as the lingua franca, English is spoken by 1–2% of
     the population, Motu is spoken in the Papua region, and there are a further 820 indigenous
     languages spoken (more than one-tenth of the world’s total languages) in various parts of the
     country.
     In Cambodia the challenge is not the number of languages (although there are approximately
     18 spoken in the country that has a population of 14 million, and many minority ethnic groups
     speak no Khmer at all) but the complexity of the Khmer language, which is thought to form the
     basis of both Thai and Lao, and is spoken by 95% of the Cambodian population.
     Cambodia has on paper an ambitious localization program: developing local content and
     using open source software with medium-term strategies; promoting Khmer content
     development for formal, distance, and equivalency education programs; and promoting
     operating system development in the Khmer language.
     The decision to develop operating systems in Khmer is a justifiable political one that will
     require a massive deployment of resources even to get to first base. Khmer script follows
     complex rules of layout in which consonants may take two different forms (e.g., the small form
     is placed on a lower line if it immediately follows another consonant). Space is used not to
     separate words but to indicate a pause in reading (very much like a comma in English).
     Vowels pronounced after a consonant may appear before; after; above; below; before and
     after (formed by two glyphs); before and above; below and before and after (formed by two
     glyphs); before and above; below and above; or under and after the consonant.
     At present, the definition of the language is so poor that even the number of vowels in the
     language is not clear. The number of vowels in the official reference (the only available
     dictionary) is different from the number of vowels taught in schools. The reference dictionary is
     sorted phonetically, making a systematic collation algorithm following the same order
     impossible. Words starting with the same consonant may be ordered under different listings
     depending on how that consonant is pronounced in that word. As in a parallel Lao localization
     project, an English/Khmer technical dictionary is not available, and the lack of it severely
     hampers efforts to translate software into the local language.

     * The World Factbook Web site: US Central Intelligence Agency. Undated. World Factbook. Washington,
     DC. Available: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook.

2.       Localization of Operating Systems
253. The discussion about localization is deeply integrated with the debate about the benefits
of open source vs. proprietary software. Commercial companies recoup investment in
localization by charging license fees for the localized versions. Countries with poor records of
intellectual property rights enforcement are therefore unlikely to be markets in which proprietary
software is developed by large corporations.

254. Organized documentation and systematic methodologies are needed for effective
localization of software. Currently there is a heavy reliance on voluntary input for development
work, which, although admirable, is not a sound basis for developing large amounts of localized
content. The Free and Open Source Software Localization Toolkit, sponsored by the Pan-Asia
ICT research and development (R&D) grants program, aims to address the localization of
software for countries in the Asia and Pacific region that lack the human and technical
resources required to undertake these complex tasks. The project is developing a toolkit in
layperson’s language to allow countries to develop localization projects without specialized help.
It aims to help all countries in the region, but particularly small countries and national minorities
66


that use their own script but do not have the necessary expertise and knowledge to undertake a
localization project.

255. For this reason, it is interesting to look at a list of localized operating systems developed
by the leader in the market—Microsoft. Exhibit 8 shows the 16 ADB member countries that do
not have a localized Microsoft Windows operating system in their own native, official
language(s). Two, Mongolia and Samoa, are focus countries of this study, and both are
currently developing FOSS solutions.


       Exhibit 8. Sixteen ADB Member Countries that Do Not Have Computer Operating
                   Systems in Their Official Languages and their Population

                          Country             Official, Native Language              Population
                           Armenia            Armenian                                    3,221,000
                        Azerbaijan            Azerbaijani (Azeri)                         8,500,000
                            Bhutan            Dzongkha                                      643,000
                         Cambodia             Khmer                                      14,200,000
                        Fiji Islands          Fijian                                        850,000
                            Kiribati          I-Kiribati                                     94,000
                  Kyrgyz Republic             Kyrgyz                                      5,200,000
                  Marshall Islands            Marshallese                                    57,400
                          Mongolia            Mongolian                                   2,590,000
                          Myanmar             Burmese                                        56,510
                             Palau            Palauan                                        20,000
               Papua New Guinea               Melanesian Pidgin                           6,100,000
                            Samoa             Samoan                                        179,200
                  Solomon Islands             Melanesian Pidgin                             496,000
                         Tajikistan           Tajik                                       6,990,000
                             Tonga            Tongan                                        101,100
                            Tuvalu            Tuvaluan, Kiribati                               9,760
                        Uzbekistan            Uzbek                                      26,700,000
                           Vanuatu            Pidgin (Bislama or Bichelama)                 221,500


256. Some languages—particularly those that use Latin or Cyrillic character sets—are easier
to localize than others. Mongolia’s stated aim is to support the localization of high-tech
information and communications technology.84 The IIREM project in Mongolia was able to
develop 15 software titles and applications that were distributed to teachers as a support tool for
their subject teaching. Mongolia is fortunate in using the Cyrillic character set and having a
moderate percentage of teachers who read a European language—either Russian or English. It
seems that languages spoken by fewer than around 10 million people tend to be unattractive to
84
     Parliament of Mongolia. 2000. Appendix of Resolution No. 21 Year 2000 of Parliament of Mongolia. Concept of
     Information and Communication Technology Development of Mongolia by Year 2010. Ulaanbaatar: Government
     of Mongolia.
                                                                                                               67


proprietary software makers. This is probably because the markets are too small, too difficult to
access, or too poor—and the three often go together.

257. Despite the fact that English is widely spoken in India, the Ministry of Information
Technology—an acknowledged leader in ICT skills and commercial enterprise—is itself
localizing software in Hindi, Marahthi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, and Sanskrit in
order to reach out to those who currently do not benefit from the use of ICT, whether
commercially or in school.

C.        Affordable Computers and Equipment Packages
258. The One Laptop per Child initiative—often referred to as the $100 laptop scheme—is one
of several efforts to develop an affordable computer for use in developing countries.85

259. There are government-supported programs in a number of ADB DMCs—notably India
(Gyanotkarsh, Gyanjyoti), Malaysia (PC Gemilang), the Philippines (People’s PC Program),
Thailand (People’s PC Program), and Viet Nam (Thanh Giong). They have been inspired by
Thailand’s successful ICT low-cost PC project in 2003, of which more than 160,000 were sold
within the first few months. Sales were helped by an easy-payment plan arranged with local
banks by the Thai government. The computers were originally delivered with a Thai version of
Linux, as well as a set of other open source applications. Later in 2003, Microsoft announced its
intent to offer Windows XP and MS Office at 80% of its cost to join the project.86 User
awareness and low-priced sales competition further benefited the market. Consumer purchases
appear to drive computer (but not necessarily ICT) awareness.

260. In China, another public private cooperation in direct competition with OLPC—this time
between Intel, Haier Computer, and the Chinese government through 32 Chinese higher
education institutions—has been developing the Classmate PC pilot project that was tested in
Egypt and due for launch within 2007. By May 2007, the cost of Classmate was said to be about
$285 per unit, although it was expected that the price would drop to $200 by the end of 2007.87

261. The reality of children’s use of computers is that it remains much rationed even in
circumstances where computers are available. It has also been a common observation that
boys receive more computer time than girls if access is not carefully monitored. Outcomes from
a study in the Nordic countries differentiate this issue a bit more, finding that “girls are more
dependent on school as a place to learn ICT skills,” and that where “boys and girls have access
to a computer at home, boys more often have their own computer, while the girls more often
share it with the rest of the family” (from pages 36 and 67 of footnote 49). The response from a
girl participating in a focus group under this RETA’s research in Samoa confirms this finding,
stating that while there is a computer in her home, even with Internet access, only her brother
has access to it (paragraph 91of footnote 3). Reality in most developing countries, however, is
that for the majority of children, computers remain anything but “personal.”




85
     Information for Development Program (infoDev). 2006. Alternative Models: Low-Cost Computing Devices for
     Developing Countries. An infoDev briefing sheet. Washington, DC. A nonexhaustive list can be found at:
     http://www.infodev.org/devices-list.
86
     Chai, Winston. 2003. Microsoft Slashes Windows XP Price to Fend Off Linux. ZDNet.co.uk. 13 June 2003.
     Available: http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/0,1000000121,2136259,00.htm
87
     Agence France-Presse. 2007. Cheap Laptops Project for Poor Countries Draws Big Competition. The Manila
     Times. 29 May 2007. Available: http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2007/may/29/yehey/techtimes/
     20070529tech2.html.
68


262. The upgrading of mobile telephones and the gradual merger of functions between the
telephone and the traditional computer hold some hope that large numbers of children may
eventually be able to access the Internet with equipment that is truly personal. To those carrying
out field observations in schools, the syndrome of equipment held in locked cabinets in school
classrooms or teachers’ offices is all too familiar and was witnessed in Bangladesh, where the
mobile phones provided under the e-Teacher Training component of this RETA were locked up
by the principal for security reasons after school hours, which is when the teachers needed
them most. Certainly in most DMCs there would need to be a vast change in attitudes among
teachers and the government officials who monitor them before children would be allowed to
freely use even $150 computers. It will be interesting to see how schools and teachers manage
low-cost computers in the countries in which they are to be adopted on a trial basis, and
particularly what resources are spent on training teachers and administrators how to manage
the computers or support personnel for their maintenance.

263. Because so few large-scale affordable computer projects have been implemented in the
region, current data on their success or failure are almost impossible to come by. However, the
potential of affordable computers is being studied in Australia especially in rural indigenous
communities. Rangan Srikhanta, a treasurer with the United Nations Association of Australia, is
liaising with local Australian governments, universities, and the OLPC group to organize local
trials in the Northern Territory.88 The Northern Territory Department of Employment, Education,
and Training (DEET) is testing two computers to decide whether to go ahead with a trial
program. DEET wants to undertake an extended pilot study, in which—to establish the learning
benefits and identify the associated teaching strategies and resources required— whole
classrooms of students use the laptops for an extended period. The outcome of this initiative
may render the first hard data on the impact of affordable computers.

264. There are experiences from several “one-to-one” programs (i.e., one computer per child)
in the United States, however, in which entire school districts or schools have invested large
amounts of funds into providing every student, or students in selected grades, with an individual
laptop. Experiences from such initiatives are varied. In the state of Maine, where laptops were
provided to all seventh and eighth graders for several years, there has been no evidence from
standardized tests that this program has improved literacy skills. However, such programs seem
to improve students’ skills to manage information and to collaborate with each other.89

265. Apart from the educational arguments (or lack thereof), the cost of such “affordable
computers” must be put into the context of how much money per child is spent in the Asia and
Pacific region.

266. In Exhibit 9 below, figures on the four focus countries’ expenditures per student for 2001-
2004 in primary and secondary education are expressed as a percentage of GDP per capita,
provided together with the GDP per capita (in current $) for each of these years, and calculated
in USD for the most recent year where all of these figures are available.




88
     Asher, Moses. 2007. Western Australia Trials Low-Cost Laptop. The Age Online. 12 January 2007. Available:
     http://www.theage.com.au/news/laptops--desktops/australia-trials-lowcost-
     laptop/2007/01/12/1168105153500.html.
89
     Warschauer, Mark. 2006. Laptops and Literacy. New York. Reviewed in Camfield, Jon. 2008. A Review of One-to-
     One Laptop Programs in the USA. Available: http://joncamfield.com/blog/2008/01/a_review_of_one-to-
     one_laptop.html.
                                                                                                             69


          Exhibit 9. Expenditure per Student as a Percentage of GDP Per Capita
                               in the Four Focus Countries

      Country                                                  2001          2002        2003        2004

                     Primary                                    ..         37.78%       ..         15.71%

                     Secondary                                  ..         21.54%       ..         14.55%

      Mongolia       GDP/capita                               $420.00     $456.00     $514.00     $641.00

                     Educ. exp. / child (primary) / year        ..          ..          ..        $100.70

                     Educ. exp. / child (secondary) / year      ..          ..          ..         $93.27

                     Primary                                    9.89%       12.1%       ..          ..

                     Secondary                                 10.52%       ..          ..          ..

      Samoa          GDP/capita                              $1,338.00   $1,409.00   $1,685.00   $1,947.00

                     Educ. exp. / child (primary) / year      $132.33       ..          ..          ..

                     Educ. exp. / child (secondary) / year    $140.76       ..          ..          ..

                     Primary                                   13.84%        13%       12.43%       ..

                     Secondary                                 13.77%      11.56%      10.47%       ..

      Nepal          GDP/capita                               $223.00     $216.00     $225.00     $253.00

                     Educ. exp. / child (primary) / year        ..          ..         $27.97       ..

                     Educ. exp. / child (secondary) / year      ..          ..         $23.56       ..

                     Primary                                    ..          7.78%       8.25%       7.03%

                     Secondary                                  ..         12.47%      13.16%      13.47%

      Bangladesh     GDP/capita                               $357.00     $354.00     $379.00     $407.00

                     Educ. exp. / child (primary) / year        ..          ..          ..         $28.61

                     Educ. exp. / child (secondary) / year      ..          ..          ..         $54.82


     Note: The symbol “..” indicates missing data.
     Source: World Bank. 2007. EdStats Query. World Development Indicators Database. Development Data &
     Statistics. Available: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTEDUCATION/
     EXTDATASTATISTICS/EXTEDSTATS/0,,contentMDK:21528247~menuPK:3409442~pagePK:64168445~piPK
     :64168309~theSitePK:3232764,00.html.



267. As can be seen from Exhibit 9, a trend of decreasing public education expenditures per
student can be seen for the years between 2001 and 2005. Exceptions are education
expenditure in Bangladesh (secondary) and Samoa (primary), where funding was increased,
based on most recent available data. Overall, expenditures in absolute terms in all four focus
70


countries are on average below $100 per year. In Nepal, expenditure in 2003 amounted to only
about $25 per child is spent in the primary and secondary grades. Expenditures below $100 are
typical in many DMCs. Furthermore, in a typical DMC, 80%–90% of public expenditure for
education is spend on teacher salaries, leaving only about 10%–20% of the funds for other
items, including teaching and learning materials (e.g., ICT) and teacher professional
development. Where annual spending is below $100 per child per year, this may at best be $10.

268. In Cambodia, the total annual per capita amount spent on education is less than $10,
which leaves less than $1 per year per child for all capital expenditures and connection costs. A
1-month package from Telesurf Cambodia (for an individual) for 500 MB per month at 64 Kbps
is $59 and for 20,000 MB at 128 Kbps (the sort of usage that might be necessary for a school
using comprehensive ICT facilities) is $549. And the number of areas where a connection is
available is very limited; thus, universal school access is a long way off.

269. Another issue over recurring expenses was raised by OLPC plans to send to each school
a specialist who would stay for a month helping teachers and students get started. One close
look at the practical reality of this would set off alarm bells: A DMC country such as Indonesia
has more than 147,000 primary schools spread across 6,000 inhabited islands. Even if such a
scheme were logistically possible and the human resources were available, in terms of total cost
of computer ownership, sending out the specialists for assignments at schools alone would
raise the costs per unit dramatically, even just for minimal teacher training, without even taking
into account other soft costs such as electricity or maintenance. Without any such training,
support from teaching staff, or curriculum integration, however, hardware will be of limited use.

270. In a 2006 article titled “Splitting the Digital Difference,”90 the Economist pointed out that
the whole concept of the affordable computer for use by pupils in the classroom is already
anachronistic:

               In the past, efforts to bring computers to the poor often failed because they were
               based on Western ideas of how technologies ought to be used or paid for.
               Governments and foundations doled out money, only to see it poorly spent or
               pocketed by middlemen. And when market-oriented approaches were tried, they
               often presumed that PCs were things individuals owned and paid for upfront. By
               borrowing ideas from mobile phones and taking greater account of local conditions,
               these schemes have a better chance of making computing accessible

271. The cost of one-to-one schemes needs to be balanced against the potential of school or
classroom technology equipment packages. In Mongolia, under activities of this RETA, each
school was given an equipment package consisting of one laptop, one projector, and one digital
camera—together costing about $4,000 per school, including some software for MS Office self-
training and a collection of e-resources for subject-matter teaching. When integrated with
targeted teacher professional development and organizational change management support at
the school and district level, the package was shown to increase teaching quality. Calculations
including additional costs such as consultant’s time, travel, training, and communication
expenditures over 1.5 years, amounted to a total cost of about $13,600 per school. The rather
moderate equipment package supplied meant that teachers had limited exposure to the
technology. Building on the positive outcomes observed, supplying a few more packages per
school would be a much more cost-effective strategy than acquiring a computer, however

90
     The Economist. 2006. Splitting the Digital Difference. Issue 21 September 2006. In Global Technology Forum.
     White Papers. 21 September 2006. Available: http://globaltechforum.eiu.com/index.asp?layout=
     rich_story&doc_id=9409&categoryid=&channelid=&search=africa.
                                                                                                                  71


affordable, for every child. The research also revealed an unexpected, but rather interesting
finding: The rural implementation schools (that is, schools that received the equipment package
and participated in the accompanying interventions) had, on average, fewer functioning
computers in their computer lab compared to control schools, but the students in these schools
still reported more frequent access to the computer lab technology than their peers. This seems
to suggest that the ICT interventions, which were primarily focused on teachers and education
administrators rather than on students, seemed to have also had a positive effect on students’
access to technology.

272. An alternative school package was piloted in Samoa, under the Samoa SchoolNet pilot
project, which provided computer labs, fully equipped with hardware and software, to schools.
Each lab had a network of 10 Internet-ready computers in a thin-client configuration,91 two PC
servers, a video recorder with still camera function, a data projector, two printers, a fax/scanner,
a photocopier, and uninterruptible power supply devices for the servers. The thin-client setup
proved to be an appropriate solution for a computer lab, because it allows a computer lab
manager to centrally monitor and manage data exchange and activities on each terminal. This
configuration in general also leaves less opportunity for individual workstations to be damaged
(or rendered entirely nonfunctional) because there are no individual data processing
components to begin with. The core of the configuration, the central server, can be safely locked
up at all schools. Critical also are the cost factors involved: Adding more terminals to the thin
client may be cheaper than buying additional new desktop computers to expand a computer lab,
and ensures a certain standardization that in turn facilitates hardware maintenance and
servicing. The cost of equipment and installation (plus some furniture and connectivity setup) at
each school was estimated as $35,000–$40,000. Adding all other costs to implement the project
and provide initial training for teachers and school administrators resulted in an estimated
$150,000 per school. Early findings on the impact of this package on education quality,
however, did not indicate any effect on improving teaching and learning so far. Future
evaluations may yield another picture, however.

273. At the same time, ICT in education is much more than children’s access to computers.
Two lessons learned from research in the region are (i) the astonishing rates of acquisition of
mobile phones and (ii) the new and innovative uses to which they are being put. Worldwide,
there are about 2.8 billion mobile phones in use and approximately 1.6 million new phones are
being added every day.92 One focus country, Bangladesh, featured an annual growth in
subscribers from 2006 to 2007 of over 58%,93 and a compound annual growth rate of over
105% (between 2001 and 2006). But in terms of the potential for education, the numbers are
less important than the diversity of new users, reaching even to some poorer segments of
society.

274. From connecting traders who are establishing market prices to making medical
diagnoses by telephone, Bangladeshis are finding new uses for mobile phone technology that
were never imagined by the suppliers, with the latest mobile phone being advertised as being
“What computers will become.” The convergence of technology, functionality, and design,


91
     A thin-client setup features central servers on which all applications and data are hosted, while the individual
     (student) terminals, featuring a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, are directly connected to these servers for any
     significant data processing. This way, a local area network (LAN) is created among the computers involved.
92
     See The Economist. 2007. A World of Connections. In Special Report on Telecoms. Vol. 383. Issue 8526. 28.
     April 2007.
93
     See Agence France-Presse. 2008. Bangladesh Mobile Phone Users Soar 58 Percent in 2007: Regulator. Yahoo
     News Online. Dhaka. Available: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/080123/world/ bangladesh_telecom_economy_1.
72


combined with innovative use in developing countries, calls into question the Western
assumption that the personal laptop is the appropriate platform for ICT in education.

275. This RETA’s e-Teacher Training component in Bangladesh focused on using
smartphones94 to support in-service continuing professional development via distance learning.
The equipment package of 13 smartphones, one laptop, and phone service for all phones for
2 months incurred a total cost of $7,673.06. This equipment was distributed to teachers in
10 schools and one teacher training center, reaching a total of 20 teachers and five teacher
trainers, and also involved 10 head teachers plus one training coordinator and one principal
from the teacher training center. A rough “per school” estimate yields an equipment package
cost of $697.55 per institution. Study findings showed that participants were satisfied overall
with the learning experience, and strongly preferred training that allowed them to remain in their
homes and classrooms. Furthermore, the trainees, when compared with a control group of
trainees who completed the face-to-face training at the same time, demonstrated equivalent
content-knowledge gains based on pre- and post-training scores.

276. In another example in the area of teacher training, the RETA work in Nepal focused on
using video to support the work of mobile teacher training teams in rural and remote areas of
the country. Three such teams were provided a laptop and a digital video recorder each (as well
as training on basic operation and pedagogical use of the equipment). That equipment package
cost about $2,779 per team. After 2.5 months of use, participants reported improved content
retention through ability to watch lessons more than once, improved teaching practices through
ability to review and self-identify weaknesses, and increased self-confidence as a result of being
able to watch themselves performing in front of a class.

D.        Connectivity

1.       Overview
277. In general, “connectivity” as investigated in this study is restricted by three elements:
(i) infrastructure, (ii) cost, and (iii) government licensing policy. In turn, these elements affect
(i) education administration, (ii) teacher use (supporting teachers in lesson preparation and
professional development), and (iii) pupil use.

278. Connections were available in all the ministries of education of the focus countries at the
time of the study, but often only for high-ranking individuals. Frequently it was not clear which
budget was used to pay connection charges, so equipment was operable but unused (e.g., in
Nepal). In Bangladesh, the irregular supply of power had an effect on the use of equipment
within the Ministry of Education and academic institutions. Although locally interconnected
networks are desirable, they are limited and, with the exception of Mongolia, there was not a
culture of Internet and e-mail use for internal or external communication. Equipment tended to
be allocated according to status rather than need. This was most apparent in one country under
investigation, Cambodia, where the younger ministry staff who had computer skills only had use
of computers in their role as secretaries to higher management. This finding is significant
because it shows that organizational culture and the lack of ICT awareness can affect broader
planning for education: A civil servant who does not make use of ICT is less likely to be aware
of the possibilities or to have the vision necessary to incorporate ICT into education sector
plans. This behavior also demonstrates in practical terms the confusion in the minds of some


94
     A smartphone is defined as a mobile cellular telephone that is built with many of the same functions as a handheld
     computer, i.e., e-mail, photo and video capture, document viewing, Web browsing, etc.
                                                                                                                73


planners between informatics and ICT (see Section V.B, Perceptions and Misconceptions of ICT
in Education in this report).

279. For a teacher to fully use the benefits ICT can offer education, constant access to
information and the capability to communicate just-in-time are critical. Although professional
development can be complemented by self-study lessons on CDs without access to
communications networks, this format denies teachers opportunities for structured professional
exchange and collaborative capacity building. In Nepal, teacher training programs lost a great
deal of their potential impact because when teachers returned to their villages, they ceased to
receive professional support. As the digital divide grows within rather than between countries,
governments have a strong responsibility to adopt policies and to plan ICT in such a way that its
benefits are available to all.

280. There are degrees of connectivity and, because of the huge cost implications involved, it
is important to distinguish between permanent and on-demand connectivity. This RETA’s
research, especially in Mongolia, showed that permanent connectivity, while desirable, is not a
requirement to effectively leverage ICT to enhance teaching and learning. There is, therefore,
an opportunity for governments to cross-subsidize the social sector to provide connectivity to
some extent, at least, even if it is shared by a variety of actors in one location. In difficult
geographic conditions, getting the physical connection to such a location or school is a
challenge, however. Maintaining electrical supply is a second consideration.

281. As technology progresses, it is becoming more obvious that Internet connectivity is
increasingly available at affordable prices for urban dwellers regardless of country but remains
sparse and comparatively expensive for the rural poor. Opportunities for connection vary greatly
in the Asia and Pacific region, and this is not simply because three of the five most populous
countries in the world (China, India, and Indonesia, representing 41% of the world population)
are within the region. Large DMCs obviously face large challenges in terms of the digital divide
between rural and urban communities, but in numbers alone, it should be noted that the United
Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that more than half the population of the world will
be living in cities by the end of 200895 and the Asia and Pacific region is more urbanized than
others. The region also has made greater strides in connecting the rural population than other
regions. In terms of village connectivity, of the top 10 ranked developing countries, seven are
within the region.

282. The People’s Republic of China and Indonesia, which ranked first and third respectively
in 2002 population (see Exhibit 10 below), both have ambitious programs to ensure at least
telephone coverage in every village by the year 2010. In Indonesia, the DESA berDering 2010
program intends to connect by 2010 43,000 villages out of a total of 72,000 that did not have
telephone access in 2005. In China, the Cun Cun Tong (Village Connected Project) aims to use
a public-private partnership (PPP) to promote access in the 70,000 villages that, in 2004, were
not connected. The partnership assigned unconnected villages in 31 provinces to six basic
telecom operators. These operators self-financed and completed the coverage of the provinces.
By the end of 2005, 50,000 of the 70,000 were at least able to make dial-up connections.




95
     United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). 2007. State of the World Population 2007: Unleashing the Potential of
     Urban Growth. New York. Available: http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2007/presskit/pdf/sowp2007_eng.pdf.
74


                         Exhibit 10. Village Connectivity: Top 10 Developing Countries
                                              by Rural Population96




                                                                                                                                          Villages with fixed
                                                                                                                    villages with fixed
                                              Rural Population




                                                                 Rural Population
                                                                                                                                                                Mobile population




                                                                                                  Average village
                                                                 (millions) 2002
                                              (percent) 2002
                            (millions) 2002
                                                                                                                                                                   coverage




                                                                                    (thousands)




                                                                                                                    (thousands)
                                                                                                                                                                   (percent)

                            Population




                                                                                                  population
                                                                                    Number of




                                                                                                                    Number of

                                                                                                                    telephone




                                                                                                                                          telephone
                                                                                                                                          (percent)
               Country




                                                                                    villages
                                                                                                                                                                        2003
 Rank




                                                                                                                                                                         Estimated
                                                                                                                                                                Total      Rural
 1           China         1,295                62               803                  930         867                    772                   83                73            56

 2           India         1,050                72               756                  607         1,242                  468                   77                41            19

 3         Indonesia        217                 56               122                   69         1,745                   27                   39                85            73

 4        Bangladesh        144                 76               109                   86         1,272                   68                   79                50            34

 5          Pakistan        150                 66                 99                 125         795                     12                   10                41            11

 6          Nigeria         121                 54                  65                 90         727                      ..                    ..              43            ..

 7          Vietnam           80                75                  60                  9         6,780                    9                   98                29            6

 8          Ethiopia          69                85                  59                 10         5,837                    1                   11                ..            ..

 9          Thailand          62                68                  42                 69         614                     55                   80                92            88
          Egypt, Rep.
10                            71                58                  41                  5         8,826                    1                   21                98            97
              of
            Top 10         3,259                 66              2,156              2,000         1,079                1,412                   71                58

Note 1: Estimated mobile rural population coverage assumes that all inhabitants in urban areas are already covered.
It is derived by subtracting the percentage of the population in urban areas from the overall percentage of the
population covered by mobile telephony
Note 2: The symbol “..” indicates missing data.
Sources: World Bank (population, mobile population coverage), UNDP (rural population), and the following national
sources: Bangladesh: Bari 2004, Minges and Simkhada 2002; China: NBS 2003; Egypt: American Chamber 2005,
Egypt State 1995; Ethiopia: Library of Congress 1991. Villages with telephone derived from rural call stations: India:
Minges and Simkhada 2002; Indonesia: DGT 2002; Pakistan: Minges and Simkhada 2002; Nigeria: CDC 1991;
Thailand: NSO 1999; Vietnam: Anh 2002, VNPT 2004.

283. While connectivity from large cities is generally good, with adequate speeds to allow
satisfactory browsing, this is not so in rural settings, where connections are often both unstable
and slow. These two factors can mean that the simple act of downloading e-mail is expensive,
and updating any Internet security software is so costly as to be prohibitive. As stated in a
UNESCO publication for the World Summit on the Information Society, 97

                         there is no doubt that the effective use of ICTs is hampered by low accessibility,
                         low connectivity, lack of maintenance training and high infrastructure costs. All
                         too often, state monopolies charge exorbitant prices for the use of bandwidths.
                         But none of these barriers are insurmountable so long as informed and
                         coordinated policy choices are made at the national, regional and international
                         levels.

96
        The World Bank. 2006. 2006 Information and Communications for Development Global Trends and Policies.
        Washington, DC.
97
        Quoted from Guttman, Cynthia. 2003. Education in and for the Information Society. Paris. 63. Available:
        http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001355/135528e.pdf.
                                                                                                              75


2.       Cost of Connectivity
284. Clearly one of the major contributors to the horizontal digital divide—the digital divide
between the affluent and the poor within a country—is the cost of connectivity. In this matter,
each country’s government has a leading role to play in promoting school connectivity. Whether
the Internet providers are competitive private sector or public monopolies and the connections
are dial-up, leased line, cable, wireless, satellite, or asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL).
All Internet providers are subject to licensing and government regulation, and governments can
manipulate pricing to provide cross-subsidies where necessary.

285. Exhibit 11 below demonstrates not only how difficult it is to compare connectivity costs
between countries but also how the charges paid in the DMCs are disproportionately high
compared to those in the developed world.

                          Exhibit 11. Anomalies: Cost vs. Connectivity

The costs of communications, given a sufficient capacity “pipe” into a country, are often irrational in the
developing world. Taking into consideration such input variables as labor costs, municipal restrictions
and procedures, rights of way, interagency coordination, and the prices of raw materials—such as
copper or fiber-optic lines—being the same everywhere, why would a leased 64 kb [kilobits] line cost
$5,000 a month in the Fiji Islands or Manila and more elsewhere, while the same circuit may cost $450
or less in New York, Portland, or Vancouver, where municipal, utility right-of-way, and labor costs are
many times higher?
This conundrum affects costs as well as performance. For instance, an “always on,” reliable
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) connection at 1.5 megabits [per second] in Vancouver is
offered by the competing ISPs Telus, Shaw, and Novus at the equivalent of less than $24 a month. In
Manila, with a similar infrastructure capability, ePLDT, an affiliate of Philippine Long Distance
Telephone Company (PLDT), offers an Internet connection that can deliver up to 128 kilobits
downstream (toward the subscriber), and up to 64 Kbps upstream, for an installation fee equivalent to
$40 and a monthly fee equivalent to $50. This connection capacity is less than 1/10th that of real ADSL
in North America, at more than double the cost, and is far less reliable because service interruptions in
Manila are frequent, with no refunds for time out.
Using a teacher’s salary as a proxy for affordability, a senior Filipino teacher earning about 15,000
[Philippines] pesos [ca. $371.75] a month, this connection would represent 17% of his or her gross
monthly income. If we were to adjust the price for North American ADSL connection speed—since the
Philippine infrastructure is technically capable of delivering it—by simply scaling up price on a linear
basis, we arrive at an equivalent cost of say 25,000 pesos per month [ca. $619.58], or 166% of the
teacher’s monthly income. A North American teacher earns about $5,000 a month; thus the real high-
capacity ADSL connection will cost her or him 0.5% of monthly salary. This comparison applies to most
developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In many cases, the obvious problems with performance
and affordability are even more striking.

Source: Quoted from page 68 of footnote 8.

286. In theory, the cost of access to information should be similar in many countries.
Equipment, labor, and international connectivity costs are all equivalent. Two exceptions are
exemplified by two of the focus countries: Mongolia and Samoa. They face the particular cost
problems of being a landlocked country and a remote island respectively. For landlocked or
remote island countries, satellite connections are obligatory (if they are not to be totally
dependent on neighboring countries) and these are currently expensive. Internally, both Nepal
and Mongolia have the basis of a fishbone fiber-optic network, but both countries, being
landlocked, have to connect internationally through India and via Russia, respectively, to
Europe.
76


3.       Government Policy for Increasing Connectivity
287. In terms of education, the government’s role in selling licenses could provide an
opportunity for encouraging connectivity for schools. DMCs follow different paths in promoting
network deployment and some have included universal service obligations in the conditions of
licensing. If it is acceptable for the government of Nepal or Samoa to levy a charge on Internet
activity for the support of rural connections, why should the licensing system not be used to
make private enterprise share the cost of connecting schools? In the long term, the commercial
enterprise will make profits from rural connections, but if the lucrative urban allocations were to
come with licensing conditions that obliged IT contractors to connect schools, and perhaps even
to hold down subscription costs, progress would be more rapid. While such cross-subsidies are
often not encouraged by donors, they could be implemented on a diminishing scale so that at
least initial connection is accelerated. The problem in DMCs is persuading country policy
makers that this sort of creative licensing can be adopted within their regulatory frameworks.

288. Governments, by nature of the fact that they are involved in all sectors of ICT, also have
the option of reducing start-up risk to connecting schools to the Internet. In rural areas, health,
agriculture, and local government, as well as schools, need broadband Internet connectivity
both to communicate quickly and to be able to access large volumes of data. By buying Internet
capacity in bulk, government can reduce costs to the individual sectors as well as stimulate the
expansion of Internet connections by reducing risk to the provider. This requires a cooperative
interdepartmental effort and a shared vision that will improve “connectivity and universal,
ubiquitous, equitable, non-discriminatory and affordable access to, and use of, ICTs … to be
achieved by 2015” that are indicative of the targets set out in the Geneva Plan of Action by
Partnerships for Education (PfE).98

289. This is not to say that government choices in the realm of connectivity are easy. In areas
of difficult access where infrastructure is disproportionately expensive based on the numbers it
will serve, government can be faced with the dilemma of whether to delay the introduction of
education development programs because they cannot be ubiquitously implemented or whether
to go ahead in those areas—usually urban—where the infrastructure already exists and thereby
increase the digital divide between urban and rural societies within the country. To this question,
there is no clear or universal answer.

4.      Connectivity in Focus Countries
290. Mongolia. The Information Communication Technology Authority of Mongolia has 16
targets, seven of which concern aspects of connectivity. Even those that are not specifically for
education have a clear impact on ICT in education. These seven are:

          1)     Affordable Internet

          2)     Internet access for everyone

          3)     E-mail for everyone

          4)     Web sites for each organization


98
     PfE is a collaboration among governments, the private sector, international organizations, and donors to help
     deliver effective private sector contributions to meet the goal of providing Education for All by 2015. The
     partnership was signed between UNESCO and the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2007. Quoted
     from WSIS. 2005. Tunis Agenda For The Information Society. 13. Available:
     http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/58161.pdf
                                                                                                                    77


           5)     Fiber-optic connections to every home

           6)     One home—one PC

           7)     Mobile phone for every herdsman.

291. The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Last Mile Initiative99
observed of Mongolia that

                it is encouraging to note that over the last decade there has been considerable focus
                by both the public and private sectors in addressing this situation. And this focus has
                not just been on telecommunications, but also the broader Information and
                Communications Technology (ICT) arena. For nearly a decade now, the country’s
                focus on ICT has been guided by a national ICT Vision 2010.100

292. At the same time, the demography of Mongolia amplifies the challenge of rural
connectivity for schools. As noted earlier, this country has the lowest population density in the
world (see also Exhibit 2).101 The low density, coupled with lack of continuous electricity, leads
to small markets and limited demand for ICT in rural locations. These are obstacles enough to
make the provision of connections marginal, and therefore cross-sector and interdepartmental
cooperation essential. Initiatives in the private sector—particularly in banking in the case of
Mongolia102—and both agriculture and health need to be targeted for partnership by the Ministry
of Education. Cable optic, wireless, and satellite antenna and landlines are all being
investigated as means of increasing connectivity in rural areas; however, on the whole, villages
still are not connected (some not even to the central power network). Leapfrogging technologies
must be considered.

293. In 2006, connection cost options for infrastructure for Internet connection in Mongolia
were:

           •    Cable optic: $3,000–$4,000 per km

           •    Leased line: $50 for up to 500 meters; $0.20 for each additional meter/per month

           •    Satellite antenna; $1,400 for one antenna per month

           •    Very small aperture terminal (VSAT) antenna: $13,000 (approximately) to purchase
                the equipment, then $300 per month.

294. With costs at this level, it is clear that schools cannot afford exclusive connectivity.
Resources must be shared.


99
      The Last Mile Initiative is a global program to expand the access of the rural poor to communications. It was
      launched in April 2004 by USAID to spur increases in productivity and transform the develop prospects of farmers,
      small business, new start-ups, and other organizations in rural areas that were underserved by the world’s major
      voice and data telecommunications networks.
100
      Owen, Darrell. 2005. Mongolia: Last Mile Initiative. Unpublished paper. Summary article available here:
      http://cbdd.wsu.edu/blog/pdf/Mongolia.pdf.
101
      Mongolia has 1.1 people/km2 in contrast to Singapore’s 6,386 people/km2.
102
      The Khan Bank–Agricultural Bank of Mongolia has played an active part in assisting schools in villages where the
      bank has branches by allowing the schools to use connections when the bank branch is not. This has met with
      security problems, and it also turns out that both the bank and the school want connections at the same time of
      day.
78


295. Samoa. Samoa was the focus country where connectivity was particularly relevant to the
ICT initiative under investigation by this RETA. The Samoa SchoolNet and Community Access
Pilot program that was the focal point of the RETA country study exemplified the difficulties of
connectivity on a small Pacific island and also highlighted the problems of a poorly regulated
telecommunications sector. Restrictive and monopolistic ICT legislation was identified as a
major factor in retarding implementation of this ADB-funded project. When the project began,
there was only one major telecommunications company in the country and the available
communications infrastructure was limited. Limitations and inflexibility on the side of the provider
required the project to redesign its connectivity model, which was based on earlier assurances
for services available that did not come forth (see pages 2 and 3 of footnote 75). Several
connectivity models were evaluated. The reform of the telecommunication sector then opened
new opportunities. At the end, because connectivity for the pilot project sites could only be
designed in one way, the technology—rather than the educational demand—dictated the
design.

296. Of the five schools selected for the pilot and linked to the network, only two could be
linked by wireless connections. The initial design for a full wireless network of schools had to be
abandoned in the light of high installation and monthly costs associated with broadband. The
monopolistic position of the state supplier meant not only delays in the implementation but also
no possibility of negotiation over price, which was simply not viable. Eventually a low-cost dial-
up link was inaugurated by the ISP and the supplier did allow a low-cost number for connection,
but the overall package was less than satisfactory.

297. While basic phone services have connected most villages on the islands, the service is
not stable and is subject to problems during wet and stormy weather. This instability is yet
another example of why dial-up services do not solve the within-country digital divide. Combine
these with an erratic power supply and the necessity for schools to have an alternative form of
connection becomes apparent.

298. The Draft Samoa National Strategic Plan for ICT 2004–2009 suggested that the digital
divide within the country was widening and included the statement,103

               During the consultations, it was evident that one of the key issues of access to ICT is
               affordability of new technologies and applications of ICT and safety of its use. In
               other words, the digital divide does exist in Samoa and will get wider if not addressed
               immediately.

299. The consultations mentioned took place during 2003 and 2004. At the same time, by
2007, plans to, e.g., provide “sustainable rural connectivity” (from page xiv of footnote 103) have
not yet materialized. However, an independent regulator has recently been appointed and
competition in the mobile phone sector has already had a significant impact in reducing call
charges for both fixed and mobile users.

300. There are also other barriers to connectivity. The SchoolNet management team found
that highly regulated airspace and the blocking of the free spectrum range of communication
channels, together with licensing issues—such as these stringent rules of ISPs—were obstacles
to connectivity. One local company that had several wireless point-to-point links in operation for
one government department was not granted more such links owing to government regulation.
According to the country manager of Computer Services Ltd. (CSL), there is proposed

103
      Government of Samoa. Undated. Samoa National Strategic Plan for Information and Communication Technology
      (ICT) 2004-2009. Draft. xiii.
                                                                                                  79


legislation before Parliament that aims to change this, but the fact remains that the Samoan
government presides over a relatively inflexible regulatory system.

301. There are also missed opportunities: In the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Heta, which
struck Samoa in early January 2004, the World Bank spent $5 million to rehabilitate the roads
on the two main islands of Sava and Upolu104 but there was no provision for laying optic cable.
Had this been done, the vast majority of the communities in Samoa would have been within a
short distance of a powerful vehicle for ICT connectivity. Where intersector cooperation is poor,
opportunities are missed, an issue that is discussed above in Chapter VI, Issues of Planning on
ICT in Education.

302. Nepal. Connectivity remains the largest inhibitor of the development of ICT in education
in Nepal. The geography of the country means that despite innovative efforts that are being
made by small NGOs to connect rural villages, the reality is that the Internet is only available in
major urban areas. Telephone and Internet connections are still priced beyond the reach and
imagination of larger sections of society. Unusually, Nepal Telecoms does exercise a policy of
no distance-based charge through landlines, so connectivity would be the same price in remote
rural areas as in the cities, if it existed. However, even satellite and wireless technology is
defeated by the deep Nepalese valleys and the dearth of electricity.

303. Bangladesh. Bangladesh is geographically much less of a challenge to the introduction
of universal connectivity than any of the other focus countries (for a geographical description,
see Exhibit 2 above). The country is undergoing a great boom in mobile coverage. However, the
essential requirements for ICT connectivity are not in place. Bangladesh’s flat geography does,
however, make the country particularly suitable for line-of-sight wireless connection, which
would be a possibility for school connections. Teachers might best be contacted by mobile
telephones, but 3G has yet to be licensed so the current mobile system cannot relay an
adequate amount of data.

304. There are many social factors working against universal school connectivity in
Bangladesh. Representatives interviewed from one NGO identified the main challenges as
infrastructure and teachers’ attitudes. The latter are affected by the fact that all teachers
supplement their incomes with private tuition and they feel that they will lose tuition fees if
children can find their own study materials.

305. In terms of policy making, the system reflects a patchwork of rather uncoordinated
initiatives and actors. Each administration has developed or invented a new body to control the
telecommunications sector. There are three main players making ICT policy in Bangladesh: (i)
the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC), (ii) the Support to ICT Taskforce (SICT) that is
situated within the planning ministry, and (iii) the ICT taskforce itself. The BCC, which was
formed by act of Parliament, is named as the ICT agency in Bangladesh. It reports to the
Science and ICT Ministry. In addition, an ICT taskforce was formed to develop policy. This
taskforce has representation from civil society, industry, academia, and administrative
government. It has only met eight times in the past 9 years and has formed further committees:
the committee on ICT, which reports to a Secretary in the Prime Minister’s office; and the
committee on government, which reports to the Cabinet Secretary. The BCC is not represented
on either of these committees.

306. The BCC has its own budget of 1 billion taka ($14.5 million) and is capable of approving
projects but has no assessment capacity in matters such as cost effectiveness, and no history
104
      There is 403 km of coastline.
80


of thinking through project design problems. Meanwhile there is the SICT, which is situated in
the planning ministry and overlaps with the BCC in terms of implementation.

307. Given the difficulties of making decisions within this system, UNDP decided to create
another agency within the Prime Minister’s office (PMO). The PMO has a mandate for all cross-
cutting agencies. This new agency has been named the e-Government Unit. It is deliberately
low profile and its purpose is to give access to information within the government. It is further
charged with developing the e-vision for Bangladesh. UNDP supports it with six international
technical advisors who supply the knowledge needed for the Unit to make decisions. The Unit
tries to determine what else is needed to develop ICT in Bangladesh and to undertake risk
assessment. It is supposed to respond to supply- and demand-driven ideas. It is currently
concerned with building a Bangla text-to-speech capacity to enable illiterate citizens to use ICT.

308. The current thinking seems to be to respond to the very real demand for telecenters, to
use them as a catalyst for demand for ICT, and to establish educational demand via the
telecenters and the schools. Study findings indicate that ICT for education is not at the top of
Bangladesh policy makers’ agendas.105

E.         Content and Infrastructure Issues: Summary and Conclusions
309. In regard to FOSS, there can be no regional or universal answer to the open source vs.
licensed software debate. It has no either/or solution. DMCs must weigh a number of factors in
their planning to ensure that they are not locked in to one solution that may be impossible to
reverse in the future. If they do so, they may lose great advantages in localization of software
and content. Most students, not only in the developing countries, but worldwide, have their first
experiences in learning with licensed software. The fact that 98% of personal computers run on
one platform speaks for itself. At the same time, the barriers between licensed and open source
software are breaking down fast—both sides realizing that the IT systems of the future will need
to be more catholic.

310. Concerning localization, it is often grossly underestimated how the lack of localization
limits access to information in developing countries. In the end, the localization of software and
language are indivisible and necessary to reap the full benefits of ICT development. As was
stated in a APDIP publication of 2006,106

                The localization of an application is an important social issue and has significant
                impact on local users. It is important to make it possible for users to work on a
                computer, using their local language, without having to learn English. As a spin-off to
                this, the availability of software in the users’ native languages is changing their
                perception of their own languages; they now see them as modern and worthy of
                using and preserving.

311. This chapter also addressed affordable computer schemes, as they are currently being
developed and implemented. It highlights that they have been critical in promoting and
stimulating R&D into alternatives to high-priced personal computers and laptops. For many
schools, school districts, or education systems at large, they may provide a possible way to
nurture and foster ICT development and use ICT to improve access and quality of education,

105
      It should be pointed out that even the PMO's position is anomalous in the current situation of an interim
      government.
106
      Quoted from Hoe, Nah Soo. 2006. Potential of Free and Open Source Software for Sustainable Human
      Development: A Compilation of Case Studies from Across the World. APDIP. Bangkok. 38. Available:
      http://www.apdip.net/publications/ict4d/BreakingBarriers.pdf.
                                                                                                       81


while being sensitive to tight budgets. However one-computer-per-child schemes may, even at
very reasonable unit costs, be way beyond the possibilities of a DMC, whose average per-child
expenditures in education may be well below $100 per year, of which only some 10% may be
available for such material expenditures.

312. In this context, equipment packages that target teachers and administrators, either in
schools or in teacher training institutions, may be more appropriate to optimize use of ICT for
education. More often than not, ICT in education initiatives have targeted teachers in schools—
or schools in general. Few initiatives could be identified that focused on teacher training
institutions, with the specific aim of using ICT to improve teaching quality. Needed are both
positive teacher attitudes toward ICT, and sound knowledge and skills in integrating ICT with
classroom teaching in pedagogically appropriate ways and in designing student-centered
learning opportunities for students. As a result, teacher training and teacher training institutions
should be given more consideration in regard to planning ICT in education initiatives and
equipment packages

313. It is also important to actually learn from lessons learned on what works, what does not,
and under what circumstances. Computer labs, which exist in most Mongolian schools,
including the control schools that participated in the RETA e-Resource component, clearly did
not yield similar results as the very moderate, but mobile package provided under IIREM and
this RETA. Furthermore, the use of battery-powered laptops was more appropriate given the
fact that in all of the participating rural schools in the study, electricity supply was limited to just
a few hours per day, mostly outside school hours, which significantly limits the value of
computer rooms to regularly enhance subject-matter teaching.

314. Finally, a technology such as video that may already be “old” from the perspective of
developed countries may prove to be much more appropriate than fancy or modern technology
gadgets. This stresses one of the earlier conclusions of this study: the need for contextualization
of ICT in education initiatives and in careful consideration of social, geographical, and economic
circumstances of each DMC (see Chapter III, Relevant Contextual Aspects in Study Countries).

315. In regard to connectivity, evidence from the region clearly demonstrates that, as is the
case of Mongolia, a clear strategy must be adopted that addresses questions of infrastructure
and cost in order to make universal ubiquitous connectivity a possibility. Connectivity is a clear
example where integrated planning is crucial (see Chapter VI, Issues of Planning on ICT in
Education), because it will ultimately involve a variety of actors, even outside of education. A
clear strategy is necessary, at the national level, that must be combined with a strong regulatory
framework that adapts to both public and private commercial demands.

316. It is also clear that education cannot compete with other sectors such as health and
agriculture, but rather must be a partner in identifying ways of extending connectivity to rural
and remote populations. ICT integration must be designed in such a way that it breaks down the
disparity between urban and rural connectivity. As soon as possible, all schools should be
connected by the highest capacity link that is available given their geographical circumstances.
In the meantime, there is no reason why schools should not become the focal points around
which the community bases its ICT response. Even where high demand for Internet connections
does not yet exist, integrating ICT into schools and possibly leveraging school infrastructure to
provide computer training to community members (as had been planned under the Samoa
SchoolNet pilot project) can generate awareness about ICT in communities and stimulate
demand—especially among those who normally would be considered to fall below the internal
digital dividing line.
82


317. Governments must not only seize the initiative in making policy but also create the
regulatory and legal circumstances that nurture the development of ICT as a whole. As has
been shown in the Cun Cun Tong initiative in China, they can partner with private enterprise
through creative licensing. Above all, to improve connectivity, governments must take practical
measures to encourage and fund the development of infrastructure that will allow education
establishments to connect to the World Wide Web, if the full potential of ICT is to be used for
learning and teaching.

                     IX.     ISSUES OF INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURES
                                   AND PARTNERSHIPS


A.     Technology Parks
318. In the middle-income and graduated DMCs, technology parks have become a popular
lever that governments use effectively to develop the IT industry. These are not mere tax
havens but draw on the advantages of concentrating IT research in one locality. Malaysia and
Singapore have both used them effectively for more than 10 years. The theory is that
technology parks should be established with all necessary facilities in strategic locations.
Entrepreneurs, both local and overseas, are then given space at a very low rent in the hope that
proximity will help innovation.

319. However, in the DMCs, replication has not always been successful. In Bangladesh in
2006, it was noted by the FBCCI (page 23 of footnote 69) that

           despite repeated assurances from the Government since 1997 about “IT Park,” “IT
           Village,” “High-Tech Park,” not much progress has been made over the last 4 years.
           The only achievement so far is allocation of some land at Mohakhali for ‘IT Village,’
           and another at Kaliakoir for “High-Tech Park.”

320. Other focus countries are also embracing the IT park concept. Mongolia has already
gone further than Bangladesh. In order to support information technology business in the
country, the National Information Technology Park (NITP) was established in 2002. The NITP
received $1 million from the Government of the Republic of Korea through the Korean
International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) as grant aid, and the Government of Mongolia
supplied $150,000. The main functions of the NITP are to:

       •   Centralize national IT capacity and create favorable environment for IT business

       •   Provide incubation services for IT start-up companies engaged in software
           development

       •   Promote IT outsourcing.

NITP is capable of incubating up to 21 companies at a time, for an incubation period of up to 2
years, and will provide rent-free office space, discounted rates on Internet services, shared
facilities, and consulting services.

321. The government of Nepal is currently constructing an IT park that it hopes will serve as a
catalyst to develop the country’s IT sector by offering a business environment with what it
described as “a similar genetic mix of conducive policy and regulatory regime as well as state-
                                                                                                                    83


of-the-art communications infrastructure.”107 The IT park is to be built 30 km outside Kathmandu
in the Kavre Palanchowk district. Its organization and development are under the auspices of
the High-Level Commission for Information Technology and the objectives are:

           •    Participation of the private sector in infrastructure development

           •    Infrastructure development

           •    Human resources development

           •    Dissemination of IT

           •    Promotion of e-commerce.

322. Another example for the role of technology parks in the stimulation of ICT development in
general comes from Kazakhstan, Central Asia, where a proposal for an IT park outside the
capital specifically mentions its function in encouraging multinational ICT companies to invest in
R&D and production facilities. According to this proposal, the park will also be declared a
special economic zone. In this way, it will be exempt from customs duties on imported inputs,
from the value-added tax (VAT), and from land and property taxes. There are hopes that these
measures will help overcome some of the challenges Kazakhstan faces, such as a lack of
human resources in the IT field and high transportation costs.108

323. During the data collection for this study, no further resources or investigations into the
impact of IT parks on the development of ICT within education in the region could be found.
However, the park in Ulaanbaatar houses a large number of small and medium enterprises and
its central location gives it advantages for holding symposia and conferences. It also is close to
institutions of research and higher education, as well as the center of concentration of human
resources. Whether such an institution outside the center of the capital, removed from access to
local IT graduates and other R&D institutions—such as is proposed for Nepal—would have the
same impact remains questionable. Until there is empirical research that supplies data on the
financial impact of such ventures, it is hard to assess their cost effectiveness.

324. Further issues to consider may be the following, expressed in relation to the plans in
Kazakhstan, mentioned above (page 10 of footnote 108),

                MOUs [Memoranda of Understanding; with multinational companies] cost nothing,
                but translating them into action can cost a very large slice of a nation’s scarce
                resources. Tax breaks and zero customs duties may not be sufficient to offset
                geographical isolation, high transportation costs and lack of a local market [which is
                the case in several Central Asian economies, this instance is focusing on], especially
                when there are many developing economies offering similar packages. Small
                economies are usually users rather than developers of ICTs, and the scale of ICT
                production that can thrive in small markets usually involves small clusters of
                companies with very low sunk costs, for example, developers of local content for
                mobile phones, or animation for local Web servers or TV. Great caution needs to be

107
      High-Level Commission for Information Technology (HLC-IT) [Nepal]. Available: http://www.hlcit.gov.np/itpark.php.
108
      Ure, John. 2005. ICT Sector Development in Five Central Asian Economies: A Policy Framework for Effective
      Investment Promotion and Facilitation. Report prepared for the International Conference on Strengthening
      Regional Cooperation for Managing Globalization, Moscow. UNESCO. Available:
      http://www.trp.hku.hk/papers/2005/report_oct_091005.pdf.
84


               used before a commitment of scarce resources, as well as organized research and
               consultations with ICT companies who are all too willing to sign MOUs.

B.         Centers of Excellence
325. Centers of excellence can be understood as knowledge hubs, in that they often function
as innovators or developers of human resources capacity, new practices and applications. In
the context of this RETA, they were investigated in their role as promoters and developers of the
human resources necessary to nurture the appropriate use of ICT in education. Another aspect
to consider is their success in transferring innovative ideas and practices to teachers and
schools. Three of the focus DMCs of this RETA have instituted (or planned) centers of
excellence: Mongolia, Samoa, and Bangladesh. In Samoa and Mongolia, the government
supports institution-based centers of excellence with extra financing. These are the National
University of Samoa (NUS) and the Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST),
which has been tied to the development of its NITP to act as a hothouse for national ICT
development (see the previous section of this report).

326. By 2003, an eLearning center had been established with donor support at MUST, with the
aim to promote distance education and develop content. Since then, MUST has developed
dozens of courses and courseware for distance learning. Furthermore, the Computer Science
and Management School (CSMS) of MUST received support under the UNDP-APDIP initiative
for the establishment of a local certified CISCO Networking Academy. MUST also has taken on
a strong role in teacher training on ICT, complementing efforts by the Mongolia State University
of Education. Big steps have been made in building capacity, especially for pre-service teacher
training, where computer courses are mandatory. However, capacity in building a critical mass
of teachers with strong pedagogical capacity in ICT integration into teaching and learning is still
limited, and so is outreach directly to schools, especially to those in the remote and rural areas
of the country.

327. The Samoan Education Sector Review stated that when NUS was established by an Act
of Parliament in 1984 (later amended as the NUS Act of 1997), the university’s mandate was
the “establishment of a centre of excellence in the study of Samoa, the Samoan language and
culture” (page 16 of footnote 68). In 1999, the Institute of Samoan Studies was established as a
center of excellence to initiate, coordinate, and encourage research and disseminate knowledge
of Samoan studies through seminars, conferences, and publications. In 2002, the government
announced that NUS would amalgamate with the Samoa Polytechnic; this happened in 2006. In
2001, a joint effort among ITU, UNDP, and Cisco Systems established the Cisco Networking
Academy at NUS. The university already ingrains the center of excellence concept in its mission
statement: 109

                   To become an internationally recognised centre of excellence in academic and
                   vocational education in the South Pacific region, and to make a difference
                   through training, research and innovation, encompassing diversity; promoting
                   excellence and global recognition as a world leader in Samoan Studies.

328. The university, however, has just a handful of IT graduates per year, most of which go
into the private sector for work upon graduation. This leaves a vacuum of capable IT
professionals to support public sector ICT installations. This is a serious challenge for Samoa.
Currently, the IT unit of MESC itself only has two employees, to support the entire MESC IT
infrastructure and the Samoa SchoolNet pilot schools, as well as provide equipment

109
      Quoted from the NUS mission statement at http://www.nus.edu.ws.
                                                                                                                       85


maintenance and service to all schools in the country. The solution, however, is not as simple
as hiring addition staff, due to the lack of qualified personnel in the country. Currently, even
computers studies classes in several schools and colleges are taught by Peace Corps
volunteers, due to the lack of human resources in the country and especially in the teaching
profession. Previously, only 52% of education/teacher training graduates completed their
education with access to ICT, but this changed in 2006 with the introduction of computer studies
(basic literacy skills) as a compulsory course for pre-service teacher training for all education
students at NUS. NUS is currently in the process of developing its capacity in areas of ICT for
education through workshops, partnerships with NGOs and conference participation. It has also
been involved in a number of activities of this RETA. At the same time, outreach to schools has
been limited and provision of innovative ideas and practices for teachers has not yet taken
place.

329. In Bangladesh, the Fifth Five-Year Plan suggests that one of the three science and
technology universities should be earmarked as a center of excellence in ICT by giving it a
higher allocation of resources. The country’s education reform recommendations include
transforming and restructuring the National Academy of Education Management to become the
institutional home of excellence for secondary education teacher training, but not specifically for
ICT. NAEM will be responsible for managing and coordinating secondary education teacher
training nationwide.

330. No such plans could be found for Nepal.

331. Regionally, there is the International Open Source Network (IOSN), an initiative of
UNDP’s APDIP. Its objective is to serve as a center of excellence and a clearinghouse for
information and software in the Asia and Pacific region. It aims to raise awareness, make
networking easier, and facilitate R&D. It is a network with a small secretariat based at the UNDP
Regional Centre in Bangkok and three centers of excellence—IOSN Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN)+3,110 IOSN Pacific Island Countries, and IOSN South Asia, based in
Manila, Suva, and Chennai respectively.

332. In the Philippines, the South East Asia Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO),
founded in 1967, hosts the Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology
(INNOTECH), founded in 1970. This has proved to be a valuable regional forum for training,
research and evaluation, and ICT. In recent years, the center’s efforts in ICT and teacher
training focused on courses such as (i) Technology Applications in Education: Teachers and
Teacher Trainers, (ii) Technology Tools for Producing Instructional Media, and iii) Using
Leading-Edge Technologies for Quality Education. Through training courses on these topics,
SEAMEO INNOTECH has allowed course participants to produce prototype teacher-made
materials that not only illustrate the use of ICT for teaching specific subjects, but also use a
range of technologies—computers, print, and video.

333. Furthermore, under an ADB-funded technical assistance (TA) to establish regional
knowledge hubs, four to six centers of excellence are being founded with the aim to help
building “capacity on identified new and emerging development topics in DMCs, thus enhancing
the skills and expertise in DMCs and strengthening knowledge sharing in these areas.”
Specifically these knowledge hubs are to “(i) promote germination or growth of identified
knowledge and technologies, (ii) translate or adopt national and international knowledge in

110
      ASEAN+3 includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the
      Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam, as well as three additional countries—the People’s Republic of
      China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.
86


these areas for local use, (iii) reduce domestic knowledge and skill gaps in these areas, and
(iv) promote exchange of knowledge and information.”111 The centers of excellence are being
established with particular emphasis on a partnership approach involving governments, private
sector, NGOs, academic institutions, and other donor agencies. Their primary task is to create
the capacity to train technicians, engineers, and scientists in sufficient numbers to enable the
local ICT in education industry to develop and be responsive to local demand. The outcomes of
this initiative have yet to be analyzed.

334. As a future possibility in this context, The Study on Science and Technology and ICT and
e-Learning, and Their Role in Supporting Development Toward a Knowledge-Based
Economy112 had as one of its suggestions to assess the feasibility of establishing regional and
subregional centers of excellence in science and technology, with specific reference to
supporting development of ICT/English learning in countries within the Asia and Pacific region.

C.         Public/Private Education Partnerships and Initiatives
335. If governments of DMCs have difficulty raising money for large ICT investments from their
own resources, then PPPs may be important drivers for ICT development. Private enterprise
can usually move faster than governments to exploit the benefits of new technology, but it is in
the interest of both parties to ensure an understanding of mutual responsibilities. PPPs not only
play a part in developing infrastructure but also can be key to the development of digital content.
APDIP has realized this and stated that strategic PPPs are the key building blocks in
implementing ICT in education.113

336. It is not enough for governments to simply leave development to the private sector. Only
governments can plan and integrate donor support into their education sector plans and access
sources of finance that strictly commercial interests would not contemplate—in particular,
ensuring IT for the most marginalized. Donors can also play some part in reducing risk for
private operators who are building infrastructure such as backbone IT feeds, which may need to
be supplied to areas of marginal interest to commercial companies. The Public Private
Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), to which the members of the European Union (EU) are
major contributors, advises developing country governments on improving the environment for
private sector participation in infrastructure development. Telecommunications infrastructure
accounts for about 11% of the PPIAF’s budget. It is well aware that the private sector on its own
cannot provide for the poorest members of society and yet these are the people who should be
targeted to expand access to education to where most needed. Given the right circumstances,
however, private sector companies are beginning to devise means of making profits by
providing services to the bottom of the social and financial pyramid.

337. Furthermore, it is the donors who can help governments to develop realistic action
plans—something that the private sector, with its justifiable vested interests, will not and should
not do. Often the time taken for a market to develop does not synchronize with private
enterprises’ commercial needs. However, expanding markets will in the end benefit both the
public and private sectors, and establishing cross-subsidy schemes alongside innovative public-


111
      Quoted from ADB. 2005. Technical Assistance Report: Establishment of Regional Knowledge Hubs. Project
      Number: 39201. Manila. 2. Available: http://www.adb.org/Documents/TARs/REG/39201-REG-TAR.pdf.
112
      Chea, Horn Mun. 2005. Study on Science & Technology and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) &
      E-Learning, and Their Role in Supporting Development Toward A Knowledge-Based Economy. National Institute
      of Education Singapore. RSC–C51681. Singapore.
113
      Tong, Tan Wooi. 2004. Free/Open Source Software: Education. APDIP. Delhi. 40. Available:
      http://www.apdip.net/publications/fosseprimers/foss-edu.pdf.
                                                                                                              87


private partnerships may encourage commercial network operators to enter less commercially
attractive sectors.

338. This situation seems to be understood by the private sector in our focus countries but, for
fear of accusations of unfairness, public sector planners may be reluctant to look to the private
sector to help. A view repeatedly expressed by the Pakistani delegation to the International ICT
for Education Conference in October 2007 in Manila, for example, was that the commercial
sector’s motivation for profit was in direct opposition to government’s obligations to provide
education services.

339. Within education, private enterprise has a large part to play to ensure that there will be a
future pool of technically qualified individuals who will be able to build and sustain the local
industry. Properly certified private trade training courses can play a central part in building a
country’s skills base.

340. Bangladesh typifies another problem in which the private sector could supply training and
tuition through private institutions that for financial reasons are inaccessible to the vast majority
of the population—not only in Bangladesh but in the DMCs as a whole—because of the tuition
fees. If governments are unable to create enough such institutions themselves, they should look
carefully at scholarship programs, if necessary even donor-funded ones, that would grow
national skills. In an environment in which the private sector remains underrepresented on the
bodies that govern ICT development, it is unlikely that such beneficial private solutions will
materialize. Targeted scholarships have the further advantage of not distorting the tax system.
In Mongolia in 2005, a voucher system for ICT training supplied by private firms was tried but
unsuccessful, because the schools themselves wanted to have the capacity to provide such
training, as well as the accompanying equipment.

341. The Dhaka Ahsania Mission and the Grameen organizations in Bangladesh are both
business organizations and NGOs with interests in ICT in education. The Grameen Village
Phone program is an example of successful public-private cooperation that helps rural
development. It enables women members of the Grameen Bank’s revolving credit system to sell
cellular phone services to rural areas and could easily be extended to teachers to supplement
their income and as an education tool. The Village Phone program initiated by the shareholders
of Grameen Phone (GP) is implemented by Grameen Telecommunications (GT) in cooperation
with Grameen Bank. Funding for the Grameen Village Phone program was provided by
Grameen Bank in partnership with the International Finance Corporation, ADB ($50 million
loan), and the Commonwealth Development Corporation in the United Kingdom, as well as
Norway’s Telenor, Japan’s Marubeni Corporation, and the US’ Gonofone ($55 million). GT also
received a $10.6 million loan from the Soros Foundation. Investments from the partnership
amounted to about $115 million.114

342. GT, a nonprofit organization providing phone services in rural areas, is an income-
generating activity for members of Grameen Bank. GP, on the other hand, is a commercial
organization and one of Bangladesh’s mobile carriers. The rate charged by Grameen Telecom
for a phone call is discounted by 50%. This subsidy is made possible by a transfer of profits
from the more profitable urban part of the business to the rural sector. High revenues are
generated by the shared-access business model, which in turn increases rural income. As of
June 2004, there were 60,000 Village Phone subscribers and revenue growth had risen to
$34 million at end of 2003. By providing telephone services, a Village Phone operator earns

114
      Footnote 5 in Cohen, Nevin. 2001. What Works: Grameen Telecom’s Village Phones. World Resources Institute.
      http://www.digitaldividend.org/pdf/grameen.pdf.
88


about $300 per year, an amount that exceeds Bangladesh’s average annual per capita income
of around $286 (from page 237 of footnote 20). The members of the FBCCI interviewed during
this research have suggested to the government that a system ought to be developed in which
the private sector could look after 5 to 10 villages and train trainers for the quickest growth. It
was felt that a microcredit system could be developed to enable individuals to buy computers or
at least to develop computer centers, with certificates of qualification being given as collateral
for loans. The members of the FBCCI believed in the natural mushroom effect that would allow
people with access to computers to train themselves but found that computers were often still
treated by the teaching authorities as a preserve for the knowledgeable.

D.     Institutional Issues and Partnerships: Summary and Conclusion
343. Technology parks can be efficient drivers of ICT development. Several countries in the
region, including Malaysia and Singapore, have such experiences. Of the four research
countries, Mongolia already has a fully functioning technology park, while Nepal’s is under
construction, and plans for such a park in Bangladesh have not yet materialized. Technology
parks often are tax havens for local and multinational investors, exempt from customs duties on
imported inputs, and from VAT, land, and property taxes. They also draw on advantages of
concentrating IT research in one locality. At the same time, RETA research seem to indicate
that technology parks also depend on proximity to adequately trained human resources, such as
vocational and tertiary education institutions. Furthermore, while technology parks may be
enthusiastically welcomed by local and international corporations, at least on paper, they may
still require considerable public investment. Governments, therefore, should carefully analyze
the return on investment for such institutions. Regional research on cost-effectiveness and
lessons learned, which would help DMCs governance in such deliberations, however, is scarce.

344. The specific interest for the research on centers of excellence not in their role as
innovators or developers of new practices and applications within the countries, but in how
successfully they are transferring ideas and practices to teachers and schools. Study findings
indicate, however, that direct outreach to schools with such innovation was still lacking in all
cases explored. Another great challenge for DMCs, which effective centers of excellence may
help address, is to ensure that their education systems have the capacity to train technicians,
computer engineers, and even researchers to a level that can sustain their home indigenous
ICT industry. These steps often cannot stop the brain drain, however. This is particularly in
evidence in one of the focus countries, Samoa, where the comparatively liberal immigration
policies of New Zealand tend to encourage the few available skilled locals to leave the islands.

345. National systems of innovation are dependent for their production on an alliance among
interactive stakeholders, including research and teaching institutions, commercial ventures, and
government bodies. When these stakeholders act in accord, the result is mutually beneficial; but
in DMCs it is often difficult for governments to put into place such an enabling environment.

               X.      STUDY SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS


A.     Overall Summary of Findings
346. According to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), an enabling
environment can be described as “a trustworthy, transparent and non-discriminatory legal,
regulatory and policy environment” that needs to be created by governments “to maximize the
social, economic and environmental benefits of the Information Society” (from page 6 of
                                                                                                 89


footnote 6) With this background it becomes clear that appropriate ICT policies and strategies
are at the core of an enabling environment for ICT.

347. All the subject countries have some form of ICT policy. Some even have specific ICT
policies and strategies for education. The ICT policies include some common elements and
address similar sectors, but the study found great variation in the extent to which these policies
and strategies have been implemented—that is, specific action plans, appropriate budget
allocations, and clear attribution of roles and responsibilities among stakeholders. This research
suggests that contextual factors, as well as tangible and intangible factors, play a role in the
design and implementation of such policies and ICT strategies. Intangible factors, such as broad
stakeholder demand, a shared vision for ICT in education, prevailing perceptions on ICT, or
political stability, have to date not been comprehensively discussed in publications on either ICT
policies and strategies, or critical aspects of an enabling environment for ICT development. The
study found that commitment to tangibles without addressing the intangibles weakens a
country’s ICT in education considerably. Governments that want to nurture appropriate and
increased use of ICT for education will therefore have to incorporate all these factors into their
planning.

348. At the outset of any initiative on ICT in education, there has to be a solid understanding of
the need for contextualization. This study found some best practices on nurturing appropriate
and increased use of ICT in education, but no universal solutions. Because the countries in the
Asia and Pacific region are diverse on social, demographic, geographic, and economic
indicators, approaches and models of ICT integration—and related policies and strategies—
used in one country must be carefully evaluated and adapted to another country’s local context.

349. Lack of demand for ICT and prevailing misconceptions on ICT are closely related to a
lack of awareness and information about the potential of ICT and its use in education. The study
found that where governments take an active role in generating public awareness, such as
through marketing and information campaigns and communication of good local practices,
stakeholder demand is high. At the same time, ignorance about ICT—often expressed as a
limited view that ICT is only computer training—is low. Addressing misconceptions is critical.
Findings suggest that groups in different DMCs appear to have varying perceptions and
therefore expectations of technology in education. Misconceptions can lead to disappointment
and even cynicism about the benefits ICT can offer for education. Political instability and a lack
of transparence in regulations and their applications are also among the intangible factors that
negatively impact ICT development. Study findings indicate that the government’s vision and
commitment is pivotal in this process. ICT, however, must not be treated as a magic bullet to
quickly solve education problems and deliver political promises.

350. Effective use of ICT in education requires diligent planning at all levels, from classroom to
school to local authority to regional authority and to the Ministry of Education. However, the
Ministry of Education’s plans, as often expressed in education sector development programs,
have to ensure that micro-level needs arising from the schools are also integrated into macro-
level national policy, because systemic integration of ICT depends heavily on factors outside of
the education system. Examples include needs and demands from other sectors and ministries,
such as labor, health, transportation, and communication. In addition, all sector plans are
subject to fiscal plans demarcated by ministries of finance. Such external influences and
demands need to be determined, ideally through an inclusive planning process, to define the
parameters of a feasible SWAp. In addition, governments need to ensure that donor and private
sector support is aligned with this demand. Donor-funded pilot projects are one important way to
discover local lessons learned. However, they also have to include sufficient funds to evaluate
90


the costs of introducing, and maintaining alternate ICT models, so that it can be known how
applicable they are to the larger system. Fragmented implementation of pilot projects and
initiatives is inefficient. The study found that planning for the integration of ICT into education,
therefore, has to be concerted, long term, systemic, and holistic, yet flexible enough to
accommodate innovation and change.

351. Most critically, if ICT is to be integrated in a way that achieves sustainable change, it has
to be driven by educational objectives, not technological desires. This is also expressed in the
“value of investment” concept. As a complement to TCO deliberations, this concept centers the
discourse on an understanding that the goal for schools is ultimately education (as compared to
a return-on-investment discourse that focuses on business goals in revenue generation or cost
reduction). Schools and education systems have to have clear educational goals and know how
investments in technology can contribute to their achievement. The value of investment in
technology is therefore determined by a profound understanding of the anticipated benefits
versus the cost of implementation and ownership.

352. The emergence of new technology often requires regulation. Research under this RETA
revealed that strong, independent, and transparent regulatory bodies backed by enforceable law
are absolutely essential for innovative development of ICT. Government can put the legal and
regulatory frameworks in place to create a vibrant, competitive telecommunication market that
lowers costs to consumers and encourages expansion of access to underserved areas. To
stimulate the ICT industry, governments have used tools such as licensing, tax breaks, or
special technology funds that may also encourage providers to build infrastructure in rural
areas. The study found that none of the countries under investigation has fully optimized use of
such tools. This leaves opportunities for future initiatives. Laws also must protect intellectual
property rights and create an environment in which new businesses can quickly develop and,
increasingly important, be assured of digital security. Even where such laws exist, examples
from DMCs indicate that implementation and enforcement are lagging. Careful review of the
existing legal and regulatory frameworks, therefore, should be a key task for governments that
aim to put in place a framework that truly nurtures ICT development.

353. Selection of appropriate technology should be driven by education development
objectives, not by technology. Alternative technology models need to be evaluated carefully
against overarching educational development objectives, as well as the social, geographic, and
economic context of a country. Considerations of total cost of ownership and value of
investment are applicable here. The study identified and described several equipment packages
and current affordable computer initiatives, as well as strategies for providing connectivity, to
highlight various approaches and options. It goes without saying that if there is no access to
ICT, it cannot possibly be used to improve access to and quality of education. Study findings
suggest, however, that effective use of ICT to improve teaching and learning does not
necessarily require high-tech computer labs, or schemes in which every student receives a
laptop, or 24/7 broadband connectivity. Instead, what is needed is careful consideration of the
contextual factors mentioned earlier, consideration of existing human resources and capacity,
and—most of all—clear objectives. In regard to content, decisions on the use of licensed or
open source software are difficult ones. The study found that there is no universal answer as to
which solution should be adopted and to what extent (i.e., as part of national policies and
strategies, or not). In any case, decisions have to be informed by careful consideration of the
advantages and disadvantages of each of these solutions.

354. This research also investigated the establishment of institutional structures, such as
technology parks or centers of excellence; and partnerships that can support governments in
                                                                                                  91


nurturing effective use of ICT for education. The study found that both technology parks and
centers of excellence can be effective tools in promoting ICT development. Their contribution,
yet again, depends on the clarity of their role and objective, on the long-term costs involved, and
on contextual factors. Study findings suggest that for technology parks specifically, critical
aspects may be proximity to vocational and higher education institutions as pools for qualified
human resources, and proximity to other research and development sites. However, the study
did not find any research into the cost-effectiveness of such endeavors. Centers of excellence
can play a key role in training technicians, computer engineers, and even researchers to a level
that can sustain their home indigenous ICT industry. Partnerships, among public sector actors,
as well as between the private and public sector, are critical building blocks in ICT development.
Public-public partnerships are one approach to integrate ICT-related planning and nurture ICT
development. They can start with pooled interests and public funds for infrastructure
development—balancing the needs and demands of different sectors (as outlined above); or
they can engage in joint strategic initiatives to address sectoral needs. Partnerships with the
private sector are also attractive approaches for governments to address issues of
infrastructure, content, or human resource development; large-scale examples from Bangladesh
and Thailand show their potential impact. Such partnerships, however, require a clear
understanding of mutual responsibility and need to be integrated with overall ICT policy and
education sector development plans. Governments need to be strong enough to balance their
public responsibility for education with the private sector’s commercial interest. On the other
hand, such partnerships have to be attractive to the private sector. Given the right
circumstances, however, private sector companies are beginning to devise means of making
profits by serving the bottom of the social and financial pyramid. However, not just donors,
governments, and the private sector, but also civil society or professional associations, can
assist and enhance interventions in areas of strategic importance in ICT development.

B.     Conclusion
355. In the course of the research, it became evident that the degree to which governments in
the DMCs were successful in nurturing ICT can be categorized. The countries throughout the
region could be placed into four broad categories—although none of the DMCs appears in the
fourth (yet).

       1)   Countries without cohesive planning for ICT in education.
       2)   Countries that have paper plans but lack the structures, means, political will, or
            stakeholder buy-in.
       3)   Countries that have well-defined objectives and interconnected plans that include
            time-based implementation strategies, and are at least developing enforceable
            regulatory systems, and strive to stimulate stakeholder buy-in and demand.
       4)   Countries in which strategic planning, clear objectives, and enforced and
            transparent regulatory frameworks supported by realistic funding are ubiquitous
            current practice, and are coupled with strong political will and public awareness and
            support for the use of ICT for education.


356. All four focus countries had national education plans. Nepal and Bangladesh, both
experiencing great political instability, however, seemed to have difficulty at the time of the study
of moving out of category 2—countries with paper plans but no structures, means, or will to
implement. Samoa, on the other hand, has appointed an independent regulator and its
telecommunications market is rapidly freeing up, so that country appears to be moving toward
92


category 3. Mongolia is firmly within category 3. As noted, no current DMC has yet reached
category 4. This study discussed what elements are necessary to move into category 4, and
what tools governments have at their disposal which they can apply to encourage ICT in
education and benefit those who are currently unconnected. These are for example:

       •   the stimulation of public awareness and demand

       •   the institutionalization of integrated ICT planning

       •   the constructive use of SWAps

       •   the taxation of products and services

       •   the granting of licenses

       •   the imposition of special technology development funds

       •   the constructive use of IT parks

       •   the establishment of centers of excellence

       •   the development of strategic partnerships.

357. In none of the DMCs were all these being used to the best advantage of ICT in education.
It would be beneficial for ministries of education to consult with the appropriate government
authorities to rectify this and incorporate agreed reforms to benefit their education sector plans.
It is this sort of innovative planning that in other countries in the region, Singapore in particular,
has stimulated demand for ICT in education and encouraged the creation of a critical mass that
brought about reform.

358. The study findings suggest that these elements form of a framework and are part and
parcel of a new understanding of an enabling environment for ICT, which can guide DMCs and
ADB in formulating strategies that promote appropriate and increased use of ICT to improve
quality of and access to education.

                              XI.     STUDY RECOMMENDATIONS


A.     Recommendations
359. Individual chapter summaries and conclusion in this report have already provided some
detailed recommendations, where appropriate, these are not being repeated here as such, but
instead focus will be given on the bigger picture in regards to the tools and options governments
have to nurture appropriate and increased use of ICT in education.

360. While there are many important stakeholders to effectively use ICT in education,
government is the sole institution that spans the entire process from policy to pupil. Macro
strategies and plans have to be in place for the child in the classroom, on the micro level, to
benefit. Government therefore has a strategic role to play in driving the advancement of ICT in
education. The speed at which a country develops its ICT capacity and at which it may reach
category 4 above, is therefore in the hands of government.
                                                                                                    93


361. Government is the coordinator and the legislator; however, it is not enough for a country’s
leaders to pass the right legislation, and expect a blossoming of IT that will lead automatically to
economic growth. Its obligations are to embed ICT into the education system in such a way that
it will help in improving the quality of and access to education. Improved education has positive
impacts in terms of reducing poverty and the supporting economic growth. Instead, government
must:

       •   Not just look at demand as a static force. By informing the public of the benefits of
           ICT, government can stimulate demand in such a way that pupils, parents, and
           teachers, as well as education administrators and politicians both understand and
           have the will to implement educational change.

       •   Show the will and demonstrate a lead in ICT through planning, leading, guiding, and
           informing as part of good governance.

       •   Regulate in a fair, evenhanded and transparent manner so that the interests of all
           stakeholders are considered when major strategic decisions are made.

       •   Not only put regulations in place, such as intellectual property rights, in place, but
           also impose and enforce them.

       •   Plan ICT investment in such a way that capital from the private sector can be
           combined with the government's own tax resources and donor support to deliver an
           efficient and dynamic telecommunications service that will ultimately connect the
           rural poor on an equal footing with the more advantaged urban populations.

       •   Consider using the leverage of taxation—by attaching conditions to the sale of
           licenses and allowing tax breaks to subsidize recurring costs to stimulate ICT
           development.

362. Overarching all this, however, has to be a paradigm shift away from a concept of ICT in
education, to a concept of using ICT for education. Linked to this is an understanding that ICT
not only can function as a tool to support achievement of education objectives, but also can
even be a catalyst for large-scale change and reform. The ultimate aim of governments,
however, should be to mainstream ICT into education to such an extent that it becomes an
integral part of education sector planning and budgets. Government can, in addressing some of
the recommendations provided here, take necessary steps in this regard.

363. Given the speed at which solutions are being found to the technological challenges of ICT
in schools’ development, attention should turn to the less tangible elements that are required for
the adoption of ICT in education. This RETA and other pilot projects and initiatives have
produced a wealth of data from across the region but the time has come to move away from
treating ICT as a subject of endless piloting but to consider the systemic integration of
approaches that are appropriate both, in terms of TCO and value of investment. Where such
information is not available, further research, e.g. meta-analysis on pilot projects and their total
cost of ownership, should be commissioned.

364. Related to this, focus on sound monitoring and evaluation of ICT initiatives or pilot
schemes should be increased, to provide more solid information on value of investment. Parallel
to this, where lacking, planning and financial modeling capacity needs to be developed to TCO
models for technology approaches and to address information needs for potential scale-up.
94


365. On the other side, results across the region should be gathered and synthesized in such
a way that they can easily be used by planners who are designing ICT strategies in both donor
organizations and DMC governments, where lessons learned are too often disregarded and
ignored. First steps in this direction are being done by regional actors such as UNESCO or
APDIP, but increased efforts to collaborate in this area are needed.

366. IT parks are popular with both government and donors as levers to develop the
technological aspects of localized ICT industries. However, there appears to be no data on the
impact that they have not only financially on the country’s economy but also in terms of their
success in breeding innovation. This should be further looked into.

C.     Synthesis
367. On the basis of study findings and conclusions, the study contributed to a more
differentiated and expanded view on the “enabling environment” for ICT. It adds new elements
to a discussion on ICT policies and strategies, most notably the inclusion of intangible factors
critical to ICT in education development. With this, the study identified six dimensions or pillars
of national ICT policies and strategies. These are:

       1)    Intangible Factors

       2)    Issues of Planning

       3)    Legal and Regulatory issues

       4)    Issues of Infrastructure and Content

       5)    Issues of Institutional Structures and Partnerships

       6)    Human resources Development

368. Exhibit 12 below is an attempt to map the six dimensions and many issues explored in
this study as a framework for easy reference by governments, education planners and donors in
mainstreaming ICT into education in consideration of the aspects investigated in this study. It is
imperative, however, to clarify that this framework does not assume to be exhaustive in any
way, but rather a work in progress to be evolving with further research to be made that would,
e.g., add other tools to some of the six dimensions identified. The framework highlights,
however, that any deliberation of aspects to nurture appropriate and increased use of ICT for
education needs to be embedded in a consideration of the social, cultural, and geographic
context of the country, and taking already existing ICT policies as well as the legal traditions into
account.
                                                                                    95


Exhibit 12. Framework of an Enabling Environment for the Effective Use of ICT for
     Education Focusing on Tools and Aspects That Can Be Controlled and
                           Nurtured by Government
96


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102           Appendix



       APPENDIX: COUNTRY CONTEXT INFORMATION ON MDGS AND THE GENERAL
       TRANSPORTATION, COMMUNICATION, AND INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE


1.        Mongolia

1.  MDGs. Mongolia has set 11 targets for its seven Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs).1 Of particular relevance to this study are the following two MDGs:

          •    Target 3: Ensure that by 2015 children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able
               to complete a full course of primary schooling

          •    Target 4: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably
               by 2005 and in all levels of education no later than 2015.

2.     Transportation, Communication and Information Infrastructure. During the Cold War
(1945–89), Mongolia’s transportation infrastructure enjoyed a relatively high level of investment
to ensure its military usefulness. Afterward, investments in transportation infrastructure
diminished considerably, and the quality of the roads is declining. Electrical power is supplied by
the Central Electricity System (CES), which in 1998 produced around 2.66 billion kilowatt hours
(kWh) of power. Five coal-fired power stations provide almost 85% of the total power used in the
country, with the balance imported from Russia. During the 1990s, attempts were made to
renovate the CES with international aid and to build small hydroelectric and wind-powered
stations. Power interruptions are common, and some remote areas remain without electricity,
where diesel oil, wood, and dried horse and camel dung are used as fuel. Telecommunication
services in Mongolia have been under reconstruction since the early 1990s. There are 14
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Mongolia and 4 mobile phone operators. There are 70
companies working in the software development industry and more than 80 companies in
computer and IT equipment trade. More than 25% of the population has a mobile phone
(774,900 in December 2006.) There are an estimated 10,880 Internet users in the country.2

2.        Samoa

3.      MDGs. The MDGs are shared by four Pacific island countries in the South Pacific
Polynesian subregion: Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, and Tokelau. The key challenges have been
identified as democratic governance, environment and energy, sustainable livelihoods/poverty
reduction, and crisis prevention and recovery. Specifically, these MDG challenges are as
follows:

          •    Goal 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

          •    Goal 2. Achieve universal primary education

          •    Goal 3. Promote gender equality and empower women

          •    Goal 4. Reduce child mortality


1
     See page 127 of Appendix 8 of the RETA Final Report, the Mongolia Country Report.
2
     ADB. 2007. Key Indicators 2007: Inequality in Asia. Manila. Available: http://www.adb.org/documents/
     books/key_indicators/2007.
                                                                                           Appendix         103


          •   Goal 5. Improve maternal health

          •   Goal 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases

          •   Goal 7. Ensure environmental sustainability.

4.    Goal 2 has the target of ensuring that by 2015 children will be able to complete a full
course of primary schooling. Goal 3 has the target of eliminating gender disparity in primary and
secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015.

5.     Transportation, Communication and Information Infrastructure. The two main
islands of Upolu and Savaii are quite well serviced by 790 km (491 miles) of roads, of which
about 40% are paved. Nearly all villages can be accessed by road, and bus services reach most
parts of the country. The two islands are linked by passenger and car ferries with frequent
sailings, and there are local flights from Upolu to Savaii. The sole international airport is Faleolo
Airport, on the northwest coast of Upolu.

6.    While about 62% of Samoa’s electricity is generated using imported fuel, the remainder is
generated by a local hydroelectric station. Telephone services extend to most parts of the
country but public telephones are rare. International telephone service is usually good. In 2006,
there were 19,500 landlines and 24,000 mobile phone subscribers. In 2006, the Samoan mobile
phone market began to be opened up with the first prepaid subscription format. In 2007, this
was followed by a second such subscription. As of 2007, about 30% of the population has a
telephone connection of some sort, with an estimated 20,000 fixed lines and 33,000 subscribing
mobile phone users. Mobile density has increased rapidly, from 3.9% in the year 2003 to 19.4%
in 2006. In comparison, fixed line density has increased more slowly from 6.8% of population in
2003 to 11.2% in 2006.3

3.        Nepal

7.      MDGs. Political unrest in Nepal has led to a severe lack of data since 2004. The MDG
Goal 2 on universal primary education is to ensure that by 2015 children will be able to complete
a full course of primary schooling. Goal 3 on gender and equality aims to achieve equal access
for boys and girls to primary and secondary education by 2005 and to all levels of education no
later than 2015. However the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report on
progress deemed them unlikely to be achieved. The literacy rate of 15- to 24-year-olds is 73%
(2004); the net enrollment rate in primary education was 84% in 2004. The ratio of girls to boys
in primary education was 86:100. A recently conducted needs assessment study estimated that
if Nepal is to achieve the MDG by 2015, a funding gap of $7.6 billion will have to be filled
between 2005 and 2015.4

8.     Transportation, Communication, and Information Infrastructure. In post-1950s
Nepal, planners and foreign aid donors viewed the creation of infrastructure as vital to the
success of the country’s economic development. Five-year plans prioritized transportation and
communications, but although the results were significant, they remain inadequate. Nepal has
13,849 km (8,522 miles) of paved, graveled, and fair-weather roads, with the major highways
linking east to west and north to south. Airports operate in 44 out of 75 districts, and include

3
     Data in this paragraph are from ADB. 2007. Samoa: Private Sector Assessment. Consolidating Reform for Faster
     Growth. Unpublished draft. Manila. 18.
4
     Government of Nepal. 2005. Nepal Millennium Development Goals. Progress Report 2005. Kathmandu. Available:
     http://www.undg.org/archive_docs/6563-Nepal_MDG_Progress_Report_2005.pdf.
104          Appendix


domestic airports in remote areas that link up with the international airport in Kathmandu. Flying
is expensive and unreliable. This network is crucial to the tourist industry but financial
considerations make it unusable for most Nepalese with the resultant socioeconomic
consequences. Recently, Nepal adopted an open-sky policy, allowing private airlines to operate
domestic and international services.5

9.     Other forms of transportation are underdeveloped. There is a single narrow-gauge
railway line covering a distance of 52 km (32 miles) from Janakpur to Jayanagar in the south,
and an underutilized 42-km (26-mile) ropeway (suspended cable car line) from Hetauda to
Kathmandu, which transported 10,684 metric tons of goods in 1995. A limited trolley bus service
operates in the Kathmandu Valley. Access to the sea is only possible through the Indian ports of
Kolkata, formerly Calcutta (1,150 km, or 713 miles, from the Nepalese border), and Haldia.

10. Much has been said about the potential of Nepal’s hydropower to fulfill local power
needs, drive industrialization, and boost revenues through the sale of surplus power to India. Of
a feasible potential of 27,000 megawatts (MW), Nepal currently uses a mere 332.7 MW. Locally
based small to medium hydropower schemes have met with success, but this approach needs
government support.

11. Nepal has considerably improved its postal and telephone services, though they remain
deficient in rural areas. The Nepalese telecommunications network is digital, and the Nepal
Telecommunications Corporation (NTC) provides basic services for the country. Television
programming began in 1985 and many families receive (not always legally) transmissions from
foreign networks such as Star TV. Radio Nepal has existed since the 1950s and has a
significant rural audience.

4.        Bangladesh

12. MDGs. There are five major human development-related MDGs in Bangladesh—
reducing poverty, reducing infant and under-five mortality, improving child malnutrition,
increasing schooling enrollment and completion rates, and improving gender parity in schooling.
The overall poverty rate has declined and primary school enrollment and literacy rates have
increased. Women’s equal participation in many aspects of society (including public service and
seats in parliament) has also been increasing over the past 20 years, including primary and
secondary school enrollment, where male and female participation is nearly equal. Infant
mortality rates have decreased, more children are being immunized, and nearly all households
have access to safe drinking water. The birthrate has been reduced and life expectancy
extended.

13. Despite these advances, poverty is still widespread, with nearly half of the population
living below the poverty line. According to the World Bank,6 “there is little understanding of
whether Bangladesh will be able to attain all of the MDGs, and whether there are some MDGs
that Bangladesh will be able to attain. There is even less understanding of what it will take—by
way of economic growth, infrastructural investments, and sectoral interventions—to attain the
different MDGs.” Specifically for ICT, Bangladesh has adopted the MDG of cooperating with the


5
     Adapted from Advameg Inc. Undated. Encyclopedia of the Nations. National Economies Encyclopedia. Nepal
     Infrastructure, Power and Communications. Available: http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Asia-and-
     the-Pacific/Nepal-INFRASTRUCTURE-POWER-AND-COMMUNICATIONS.html.
6
     World Bank. 2005. Attaining the Millennium Development Goals in Bangladesh. Washington, DC. iii. Available:
     http://www.mdgbangla.org/report_publication/Final_Bdesh_MDG_report_wb.pdf.
                                                                                         Appendix        105


private sector to make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and
communications.

14. Transportation, Communication, and Information Infrastructure. Bangladesh is
dominated by water and most of the country is flooded during the monsoon season. Building
modern transportation and communication networks is therefore very expensive. Boats are used
extensively and are cheap but slow and unreliable. The government has very limited resources
for building new infrastructure as most resources are used to maintain what exists. Only recently
has donor aid enabled the government to invest in roads, railways, and sea and airports. Aid
investment has also been used to modernize the telecommunications system. The current
instability of government further complicates long-term planning and current implementation of
existing programs.

5.        Cambodia

15. MDGs. Cambodia has made progress in increasing access to basic education, but the
country has a long way to go to reach the targets set under the Cambodian Millennium
Development Goals (CMDGs). One of 10 indicators shows Cambodia going backward, while
four other indicators show minimal progress. Of the remaining five indicators, four do not show
enough progress to reach the 2005 targets. One indicator—the proportion of 6- to 14-year olds
out of school—shows improvement that exceeds the 2005 target.7

16. Transportation, Communication, and Information Infrastructure. Cambodia is
dominated by the Mekong River and South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake, the Tonle Sap.
Geographically, the country consists mostly of low, flat plains of rice paddies with forested
mountains in the southwest and north. It has 602 km of narrow-gauge railway which is currently
under reconstruction. Of 38,000 km of road, only 2,400 are paved and many are impassable in
the monsoonal rains (June to November). Although improvements have been made in 2005–
2007, there is still an almost total lack of basic infrastructure for the rural population.
Restrictions, ambiguity, and lack of transparency in telecommunications policies, laws, and
implementing regulations constrain the development of the telecommunications industry. In
addition, because only 26% of the population has any access to a fixed telephone line, the
potential for dial-up Internet access is limited.

6.        The Philippines

17. MDGs. The sole millennium goal that is concerned with education is to achieve universal
primary education. This currently stands at 73.5%, down from 90.1% in 2001.8

18. Transportation, Communication and Information Infrastructure. Fiscal constraints
limit ability to finance infrastructure and social spending.

7.        Thailand

19. MDGs. Thailand will achieve most if not all of the MDGs well in advance of 2015. Poverty
has already been reduced by two-thirds since 1990. The proportion of underweight children has
fallen by nearly half. Universal access to primary school education is likely to be achieved within
a few years. Malaria is no longer a problem in most of the country. The number of new HIV
infections per year has been reduced by more than 80% since 1991, the peak of the epidemic.

7
     Ministry of Planning. 2005. Achieving Cambodian Millennium Development Goals 2005 Update. Phnom Penh.
8
     Department of Education, Government of Republic of the Philippines.
106         Appendix


Great strides are being made toward gender equality. Thailand has set a timeline for ambitious
targets that go beyond the original goals (“MDG-plus”).9

20. Transportation, Communication, and Information Infrastructure. Thailand has well-
developed infrastructure.




9
    United Nations Country Team in Thailand. 2004. Thailand Millennium Development Goals Report. Bangkok.

								
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