ICTs - Reaching beyond the educated

This paper argues for a public goods approach to ICTs, education and sustainable development. The author discusses the inadequacies of the current engagement of ICTs in education. Shifts from classroom-based learning to pupil-centered learning have occurred, but by and large the manner in which the ICT opportunity has been employed in the education sector has failed to breach mental barriers and the boundaries of the traditional education system.
The author therefore contends that ICTs should be used for building a new paradigm in education that is inclusive of those who have been excluded by the present one.
A brief discussion of a pilot ICT intervention under the Mahila Samakhya project of the Government of India provides potential ways of incorporating ICTs in education through video and telecentre linkages. The author concludes by briefly touching upon important policy issues relevant to the use of ICT for education that can form a basis of sustainable development. Access to education is a right, beyond the play of market forces, and as ICTs become a central plank of knowledge and education processes, access to these ICTs needs to be seen in the same public goods framework as access to schools for everyone.
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