Using Mobile ICT to Strengthen Education Systems
Examples from USAID programs
A country’s journey to self-reliance in education depends not only on teaching and learning, but it also relies on a commitment to effectively plan, finance, and deliver education and related services. This system-strengthening process is a key step in transforming schools and education systems, and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is playing a key part in it.
Interested in how you can integrate ICT into your programs?See 10 Principles for Developing ICT in Education Programs
In many countries, ICT is helping build capacity in data collection, expenses management and community and citizen engagement in school systems. In the right context, and tailored to a country’s self-reliance strengths and challenges, ICT can:
- Support education management information systems. In Ghana, ICT is supporting data-driven monitoring and decision-making through the use of the Ghana Education Service’s smartphone and tablet-based Mobile School Report Card (mSRC). Using tablets, capacity-building for school staff and an online dashboard, the mSRC has increased data reporting, monitoring and use in school management.
- Provide digital financial services. USAIDs Liberia Teacher Training Program upgraded the Ministry of Education’s (MOE’s) human resources system, helping to establish a biometric identification system for a large portion of the MOE workforce. The Civil Service Agency used that system to more easily verify payroll information for mobile money enrollees. Staff and teachers enrolled in mobile money salary payment report 62% less cost and 97% less travel time to collect their salaries.
- Engage communities and citizens for accountability. In Guatemala, USAID’s EscuelaApp mobile application holds the government accountable for quality education by providing communities and civil society with on- and off-line access to data about education services. EscuelaApp gives real-time access to school-level information on teachers, school performance, and resources about more than 30,000 schools. The application is linked to a web-based education portal, the “Electronic Wall of Transparency,” which provides a national platform to monitor implementation of the government’s commitment to increasing access to education services. The portal is used by communities and civil society to compare resources available in different communities, monitor learning outcomes, and access reliable information to advocate for education quality and ensure accountability and transparency within the education system.
- Strengthen textbook distribution systems. Innovations in book tracking ensure that more textbooks get into the hands of readers, and these innovations build more community engagement. In Afghanistan, ICT-based track and trace tools allow parents, teachers and local officials to monitor the ordering and distribution of books and other supplies in real time. Using basic mobile phones with SMS, smartphone apps and web interfaces for data management, local stakeholders can access up-to-date information on the status of books and materials.
Continued Progress Beyond the Classroom
A country’s capacity to produce measurable learning outcomes relies in part on its ability to develop management and governance structures that support education quality. Data collection, expenses management, community and citizen engagement are just a few of the areas where countries can build capacity in management and governance. Increasingly, ICT is playing a key role in helping countries fulfill their commitment to education, supporting systems that enable all its citizens to become productive members of society.
Talk more about this topic with USAID’s ICT expert by emailing Anthony Bloome at [email protected].