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Developing a knowledge society

28 January 2010

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GeSCI’s publication Building a Knowledge Society for All points out that while transition to knowledge-based economies is progressing, the gap between developing and developed countries is widening. It highlights that adequate information and communication infrastructure and the proper employment of ICTs in education can help to tackle challenges.

Building a Knowledge Society for All

Publisher: GESCI, 2009

While the developing world is struggling to address the basic needs of its people, the rest of the world is transitioning to a Knowledge Society. In the present world economy, knowledge is increasingly the key factor of production as well as a raw material for economic development.

Image credits: GESCI/ Building a knowledge society for all

Information, knowledge and innovation-based businesses are taking over many of the traditional sectors of commerce and industry.

It is acknowledged that in order to transform their economies, developing countries will require sustained investments in education, innovation systems, infrastructure (including Information and Communication technologies or ICTs) and implementation of policies that support such knowledge-based economic transformation.

In addition, enabling economic environments and strong knowledge institutions are needed. Education in the emerging knowledge society is critically important: Not only is it the source of basic skills, it is also the foundation for the development of new knowledge and innovation.

In this context it is important to understand that ICT is not only a new and booming sector of the economy, but it is also the global infrastructure for knowledge building and sharing and innovation.

ICTs have the potential to widen access to educational resources, improve the quality of learning, and improve management efficiencies of the education system. It is also important for developing countries to equip tomorrow’s citizens with the increasingly important skills related to science and technology (including ICT skills, problem solving skills, collaboration skills and higherlearning skills).

ICTs can help schools to achieve this mission. More critically, ICTs have the potential to transform education; a potential that many developed countries are doing their best to harness.

The potential of ICTs to tackle some of the challenges facing education in the knowledge age has led many developed countries to invest heavily in ICTs. Developing countries are fast following suit, with many placing ICTs in Education at the centre of their development strategies.

However, developing countries are less endowed in terms of capacity, capability and resources- human and financial- to successfully and effectively harness the potential of ICTs.

With this in mind, the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI) was founded by the United Nations ICT Taskforce in 2003, and began operations in 2005 working initially with Namibia, Ghana, India, Bolivia and later Rwanda.

From 2009-11, there will be three key outputs of GeSCI’s work in support of its mission and vision. These outputs are related to GeSCI’s main products and are:

Strategic advice to MoEs which will contribute to the creation of enabling environments for successful large-scale deployment and integration of ICTs in their education systems;

Development of high-quality and relevant “knowledge products and services” such as knowledge tools and research that advance our overall understanding and strengthens the capacity of developing countries to leverage ICTs in education; and

Promoting and facilitating global policy dialogue on ICTs for Education as a way of contributing to the general understanding and development of a knowledge society.

Source : GESCI

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