Over the past years, the rapid development of broadband access to almost all countries in the Pacific Islands region has presented new opportunities to integrate ICT in the education sector. However, there are constraining factors including large digital divides within and across countries, low teacher ICT competencies, limited digital resources, and inadequate ICT infrastructure that still need to be addressed. These issues are interlinked and require large-scale, strategic, and systematic investments to ensure that all students can equally benefit.
The integration of ICT in education requires significant increases in financing which place pressure on government resources. However, Pacific Islands countries are faced with financing gaps for ICT in education development due to limited options for independent financing and domestic resource mobilization. Thus, there is a need to explore innovative financing approaches that can activate non-traditional funding mechanisms, sources, and partners to ensure the adequate implementation and sustainability of ICT in education programmes in the region.
In this context, UNESCO will organize the Pacific Regional Conference on ICT in Education with the theme of “Innovative Financing for Inclusive ICT in Education” to discuss practical aspects of implementing innovative financing, resource mobilization, and partnerships to ensure financial viability and sustainability of ICT in education projects.
The conference will include the following three components.
- Share knowledge on lessons learned from examples in the Pacific Islands region and beyond for developing national ICT in education policies, strategies, and financing that address the urgent education contexts;
- Launch the UNESCO ICT in Education Financial Planning Resource (https://fpr.ictpolicy.guide/), which provides a guide to costing ICT in Education programme and projects;
- Present the findings of the thematic brief on Innovative Financing for ICT in Education and learn from various organizations about practical good cases of effective and sustainable innovative financing.