Five Ways to Use Information and Communication Technology for Education

Information and communication technology is no longer an add-on. It is essential for education.

Share on:           


For best results, train the teachers, involve private companies, and share best practices with other school systems.


To meet the increasing demand for a workforce with up-to-date skills and competencies aligned with globally competitive industries and continue driving Asian economic growth into the next century, education systems in the region have to embrace information and communication technology, as I explain in a  co-authored research article.

This article was adapted from content featured in the Asian Development Blog.


ICT allows students to monitor and manage their own learning, think critically and creatively, solve simulated real-world problems, work collaboratively, engage in ethical decision-making, and adopt a global perspective towards issues and ideas. It also provides students from remote areas access to expert teachers and learning resources, and gives administrators and policy makers the data and expertise they need to work more efficiently.  

However, access to ICT in the region’s schools is limited due to infrastructure constraints, a lack of investment and research into the uses of ICT in education, and a lack of capacity of teachers and school leaders to use ICT to enhance the quality of teaching and learning.

Another challenge is equity, including financial, gender, and racial fairness in access to education. In some countries in Asia, many middle-income parents send their children to private schools, which diminishes the support for maintaining the quality of public schools. In addition, the poor, girls, and children from marginalized communities like castes and tribes sometimes have limited access to quality education.

Efficiency and accountability also needs to be improved. This includes improving student–teacher ratios as well as retention and dropout rates. The education provided also needs to be relevant to socioeconomic conditions, such as matching skills taught to those valued by the global market.


Five recommendations on how ICT can address these challenges include:

  1. Take a holistic approach towards the development of ICT in education plans and policies. This includes support for ICT at both the national and individual school level. This includes measures such as involving education stakeholders in how to integrate ICT skills in the curriculum, or tap teachers to help develop policy plans.
  2. Build the capacity of teachers, administrators and other education leaders to use and integrate ICT in education systems. Education leaders should be provided with professional development opportunities so they can engage teachers and together demonstrate a shared commitment to ICT in education.
  3. Share best practices and lessons learned among countries in Asia, and among schools within the country. This accumulated knowledge can then be used to inform the development of blueprints and tools to better support ICT in education practices.
  4. Forge public-private partnerships (PPPs) and collaboration with tertiary institutions to bring in additional technical and management expertise, as well as financial resources. ‘Education PPPs’ combine the strengths and capabilities of both sides to ensure the sustainability and scalability of ICT in education initiatives. Governments should drive and facilitate partnerships that include attracting private sector investments on a sustained basis, and tap upon the expertise and resources of both private sector and tertiary institutions, with an emphasis on equal access to quality, ICT-enabled education.
  5. Mobilize resources for research and evaluation of ICT in education to spur innovation and scale up its use. This includes working with tertiary institutions to act as research centers. Governments can create incentives for R&D on innovative uses of ICT in education, including for instance making software and hardware more affordable and relevant for students. Rigorous evaluation studies  on ICT effectiveness  can  provide evidence-based justification for transforming the education sector to embrace ICT.

ICT provides countries in Asia and the Pacific the opportunity to transform teaching, learning, and management practices in schools. The need for this transformation is urgent, given the increasingly globalized world in which students and teachers now live. Without it, as future graduates they could end up as part of a workforce that cannot keep up with the demands of the 21st century.

Sungsup Ra
Deputy Director General and Deputy Group Chief, Sectors Group, Asian Development Bank

Sungsup Ra supports the Director General in leading ADB-wide knowledge-based innovation, partnership, and sovereign operations across all sectors. He has served as Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department Chief Sector Officer, South Asia Human and Social Development Director, Pacific Operations Director, and Education Sector Group Chair. He has worked for Samsung and Korean National Pension and held faculty appointments at leading universities in the US, Japan, and Korea. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Follow Sungsup Ra on

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

The Asian Development Bank is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region. Its main instruments for helping its developing member countries are policy dialogue, loans, equity investments, guarantees, grants, and technical assistance.

Follow Asian Development Bank (ADB) on
Leave your question or comment in the section below:

The views expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) or its Board of Governors or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this publication and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. By making any designation of or reference to a particular territory or geographic area, or by using the term “country” in this document, ADB does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.