Chapter 13: Planning for the Use of ICTs at the National and Institutional Levels

Resource type
Book Section
Chapter 13: Planning for the Use of ICTs at the National and Institutional Levels
Open and distance learning (ODL) and information and communication technologies (ICTs) are viewed by many policy makers, at both national and institutional levels, as a potentially cost-effective means of tackling the challenges of access, equity and quality in education. Sound and rigorous financial planning is essential for governments and institutions seeking to harness these methods, but unfortunately there has been little analysis of the costs of such provision in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector. Arguably, this is because there appears to have been less of a focus on research in TVET compared to tertiary education. Also, there may be a perception among some in the sector that ODL is an inappropriate means of imparting vocational and technical skills, a perception that possibly derives from memories of the shortcomings of earlier correspondence education and the notion that technical and vocational skills can only be mastered in the workplace or training centres. With the growing ability to present simulations and modelling using ICTs, it is becoming increasingly possible to offer new forms of TVET at a distance. However, there may be misguided or ill-informed assumptions and claims about the cost savings of employing these technologies that suggest that ODL is less expensive than traditional contact education. For a start, achieving economies of scale can be a major challenge in integrating ICTs in TVET, since the training demand in most developing countries is for small numbers of graduates in a wide range of occupational profiles (UNESCO IITE, 2005). Economic concerns can raise major barriers to offering ODL programmes in TVET. This is particularly challenging in contexts where government funding for TVET is low. For example, in Zambia, the level of government subvention to TVET institutions is less than 6 per cent in some cases (Herd and Mead Richardson, 2015). This lack of funding limits the Considerations in Costing ODL and ICTs in TVET Sarah Hoosen and Neil Butcher CHAPTER 186 extent of training, the number of students who can be trained and the quality of the training, with the recruitment of teachers, modernisation of equipment and acquisition of training resources being especially affected (Siriwardene and Qureshi, 2009). With many TVET systems in the developing world now considering the adoption of ODL and ICTs because of the promised cost efficiencies, it is important to examine the costing of these new educational and training practices. Given the dearth of resources focusing specifically on costing ODL in TVET, this chapter focuses more generally on costs in the use of ODL and ICTs and extrapolates these findings to the TVET context. This chapter explores the costs of ODL and how to avoid the ramifications of weak financial planning.
Book Title
Using ICTs and Blended Learning in Transforming TVET
Latchem, C. (Ed.). (2017). Chapter 13: Planning for the Use of ICTs at the National and Institutional Levels. In Using ICTs and Blended Learning in Transforming TVET.