Qingdao Declaration promotes use of ICT to achieve education targets in new sustainable development goals

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Classroom teaching at Ecole Saint Jacob in Rwanda
Creative Commons / Rudolf Simon

The Qingdao Declaration on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in education was approved at the conclusion of the conference on ICT for the 2030 Education Agenda held in Qingdao, China.

The Declaration outlines how technology can be used to achieve educational targets for equity, access, quality and lifelong learning in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will be used to coordinate international development for the next 15 years.

The conference was  jointly organized by UNESCO, the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, with the support of the Qingdao Municipal Government and the Shangdong Provincial Government, and the sponsorship of the Weidong Group. Key partners included the Commonwealth for Learning, the OECD and UNWomen.  The conference gathered participants from more than 90 countries, including ministers and vice-ministers of education.  
   
The Qingdao Declaration is the first global declaration on ICT in education. The text, approved unanimously by participants, highlights the different ways in which technology can support the global agenda for education which was suggested at the World Education Forum for the next 15 years. It states that “the remarkable advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and the rapid expansion of internet connectivity have made today’s world increasingly interconnected and made the knowledge more accessible for every girl and boy, woman and man. To achieve the goal of Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Lifelong Learning by 2030, ICT must be harnessed to strengthen education systems, knowledge dissemination, information access, quality and effective learning, and more efficient service provision”.

The Declaration is a clear statement in favour of the use of ICT to foster access and equity in education as well as to promote the effective pedagogical use of ICT. It highlights in particular the paramount role that teacher development and support will have to play. It stresses that increasing efforts have to be made to promote the culture of open educational resources and the need to ensure quality assurance and recognition of online learning. Finally, it encourages governments, industry partners and all other education stakeholders to join forces and share resources to create equitable, dynamic, accountable, and sustainable learner-centered digital learning ecosystems.  
   
The Declaration also recommends that UNESCO support international cooperation in this field by establishing a clearing house on good practices and lessons learned concerning technology-supported innovations in education. The creation of a global network of expertise and knowledge-sharing on ICT in education which would serve the needs of three different user communities, namely policy-makers, researchers, and teachers. It would support further consultation and dialogue between governments and the private sector to design scalable innovative funding mechanisms to secure the financial resources needed to unleash the full potential of ICT for learning in line with the 2030 education agenda.