Supporting technology integration for teachers

Technology competency frameworks can guide teacher training and professional development to better equip them to meet student needs.

November 08, 2023 by Daniel April, UNESCO GEM Report team, and Anna Cristina D'addio, Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report
5 minutes read
A RTI employee shows an enumerator how to use an electronic version of the Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA) on the Kindle. Nairobi, Kenya
A RTI employee shows an enumerator how to use an electronic version of the Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA) on the Kindle. Nairobi, Kenya
Credit: GPE/Deepa Srikantaiah

Low-cost technology is transforming the teaching profession. It makes it possible for teachers to use interactive learning, share resources and improve their skills in ways never possible before. This transformation is also evident in how teachers take on new roles.

They're not just educators; they're now driving innovation and progress, helping students bridge the technology gap and ensuring everyone has the same opportunities for education.

Teachers in regions with limited resources, including limited infrastructure and digital equipment, often rely on mobile phones and need to learn basic technology skills before being able to integrate them into their practices.

Still, low- and middle-income countries have been making significant progress in response to these challenges since the COVID-19 pandemic, as highlighted in the analysis by the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report’s Profiles Enhancing Education Reviews (PEER) on technology in education.

Country-level technology competency frameworks for teachers

Technology competency frameworks can guide teacher training and professional development to better equip them to meet student needs. An analysis of the 211 GEM Report’s PEER on technology in education found that 51% of countries worldwide now have established information and communication technology (ICT) standards for teachers in their policies, guidelines, training plans and development strategies.

Yet there was a striking difference between richer and poorer countries: about twice as many high-income countries (62%) have set up ICT guidelines compared to low-income countries (33%).

Percentage of countries with ICT standards for teachers (by region, and income level)

Percentage of countries with ICT standards for teachers (by region, and income level)
Source: GEM Report team based on PEER analysis

Out of the 33% of low-income countries that have established technology competency frameworks for teachers, 30% updated or implemented them following the COVID-19 pandemic.

A similar adjustment or implementation occurred in 15% of high-income countries. This finding suggests that a significant proportion of low-income countries have recognized the importance of technology competency among teachers and have taken steps to establish guidelines or frameworks for this purpose.

Additionally, it indicates that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted many of these countries to either update their existing technology competency guidelines for teachers or implement new ones.

Analysis of the 88 GPE partner countries suggests 46% have put in place ICT standards for teachers and among these, a quarter of them were adjusted or implemented following the COVID-19 pandemic.

For instance, in Guyana, the Ministry of Education has developed an ICT Competency Framework for teachers in accordance with the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework, which the 2021 ICT in Education Policy and Master Plan aims to update.

In Liberia, the revised 2020 National Teacher Professional Performance Standards, initially developed in 2007, incorporate ICT standards within the domain of "teaching skills" (Standard 2.7).

In Niger, the ministries in charge of education have also developed a competency framework for the teaching profession in 2020, with Competency 7 focusing on "Mastering and using ICT" and including various specific sub-competencies.

In Georgia, Minister of Education and Science Order No. 1014, issued in 2008, approved the Teacher Professional Standard, which requires teachers to use ICT and hardware like computers and mobile phones for showing records, capturing audio, video and photos of creative accomplishments and conducting resource searches.

Fostering teacher training through regulations and policies

Regulations and policies to ensure teachers receive training in technology, whether as part of initial training or continuing education programs, are critical.

Analysis of PEER suggested that only 1 in 4 countries have such regulations in place globally, and they’re far less common in low-income (10%) countries than in high-income (39%) countries.

Among GPE partner countries, only 10% have these regulations in place. For instance, in Honduras, the 2014 General Regulation of the Fundamental Education Law emphasizes the importance of incorporating ICT into initial teacher training, which should include relevant knowledge and research methods.

Additionally, it mandates access to updated technological resources and infrastructure. In Rwanda, the Presidential Order No. 64/2020 underlines the role of teachers in capacity development, highlighting the inclusion of ICT as part of continuing professional development courses for teachers.

In Benin, the Decree 2021-569 also aims to plan and organize high-quality training for general secondary education personnel in collaboration with relevant authorities, utilizing digital means.

On a more positive front, we found that 72% of the world’s countries have established policies, plans or strategies to incorporate technology into pre-service teacher education (71% for GPE partner countries), and 84% have similar plans for in-service teacher professional development (81% for GPE partner countries).

However, efforts are needed to help low-income countries catch up as only 67% have plans to provide pre-service teacher education in technology and 73% for in-service teacher professional development.

Percentage of countries that have laws and policies, plans or strategies to provide teacher education in technology (by region, and income level)

Source: GEM Report team based on PEER analysis

Sri Lanka is one of GPE’s partner countries that has implemented such policies, plans, or strategies to enhance teacher education in technology.

The country's 2022 Policy for Digital Transformation in Education focuses on enhancing teachers' digital skills through yearly assessments, rewarding those who achieve annual targets and mandating digital literacy modules for all educators.

It also addresses the use of digital devices to support teaching and learning. Similarly, in Mozambique, the 2019-2028 Strategic Plan for the Information Society includes initiatives to train teachers in utilizing ICT for pedagogy.

This involves integrating ICT subjects into teacher training curricula and enhancing trainee teachers' basic ICT skills. Earlier, the 2011 Technological Plan for Education focused on teacher training to equip educators with ICT tools for improved teaching and pedagogical management.

Finally, in Micronesia, the 2020-2024 Education Sector Strategic Development Plan targets training to enhance teachers' proficiency in technology and ICT utilization.

The Ministry of Education's COVID-19 Response and Recovery Plan also included in-service teacher training for distance education, encompassing the preparation and use of radio-based instruction.

Involve teachers in policy on education technology

Collaborating closely with teachers to develop effective education technology policies recognizes their expertise, but also allows for a nuanced response to the main challenges in education technology implementation.

This approach not only boosts their confidence in using technology, but also guarantees that the policies we establish are pragmatic and suited to the ever-evolving education landscape.


Read our full blog series on teachers and teaching.


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