UNESCO launched the 2023 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report at the end of July. GEM Reports monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 4 on quality education.
This year’s GEM Report focuses on the challenges and opportunities of technology in education. Technology is an essential part of SDG 4, which recognises its importance as a tool for teaching and planning and as a skill for learners in the modern world. The COVID‑19 pandemic particularly highlighted the vital role technology can play in education delivery.
The 2023 report examines many of the positive impacts that technology has on education, such as improving access to teaching and learning resources, particularly in rural areas and for learners with disabilities. However, it also highlights that, while technology can bring education to some, it can also exclude others, particularly those from poorer backgrounds.
Monitoring the impact of technology is essential to ensure that its use is relevant and effective. The report explains that much of the online content available is only useful to those who develop it or to those from richer countries; for example, in the Open Educational Resources Commons library, 92% of the content is in English. In addition, the report found that many teaching staff lack the skills and confidence to use technology effectively, showing that investment in teacher training is vital.
The report’s overall message is that technology should serve people and technology in education should put learners and teachers first. As such, the report provides a series of recommendations for policy-makers to help them move their education policy forwards. The recommendations focus on:
- including learners and teachers in developing education technology policies;
- ensuring technology benefits all learners, including the most marginalised;
- setting targets, evaluating and monitoring progress;
- ensuring technology protects and benefits learners’ and teachers’ human rights.
The Agency’s Inclusive Digital Education activity provides more information on technology in education. In addition, the Building Resilience through Inclusive Education Systems (BRIES) activity examines the challenges and opportunities of digital education during the COVID-19 pandemic.