47201-001: Information and Communication Technology for Better Education Services
Project Data Sheet (PDS): Details
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is supporting the development of submarine optical fiber cable systems (SCS) in Solomon Islands where access to affordable telecommunications particularly high-speed (broadband) internet is low due to dependence on satellite connectivity. Once SCS is established, wholesale bandwidth prices are expected to halve, leading to a conservatively estimated retail price reduction of 20%. The SCS will impact the three large islands central areas (Honiara, Auki, and Gizo) most significantly. It is as yet unclear how the cable will influence connectivity in the most remote/rural areas on the periphery islands in the country. However, mobile networks have grown rapidly following deregulation 2 years ago, and local practices for data dissemination have emerged. Mobile phones can be an important conduit to broaden utilization of ICT. The interest of mobile companies to expand the number of cell sites that can tap into microwave signals from SCS presents an opportunity to increase connectivity to outer islands in the country. Solomon Islands already have approximately 70% mobile services coverage which can provide useful lessons and inputs to the overall ICT plan.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
The technical assistance (TA) will examine the potential contribution of ICT to the education sector in addressing constraints in managing and delivering services to widely dispersed and isolated schools in Solomon Islands. The TA activities and outputs are expected to facilitate future application of ICT to education management and service delivery. The TA will contribute to more equitable service delivery and increase benefits of the investments made by the development of SCS.
Improved management and delivery of education services, particularly at the periphery level, due to appropriate use of ICT
Description of Outcome
Enhanced capacity of education sector in ICT application at sub-national levels
Description of Project Outputs
1. Development and implementation of a gender inclusive ICT Plan linking MEHRD, provincial EAs and Schools 2. Identification of ICT hardware options, development of suitable applications and piloting their use in rural/remote areas, and capacity building 3. Comprehensive assessment study conducted on how enhanced access to ICT can add value to the Distance and Flexible Learning (DFL) 4. Convening an ICT4E Workshop/forum to share findings and lessons learned of aforementioned components
Status of Operation/Construction or Implementation Progress
An individual/international consultant (Team Leader) was engaged from October 2014 to February 2015 to mobilize and to initiate wide consultations with stakeholders and developed an inclusive work implementation plan for the TA. The draft implementation plan was submitted to ADB in February 2015 and was approved. The TA completion date is being extended from 31 March 2016 to 30 June 2017 to allow sufficient time for recruitment of a firm to implement the work plan. It is anticipated that a firm will not be recruited and ready to begin until September 2015.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation and Consultation
During Project Design
Under Component 2 (Identification of ICT hardware options, acquisition or development of suitable applications and piloting their use in rural/remote areas to enhance two-way communication, education management, teacher professional development support, teaching and learning resources, as well as capacity building for ICT adoption at the school and school community levels), a range of modalities will be available for professional development around ICT applications and usage that best suits the local context and reaches all relevant stakeholders in the school and community.
During Project Implementation
Under Output 4 (Convening an ICT4E Workshop/forum to share findings and lessons learned of aforementioned components and using findings from the MEHRD Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and other sources) 1.1 Identify and invite suitable contributors to an inception workshop and showcase of technologies and applications (Q1) 1.2 Conduct inception workshop drawing on outputs from activities 4.1, 1.1 and 2.1 arrange follow up consultations with stakeholder groups including Telco s and training providers to inform desk and field studies during this quarter, and drafting of ICT plan in Q3 (see 1.3) (Q2) 1.3 Prepare and maintain an interactive website to keep stakeholders informed of activities and emerging of findings from components 1, 2 and 3. The website should include a private virtual workspace for content management of reports and consultations/workshops(Q2 and onwards,) Organize a final planning workshop to report on outputs from these studies (see 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5) and to inform shaping of 2016 NEAP and further development of ICT4E policy and plan (Q8)
Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.