Politics to blame for edtech’s failures, report finds

The report was authored by 26 former education ministers and heads of government

Edtech does not deliver for teachers and students because of poor political policies, a report from 26 former education ministers and heads of government has said.

The report, System failure: Why edtech policy needs a critical update, from the Varkey Foundation’s Atlantis Group has said edtech fails to fulfil its promise in classrooms around the world and bad policy is to blame.

The authors, who include former education secretary Justine Greening, concluded: “The political narrative about technology in education is worryingly similar to that of 50 years ago. Real change, we are told, is always just 10 years away.”

Among its many damning conclusion, the authors said: “there is still little to no evidence that learning technologies have had a positive impact on learning outcomes at the national level.”

The political narrative about technology in education is worryingly similar to that of 50 years ago. Real change, we are told, is always just 10 years away.

The Atlantis Group report also noted governments lacked independent evidence about which products improve learning outcomes, “so popular but ineffective products stay on the market”.


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Governments have also failed to adequately equip teachers to use new learning technologies. Although technology had failed, solutions could only come from more effective policymaking, the former leaders said.

The report cited a recent survey of teachers in 48 countries bt The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development survey which found that more than a half had received no formal training in ICT and around a fifth had a high need for professional development in ICT teaching.

Education ministers must “grapple with fundamental ethical questions” of privacy and data and establish testbeds to gather evidence of what works in the classroom, the report concluded.

Read the report here.