A Plan to Conquer the Digital Divide, or a Technological Leap of Faith?

Education Reform Initiative (ERI) was established in 2003, with the aim of improving education policy and decision-making in Turkey through empirical research, advocacy, and training. ERI mobilizes a wide range of stakeholders in participatory education policy processes to attain its goal of “quality education for all.”

Turkey's FAITH Project

Turkey’s FAITH Project

In 2013, ERI teamed up with Research Triangle Institute (RTI International) to study Turkey’s FATIH project. For ERI, this has been considered as a major part of its ongoing efforts of monitoring education policy issues and a thorough evaluation of FATIH necessitated cooperation with a research center endowed with comprehensive international experience regarding ICT in education. RTI, an international non-profit organization, welcomed the opportunity to learn more about the implementation of FATIH in collaboration with ERI in order to contribute to the recommendations based on experiences of other large-scale technology in education programs worldwide.

Turkey is embarking on one of the world’s largest educational technology projects: putting tablet computers in the hands of every student from grade 5 to 12, and interactive whiteboards in every classroom. With the FATIH Project (The Movement to Enhance Opportunities and Improve Technology), Turkey’s Ministry of National Education is in a unique position on the world stage: the project is nascent and grandiose enough to at the same time affect real and lasting change; and become a model for a host of other nations looking for effective ways to prepare their children for leading roles in the global knowledge economy. Though massive in its planned scope, the goals and approach of FATIH are little understood.

ERI and RTI have collaborated on a policy brief titled “Turkey’s FATIH Project: A Plan to Conquer the Digital Divide, or a Technological Leap of Faith?”, which aims to analyze FATIH through the lens of ongoing and previous international, large-scale of ICT in education experiences, and to use those experiences to suggest ways in which this important investment in educational technology can lead to the best possible learning outcomes for all students in Turkey.

This report highlights key areas where FATIH offers opportunities for improvement and transparent communication forms one of these areas. It is possible to find reports of evidence that one-to-one technology programs do have an effect on student engagement, reducing disciplinary problems, moving towards student-centered classrooms, improving literacy, math or science scores. The use of the tablets for reporting classroom statistics such as attendance could be required or establishing communication and resource-sharing with and among teachers using the tablets could be encouraged. Finally, overall leadership and execution of the project needs to put in place mechanisms to ensure that policies and practices survive changes in government—the next major one coming in 2015. Encouraging more active involvement in the project at school and community levels could be one of the ways to strengthen and ensure continuity of the project.

This brief aims to help demystify FATIH for the general public, and contribute to the facilitation of constructive dialogue.

Click here to read the report. For more information, please contact Batuhan Aydagül from Education Reform Initiative (ERI).


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