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Role of Technology in the Education Sector

The education sector in the GCC is expected to increase its device utilization to 100% in the coming two years,according to a study commissioned by Intel to IDC. The region-wide study has revealed that the adoption of technology by educational institutions across the GCC has nearly become mandatory, as a result of a focus on delivering quality education. The trend is facilitating a drastic shift from teacher-centric teaching methods to learner-favoured styles across the GCC.

The ‘Role of Technology in the Education Sector’ survey show the education sector accounted for 10.3% of all tablet shipments to the Middle East in the first half of 2014, up from 2.2% for all of 2013. IT infrastructure has also been ramped to support the increased usage of devices for teaching and learning purposes.

“We found that over 90% of the educational institutes interviewed utilize laptops, tablets and 2 in 1. The GCC’s education sector is witnessing significant growth and a focus on delivering quality education has driven institutions to adopt technology at every level,” said Frederico Carvalho, META Regional Business Director at Intel Corporation Technology. “Quality education is the foundation of a country’s development and prosperity, and technology is key to unlock its potential and reach,” he added.

Current Usage Behaviour

  • The utilization split between laptops and tablets in the region is currently 60-40, with 60% of students using laptops for content creation.
  • All the institutions interviewed discourage the use of smartphones in the classroom, and do not provide connectivity or support for such devices.
  • The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) concept has also proved popular with institutions; over 60% of those interviewed have a BYOD policy for students using their own devices for learning purposes. The rest of the institutions provide support for student’s devices but do not have a formal BYOD policy in place.
  • Less than 30% of the institutions interviewed use interactive whiteboards for teaching. Many institutes reported having LCD or LED panels that are connected to the instructor’s tablet or laptop to display teaching material. All of the institutes reported utilizing video projectors to promote audiovisual learning for certain course material.

Benefits and Challenges

  • In terms of device utilization today, on average, 60% of the devices being used by students are laptops; these devices are favored for content creation, whereas tablets are seen as suitable for reading and accessing applications.
  • Tablets are now utilized more in kindergarten and primary schools however, where the students are provided with institute owned devices. As an evolution between laptops and tablets, institutions are considering 2-in-1 devices.
  • The foremost challenges faced by institutions are deployment, maintenance and IT skills. Institutes face high operating expenses and maintenance costs for their infrastructure, making it difficult to recognize ROI on their IT purchases. However, since the region is on its way to developing itself as an educational hub, most institutions do not compromise on technology standards.

All of the institutes surveyed have an aim of increasing their device utilization within the next 12 to 24 months. Universities that do not have a formal BYOD policy aim to put one in place, considering the tremendous increase in students using their own devices. The security of devices, apps and institution networks is another focus area with an effort to provide maximum flexibility to students and teachers while remaining secure.

“Beyond the adoption of mobile devices through government initiatives and private sector investments, we have also observed an acceleration in the adoption of Private Clouds”, says Adriana Rangel, Systems & Infrastructure Solutions Director at IDC. “Cloud-based architectures facilitate better content management by providing institutions with the ability to manage users, applications and school policies remotely across the entire fleet of mobile devices, going further to increase collaboration between students, faculty and other school members.”

Over the last decade Intel Education has invested over US $1 billion to improve teaching and learning environments in more than 70 countries across the globe. Intel’s goal is to help educators, IT professionals, and government leaders inspire excellence in their students with fresh insights, unique programs, and holistic solutions.

The White Paper is based on in-depth qualitative interviews with key educational groups across the GCC region. In addition, the insights gathered are supplemented by a number of secondary sources, including but not limited to, IDC’s Quarterly Research Trackers and research and advisory work conducted for CIOs and other IT decision makers.

Source: PCMAG

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