Information technology may exacerbate education divide

The information technology revolution should be promoted in a manner that does not widen the education gap between developed and developing countries, a senior adviser to Education International said Tuesday in Tokyo.

If the IT revolution advances without guaranteeing education for all in developing countries, the education divide will widen and bring about various risks around the world, Robert Harris said at a Tokyo news conference.

Education International is a worldwide group formed from teachers’ unions.

Harris said 125 million children in the world cannot obtain primary education and many of them are forced to work.

To achieve the Education International goal of giving all people the opportunity for a high-quality education, Japan and other developed countries should take measures including reducing or writing off developing countries’ debt, Harris said.

Harris, who is also chairman of the working group on education, training and employment of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, came to Japan to attend a symposium Sunday on education co-sponsored by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) and others.

Education International was formed in 1998 through the amalgamation of the World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession and the International Federation of Free Teachers Unions. Its affiliated organizations represent some 23.7 million teachers.