The widespread use and availability of information and communication technologies (ICT) has greatly impacted how nations conceptualize innovation and the ways formal mass education can be used to advance socio-political and economic agendas. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have increasingly focused on the roles of science and technology in building research development and innovation (RDI) capacity to create national innovation systems (NIS). This paper uses evidence from the 2007 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the 2009 World Bank Institute Knowledge Economy Index (KEI) to investigate the spread of ICT in national education systems in the GCC countries and the impact of ICT-based learning as a catalyst for NIS and RDI capacity in the region. Previous research suggests that ICT-based instruction has the potential to build capacity in knowledge development, which is a key component in the establishment of national innovation systems. However, the analyses presented here suggest that the ways ICT is used in education in the GCC do not build capacity in knowledge development in youth. Although evidence shows that GCC countries do have institutional capacity in ICT, it is not used for knowledge development in part because of limitations imposed by the cultural contexts for education in the Gulf. The paper concludes with recommendations for ways that GCC teachers can use ICT to create national innovation systems and research capacity through reforms to teacher training and professional development.
- Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries
- Information and communication technology (ICT)
- National education systems
- National innovation systems (NIS)
- Research development and innovation (RDI)