Use of Assistive Education Technologies to Support Children with Visual and Hearing Difficulties in the East Asia and Pacific Region


Evidence on the uptake, use, and impact of EdTech at scale on participation and learning among students with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries remains very limited. This report presents findings on access to EdTech for children with difficulties in hearing and vision in middle-income countries (MICs) in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region using three approaches: (i) a systematic regional literature review; (ii) interviews with 17 actors from the education technology private sector across the EAP region; and (iii) case studies from four countries: Vietnam, the Philippines, China, and Tonga.

The main findings from the literature review are that most EdTech solutions in EAP MICs were applied at very small scale, with a focus on the tech testing stage, and only two of the 13 identified studies from a sample of 1,661 studies measured changes in student learning outcomes. The private sector interviews indicate qualitatively that most actors in this space are unaware of the needs of children with vision and hearing disabilities, and that other challenges such as profitability and general inequalities related to access to devices and high-speed internet receive the most attention.

The case studies report no examples of national deployment of any assistive education technology, though there are multiple examples of small-scale digital approaches developed by individual schools or NGOs and shared locally or, in two cases, regionally. In looking at country contexts for the case studies, we found a lack of publicly available data on spending for assistive EdTech in EAP, a lack of data on (a) prevalence of disabilities among the student population, (b) student learning, and (c) student persistence in higher grades.

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Key Area
visual and hearing impairments

East Asia & Pacific

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