Binding ICT with education
Posted Sunday, February 17 2013 at 02:23
Recent times have brought to the fore the fact that information and communication technologies (ICTs) can improve the quality of teaching and learning. However, while there are a number of identifiable action plans that have been developed to try and diffuse ICTs into educational institutions in Uganda, a number of obstacles still exist.
For instance, despite the requirement that every student pays Shs30,000 per academic year for purposes of developing ICT in the National Teachers’ Colleges on top of budgetary provisions by the Ministry of Education, it is disheartening to report the high level of resistance arising out of the beliefs and practices of the students. The other main obstacle can be categorised under organisational management support structures.
This includes lack of appropriate administrative support, lack of appropriate course content and instructional programmes, and lack of adequate technical support. This is an unfortunate situation since organisational support structures are critical for any institution to register success.
The other obstacle is weak user involvement which includes lack of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) training, leading to lack of basic skills/competencies for ICTs, lack of basic knowledge to ICT uptake, and ultimately lack of time. Rarely do lecturers/teacher educators get the time or encouragement to reflect on their beliefs about pedagogy or considering implementing new ICT-related learning. Despite the obstacles, there are opportunities which could be embraced by teacher education institutions for the effective exploitation of the affordances of ICTs.
These include : Under organisational management structures, the institutions could have “technology plans,” “more budget allocations,” and “designing appropriate course content and instructional programmes.” There is need for a perception generated by the professional guidance of top management (with the help of skilled ICT personnel) in the leadership of the institutions, that ICT uptake is now unavoidable.
With stakeholder involvement, there is need for the ministry of Education to develop a clear policy on continuous professional development courses that are tailored towards use and uptake of ICTs in the teaching and learning process. The selection criteria of trainees, should as much as possible be based on skills and competencies and not on irrelevant considerations.
There should be encouragement/recognition of role model ICT savvy teacher educators, for the mentorship of prospective teachers.
Ahumuza Akiiki Emmanuel