Discuss the challenges facing the use of ICT in teaching and learning in secondary schools in Kenya

ICT in teaching and learning in secondary schools in Kenya

We are living in a constantly evolving digital world. ICT has an impact on nearly every aspect of our lives - from working to socializing, learning to play. The digital age has transformed the way young people communicate, network, seek help, access information and learn. We must recognize that young people are now an online population and access is through a variety of means such as computers, TV, and mobile phones.

As technology becomes more and more embedded in our culture, we must provide our learners with relevant and contemporary experiences that allow them to successfully engage with technology and prepare them for life after school.

It is widely recognized that learners are motivated and purposefully engaged in the learning process when concepts and skills are underpinned by technology. However, there are many education technology solutions provider in the world which may cause confusion among educators about how to choose the right ICT solution. Below are some of the advantages of ICT tools for education.

3 Main advantages of ICT tools for education



1‧ Through ICT, images can easily be used in teaching and improving the retentive memory of students.

2‧ Through ICT, teachers can easily explain complex instructions and ensure students' comprehension.

3‧ Through ICT, teachers are able to create interactive classes and make the lessons more enjoyable, which could improve student attendance and concentration.

Even though ICT is of great importance to our curriculum it is faced with numerous challenges which hinder the government from fully implementing in all secondary schools. Below are some of the major challenges:

Lack of trained staff.

In Kenya, the majority of the teachers have minimal or no basic computer skills to be able to teach ICT in school. Currently, the need for ICT learning has been rising in demand and the number of teachers who are trained to teach ICT is inadequate. There are more students willing to be taught computing skills than there are teaches to transfer the skills. This has made it impossible to teach ICT in many secondary schools in Kenya.

Lack of electricity in most secondary schools

Lack of electricity in most parts of the country has been a great hindrance to the introduction of ICT in schools. Many schools are still not yet connected to electricity; Kenya is a developing country, the government has not been able to connect all parts of the country with electricity. Those schools that fall under such areas are left out and may not be able to introduce ICT in such areas. This has greatly affected the implementation of ICT in the Kenyan secondary school's curriculum.

Limited internet access.

Lack of internet or slow connectivity is another hindrance in the introduction of ICT in Kenya. Most schools are not able to connect to the World Wide Web, due to the high costs involved in the connectivity. Slow internet or no internet at all in some parts of the country also plays a major role in inhibiting the introduction of ICT. Sometimes internet providers do provide internet at a very high price which is out of reach by many secondary schools in Kenya. This is considered very expensive for a very slow speed. Sometimes there is an internet breakdown making it unreliable.

Burglary

Insecurity is a major challenge in Kenya and the fact that computers are still very expensive in the market makes them a target for thieves who usually have ready markets to another party at a much less price. This has made many schools to incur extra expenses trying to employ adequate security measures to protect them from theft. This extra expense makes some schools shy away from the introduction of ICT in secondary school.

Job security

Teacher anxiety over being replaced by technology or losing their authority in the classroom as the learning process becomes more learner-centered is an acknowledged barrier to ICT adoption. The teacher may fear being rendered irrelevant by the introduction of computers in his/her class.

Education administrators.

Leadership plays a key role in ICT integration in education. Many teachers- or student-initiated ICT projects have been undermined by lack of support from relevant education stakeholders. For ICT integration programs to be effective and sustainable, administrators themselves must be competent in the use of the technology, and they must have a broad understanding of the technical, curricular, administrative, financial, and social dimensions of ICT use in education.

Lack of Content

Content development is a critical area that is too often overlooked. The bulk of existing ICT-based educational material is likely to be in English or of little relevance to education in developing countries (especially at the primary and secondary levels). There is a need to develop original educational content (e.g., radio programs, interactive multimedia learning materials on CD-ROM or DVD, Web-based courses, etc.), adapt existing content, and convert print-based content to digital media.

Negative attitude by the general community

The community leaders who are charged with looking at the interests of a given community are a great barrier to ICT development in secondary schools. The society is reluctant in embracing new technology because they have a negative view on computers as they are made to believe they promote moral degradation in students. This is brought by sites that promote immorality which never cease to catch student’s eyes whenever they are connected to the internet.

Corruption

The allocation of funds to develop the use of ICT in schools may sometimes not reach the targeted schools because some leaders take that as a channel to embezzle public funds. This is a major challenge in Kenya thus local leaders and school heads cannot be entrusted with enforcing government projects like the implementation of ICT in schools.

Lack of enough computers in schools

Most public schools have many students and few computers which cannot accommodate all students, for example, in some schools you may find that only one computer caters for about fifty students, this makes learning difficult.

Increased moral degradation

Use of computers has greatly impacted negative behavior among students, many students instead of using the computers in learning to use it to chat with friends using the different social media platforms and even use computers in uploading and downloading the wrong material making it a challenge to use computers in learning.

Lack of Qualified Technical support specialists.

Whether provided by in-school staff or external service providers, or both, technical support specialists are essential to the continued viability of ICT use in secondary school. The disturbance by the viruses which distort many programs or make the computer fail to open to view programs requires qualified technical support specialists to maintain, upgrade and service the computers regularly to enhance efficiency in learning. Without on-site technical support, much time and money may be lost due to technical breakdowns.

Conclusion


Supply of qualified ICT teachers is a major challenge in the process of implementing ICT in secondary schools. Most of the schools do not have enough staff competent in ICT and therefore are not able to effectively implement ICT. More ICT teachers should be employed and be trained on the basics of ICT use in teaching and learning. In-service courses should be arranged regularly to enable teachers to acquire the necessary ICT skills that are important in the process of teaching and learning.

From the challenges, it is evident that generally, electricity supply is a barrier to ICT implementation in schools. In such situations, there is a likelihood of limited rural electrification or frequent power disruptions and this could slow down the pace of ICT implementation in schools. It is therefore recommended that such schools should be supplied with electrical power to enable them to effectively harness the use of ICT in education. Alternative sources of power such as generators, solar technology and batteries should be explored in the absence of the electric power.

The high cost of acquisition and maintenance of ICT equipment is a barrier that has continued to constrain the adoption and integration of ICT in schools in Kenya. It is pointed out that transportation of imported equipment, tariffs charged for electricity adds to the cost thus making ICT unfordable to many schools. The government should review amount charged on the importation of ICT equipment thus making it affordable and easy to acquire them or adopting measures such as locally assembling education software as well as exploiting alternative technologies to avoid over-reliance on costly imported software and hardware.
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