The Impact of ICT Integration in the Six Nepad e-schools in Kenya.
Ogutu, J O
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The vision of the Government of Kenya is to facilitate ICT as a universal tool for education and training. In order to achieve this vision every educational institution, teacher, learner and the respective community should be equipped with appropriate ICT infrastructure, competencies and policies for usage and progress. It calls for recognition of the fact that ICT provides capabilities and skills needed for a knowledge-based economy. It also calls for transforming teaching and learning to incorporate new pedagogies that are appropriate for the 21st century. The Ministry of Education�s (MOE) mission is to facilitate effective use of ICT to improve access, learning and administration in delivery education programmes and services. The principal objective will be to integrate ICT in the delivery of education and training curricula. XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O /> Although not exhaustive, the range of ICT that have been used in the delivery of education to improve access, teaching, learning, and administration includes: Electric Board, Audio Cassette, Radio for Interactive Radio Instructions (IRI), Video/TV-Learning, Computer, Integrated ICT infrastructure and Support Application Systems (SAS).These systems are in use, at various degrees, in most parts of Africa (Charp, 1998). This plan envisages use ofthese digital components to improve access and quality in the delivery of education in Kenya. The major challenge in respect to this component is limited digital equipment at virtually all levels of education. While the average access rate is one computer to 15 students in most of the developed countries, the access rate in Kenya is approximately one computer to 150 students (EMIS, 2005). Whereas most secondary schools in Kenya have some computer equipment, only a small fraction is equipped with basic ICT infrastructure. In most cases equipment of schools with ICT infrastructure has been through initiatives supported by the parents, government, development agencies and the private sector, including the NEPAD E-Schools programme. Attempts to set up basic ICT infrastructure in primary schools are almost negligible. According to ICTs in Education Options Paper, one of the main problems is limited penetration of the physical telecommunication infrastructure into rural and low-income areas. Specifically, the main challenge is limited access to dedicated phone lines and high-speed systems or connectivity to access e-mail and Internet resources. The EMIS Survey (2003/2004) indicated that over 70% of secondary schools and a much larger proportion of primary schools require functional telephones. Indeed, many parts of Kenya cannot easily get Internet services because of the poor telephone networks. About 90% of secondary schools need to establish standard Local Area Networks (LANs) in order to improve sharing of learning resources. Alternative and appropriate technologies for access to Internet resources, including wireless systems remain quite expensive. Indeed, a small proportion of schools have direct access, through Internet Service Providers (ISPs), to high-speed data and communication systems. Furthermore, very few schools in the rural areas use wireless technology such as VSAT to access e-mail and Internet resources. Nearly all of the 6 NEPAD e-Schools are in rural areas and are expected to enjoy internet connectivity through VSAT technology. While other countries have reported up to 41% of integration of ICT to teaching and learning, the proportion remains substantially low in Africa, Kenya included. Integration aims at the use ICT to support teaching and learning in the delivery of the various curricula to achieve improved education outcomes. Because ICT is interactive media, it facilitates students to develop diversified skills needed for industrialization and a knowledge-based economy. It also allows teachers and learners to proceed at different paces depending on the prevailing circumstances. As a first step, the Ministry of Education has initiated a major ICT project in Secondary schools meant to equip over 200 secondary schools with ICT infrastructure for integration of ICT in teaching/learning process ( KESSP, 2004). Three schools have been chosen in every district of Kenya.