An analysis of information and communications technology for social inclusion in Kenyan schools
ICT is now at the center of operations in all sectors of the economy. Key to the proper utilization and hence realization of maximum benefits in ICT is in education. ICT has to be entrenched in our education system right from the formative years, so that we raise a population with the necessary skills to utilize ICT for economic growth and development. This paper focuses on ICT in public schools in Kenya. It seeks to establish the current status of ICT in public schools in areas of infrastructure, application and management of ICT resources. The objective of this test is to determine why, despite efforts by different stakeholders in bridging the digital divide, the problem is still far from being solved. Comparisons are made between four public schools with minimal or no ICT infrastructure to three private international schools with well established ICT infrastructure and systems. Variables compared are Access, governance, economic challenges, human capital, social capital, project sustainability and inadequacies in the theoretical definition of the digital divide. Data has been collected from all seven schools using the interview method as well as observation and personal experiences at the schools by the researcher. Further information has been gathered from school reports, websites and records from the ministry of education. The findings show that for social inclusion to be achieved in ICT in the education sector, the variables mentioned above have to be put into consideration in order to achieve a holistic approach to the issue. The private international schools have been able to achieve this; public schools need to direct their efforts in the same direction so as to effectively compete with the private schools in the area of quality education and job market preparedness. The findings of this research bring out issues hindering achievement of digital equity hence guiding policy makers in the policy formulation process. It creates an understanding of what needs to be done in order to achieve the goals of ICT in education, hence formulate the relevant policies. To academia, the study helps identify theoretical deficiencies or inadequacies in the definition of the digital divide and which need to be addressed accordingly. It points out that the definition of digital divide as is currently available is limiting. The findings also aid in better project planning for implementation of leT projects in schools. Issues of training and skill upgrade have been brought out as well as the need for better governance.