Influence of Information and Communication Technology policy on the integration of computer awareness in Botswana junior secondary school curriculum
Kgwefane, Tshepo Andrew
PublisherUniversity of Botswana, www.ub.bw
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The socio-economic transformation prompted by globalization and associated Information and Communication Technologies are cross-cutting and have inevitably found their way into the provision and delivery of educational services. Globally, countries use national ICT policies to promote and manage the complex process of integrating ICT in education. In 2007, Botswana launched the national ICT policy to facilitate effective use of ICT across Government sectors and transform the country‟s economy from mineral-led into knowledge-based one. Thuto Net is an important component of the national ICT policy aimed at equipping learners with relevant ICT skills and competencies required in the work place and for self-employment. This study investigated the influence of the national ICT policy on the integration of computer awareness in Botswana junior secondary schools. Specifically, it assessed the match or mismatch between the ICT policy intentions and practical outcomes. The study revealed the following: inadequate teacher preparation in terms of ICT integration, insufficient ICT resources, failure to integrate computer awareness into school curriculum and limited acquisition of critical ICT skills and competencies by the students. The study used the pragmatic paradigm of the mixed methods hence combining the qualitative and quantitative approaches to generate rich data and attain a comprehensive understanding of policy impact on the integration of computer awareness across the junior secondary school curriculum in Botswana. Multiple research instruments were used to collect data including face-to-face interviews, focus group discussions, questionnaires, observations and document analysis to enhance and triangulate the results. A total of 192 questionnaires were completed. Sixty three interviews and nine focus group discussions were conducted. 10 lessons were observed. The national ICT policy and related documents were analysed. The study was conducted in six educational regions namely Central, Kgalagadi, Kgatleng, North East, Southern and South East. Junior secondary schools were the main unit of analysis. Data was collected in twelve junior secondary schools, one secondary college of education, Botswana Examinations Council and Curriculum Development and Evaluation. A concurrent multilevel sampling strategy combining probability and non-probability sampling techniques was used to compare between different groups at various levels. The findings indicate that integrating ICT in junior secondary schools is faced with multiple intertwined challenges. There are mismatches between policy intentions and practical outcomes. The ICT infrastructure that is provided is inadequate to support effective ICT integration into the school curriculum. Key policy implementers are not conversant with the national ICT policy. Teacher preparation for ICT integration is inadequate. The ICT curriculum is inconsistently implemented making it unlikely that learners receive adequate ICT skills required in the work place. The national ICT policy is inadequate to facilitate effective integration of technology in the education system in the country. The study proposed a framework to facilitate effective implementation of ICT in education.
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