Educational Research Applications (ISSN: 2575-7032)

research article

Access to, use and challenges of ICTs in Secondary Schools in Tanzania: A Study of selected Secondary Schools in Morogoro Municipality

Andrew W Malekani*

Sokoine University of Agriculture, Sokoine National Agriculture Library (SNAL), Morogoro, Tanzania

*Corresponding author:Andrew W Malekani, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Sokoine National Agriculture Library (SNAL), P.O.Box 3022, Morogoro, Tanzania. Tel: +255232603511; Email: malekani@suanet.ac.tz

Received Date: 04October, 2017; Accepted Date: 18 October, 2017; Published Date: 26 October, 2017

1.     Abstract

This study was conducted to establish current status of ICTs in terms of access, use and challenges of ICTs in selected secondary schools in Morogoro municipality. Specifically, the study sought to establish the current status of ICTs in the selected secondary schools in Morogoro municipality; to examine the current usage of ICTs in the schools, to assess current and planned programs that utilize ICTs to improve teaching and learning in schools, to identify challenges in using ICTs in teaching and learning and recommend best ways to overcome the challenges. The study was a cross section survey and used self-administered questionnaires that were given to teachers and student in selected schools. This was supplemented by observations and secondary data review. 20 teachers and 80 students were involved in the study. The findings indicated that the status of ICTs is not good in secondary schools. Though students and teachers seem to be aware of ICTs, but the schools have no enough facilities for ICTs and the facilities available are not adequately utilized. Moreover, the teachers reported that they have no in-service training related to ICTs in teaching and learning. It was also reported that low band width (resulting into poor internet connectivity or slow speed), lack of standby power, and lack of a policy and training schedule hindered the utilization of ICTs in the selected schools. It is recommended that to effectively introduce and efficiently utilize these emerging technologies, remedies should be made to overcome the stated challenges.

2.      Keywords:ICTs; Improved learning; Secondary schools

1.      Background information

 Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) refer to all technologies used to communicate, create, manage, access, gather, and distribute information [1]. According to Sector Strategy Paper of the World as cited by [2], ICTs consists of hardware, software, networks and media for collection, storage, processing, transmission and presentation of information. Application of Information and Communication Technologies can help both teachers and students improve teaching and learning at school.

According to many researchers, Information and Communication Technology in educational context refers to a set of combined technologies that enable not only information processing but also its transmission for the purposes of teaching, learning and educational developments [3]. The ICT on their own will not only bring about improvement in educational quality but when we change our mindsets to use them reflectively and strategically, teaching and learning processes can be deepened [4]. Information and Communication Technologies allow learners to apply a concept or understanding to a new situation, to analyse ideas by organising them and manipulating them and to learn how to evaluate and solve problems.

In the international community, however, the status of ICTs in teaching and learning at school has been reported in various ways.  The former UN General Secretary Koffi Annan (2005) as cited by [3]“Information and Communication Technology are not a panacea or magic formula, but they can improve the lives of everyone on this planet”. In fact, the participation of researchers and educators in the processes of change that ICTs bring to education is an opportunity to construct, shape and share developed knowledge. Educational system around the world are under increasing pressure to use the new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to teach students the knowledge and skills they need in the 21st century [5].

In Africa, Information and Communication Technologies are increasingly present in African societies and have been introduced to varying degrees at all educational levels from preschool to university, and in both formal and informal sectors [3]. In East Africa particularly Kenya, the Ministry of Education and Technology (MOEST, 2005)[6] discusses the ways in which Information and Communication Technologies can be leveraged to support and improve the delivery of quality education for all Kenyans.

The MOEST (2005) [6]says that there are obvious benefits for integrating computers into secondary schools as students at this age need to focus on subject specific contents, greater critical thinking skills, scientific inquiry and mathematics, science and language. Students will benefit greatly with the analytical, creative and collaborative power of computers to map out and analyse assumptions, present ideas and participate in projects with peers from around the country and around the world. As a result, the government of Kenya recognises that an ICT literate workforce is the foundation on which Kenya can acquire the status of knowledge economy. It is believed that the use of ICT in education can increase access to learning opportunities. It can help to enhance the quality of education with advanced teaching methods, improve learning outcomes and enable reform or better management of education systems [1].

In Tanzania, as reported by Swart and Wachira (2010)[7], the situational analysis reveals that the government and the MoEVT recognize the potential of ICT to act as a tool for improving education delivery, outcomes and impact, as evidenced through the national plans, policies and strategies. The Tanzania Vision 2025, the key national development strategy, recognizes the role of education as a strategic change agent for transformation of the economy to a knowledge economy, and identifies the potential of ICT to address most of the development challenges including those presented by education. The National ICT Policy of 2003 recognizes that ICT can enhance education opportunities and advocates for the introduction of an e-education system.

In Morogoro as noted by Calder (2009)[8] in the study of Secondary Education for Girls Advancement (SEGA-ICT show case school), there are challenges facing proper integration of ICT in teaching and learning at school. Those challenges, among other things includes low energy technology, low maintenance of computers, lack of renewable energy, student centered learning and appropriate use of technology in learning. 

Based on the findings from the background information above, it can be concluded that there are several weaknesses and challenges in the education and training sector that hinder the exploitation of ICT to address key education challenges of access, relevance, equity and quality. At the same time, there are great opportunities to leverage the potential of ICT to address these challenges [7].

2.      Statement of the problem and objectives

According to Punie et al. (2006), it is difficult and maybe even impossible to imagine future learning environments that are not supported, in one way or another, by Information and Communication Technologies The status of ICTs in Tanzania is not praise worthy. According to study done by Hare (2007)[9], most private schools in the urban centers especially Dar-es-salaam are already using ICTs, though without formal setting or a policy frame work. Within the context of development, ICTs are regarded as tools for socio-economic development and sustainable livelihoods [10]. There is a necessary commitment from the government and other development partners to support this goal.

Various studies conducted report on integrating ICTs in education system as a means of going with changing world in technological advancement. Komba et al.[11], noted that strategic priorities of Primary Education Development Plan (PEDP) as part of Secondary Education Development Plan (SEDP) mentioned four priorities including enrollments expansion, quality improvement and optimizing human, materials and financial resources utilization. However, none of these priorities advocate on status of ICT in teaching and learning at secondary schools. Therefore, the problems associated with accessibility, integration, training and infrastructure in introduction and use of ICTs in teaching at secondary schools are not well known. This is especially so in Tanzania. This study intended to bridge the existing knowledge gap by assessing the status of ICTs and their use in teaching and learning at secondary schools.

The objectives of the present study were to assess the status of ICTs and their use in teaching and learning among selected secondary schools in Morogoro district. Specifically, the study sought to establish current status of ICTs in the selected secondary schools of Morogoro district, examine the current usage of ICTs in secondary schools in Morogoro district, assess current and planned programs that utilise ICTs to improve teaching and learning at schools, identify challenges in using ICTs that the schools face when they try to implement ICTs in teaching and learning and recommend best ways for effective implementation,  integration and use of ICTs in the school curriculum. 

3.      Literature Review 

5.1.  Current environment of ICTs in secondary schools 

Despite the apparent benefits of the use of ICT for educational purpose, studies show that in many cases, the learning potential of ICT is deprived as many teachers are still not fully ICT literate and do not use it in their teaching. Studies on teachers’ readiness for ICT generally, suggest that there is still a long way to go before schools in the African region will be able to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by 21st century technology [7]. 

5.2.  Government awareness and commitment to ICT in education in Tanzania 

The Situational Analysis reveals that the government and the MoEVT recognize the potential of ICT to act as a tool for improving education delivery, outcomes and impact, as evidenced through the national plans, policies and strategies. The Tanzania Vision 2025, the key national development strategy, recognizes the role of education as a strategic change agent for transformation of the economy to a knowledge economy, and identifies the potential of ICT to address most of the development challenges including those presented by education [7]. 

Since the introduction of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), their integration into education and the associated financial investments have been policy concerns in many countries. The initiatives that were taken to give ICT a place in education have resulted in a need to monitor these developments, using reliable and valid indicators [1]. 

5.3.  The current usage of ICTs in schools 

In Tanzania, there is clear and ample evidence of the government support for ICT in development and in education. For countries like Tanzania which aspire to become knowledge societies, ICT and Education should be seen as key drivers in the production and use of knowledge. Therefore, ICT in Education should be situated not only within the education policy and strategy but also within the broader national development strategy. The government established the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology, which among other tasks, has to create a conducive environment for investment, introduction and use of ICT in national development efforts and government operations [7]. 

5.4.  ICT in primary and secondary schools 

There are no statistics on ICT in the primary and secondary schools’ systems. Consequently, it remains unclear how many and what types of ICT may be in primary and secondary schools. It has however been reported that the number of primary and secondary schools with computers and internet access is limited. A secondary school ICT syllabus for Form I-IV exists, but it has not been implemented in many schools owing to a lack of ICT facilities and trained ICT teachers [7]. 

5.5.  The role of ICTs uses such as the internet in teaching and learning

 The appearance of the Internet has changed the picture of education significantly. Properly used information from the Internet represents added value to education, limiting the government’s financial and human resources, consequently, has greatly increased the need to introduce new educational methods (Pelgrum, 2001).UNESCO (2009)[1], pointed out several roles of ICTs such as the internet in learning and teaching. These include information retrieval; individualized learning; group learning and collaborative activities. Moreover, effective use of the internet in teaching and learning can bring changes that would lead to improvement of not only pedagogy but also save time and space.

 4.      Methodology

 The study was conducted in four secondary schools namely Kilakala, Kigurunyembe, Educare and Denis which are found in Morogoro district. The area is located in the Eastern zone of Tanzania, about 200km from Dar-es-salaam. The area was chosen for this study because it was found that it is easily reached and the fact that the schools have introduced some forms of ICTs (especially computers labs) at their schools. The population included in this study included students and teachers who at the time of investigation were present in schools. For convenience, only form three and form four students were selected in the study. These were then selected from the class lists using simple random sampling. Teachers in both schools were purposively selected from each school.

 The study employed a cross sectional survey, where the study population was visited only once and the data was collected at one point in time. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. The reason for selecting this design was based on the fact that it allowed collection of data on different groups of respondents at one time, hence saved time and financial resources.

The study collected both secondary and primary data. Secondary data were collected through various document reviews present in public and academic libraries. The primary data were collected using questionnaires. Both closed and open-ended questionnaire were used to elicit information from respondents, while observation was employed as backups for data collection. In interviews and oral verbal responses were used. Most of data obtained from questionnaire an interview guide was first coded, compiled and then entered in the Statistical Package for Social Science (V16) prior to statistical analysis. The frequencies and percentages were used to present the findings 

5.      Results and Discussion

This study consisted of both girls and boys’ students of ages ranging from 17 to 28 years. The study revealed that, majority of respondents 39 (65%) was in the age group of 21-24 years. However, the study found that most teachers 14 (70%) had age range from 24-35 years. In terms of teaching ICTs,only 15 students (25%) stated that they have ever been taught. The implication is that a majority of respondents (students) are not aware of ICT tools in secondary schools studied (Figure 1).

The teachers too, 15 (75%) commented that they do not use ICTs in facilitating classroom teaching due to a number of factors including unavailability of ICT facilities, lack of formal setting or a policy framework for in-service training to teachers and also, they reported that there is no official ministry document that govern education sector in the use of ICTs for classroom teaching and learning. When asked on the importance of use of ICTs in learning, most students 56 (93.3%) reported that ICTs are useful if used for learning (Table 1).

This implies that the use of ICTs in classroom instructions can drastically add knowledge and skills and hence better performance of subjects. It also shows that students perceive ICTs positively in the learning process. These findings were also supported by all teachers 20 (100%) who said that ICTs (especially computers and the internet) in the classroom would enhance and extend student knowledge during the teaching process.

7.1.       Level of ICTs use in the surveyed schools

Both students and teachers were asked to state whether they were using the ICTs (computers and internet) or not, to determine their level of use. The results indicated that more than three-quarters 62 (77.5%) were using the computers and Internet, whereas 18 (22.5%) did not use the available ICTs (Table 2).

These findings are supported by Anderson, et al. (2014) who in a similar study found that 62% of teachers were using internet in sharing knowledge. This indicates that training of teachers and their students on academic use of ICTs and particularly the internet can tremendously enhance ICT integration in education 

7.2.       Planned programs in schools on ICTs

When asked about planned programs on ICTs in their schools, all teachers 20 9100%), responded that they have never attended in-service training related to ICT in secondary schools. During the study, it was revealed that there were no planned programs set by school or education authority that aimed at training teachers to use ICTs during classroom instructions. All teachers indicated that in future, they would need training on ICTs to meet the challenges of 21st century of knowledge development through the use ICTs.

When asked on whether teachers refer their students to use the internet cafes, only 4 (20%) of teachers said that they refer their students to do so (Table 3).

This calls for a planned program to encourage teachers to refer their students to internet usage, which would also encourage students to use the ICT facilities available at schools.Teacher and students were also asked to state future access points they considered useful to meet the knowledge and information needs in pursuit of their carriers.

Results indicate that most respondents 42 (52.5%) would use the internet at school, 25 (31.25%) would also prefer to use cell phones. 9 (11.25%) would like to access the internet at home and only 4 (5.0%) would prefer the internet cafes (Table 4).

7.3.      Challenges that schools face when trying to implement and use in secondary schools ICTs

Several challenges were mentioned by both teachers and students as being a barrier to effective ICTs use at schools.  These are discussed below.

7.4.       Inadequate of ICT facilities, particularly computers connected to the internet

The respondents were asked to indicate availability of various ICT facilities for teaching and learning in their schools. The findings in Figure 2 below show that inadequate computers connected to the internet (18.8%) were a problem. 

The findings show that computers were very few and insufficient to meet the needs of the students and teachers in the schools.  Observations made by the researcher revealed that no ICT facilities were allocated in the classrooms. These findings confirm the earlier findings by [12]who reported that lack of computers and other ICT facilities in the Tanzanian teachers’ colleges hindered implementation and use of these facilities in the colleges. The shortage of computers and other ICT facilities in general has been a common problem in several education institutions in Africa. The situation is even worse in Tanzania where inadequate number of ICT facilities is not only found in primary and secondary schools but also in higher learning institutions.

7.5.       Lack of teachers’ training in use of internet

The teachers were also asked to indicate whether they had benefited from any training in internet use. The responses given indicate that 12 (60%) had not attended some training and only eight (40%) had attended any training as illustrated in Table 5.

The findings show that the majority of the teachers did not attend any formal training on computer and internet use. Lack of training in computer and internet use is one of the major factors that hinder effective ICTs use hence contributing to the underutilisation of these facilities and related resources even when access was available. In a similar study by [13], it was found that most of the teacher-educators in two Ghanaian universities lacked knowledge and skills on ICT integration in teaching and learning. In a study that involved 132 teacher educators, the results show that only12.9 percent (n=17) had knowledge and skills on ICT integration in educational instruction.

7.6.       Problems related to internet usage

Teachers were also asked to indicate whether they faced any difficulties in using the Internet. The findings presented in Figure 2 show that the major problems encountered with regard to internet use were slow internet speed (19.3%), erratic power supply (18.8%), lack of skills for Internet use (16.3%), barriers related to timetabling (14.8%) and difficulties in finding relevant information (12.0%).

Slow Internet speed seems to be a common problem in most institutions in Tanzania as they all receive Internet connection from the same source. It was established through interviews with teachers that all schools involved in the study were connected via VSAT, which generally experiences poor connectivity. As one teacher commented:

“...Internet speed is always very slow especially from 6.00 pm to around 09.00 pm, hence this makes it difficult for us to download enough material for teaching.”

The slow Internet speed might be attributed to the small bandwidth that slows down Internet access particularly during peak periods.

The student and teacher’s time table is fixed and rather inflexible with very limited free time. In the schools studied, for example, the researcher observed that there was only one ICT period and double free periods per week. After classroom hours, students had to do some extra-curricular activities. Indeed, for the development of ICT in schools and internet use in particular, timetable should be set in such a way that both student and teachers get enough time to use ICT facilities for teaching and learning purposes.

For any new technology to be used effectively, relevant skills are a necessity. In this case, teachers were required to be equipped with relevant skills to be able to benefit from the Internet and to teach their students accordingly. Mapunda (2004)[14]assert that, when technology appears difficult to use and when the majority of the potential users lack requisite skills, its application remains low, as users shy away from using the technology they were not familiar with. As a result, they tend to lose interest in using it. This finding is in line with assertion made by [15]indicating that skills and training are variables that influence internet use.

Frequent power cuts were identified as a problem facing not only Tanzania but also other African countries; this has tremendous effect on educational institutions, more particularly in secondary schools. Recently, frequent power cuts due to load shedding have wreaked havoc on different socio-economic activities in the country, including hitting hard educational institutions without recourse to standby power. Hawkins (2002)[16]points out that lack of electricity and frequent power outages are factors hindering the effective use of ICTs in schools. To address this problem, schools should establish alternative power sources, such as purchasing standby generators, instead of waiting for the government. However, the present rural electrification project under Rural Energy Agency (REA) will possibly reduce the problem in the near future.

8.      Conclusion and Recommendations

It is now apparent that ICTs can offer great opportunity for secondary schools in developing countries to improve teaching and learning processes in both aspects of content and pedagogy. It was in this base that the then Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT) decided to prioritize on ICT development and deployment in secondary schools and teacher education colleges (TCs) through a joint venture between MoEVT and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). The assessment on level of knowledge, attitudes, skills and practices revealed that, most students and teachers reported that they need to learn about Information and Communication Technologies because it is an excellent source of information related to subject of study. In line with the research topic, the findings of this study indicate that teachers have a strong desire for the integration of ICT into classroom teaching and learning but they encountered many challenges.

Therefore, considering the purpose and frequency of Internet use among teachers and students, it can be concluded that the computers and Internet has not yet to be effectively tapped as one of the foremost resource in enhancing the learning and teaching activities in Tanzania’s secondary schools, as students still use traditional methods of note-taking and note-making and also remain largely dependent on teachers notes, handouts and printed materials. The teachers on the other hand, also use traditional ways of teaching and the parent ministry does not seem to work hard on this. Hence, there is a serious need to integrate ICTs in schools and raise the awareness to all stakeholders from the ministry to the secondary schools as well as teachers and students to enhance the use of the ICTs for academic purposes.

From the findings of this study, it is specifically recommended that:

·         The installation of ICTs facilities at school level should be encouraged by the Ministry concerned and providing basic ICT tools and materials. Teachers and students on the other hand, should take the advantage of resources offered at school by knowing how to access resources.

·         The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training should improve in-service training in ICT use and provide adequate guidance on how to use ICTs tools. The ICTs syllabus which was introduced should be interpreted into action by making available those ICT facilities.

·         Teachers and students should be motivated to realize the learning opportunity in line with ICTs support through in-service training.

 


Figure 1: Percentage of students who reported that they have ever been taught ICTs at schoolN=60..




Figure 2: Challenges encountered in using the ICT facilities particularly the computers and the internet.

 

Response

 

Respondents

Percentage

Less useful

4

6.7

Useful

10

16.7

Very useful

32

53.3

Most useful

14

23.3

Total

60

100.0

Table 1: Students perception on use of computers in terms of importanceN=60.

 

 

Statement

 

Frequency

Percent

Who used the computers and internet

62

77.5

Who did not use the computers and Internet

18

22.5

Total

80

100

Table 2: Respondents’ level of computer and internet use  N=80.
 

 

Response

 

Frequency

Percentage

Yes

4

20.0

No

16

80.0

 

Total

20

100.0

 

Table 3: Teachers reference of students to internet café to access reading materials N=20.

 

Point of Internet Access

 

Frequency

Percent

At the school

42

52.5

At home

9

11.25

Internet cafes

4

5.0

Cell phones

25

31.25

Total

80

100

Table 4: Internet access points required by students and teachersN=80.

 

 

Response

 

Frequency

Percent

Have undergone training

8

40

Have not undergone training

12

60

Table 5: Teachers’ training in Use of computers and the Internet N=20.

 

 

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