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«ABSTRACT This study investigated whether there was a significant difference between teachers’ and administrators’ perceptions on the importance ...»

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International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

(IJEDICT), 2013, Vol. 9, Issue 2, pp. 48-63

 

ICT in secondary school administration in rural southern Kenya: An

educator’s eye on its importance and use

Lazarus Makewa, Jackson Meremo, Elizabeth Role and Jesse Role

University of Eastern Africa, Baraton, Kenya

ABSTRACT

This study investigated whether there was a significant difference between teachers’ and

administrators’ perceptions on the importance of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) in secondary school administration and evaluated the extent to which it was used by administrators. In this study, administrators are those involved in the day to day running of secondary school duties such as: the principal, deputy principal and heads of departments. The researchers used a descriptive-comparative research design to obtain information on the current status of ICT. The t-test was used to establish whether there was any significant difference in perceptions while a Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was used to find whether there was any significant relationship between educators’ perceptions of the importance and extent of ICT use in secondary school administration. Both teachers and administrators rated the use of ICT in secondary school administration as important. Teachers and administrators viewed the use of ICT in student administration as equally important. Administrators rated the importance of using ICT in supervision of instruction and in student administration more highly. There was a significant difference between the perceptions of teachers and administrators on the importance of ICT use in the following areas of secondary school administration: student administration, general administration and supervision of instruction.

Keywords: Information; Communication; Technology; Educators; administrators

INTRODUCTION

School administration is a key determinant for the realization of desired outcomes and success in both public and private schools hence is seen as critical by all stakeholders. Gray and Smith (2007) observe that the twenty-first century principal administrator faces numerous challenges emanating from the technology. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are increasingly used and viewed as important in all spheres of operation including education. This requires effective and dynamic school administration. (In this study, Information and Communication Technologies, ICT, refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications in general but specifically to computers.) Consequently, Whitehead, Jensen, and Boschee (2003) are concerned that “the current movement toward putting the latest technology into classrooms is causing educators to reassess school programs and policies and to examine theimpact computers and other data-processing equipment are having on teaching and learning” (p. 3).

Due to these rapid changes, administrators and other educators globally are compelled to carefully analyse the academic and social needs of their students. Maki (2008) stipulates that ICT plays a vital role in supporting powerful, efficient management and administration in the education sector: technology can be used from student administration (i.e., students’ record) to various resource administration in an education institution. According to Zainally (2008), “ICT provides several facilities and possibilities for educational administrators to perform their tasks” (p. 283). In ICT in secondary school administration in rural southern Kenya this regard, Voogt and Knezek (2008) observe that the development of computer technology from processing information to supporting communication augmented its potential for education. Our society, without exception, is in transition towards an information society due to the enormous impact of these technologies in all facets of life. However, the importance and use of ICT in schools in Kenya differ from one district to the other due to a number of factors including academic, economic, political, and cultural levels of development.

Although ICT use in secondary school administration in Kenya and Kuria Districts in particular, appears to be a new concept and a complex change, Fullan (1993) advises that there is an urgent need to unpack the complexity of change to provide guidance for those who must deal with it. Also, Day and Leithwood (2007) remark that this is the ‘golden age’ of school leadership change. Educators should re-examine their attitudes, perceptions, plans, and implementation of ICT in their daily administrative operations however challenging it might be. This is central to the success with which favoured solutions actually work in schools. If the new technology is being embraced by students and teachers, including computers as educational tools; it is imperative that school administrators, as key educators, also embrace it for effective administration.

Since the mid-1980s, the scope and pace of change around the world have accelerated dramatically. The work of administrators has changed in organizations, including schools, from manual and mechanical to electronic data processing, storage, output, and communication hence the importance of ICT use. Taylor and Hogenbirk (2001) suggest that the transformational rate of change might find professionals outdated in their own profession, thus countries that do not integrate policies of scientific and technology development with education components will be left behind.





Kuria District Secondary School educators are no exception; they face the challenge of change in their operations. Hallinger (1995) says Increased access internationally to ICT has also had an impact on administration of organizations…thus an understanding of how culture shapes both the nature of leadership and the portability of knowledge is increasingly salient to both scholars and professionals throughout the world (pp. 1, 4 ).

This study endeavoured to establish educators’ perceptions of the importance and extent to which administrators use ICT, which had not previously been explored in this area. The findings would be used to recommend possible measures to be taken by the Ministry of Education, school managers, school administrators and other interested stakeholders for effective school administration.

Administrators’ participation in professional development is crucial for any meaningful change to occur as they have a vital role to play. Data use in school administration currently ranges over multiple areas, informing administrators about demographics, school processes, student learning, as well as perceptions and projections (Bernhardt, (2000)). These examples are included to encourage teachers and administrators to get started on data analysis and database work, wherever they are, for school improvement.

50 IJEDICT  

LITERATURE REVIEW

Current Trends in ICT Implementation for School Administration In 2008 the Kuria district was sub-divided into two districts (Kuria West and Kuria East), with 22 and 13 secondary schools respectively, both private and public. Initially, Kuria was carved from the Migori district in Nyanza province. Out of 35 secondary schools, only 15 had a desktop computer in their school/administrative offices. A few private schools had computer classes for students, whereas most of the public schools do not. ICT use for effective secondary school administration left a lot to be desired.

th The Government of Kenya, in its 8 Millennium Development Goals for vision 2030 endeavours to ‘avail the benefits of new technologies, especially ICT.’ Due to the catalytic role of the ICT sector in economic growth, the Government of Kenya has initiated several efforts so that citizens can benefit from opportunities in the sector and develop global partnerships. (Ministry of State for Planning, and National Development, 2008).

Table 1 shows the trend in market gowth in the ICT sector in Kenya between 2000 and 2007. The trend confirms tremendous market growth in the ICT sector in Kenya. The rapid increase in the number of mobiles and internet users is alarming (number of mobile phone and internet subscribers are in millions). This is evident that the use of ICT in all sectors of life, including school administration, is important.

Table 1: The Trend in Market Growth in the ICT Sector in Kenya

–  –  –

We are living in the information and technology age where school educators must possess computing capabilities. They must be users of technology and role models to those they lead.

Yee (2000) suggests that it is difficult to imagine a leader who does not use technology trying to convince teachers that it is important!

ICT in secondary school administration in rural southern Kenya ICT use at Springdale High School in Ohio City in the USA is discussed by Pflaum (2004). “We had plenty of computers, but we did not have teachers who were ready to use them or an administrator committed to technology” (p.100). A school principal whose attitude and perceptions are not positive may not support reasonable changes that affect the overall school administration and performance. Since the principal is the key actor in the process of reform and redefinition, governments should work with them. as Moyle (2008) observes that “many school leaders however, are unsure of how data can be used to inform their work, what decisions concerning technologies should make or what type of decision require their direct oversight” (p. 615).

On the importance of ICT for Africa’s future in exhibitions and conferences, Mboya (2008) stated:

As Africans, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bridge the gap that has held us back from the global market place…Placing basic IT skills in the hands of ordinary Kenyans will lead to the increased competitiveness and economic growth for the country.

(p. 32) Despite the challenges principals face, the importance and use of ICT in secondary school administration cannot be over-emphasised. In 2010, the Kenya National Examination Council, the body charged with the responsibility to administer examinations in the country, issued a circular th on 15 February 2010 to all Provincial Education Officers, District Education Officers and heads of secondary schools registering for the 2010 Kenyan Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). This was published in the Standard Newspaper, as reported by Otieno (2010):; “this year’s KCSE candidates will be registered online on the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) website, according to the new guidelines set out by the examination council.” The KNEC chief executive officer, Mr. Paul Wasanga, said “Candidates’ registration using this method shall be carried out using the internet platform to input their details.” He added, “Schools without internet connectivity can access this facility from cyber cafes or government institution with internet connectivity.” According to Mucheru, (2011), in the ‘top ten trends in Kenya’s industry for 2011’ ICT evolution and innovation in Kenya over the past two years has frown exponentially. One of his top ten trends is ‘Going mobile, going big’. He noted that Kenya showed a dramatic growth in mobile search traffic. More people do business on their mobile phones than on their laptops because mobile search gives users instant, contextually relevant access to information anytime, anywhere.

He further observes that Kenya’s mobile penetration massively exceeds the broadband penetration: even with the expected rise in broadband access in 2011, it isn’t going to catch mobile just yet. So, it is important for Kenya’s advertisers to think mobile. Likewise, it is high time for educators also to consider the role of ICT in educational pedagogy.

ICT Use in Secondary School Administration

Kenya promulgated a National ICT Policy in January 2006 giving priority to ICT. This provided the basis for the Ministry of Education to develop its sector policy on ICT in Education and in June 2006, the Ministry introduced the National ICT Strategy for Education and Training. (Ministry of Information and Communications, 2006).

The Government of Kenya is keen to utilise ICT and other resources to increase access to education for all Kenyans. In March 2004, GOK funded the design and development of the egovernment strategy to provide a common framework and direction across the public schools and all other sectors. The policy is intended to enhance collaboration in the development and implementation of ICT within and among GOK institutions as well as between the business community and the citizens of Kenya. The ICT policy required standards to be developed for hardware, software, and training, which considers the use of refurbished computers in schools 52 IJEDICT   th and provides additional guidance as appropriate. Further, in the 9 May 2005 draft, Kenya Education Sector Support Program and Ministry of Education Science and Technology (2005)

indicate that:

The government appreciates and recognises that an ICT literate workforce is the foundation on which Kenya can acquire the status of a knowledge economy. Against this background, the government intends to make education the natural platform for equipping the nation with ICT skills in order to create a dynamic and sustainable economic growth. (p.105) The government has therefore formulated a national information and communication technology policy. In line with this policy, the government developed a strategic plan for ICT (e-government) thus paving the way for widespread use of ICT in government and educational administrative offices. It is from this policy background that the education and training sector requires school

principals to play a major role in the implementation of the proposed ICT policy as noted:



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