Equipping Teachers with ICT Skills for Pedagogical Integration in Uganda: An Evaluation of Policy Implementation in Jinja Municipality


Master's Thesis, 2011
116 Pages, Grade: ABBA

Excerpt

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Research Overview, the Problem and Research Methodology
1.0 Introduction
1.1 Background of the Study
1.2 Problem Statement
1.3 Research Questions
1.3.1 Main Question
1.3.2 Specific Questions
1.4 Justification
1.5 Scope of the Study
1.6 Purpose of the Study
1.7 Specific Objectives
1.8 Methodology
1.8.1 Study Area
1.8.2 Research Design
1.8.3 Research Validity and Reliability
1.8.4 Ethical Considerations
1.8.5 Data Analysis Techniques
1.9 Definition of Terms

Chapter 2
Review of Related Literature
2.0 Introduction
2.1 Initiatives for Equipping Teachers with ICT for Pedagogical Integration in Uganda
2.2 ICT Policy Debate in Teacher Education
2.3 Knowledge Needed by Teachers for Successful Integration of ICTs in Education
2.4 The Interplay between Politics, Policy and ICT Policy Implementation in Uganda

Chapter 3
The Policy for ICT in Education and the Education Sector Strategic Plan 2007-2015
3.0 Introduction
3.1 The Education Sector ICT policy
3.1.1 Background and context
3.1.2 Intentions and focus of the policy
3.1.3 Initiatives for Implementation of the Policy and their Effectiveness
3.1.4 So what is the Policy Direction?
3.2 The Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) 2007 – 2015
3.3 Conclusion

Chapter 4
Presentation and Interpretation of Results from the Questionnaire survey
4.0 Introduction
4.1 Demographic Information
4.1.1 Distribution of Respondents by Gender and Level Taught
4.1.2 Distribution of Respondents by Year of Completion of Teacher Training Course
4.2 The Status of Teachers’ICT Knowledge and Skills
4.2.1 Have teachers had any ICT Training?
4.2.2 Which ICT knowledge and skills do teachers possess?
4.3 Training teachers in ICT: Initiative, Strategy and Practices
4.3.1 By whose initiative did teachers attain ICT training?
4.3.2 Strategies used in ICT Training for Teachers
4.3.3 Methods of Instruction used in ICT Training for Teachers
4.3.4 Relevancy of ICT Training Received to Curriculum and Instruction

Chapter 5
Discussion of results, Conclusions and Recommendations
5.1 Discussion of Results
5.1.1 Demographic Information
5.1.2 Results Regarding Status of ICT Training
5.1.3 Findings Regarding Initiative, Strategy and Practices
5.2 Conclusions
5.2.1 Conclusions Regarding Status of ICT Training of Teachers
5.2.2 Conclusions Regarding Teachers’ ICT Knowledge and Skills
5.2.3 Conclusions Regarding Initiative, Strategy and Practices
5. 3 Recommendations

6.0 Limitations of the Research

References

Appendices

Acronyms

Acknowledgement

Chapter 1
Research Overview, the Problem and Research Methodology

1.0 Introduction

This chapter presents a background to the current study, the research problem, questions and objectives of the study. The methodology employed to conduct the research is also presented in this chapter. Finally, the chapter clarifies on terminologies used.

1.1 Background of the Study

In the recent past, there has been growing interest in the integration of information and communication technology (ICT) in the education systems of countries across the globe. Such interest has often been premised on the assumption that ICTs have a great potential for improving the quality of education. Moreover, education is presumed to cause socio-economic development. Indeed empirical studies confirm that education can make an important economic contribution (Kozman, 2005). Thus by improving the quality of education, ICT is thought to contribute to social and economic development.

The potential impact of ICT on social, economic and educational transformation has been alluded to by researchers, policy makers, politicians, bilateral and multilateral organizations. For example, the United Nations and the World Bank both advocate the use of ICT to support the development of the world’s poorest countries (Kozman, 2008, p.1083). In this regard, a World Bank report notes that ICT can increase access to education through distance learning, enable a knowledge network for students, train teachers and broaden the availability of quality education materials (p.1084). Furthermore, the G8 Heads of State emphasized the need to develop human resources capable of responding to the demands of the information age and to nurture ICT literacy and skills through education, training, and lifelong learning (Kozman, 2008, p.1083). The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization [UNESCO] (2009) argues that ICT can help to enhance the quality of education with advanced teaching methods, improve learning outcomes and enable reform or better management of education systems (p.9). In addition, ICT support to education is perceived to be critical for reaching Education for All (EFA) goals by boosting the current rate of progress in developing countries especially through accelerated distance teacher-training (UNESCO, 2009, p.13).

Tilya (2008) attests that the world has entered the knowledge and information society, driven by information and intellectual products as raw materials. In this context, he argues that the ability to transmit data over an information and communication infrastructure is a crucial resource for any nation to participate effectively in the global information society and to address development challenges (p.1146). UNESCO (2009, p.16) points out that although the benefits of ICT use in education cannot be clearly measured, many countries continue to introduce it based on the assumption that citizens should be able to function adequately in a rapidly evolving information society.

Kozman (2008) notes the importance of national policies and programs as tools for the realization of ICT’s promise in education. Indeed Moonen (2008) reports that most countries in the world are actively pursuing policies in support of the use of ICT in education, and the Republic of Uganda has not been an exception. Kozma (2008) identified a number of key operational components essential for an ICT policy and these among others include teacher training. This is because the successful integration of ICT in education undoubtedly depends on teachers’ ability to use it. Clearly, Uganda’s policy for ICT in Education takes in cognisance the importance of teachers in the implementation of ICT in education and as such lays a strong emphasis on equipping them with ICT skills as a strategy for the successful implementation of the overall education sector ICT policy.

Using a framework provided by Moonen (2008) and information about the status of ICT in African countries as described by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)-2006, Tilya (2008) situated the ICT-in-education policies of sub-Saharan African countries on a continuum of steps in the development of ICT i.e., no policy yet, emerging policy, applying policy, infusing policy and transforming education by policy. By his framework, Uganda is at the stage of applying the policy (p.1153). But how is this policy being implemented in regard to teacher education so far? It is this and related concerns that this research sought to answer.

1.2 Problem Statement

The government of Uganda (GOU) sought to embrace ICT with the hope that it would enable the country improve and sustain development and poverty reduction (Uganda Ministry of works, 2003). In partial pursuit of these aims, the national policy for ICT advocates among other things integrating ICT in mainstream education (p.33). Accordingly, the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) developed a policy for ICT in education to help guide the integration of ICT into education. Uganda’s policy for ICT in education recognizes the crucial role of teachers in implementing any education reform initiative and as such points out that “in ensuring that the best use is made of ICT, the key focus must be on the teachers/trainers/lecturers and the curriculum that they are expected to follow” (Uganda MoES, 2005, p.15). Consequently, the policy states that computer awareness should be introduced into the training of primary school teachers on a phased basis (p.16) and that on a phased basis all NTCs will begin to provide ICT courses to their student teachers to allow them to use ICT in their own studies, in lesson preparation and in making teaching materials (p.17).

However, although such a promising policy is in place, it has been observed that policy implementation is one of the major problems confronting developing nations (Makinde, 2005). Often times, good policies are articulated but lack of stakeholder commitment and political will as well as resource constraints hinder implementation. Therefore, since teacher preparation remains central to the implementation of Uganda’s overall education sector ICT policy, assessing the implementation of the policy in regard to equipping teachers with ICT skills was a timely obligation.

1.3 Research Questions

This study was guided by a main research question from which specific questions to be answered by the research were derived.

1.3.1 Main Question

What strategies are being used to implement the education sector ICT policy in regard to teacher education and has the implementation of the ICT policy in education had any impact on teachers’ ICT knowledge and skills?

1.3.2 Specific Questions

(i) What is the policy direction and administrative strategy envisaged for equipping teachers with ICT skills?
(ii) Have teachers engaged in any ICT training?
(iii) What ICT skills do teachers possess?
(iv) Was/is the ICT training received by teachers (if any) relevant to their practice as teachers?
(v) What approaches are being used to deliver ICT training to teachers?

1.4 Justification

It was hoped that this study could:

(i) Provide a situation analysis of the ICT knowledge and skills of Uganda’s teachers hence informing further action in the implementation of the country’s policy for ICT in education.
(ii) Generate baseline data for comparison with other case studies in this field to inform policy action.
(iii) Provide an opportunity to teachers to express their views on how best they think ICT should be integrated in the country’s teacher education system to enable teachers use it in their practice.

1.5 Scope of the Study

The study was carried out in Jinja municipality in Uganda among primary and secondary school teachers. It focused on inquiring into the activities in pre-service teacher training and continuous teacher professional development related to the integration of ICT in education. Only teachers already practicing teaching at school level were included in the study. Data was collected between February and March 2011.

1.6 Purpose of the Study

The study sought to assess the strategies that were being used to implement ICT in teacher education and whether such strategies were effectively equipping teachers with the knowledge and skills advocated in the education sector ICT policy?

1.7 Specific Objectives

Specifically, the study aimed at:

(i) Evaluating teachers’ ICT knowledge and skill levels
(ii) Assessing the relevancy of teachers’ ICT skills to their practice as teachers.
(iii) Evaluating the approaches being used to equip teachers with ICT skills.

1.8 Methodology

In this section, the study area, research design and data analysis techniques used and ethical considerations are described.

1.8.1 Study Area

The study was carried out in Jinja municipality. Jinja municipality is a part of Jinja district in southeastern Uganda, approximately 54miles (87 km) by road, east of Kampala, the capital. The town is located on the shores of Lake Victoria, near the source of the Nile River. Jinja municipality is the largest metropolitan area in Jinja District and is considered the capital of the Kingdom of Busoga. Jinja has a large population of inhabitants (Wikipedia, Jinja-Uganda).

1.8.2 Research Design

The study used a mixed methods approach in which both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Two major data sources were used (Osei, 2008; p.6) to answer the research questions. The study was divided into two parts. The first part involved document review (government documents) and through this the first research question was answered (see chapter 3). Part two was a questionnaire survey involving teachers following which the remaining four research questions were answered (see chapter 4 & 5).

1.8.2.1 Documentary Review

The docments reviewed were MoES documents namely the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP)[1], 2007-2015 and the Draft policy for ICT in Education-2005. A review of these documents was deemed necessary to provide insight into political intensions, policy direction and administrative strategies of relevancy to the present study. The draft policy for ICT in education was particularly reviewed because it details the expectations and guidelines for ICT in the education sector while the ESSP 2007-2015 is the current government document detailing the current programmes and investment priorities in the education sector. Thus by understanding these two documents, the researcher would be able to relate government plans and expectations with what is happening on ground using data from the questionnaire survey.

1.8.2.2 The Questionnaire Survey

Because this study sought to assess the strategies that were being used to equip teachers with ICT skills and the ICT skills status of teachers, it was deemed more sensible to have teachers themselves confess to these. A tracer study (UNESCO, 2009, p.86) was used. The international labour organisation (ILO) (2008, p.656) thesaurus defines a tracer study as an impact assessment tool where the “impact on target groups is traced back to specific elements of a project or programme so that effective and ineffective project components may be identified.” In this case, sampled teachers were asked to tell when they completed training as teachers[2]. The purpose was to determine whether teachers trained after the inauguration of the policy for ICT in education (pre-service training) had better self perceived proficiency in ICT for pedagogical integration compared to their counterparts who trained before and to determine if such proficiency could be attributed to the implementation of the policy.

Population of the Questionnaire Survey

The population of the questionnaire survey can be viewed in two dimensions; the population of schools and that of teachers. In identifying the population of the study, the researcher obtained a list of all primary and secondary schools in Jinja municipality (Appendix I) from the Jinja Municipal Education office. While the researcher attempted to get information about the population of teachers in these schools, such information was not readily available. Therefore, to be able to come up with a representative sample of the population of teachers, the researcher used secondary data from a study conducted by the ministry of education and sports to estimate the number of teachers in the schools (Details in Section 4.0).

Selection of Subjects

A stratified random sampling approach was used to select 20 schools by equal allocation to each of the strata; primary and secondary schools. Within each stratum, schools were selected by simple random sampling in which the names of all the schools in the population of a given stratum were entered in a computer and ten randomly selected using Microsoft (MS) Excel. Seven teachers were then selected randomly from each of the 20 sample schools to participate in the study, giving a total of 140 respondents.

The Questionnaire

A questionnaire was presumed suitable for this study for two reasons: (i) the study population was literate and could therefore fill the questionnaires easily and (ii) questionnaires are effective at drawing a lot of information from respondents within a short period of time and cheaply. The questionnaire was of paper and pencil type[3]. To probe responses from the respondents, the questionnaire consisted of closed and open-ended questions. All questions in the questionnaire were developed by the researcher based on his own pre-conception of issues relevant to the research. The following questions were contained in the questionnaire:

(i) Have you ever engaged in any ICT training as a teacher?
(ii) Who initiated your ICT training(s)?
(iii) Please tick all that applies in the list below to describe the strategy used in your training.
(iv) Please tick all that applies to indicate the method of instruction used in your ICT training.
(v) If you have ever received ICT training of some sort, was the training content linked to the curriculum and how you can integrate ICT in real classroom instruction?
(vi) For the ICT training you have received as part of continuous professional development, who planned the content you were taught?
(vii) Given the ICT knowledge and skills that you have, which of the following are you able to comfortably do with ICT?
(viii) What ICT knowledge and skills do you want to learn but have not been referred to in the trainings?
(ix) What training strategies and or methods of content delivery do you prefer to be used in equipping you with the ICT knowledge and skills that you need as a teacher?
(x) Please express your opinion regarding the education sector ICT policy and ICT in teacher education.

These questions were particularly chosen by the researcher to probe whether teachers were receiving training in ICT as required by the policy, whether there were any deliberate initiatives by those in positions of authority to train teachers in ICT as proposed and claimed by the policy[4] and whether the training received, if any, was relevant to the professional needs of teachers. The questionnaire was structured as follows:

(i) First, it contained an introductory paragraph with background information explaining the context of the study;
(ii) Part I of the questionnaire consisted of questions related to the demographic information of respondents;
(iii) Part II consisted of questions exploring the status of ICT training, ICT knowledge and skills of teachers in Jinja and initiatives to train teachers in ICT.
(iv) Part III sought to tap teachers’ opinions on approaches deemed suitable for equipping them with ICT skills as well as any other opinion they felt like expressing in relation to the ICT policy and teacher education.

The questionnaire administered during the study is attached as Appendix A.

Procedure of Data Collection

For purposes of administering the questionnaires, the researcher recruited one research assistant who administered the questionnaires. The following are the reasons why the researcher had to recruit an assistant:

(i) Due to financial and time constraints, the researcher could not travel to Uganda from China where he was based at the time of the study to collect data by himself.
(ii) The research assistant recruited was a teacher within Jinja municipality who had warm relations with several teachers from the targeted population. It was therefore easy for her to exploit those warm relations to have the questionnaires filled in time.
(iii) The research assistant was enthusiastic about being involved in the study as she viewed it as form of personal growth on her part.

Before setting out into the field, the researcher and the research assistant had a video conference using skype[5] in which they discussed the questionnaire to enable the assistant understand it in case it became necessary for her to help respondents fill in the questionnaire. In addition, the assistant was briefed on other aspects pertaining to the research such as introducing herself, explaining the purpose of the research and selecting respondents randomly.

The research assistant delivered the questionnaires in person at the sampled schools where she waited until they were completed. Where necessary, she had to leave questionnaires with respondents or the school administrators to enable respondents complete them (questionnaires) at their own pace if they (respondents) were not ready to complete the questionnaire in the presence of the research assistant. This required her to return to the schools later and collect the completed questionnaires.

1.8.3 Research Validity and Reliability

The questionnaire was pilot tested for reliability assessment of individual items. In this regard, ten questionnaires were administered to ten teachers at random in Shanghai - China for the pilot test and necessary adjustments were made. To ensure the overall research validity, conclusions were based on a variety of sources of information (triangulation).

1.8.4 Ethical Considerations

A high level of ethical conduct was maintained in carrying out this study in line with the research code of conduct. This was done through seeking permission from Jinja municipal government authorities to be allowed to collect data (Appendix F), acknowledging sources used throughout this study, stating facts as they are, avoiding plagiarism and keeping the identity of respondents confidential.

1.8.5 Data Analysis Techniques

Data were analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Data from document review and some open-ended questions in the questionnaire were analysed using qualitative methods. Qualitative data analysis makes it possible to contextualize findings thereby giving more meaning to the findings. Quantitative data collected through the questionnaires were analysed quantitatively using computerised software; spss 16 and Microsoft excel. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies and percentages were used to describe the responses from the questionnaires. The Chi-square test of independence was also carried out to compare some results.

1.9 Definition of Terms

Some technical terms can have a variety of meanings. This section gives the meaning of key terms as conceptualized for purposes of this study.

(i) Teacher education – For purposes of this study, teacher education is conceptualized as all pre-service and in-service training received by secondary and primary school teachers in preparation for the teaching job. The term is interchangeably used with TPD throughout this thesis.
(ii) Implementation – to give practical effect to and ensure actual fulfillment by concrete measures.
(iii) ICT – Information and Communication Technology . ICT covers any product that can store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically f or example personal computers, television, email, robots, fax, telephone, internet, tape cassettes, radio, CD-ROM etc. For purposes of this study, ICT was limited to the “traditional” computer and its associated offerings in education.
(iv) Policy – an officially agreed and chosen way of executing official business .

Chapter 2
Review of Related Literature

2.0 Introduction

This chapter presents available literature pertaining to ICT in teacher education in the world generally and in Uganda in particular. The literature is reviewed under four sub-topics. A review of the initiatives for ICT in teacher education presents an opportunity for the researcher and reader to understand whether or not there have been any attempts to equip teachers with ICT skills in the country, when and by whom such initiatives were carried out as well as their relevance, success and failure. The second section, ICT policy debate and teacher education introduces international and local policy debates as well as practices in the field of ICT in teacher education in order to construct a wealth of knowledge, which together with the results of the study could provide an informed basis for policy recommendations. In the third section, different paradigms about the ICT knowledge and competencies expected of teachers are explored. Through this review the literature provides a firm basis for judging the suitability of the ICT knowledge and skills that the target population possesses for ICT integration in education in order to make sound recommendations. Finally many researchers have argued that political will is crucial to policy implementation. Therefore, the fourth section of this chapter examines political priorities in Uganda and how they influence policy and policy implementation in order to construct a deeper understanding of the state of ICT in teacher education basing on government priorities.

2.1 Initiatives for Equipping Teachers with ICT for Pedagogical Integration in Uganda

According to Wamakote (2010) , the Ugandan government’s most significant ICT investment in the educational sector is the Education Management Information System (EMIS) which aims at providing quality education statistics in a timely, cost-effective and sustainable manner (p.19). However, he notes that the MoES has also supported other ICT initiatives in partnership with other agencies (p.19). According to an annex in the draft policy for ICT in education on the status of ICT in education in Uganda, several of these initiatives aim, among other things at equipping teachers with relevant ICTs for integration in the teaching-learning process (Uganda MoES, 2005). They included:

(i) The Connectivity for Educator Development (Connect-ED) project initiated in May 2000. The Connect-ED project is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in close cooperation with Uganda's MoES and within the framework of the U.S. Education for Development and Democracy Initiative (EDDI) (p.29). Connect-ED is using technology to enable and enhance learning and teaching for primary school educators through the creation of multifaceted approaches to integrating media and computers in the Primary Teacher Colleges (PTC’s) classrooms (p.29). Connect-ED is accomplishing this by setting up education technology centres thereby increasing access, availability, and provision of relevant and quality learning materials and support for teacher professional development (p.29).
(ii) IICD-MoES. There are four projects going on between the Institute for Information and Communication Development (IICD) in conjunction with the MoES (p.29). These projects are, among others: (a) ICT Based Educational Content. (b) ICT Training.
(iii) British Council has a program in some private secondary schools that aims at introducing ICT to be used in teaching and learning (p.29).
(iv) The National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) worked with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to come up with the CurriculumNet project to develop, test and implement a mechanism for curriculum integration and delivery for primary and secondary schools in Uganda via communication networks using computer related tools. In relation to the mandate of NCDC and its functions, the CurriculumNet project was conceived to influence both the practice and policy of Education (p.30). CurriculumNet was intended to enable students, educators and educational administrators to develop appropriate competencies to effectively use ICTs in the teaching and learning process (p.30).
(v) Creating learning networks for Africa is also a project in progress. It is meant to assist teachers in secondary schools to appreciate ICT in their works and is supported by UNESCO (p.30).
(vi) The e-Schools initiative under the auspices of New Partnership for Africa in Development (NEPAD) seeks to ensure that the majority of the people on the continent have the skills required to function in the information society and knowledge-based economy. Among other objectives it aims to provide teachers with ICT skills to enable them use ICTs as tools to enhance teaching and learning (p.31).
(vii) SchoolNet Uganda supports educators and learners by providing pedagogical and technical expertise and advice, infrastructure and human resources, coordination, training and capacity-building and developing local and international partnerships (Farrell, 2007, p.11).

Therefore from the above literature it is evident that there are initiatives that have been undertaken to equip teachers with ICT skills. However, Harrison (2010) notes that while there have been many schemes over the last decade to introduce ICT into schools in Africa, many have failed to live up to their aspirations because they have been top-down and supply led with insufficient attention being paid to the involvement and training of teachers. Could this also be true for Uganda in particular? He however notes that among the most successful ICT projects in Africa was Connect-ED in Uganda (p.80). Unfortunately he does not provide evidence in support of the supposed success. In contrast, Wamakote (2010) contends that information on the actual impact of ICT initiatives in the country is scanty. A research commissioned by SchoolNet Africa (2004) highlighted the fact that although there was evidence of a number of teacher training initiatives in Africa at both pre-service and in-service levels, these were mainly small scale, regional and fragmented with little sharing of experience among nations. So if this is true for Uganda, do such projects reach all teachers?

According to Schroeder (2001), the reality of public sector program implementation today is that any implementation that is attempted in the name of “enhancing the public good” will necessarily involve stakeholders from the community, the private sector, and other quasi-public entities (p.1). Thus, while the afore mentioned initiatives are perhaps not direct reactions to ensure the implementation of Uganda’s policy for ICT in education (indeed some of these started long before the inauguration of the policy e.g. Connect-ED) and while they may not purely be government initiatives, it is important to appreciate that they can be instrumental in achieving the aims of the policy in regard to teacher education. It is also encouraging to note that there is seemingly a lot being done to equip teachers with knowledge and skills for the pedagogical integration of ICT. However, as already noted, there is hardly any well documented evidence to reveal whether the implementation of such projects has had any impact on the teachers’ ICT knowledge and skills.

2.2 ICT Policy Debate in Teacher Education

The process of teachers learning to use ICT effectively to support learning and teaching is linked to the adaptation of education to the context of the twenty-first century (Davis, 2008, p.507). According to Holland (cited in Law, 2008), teacher learning should prepare teachers not only for any kind of ICT integration, but should equip teachers for “best practices” in ICT integration that contribute to improving existing teaching practice to achieve the goals of school reform (p.427). This stand point is supported by Harrison (2010) who argues that trainee teachers need to acquire very specific ICT competencies to enhance the quality of the teaching and learning that takes place in schools (p.84). From a pedagogical view point, a constructivist approach to instruction in which learner-centered approaches are preferred is increasingly being agitated in modern classroom practice. In addition, there is growing emphasis on life-long learning. The teacher him/herself should be able to learn, unlearn and relearn. Therefore I argue that ICT in teacher education should aim to equip teachers with knowledge and skills that will enable them improve their instructional practices in a constructivist sense as well as to be able to use it as a tool for life-long learning.

In introducing new ICTs to support teacher training, it is important that both pre-service and in-service environments are adequately supported (Harrison, 2010, p.81). However, Moon (cited in Harrison, 2010) notes that new communication technologies clearly also have the potential to supply continuing professional development of teachers but currently it is pre-service teacher education that dominates policies and resources and so in-service professional development is suffering from a lack of focus and investment (p.88). Does Uganda’s policy for ICT in education adequately support both the pre-service and in-service platforms?

The Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) gives three key principles relevant to initial teacher education (Harrison, 2010). These are:

(i) Technology should be infused into the entire teacher education programme, not restricted to a single course.
(ii) Technology should be introduced in context, not taught as separate topics but rather as and when the need arises in all courses of the teacher education programme.
(iii) Students should experience innovative technology-supported learning environments in their teacher education programme. In addition, students should see their lecturers engaging in technology to present their subjects and have the opportunity to use such applications (p.79).

The Pan African Research Agenda on the pedagogical integration of ICT (hereafter to be abbreviated as PARA) reported the following about the description of ICT in pre-service teacher training at the school of education of Kyambogo University (KYU) in Uganda:

ICT has been integrated in pre-service training curriculum. It is one of the course units which are taught and it is compulsory for all the students. Due to the fact that there are many students, shifts are created and after introducing the basics of ICTs to the students, they are advised to continue studying it on a private basis. There are many other ICT training courses around the university but it is ICT, it is not yet fully a course that has been developed to enable teachers to study it as their teaching subject. At the moment teachers who teach ICT in secondary schools are from ICT department that is those who have studied computer science, ICT, but in education it has not yet been developed to that level. As a result, plans are under way to introduce ICT as a teaching subject to students of education as their area of specialty (PARA, 2009).

Clearly, the approach to ICT in teacher education at KYU was far different from the principles suggested by SITE and by UNESCO (Harrison, 2010, p.79). While the researcher does not seek to take the principles of SITE and UNESCO as rules of thumb, he remains skeptical about the likely impact of KYU’s approach to ICT in teacher education. In addition even the future plan i.e., “As a result, plans are under way to introduce ICT as a teaching subject to students of education as their area of specialty” (PARA, 2009) indicates a lack of alignment with research. This is because many influential reports have indicated that integrating ICT in teaching is more transformational than teaching it as a subject (UNESCO, 2008). Indeed this is what the SITE principles already mentioned above seem to suggest. Moreover, the practices at Kyambogo University, one of the country’s prestigious institutions of higher learning cast doubts on what could be happening in other teacher training institutions in regard to the integration of ICT in teacher education.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) of teacher s is central to any successful technology and education programme (Harrison, 2010, p.83). The kind of professional development required depends on the nature of the adoption targeted for ICT in the curriculum (Law, 2008, p.425). Law and Plomp categorized the role of ICT in the curriculum (Law, 2008) into learning about ICT (as a subject), learning with ICT (as a medium to support or enhance existing instructional practice), and learning through ICT (which involves a full integration of ICT to bring about learning experiences that would otherwise not be possible) (p.425). Teachers who receive appropriate professional development, however, learn how to more effectively manage their classroom and use the technology to create a more stimulating learning environment while realizing that their pedagogic knowledge rather than technical knowledge is what makes them teachers (Harrison, 2010, p.83). While professional development is a very important part of teacher education, Harrison observed that how to deliver it effectively has become the central challenge (p.89). According to UNESCO (2008), teacher professional development has an impact only if it is focused on specific changes in teacher classroom behaviour and particularly if it is on-going and aligned with other changes in the educational system (p.9).

A study on the pedagogical integration of ICT in Ugandan Education institutions done by Ndidde, Lubega, Babikwa and Baguma (2009) revealed that majority of educators at secondary school level had participated in less than 50 hours of professional development which included ICT integration. However, this study did not provide any information on TPD involving ICT integration for primary school teachers. Ndidde et al (2009) further contended that the current teacher training had not mainstreamed ICT in the curriculum and that CPD programs for educators did not include ICT integration. Moreover, all the institutions sampled by Ndidde et al were from the central region and specifically the capital, Kampala or towns/villages just around Kampala. Schools in and around Kampala are more advantaged in regard to accessing and using ICT. In addition, there are hardly any documented case studies of teachers’ ICT knowledge and skills in regions outside Central Uganda. These facts make a further case for the necessity of this study.

SchoolNet Africa commissioned a study entitled “Towards a strategy on developing African teacher capabilities in the use of information and communication technology” This study described among other things initiatives that were being implemented in teacher education integrating ICT in African countries and the approaches that were being used (SchoolNet Africa, 2004). Among them was Connect-ED in Uganda (p.47). As part of its effort, Connect-ED was preparing a multimedia online teacher training curriculum. This curriculum, based on the Ugandan core curriculum, uses a student-centered learning approach. Connect-ED’s Professional Development Learning Environment (PDLE) was targeted at trainee primary school educators in Uganda at eight primary teacher colleges (PTCs) and it is presented in a series of online workshops or as a self-paced tutorial and resource guide (p.47). The study asserts that this is a good basic, online, self-paced ICT course for Ugandan pre-service primary educators, and it is freely available to whoever wishes to access it. However its impact on the teacher trainees needs to be assessed.

2.3 Knowledge Needed by Teachers for Successful Integration of ICTs in Education

Research supplies comprehensive mapping of the knowledge and skills comprising new disciplines and inter-disciplines, requiring the resolution of specific curricular issues, e.g., definition of multi-layer content, from the conceptual to the practical, thematic re-organization or novel ways to integrate between ICT content and other disciplines. (Nachmias, Mioduser & Forkosh-Baruch, 2008, p.164). Which competencies each teacher needs to acquire very much depend on the specific circumstances of their particular school (Harrison, 2010, p.71). While it is important to take cognizance of the different circumstances of teachers while deciding which ICT competencies to equip them with as argued by Harrison, some underlying principles exist to guide such decisions. For example, the UNESCO ICT competency standards for teachers describe three approaches: technological literacy, knowledge deepening and knowledge creation (UNESCO, 2008, p.8). These approaches to educational change, aim to address different policy goals and visions. Of the three approaches, the technology literacy approach involves the most basic policy changes. Professional development programs that are coordinated with these policies have the goal of developing teachers’ technological literacy so as to integrate the use of basic ICT tools into the standard school curriculum, pedagogy, and classroom structures. Through such programs, UNESCO argues, teachers would know how, where, and when (as well as when not) to use technology for classroom activities and presentations, for management tasks, and to acquire additional subject matter and pedagogical knowledge in support of their own professional development (p.10).

Mishra and Koehler argue that the lack of theoretical grounding for educational technology is the prime reason for the lack of significant changes in the way teaching and learning is carried out in schools, even when digital technology is used (Law, 2008, p.425). They propose technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) as a framework for conceptualizing the complex systems of knowledge underpinning expertise in teaching with digital technology (p.425). The TPCK framework introduces three new kinds of knowledge for teacher competence in integrating ICT in instructional practices: technological content knowledge (TCK), technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK), and TPCK. The framework emphasizes the situatedness and interactive nature of the development of TCK, TPK, and TPCK (p.426).

Information on the ICT competencies of Ugandan teachers is not well documented. An ICT observatory by the PARA, reporting on the competencies required for ICT use by educators in Uganda[6] however reveals that teachers are not comfortable with even the very basic applications of computers. Teachers still yearn to learn packages like Microsoft (MS) Word, Excel, Powerpoint and internet surfing. From this observatory, it can be anticipated that the Ugandan teachers don’t have any idea of how even the basic ICT skills they seek to learn can be used to enhance the teaching-learning process. It is as if they seek to learn basic computer skills for the sake of it. Moreover, such opportunities seem to be out of their reach. While the observatory is institutional based, it is worthy noting, again, that the institutions involved in this particular survey are elite institutions (Lating, 2006), located in and just around the capital Kampala where traditionally, teachers have better chances of accessing opportunities for professional development .

[...]


[1] The ESSP is a medium-term Uganda MoES framework for policy analysis and budgeting in the education sector.

[2] The policy for ICT in education was written in 2005 and although no clear time scale was provided for when teachers would begin receiving ICT training to enhance their pedagogical practice, it seems like this was supposed to begin in 2006 (See Appendix G). Therefore 2006 was taken as a reference point in this research and teachers categorised as having finished their teacher training courses before or after 2006.

[3] Questionnaire being of paper and pencil type means it was printed on paper and respondents had to use pens/pencil to fill the questionnaire as opposed to electronic questionnaires were respondents just type their responses.

[4] The policy for ICT in education proposes that teachers should be trained in ICT during pre-service training courses and claims that so far many initiatives are already underway to equip teachers with ICT skills.

[5] Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls over the internet.

[6] http://www.observatoiretic.org/search/list?country_id=50&indicator_id=95

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Details

Title
Equipping Teachers with ICT Skills for Pedagogical Integration in Uganda: An Evaluation of Policy Implementation in Jinja Municipality
College
East China Normal University  (International Center of Teacher Education)
Course
International Master of Education in Education Leadership and Policy
Grade
ABBA
Author
Year
2011
Pages
116
Catalog Number
V200562
ISBN (eBook)
9783656322061
ISBN (Book)
9783656324652
File size
1478 KB
Language
English
Notes
Tags
equipping, teachers, skills, pedagogical, integration, uganda, evaluation, policy, implementation, jinja, municipality
Quote paper
Ismail Luwangula (Author), 2011, Equipping Teachers with ICT Skills for Pedagogical Integration in Uganda: An Evaluation of Policy Implementation in Jinja Municipality, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/200562

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