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ACCESS AND USE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY FOR
TEACHING AND LEARNING AMONGST SCHOOLS IN UNDER RESOURCED
COMMUNITIES IN THE WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA
Nhlanhla B.W. Mlitwa
Department of IT, Faculty of Informatics and Design (FID),
Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
80 Roeland Street, Cape Town
[email protected]
Kesewaa Koranteng
Department of IT, Faculty of Informatics and Design (FID),
Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
80 Roeland Street, Cape Town
[email protected]
ABSTRACT
This paper reports on an investigation into the status of ICT deployment into schools, and its
integration into school curricula. The objective is to understand successes and failures of the
implementation of the e-Education policy to this effect, so as to inform solutions. A qualitative
study was conducted, using a case study method. A purposive sampling method was used to
select participants; educators and school coordinators of ICT programs in Western Cape
schools. Literature was also explored for background information, and semi-structured interviews
were conducted with participants in 4 sampled schools. Activity theory was used to develop an
activity system analytical framework for the study. The framework presents the sampled schools
ICT deployment and integration programme as an activity system consisting of actors,
mediators, tools and activities that work together to inform outcomes. Outcomes can either be
positive or negative, depending on the interplay between negative and positive mediators,
availability and relevance of tools as well as relevance of activities. The framework is used in the
context of the e-Education policy whose main goal is to ensure the full ICT deployment and
integration into curricula in all schools. Findings indicate that the status of ICT deployment and
its integration into school curricula is far from favourable in underdeveloped schools in the
Western Cape. With regards to physical deployment of ICT, computer density was found to be
disappointing. An ideal situation would be that of one computer per learner, or according to a
realistic practice in developed countries, the ratio should at least be 5 learners per computer.
The learner to computer ratio in sampled schools was far from ideal, with the average ratio of 76
learners per computer. In terms of the status of ICT integration into school curricula, very few
subjects had a computer facilitated aspect. ICT skills amongst teachers were also found to be
minimal, with most of those who claimed some level of literacy, only having received basic
computer training that did not empower them to use computer-based educational programs.
Drawing on the activity system framework, it emerges that the goals, mediating factors, and
activities in the e-Education policy implementation are disjointed. As a result, intended outcomes
remain illusive. Implementers are advised to revise the deployment of ICT into schools and
possibly have personnel to audit the process, including the funding model. This would include
clarifying the motives and guidelines for the implementation processes. Lastly authorities should
invest in teacher training programs and ensure that competent facilitators are appointed to train
educators. Also the teacher-training programs provided should be prioritised.
Key words: ICT, Integration, Deployment, ICT literacy, Disadvantaged Schools, Underresourced communities
2
INTRODUCTION
Information and communication technology (ICT) and its continuous innovations have improved
efficiencies in various domains of modern living. Efficiencies through e-Government (Dwivedi &
Bharti, 2005; Gupta, 2011), e-Commerce (Goel, 2007), e-Health and e-Learning solutions are
such examples. Access to quality education in particular, is enhanced through web-enabled
educational software, systems and networked applications (Jhurree, 2005; Bunt-Kokhuis, 2012).
Educational software aids in simplifying difficult concepts, making learning fun and easy
(Simkins et al., 2003). Most significantly, Mobile (M) and Electronic (e) Learning in particular,
allow learning to be done anywhere and at anytime (Goi & Ng, 2009).
With access to ICT therefore, all learners in South African (SA) schools can benefit from these
efficiencies. However, access to educational technology in SA is still limited to the advantaged
few in the more urban areas whilst many learners in disadvantaged areas remain on the
periphery (Mlitwa & Nonyane, 2008; Nonyane, 2011). For this reason, the government undertook
through the e-Education policy in 2004, to equip schools with ICT. The goal was to empower
schools with ICT facilities to improve the quality of education so as to improve learning outcomes
(Eom, et al., 2006) in all schools. The policy provides for the deployment of educational
hardware and software to every school in SA, and for a full integration of ICT into curricula,
including the e-skilling of teachers (by integrating ICT skills programs into the teacher-training
curriculum).
Research Problem
Schools in rural and in some urban areas remain under-resourced, lacking basic infrastructure
including classrooms, furniture and ICT resources. Even in urban areas with notable initiatives
such as the ‘Khanya Project’ and ‘Gauteng Online’, universal success remains illusive, as many
schools are yet to be catered for (The Khanya, 2010; Gauteng Online, 2010).
The main research problem therefore, is that whilst policy provisions are inspiring, it is not clear
why a number of schools remain under-resourced, with the majority of teachers still computer
illiterate. Unless the situation is clearly articulated and understood, learners in affected schools
may continue to be marginalized, with bleak chances of being competitive in their future careers
and ultimately, of improving the quality of their lives.
3
Research Objective
The study investigates the status of ICT deployment and its integration into school curricula in
disadvantaged areas of the Western Cape. The aim is to understand the problem, identify
causes, and ultimately inform solutions.
Methodology
The work of the paper is predominantly qualitative, in that data is descriptive and explanatory
rather than statistical or quantitative. Given the appropriateness of a case studies for in depth
insight into social phenomena (Yin, 1994), a case study method was used. In this respect, the
intepretivist paradigm was followed, using both secondary (literature) and primary (semistructured interviews) data sources.
Given the qualitative nature of data (and findings), a method of analysis in which “words and
phrases within a wide range of texts, including books, book chapters, essays, interviews and
speeches” could be examined (Palmquist, 1993), was more ideal. For this purpose, content
analysis in conjunction with a theoretical framework – the e-Schools Activity Theory based
framework (Figure 1), was used to analyse and interpret data.
Since the aim of the study was to identify specific cases with conditions typical to the problem
under investigation, a purposive sampling method was deemed appropriate. Also known as
judgemental sampling, purposive sampling is used to select the units that are representative of
the population, according to the purpose of the study and researcher discretion (Singleton &
Straits, 2005). In this respect, a purposive method of sampling was used to select participant
samples in 4 schools (i.e. Kulani Secondary, Sithembele Matiso Secondary, Macassar
Secondary and Marvin Park Primary in the Western Cape (WC). The WC province was selected
for 2 key reasons. Firstly, in acknowledgement of progressive efforts in the form of the Khanya
project where it would be expected that all schools would be catered for, and on the basis of
close proximity of schools to researchers. Schools were selected on the basis of their location in
disadvantaged areas with minimal resources. Language and easy access to the school also
played a significant role in the sampling decision process.
As outlined in Table 1 overleaf, coordinators of ICT programs in the Western Cape (WC)
department of education, coordinators of ICT programs in schools (e-schools coordinators), and
educators were identified as the population from which units of observation and ultimately,
research samples, were selected.
4
Table 1: Selection of Participation Samples
Data
Collection tool
Units of Analysis
Units observation
 Literature
 Reading
 Analysis
 Books, Journals, Internet
 Methodology
 Educational theories & philosophies
 Computers in Education etc.
Status of ICT
Deployment in
SA schools
 Government
Dept of
Education
 Schools
 Semi structured
interviews
 Questionnaires
 Reading;
 Analysis
 Policy documents: Western
Cape Provincial Dept of
Education
 Primary & Secondary
Schools in disadvantaged
areas of the Western Cape
 e-schools initiative policy document
Status of ICT
integration into
the curriculum
 Government
Dept of
Education
 Schools
 Semi structured
interviews
 Questionnaires
 Policy documents: Western
Cape Provincial Dept of
Education
 Primary & Secondary
Schools in disadvantaged
areas of the Western Cape
 e-schools initiative policy document
 University Departments of
education
 Primary & Secondary
Schools in disadvantaged
areas of the Western Cape
 Teachers
 Analyse the curriculum (online)
 Policy documents: Western
Cape Provincial Dept of
Education
 Primary & Secondary
Schools in disadvantaged
areas of the Western Cape
 e-schools initiative policy document
Motivations for
ICT integration &
use in schools
Status of ICT
skills among
educators
Explanations to
the status of ICT
deployment
 Teacher
Training
Institutions
 Schools
 Literature
 curriculum
 Government
Dept of
Education
 Schools
 Semi structured
interviews
 Questionnaires
 Semi structured
interviews
 Questionnaires
Totals
Sign represents school areas: * Langa Township; ** Gugulethu; # Macassar
No. of
Participants
 2 teacher per school
4
 (1 Coordinator of ICT per school; 1 not teaching
ICT related subjects)
 2 teacher per school
(1 Coordinator of ICT per school; 1 not teaching
ICT related subjects)
 2 teacher per school
(1 Coordinator of ICT per school; 1 not teaching
ICT related subjects)
 1 Coordinator of ICT programs per school
8 participants: 8 teachers (1 Coordinator of ICT programs; 1 not
teaching ICT related subjects)
4
4
4
4
Schools Sampled
Data
Source
Langa: Kulani Secondary School*
Gugulethu: Sithembele Matiso Secondary**
Macassar: Macassar Secondary#; Marvin Park Primary#
Question
ICT as a Tool and a Catalyst for Development
ICT is said to improve educational efficiencies, and is a significant means to address
educational shortcomings in the developing world (Mlitwa, 2011; Gutterman, et al., 2009).
Against this background, world governance structures committed to Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs) to exploit ICT in redressing social inequality among world populations, by
halving the poverty, disease and illiteracy rates by 2015 (MDG report, 2008). Achieving
universal access to primary education is presented as the second highest priority (after
poverty reduction) in the MDGs, with ICT as the major enabler (Nonyane, 2011). Similar
undertakings have also been instituted by multinational institutions and in continental
structures. At multi-national level, the Global e-Schools Communities Initiative (GeSCI)1
emphasizes the deployment of ICT in schools, to improve teaching and learning in
developing countries (GeSCI, 2009).
Continental structures in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, have also turned ICT for solutions
in advancing the quality of, and access to education (IDB, 2000). The Policy Forum2 on the
Integration of ICT into Education by ten Asian countries in 2007 (World Links, 2007) is an
example. In the same light, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) also
established the UNESCO SchoolNet project in 2003. The goal was to improve teaching and
learning outcomes through teacher training as well as the integration of computers into
school programs (ASEAN, 2010). In Africa, the New Partnership for African Development
(NEPAD) also established the e-Schools initiative with the objective to provide computers to
every school in the African continent (The Nepad e-Africa Commission, 2010). Through this
initiative, NEPAD also undertook to advance ICT skills to primary and secondary school
students as well as educators. Through this initiative, NEPAD also undertook to coordinate
ICT curriculum and content development in all schools in Africa, so as to enhance the quality
of schooling across the continent (ibid).
Within individual countries, South Africa also established the e-Education policy in 2003
(DoE, 2003). In this policy, ICT is viewed as a resource for teaching and learning, and an
enabler of the development of the school as a whole. On this basis, the e-Education policy is
aims to equip schools with ICT to improve management and administration; to facilitate
curriculum incorporation; improve communication and engagement as well as collaboration
1
The Global e-Schools and Community Initiative (GeSCI) is founded on the consensus within the UN,
that education in developing countries need critical development. Funded by Ireland, Sweden,
Switzerland and Finland, GeSCI has undertaken to invest in, and deploy ICT to improve teaching and
learning in developing countries (GeSC, 2009).
2
This forum develops policies to ensure a successful integration of ICT in the classroom. The ISchools Project (to develop open content to enable the equal access to education for learners), and
the Smart Schools Program (that promotes access and use of ICT for teachers) are some of the
collaborative initiatives of the forum (World Links, 2007).
2
between teachers and between learners (DoE, 2007). The goal is to ensure that every
learner is able to use ICT confidently and creatively to develop skills and knowledge needed
to achieve personal goals. In this quest, further provisions are to integrate ICT into all South
African schools by the year 2013 (DoE, 2003). The idea is to push for universal access to
ICT, through the deployment of networked computers, educational software and online
learning resources to all schools in South Africa. Hopefully, to enable the development and
distribution of electronic learning content so that every learner, teacher, manager and
administrator has the knowledge, skills and support needed to integrate ICT into educational
processes. Guidelines to integrate ICT into the teacher pre-service and in-service training
programmes are also outlined in the policy. To facilitate implementation, the policy provides
for the assigning of a “dedicated teacher to manage ICT facilities and to champion the use of
ICT”, and the provision of technical training for teachers in every school (DoE, 2003).
ICT facilities and ICT skills are important, but need to be productively integrated into the
curriculum if they are to make a positive impact in education (Mlitwa, 2010). A Curriculum
entails the philosophy, the content, the approach and the assessment of learning programme
(Harvey, 2004). Integrating ICT into the curriculum therefore, implies the alignment of
educational technologies with pedagogy.
Given that the e-Education policy was put forward in 2003, it is logical to expect that
reasonable progress in the integration and deployment of ICT into the school curriculum,
should have taken place by the year 2012.
This study investigates the dynamics of the e-Education policy implementation, with
emphasis on its goal to deploy and integrate ICT into curricula, in all South African schools.
Selected schools in underdeveloped areas of the Western Cape were chosen as case
samples. Activity theory (AT) was used to provide an analytical framework for the study.
A Theoretical Framework: Activity Theory (AT)
AT is used as a framework for examining and transforming networks of interacting activity
systems (Hardman, 2005). The activity systems transform one condition to another, hence
are a considered to be the instruments of reorganisation (Engeström, 1987). The basic
components of an activity system are comprised of the subject, object, mediating artefacts
(i.e. tools), rules, community and division of labour (ibid). The subject is an individual or
entity (actor or actors) from whose perspective an object is to be viewed (Daniels, 2004).
In the case of this study, actors are the Government department of education (DoE),
Teacher training institutions and Schools at the institutional level, as well as Provincial eSchools co-ordinators, schools ICT coordinators and educators at the individual (human)
level. An object is the reason for an action or the goal (Engeström, 1987). As detailed in
Figure 1, the goals of the DoE, the provincial and school level implementers vary in terms
of roles, though overlapping at the main goal of achieving full integration of ICT into
curricula, and in improving the quality of learning outcomes.
Mediation refers to the use of tools to mediate human activity (Vygotsky, 1978). The tool is
the artefact to be created and transformed during the development of the activity itself
(Uden & Damiani, 2007). Rules are the norms and regulations that are either implicit or
explicit, but influential in the activities that take place (Engeström, 1999). The community
represents groups, rules and arrangements such as the division of labour (Owen, 2008).
The problem with goal implementations in a multi-level and complex activity system such
as the e-Schools process is that it needs clear rules and guidelines across different actors
if it is succeed. Whilst implicit guidelines maybe ambiguous, subject to misinterpretation
and manipulation, the worst situation would a complete lack of rules or guidelines and
enforcement procedures.
Rather than a predictive theory, AT is a descriptive framework, a concept and a theoretical
approach or a viewpoint (Mursu et al., 2007). In most instances AT is used to analyse
human activity from a needs-based and goal oriented viewpoint (i.e. people are driven by
needs and therefore have specific goals to achieve) (Mlitwa, 2011). Consequently it is
used to understand human interaction through mediated tools and artefacts (Hashim &
Jones, 2007). An activity is seen as a factor that ties the actions to the context, hence an
activity is a basic unit of analysis in Activity Theory (Engeström, 1987). Since human
actions derive their meaning from the context, “actions without context are meaningless”
(Mursu, et al., 2007: 6), hence actions must be viewed within a context (Leont’ev, 1978).
As outlined in Figure 1, different functions (activities of different actors) in the policy
implementation process investigated in this study are such units of analysis.
The Use of Activity Theory in this Research
As indicated in Figure 1, the AT work-activity concepts are used to present the e-Schools
programme as an activity system. An actor is an individual, a group of people (Engeström,
1987) or even an entity/institution (Mursu, et al, 2007). The motives/goals refer to the DoE
policy undertaking to deploy & integrate ICT into curricula in all school. This goal is
associated with relevant activities such as budget provision, communication with relevant
stakeholders, monitoring and enforcing the implementation. At a teacher training
institution, the goal is simply to see teacher training programme integrated with ICT, and to
produce ICT literate (and competent) teachers. At a school level, co-ordinators want to see
full deployment, maintenance and use of ICT for educational purposes in their respective
centres of operation. Under this framework, the goal of teachers is to competently use ICT
to improve learning outcomes. Whilst these goals seem logical at the framework level, it
remain to be seen when they equally logical in the practical implementation process. The
issue of mediating factors thus, becomes important in this respect.
Mediators are factors that can enable or inhibit the successful achievement of a goal
(Vygotsky, 1978). For example, it is unhelpful to have clear goals, actors and rules, but
lack financial resources, lack coordination of activities and integration process, basic
infrastructure such as classroom and electricity or not to have ICT literate teachers. The
transformation process combines the enabling factors, the tools and the activities, in order
to achieve a positive outcome (Uden & Damiani, 2007).
The relevance of AT in this study is that it provides a holistic operational view of phenomena
at hand. From an AT perspective the e-School Activity Theory Analytical framework (Figure
1) aids in understanding the factors affecting the successful realization of the government’s
e-Education policy goal (i.e. universal access of ICT for teaching and learning).
D.o.E:
Appoint coordinators &
oversee implementation
e-Schl coordinator:
Liaise with schools in
ensuring deployment of
ICT, & its integration
with Curriculum
Teacher Training Inst:
In addition to the
conventional curriculum,
Integrate relevant ICT
skills into the teacher
training programme
The School:
Create supportive social
& technical environment.
Establish a link between
pedagogy, curriculum, &
ICT.
Protect & maintain
facilities
The Educator:
Competently use
teaching & learning
facilities, to deliver
quality instruction & to
support quality learning
Transformation
Actors (D.o.E., training colleges, schools, educators) carry
out activities, using tools + enabling mediators to
transform the goals into outcomes (efficient educational
instruction to pupils)
Activities/ Actions
Positive Outcome:
 All schools supplied
with computers.
 Skilled & competent
educators.
 ICT integrated with
the curriculum in all
schools
Negative Outcome:
 Some schools have
educational
resources, & the
advantages that
come with it. Others
with their pupils on
the periphery.
Mediators
Motives/ Goal
Enabling Factors
 Political will (policy)
 Financial resources
 National coordination of
the program nationally
 Basic infrastructure –
secure computer labs,
network connections, &
electricity in schools
 Availability of eeducational resources,
& skilled educators
 Supporting technical &
social environment
 Cooperation by school
communities


 Ensure equitable
access to quality
education for all
 Ensure integration
of ICT with the
curriculum in all
schools
 Improve ICT literacy
for educators
Tools
 Policy (e-Education
policy; e-Skills Strategy)
 Relevant pedagogy &
curricula
 Educational materials &
facilities such as
relevant ICT
 Educational software
 Teacher skills, etc
Inhibiting Factors
 Lack of basic
infrastructure: i.e.
classrooms, electricity &
other educational tools.
 Objectives unclear or
unknown
 Poor coordination &
Implementation failures
 Unsafe physical
environment
 Lack of skills (among
teachers)
Figure 1: e-Schools Activity Theory Analytical framework
6
 Training colleges –
produce educators
who are competent
in all aspects of
curriculum delivery,
including the
delivery of
education
programs.
 Schools – enhance
quality of education
through, among
other things, the
use of ICT
Local e-schools
coordinators – ensure
deployment of
appropriate ICT
facilities into all schools
Become effective
teachers who are
competent in using
educational tools such
as ICT to enhance the
quality of learning in
schools.
Actors
D. o. E.
Teacher colleges
The Schools
e-Schools
coordinators
Educators
Information flows and linkages between the components of the activity system are important
in the success of the work-activity.
Without duplicating the content of Figure 1 and the preceding discussion, the framework was
useful in clarifying the context of the investigation, to frame the concepts, work-flows
between actors, and to clarify mediators (including tools) as well as activities in this project.
In conjunction with the content analysis tool, the framework also informed the identification of
themes towards the analysis and most significantly, the interpretation of data. To this end,
findings expose the current status of ICT integration into schools and schools’ curricula. It
clarifies information flows between actors and activities, and most significantly, explanations
and causes to the status quo.
Findings
Findings are presented in Tables 2 & 3 overleaf, and discussed in sections that follow.
ICT Deployment
ICT Integration
# of
Learners
# of
Computers
(PCs)
ICT
Coordinators
Working
PCs
PCs with
Internet
+- 800
(KH_B30)
+- 38
(KH_B29)
1 (KH_M5)
+- 33
(KH_B35)
None
(KH_B4)
+- 700
(MC_F27)
+- 97
(MC_F19)
2 (MC_F1)
+- 67
(MC_F29)
+- 67
(MC_F32)
Marvin Park Primary
Sithembele
Matiso Sec
Macassar Secondary
Kulani
Secondary
Name of
schools
Table 2: Status of ICT Deployment, its Integration & Teacher Skills
+- 1370
(SM_D22)
+- 1185
(MV_F36)
+- 25
(SM_D21)
+- 36
(MV_F27)
3 (SM_D51)
3 (MV_F65)
+- 18
(SM_D25)
+- 36
(MV_F37)
None
(SM_D27)
2 for
admin use
only
(MV_F45)
Subjects with
Computer
Programs
One:
Maths (KH_B49)
+- Four:
Maths, computer
application
technology, life
orientation,
sometimes
languages &
geography
(MC_F20,
MC_F22)
Two:
Science & maths
(SM_D35)
Three:
Science, Maths &
English (MV_F62)
ICT Teacher Skills
Computer
Programs
# of
Teachers
Teacher ICT
Training
offered?
Training
provider
Adequacy of
training
Master Maths,
for all school
grades
(KH_B5)
+- 29
(KH_B45)
Yes (KH_B9)
DoE
(KH_B10)
Only basic computer
literacy and how to
use the learning
programs (i.e.
maths) (KH_M19).
+-7 maths
teachers
( KH_B46;
KH_M54)
Master Maths,
Computer
application
technology,
GIS & PACE
(MC_F21,
MC_F22)
+- 21
(MC_F27)
Yes
(MC_F11)
Khanya
Project
(MC_F11)
General computer
usage, Word
processing,
administrative skills
& Internet usage
with of subject
specific computer
programs for only
geography teachers
Maths, computer
application
subjects, life
orientation,
languages &
geography
teachers
(MC_F22,
MC_F24;
MC_F44)
(MC_F11;
MC_F24)
Master Maths
& Multi choice
(SM_D9)
+- 38
(SM_D46)
(SM_D11)
Cami Maths,
Litnum
(MV_F4)
+- 31
(MV_F52)
Yes
(MV_K12)
Yes
Khanya
Project
(SM_D11)
WCED/
DoE
(MV_K12;
MV_F15)
Teachers
teaching with
computers
Basic Computer
literacy, ability to
type question paper.
(SM_D14)
Maths and
science teachers
Software usage, eteacher, learning
areas e.g. maths
and languages. It is
adequate (ICT
Coordinator:
MV_F18)
Basic computer
literacy. (educator:
Maths, English
and Science
teachers
(MV_F62)
MV_K12)
(SM_D49)
Table 3: Summary of Findings, Causes and Explanations
Name of
schools
Kulani
Secondary
Status of:
ICT Deployment (1)
ICT integration (2)
ICT Teacher Skills (3)
Causes
Explanation
 High learner per
computer ratio
 Few computer
facilitated subjects
 Basic ICT literacy training
 Lack of funds (1)
 Computers were donated by Khanya Project (1)
 Few teachers teaching with
computers
 Unknown (1)
 The school relied on projects such as Khanya to provide
computers (1,2)
 No Internet connectivity
 Unknown (2)
 Only basic training was provided (3)
 Unknown (1)
 Unknown (2)
 Educational authorities believed the learning programs were
easy and straight forward to use and therefore did not
require further training to master them (3)
Macassar
Secondary
 High learner per
computer ratio
 Few computer
facilitated subjects
 Limited Internet access
for learners
Sithembele
Matiso
Secondary
 Very high learner per
computer ratio
 Few computer
facilitated subjects
 No Internet connectivity
 Basic ICT literacy training
 Lack of funds (1)
 Few teachers teaching with
computers
 Lack of skilled teachers (2)
 Only basic training is provided (3)
 The school suffers from a lack of staff especially once who
are specialized in teaching using ICT (2)
 One of the tasks of the educational authorities was to train
teachers on the basic use of computers therefore teachers
were not trained to teach using subject-specific software (3)
 Basic ICT literacy training
 Lack of funds (1)
 Few teachers teaching with
computers
 Server not working (1)
 The school is waiting for the technicians from the Khanya
Project to fix the Internet (1)
 Not enough computers (2)
 Only maths and science subjects
have a computer facilitated aspect
(2,3)
Marvin
Park
Primary
 Very high learner per
computer ratio
 Limited Internet access
for teacher and learners
 Few computer
facilitated subjects
 Basic ICT literacy training
(educators)
 There was not enough financial resources to purchase
computers (1, 2)
 According to the Khanya Project first preference goes to
maths and science subjects (2, 3)
 Educators were not trained to teach but they were trained for
their own benefits (3)
 Lack of funds (1, 2)
 Computers were donated by the Khanya Project (1)
 The school is disadvantaged therefore it lacks funds (1)
 The school couldn’t afford additional computers or learning
programs (2)
 Educators were not adequately
trained (3)
 Few teachers teaching with
computers
 The school relied on the Khanya Project to donate
computers (1, 2)
 Educators were trained for their
own benefits (3)
 Focus was on math science and
English subject (2)
 Specialized ICT training
(ICT coordinator)
 The school had some financial means to acquire and
maintain ICT resources however it was limited (1,2)
 Main focus of the DoE was to integrate computers into
subjects that lack skilled teachers such as Maths, English
and Science (2, 3)
 Facilitators from the department were not well equipped and
therefore unsure of how to conduct the training courses (3)
9
Discussion of Findings
The study sought to investigate the discrepancies in the deployment of ICT into schools and
its integration into school curricula. The research question raised was: “How can the
discrepancies of the status of ICT deployment and its integration into the curriculum among
disadvantaged schools in the Western Cape, South Africa be addressed?” The main
research question was divided into sub-questions: How is ICT being deployed into
disadvantaged schools? How is ICT being integrated into school curricula?, Why do teachers
not integrate ICT into the curriculum?
8 participants from 4 schools within disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape were
interviewed. The schools were: Macassar Secondary, Marvin Park Primary, Sithembele
Matiso Secondary and Kulani Secondary.
Deployment of Computers into Schools
The goal of the main actor (the national DoE) according to Figure 1, is to ensure that all
schools are equipped with physical infrastructure in the form of computers, internet and
computer-based educational programmes. However, findings in (Table 2) reveal a
disappointing learner-to-computer ratio. That is, out of the 4 schools, Macassar Secondary
has the lowest ratio of 10 learners per computer (MC_F29), followed by Kulani Secondary
with a ratio of 24 learners per computer (KH_B35). Although Macassar had the lowest
learner computer ratio in comparison to the other 2 schools in the sample, the ratio is still not
practically ideal. Whilst a ratio of 1 learner per computer is preferable, such an expectation
would understandably be utopian in a context of a developing country. On this basis, a
compromised standard of 5 learners to 1 computer has been adopted in developed countries
(USA DoE, 2000). Despite the policy support however, the situation is disappointingly submarginal in sampled schools. Whilst the learner per computer ratio is 10 learners per
computer at Macassar (MC_F29), and 24 learners per computer at Kulani secondary schools
(KH_B35), the situation is worse at Marvin Park Primary and Sithembele Matiso Secondary.
Marvin Park has a ratio of 33 learners to 1 computer (MV_F37), and 76 learners per
computer at Sithembele Matiso (SM_D25). The idea of these 33 learners sharing one
computer can lead to non-completion of individual learning tasks, and ultimately, stagnation
in academic progress. On the other hand, although the ratio of 33 and 76 may be numerically
lower than the ratio of 312 learners per computer in many underdeveloped countries, a better
situation would have been expected in 2011, given that the policy had been in place since
2003. Given the pressure of assignment deadlines for learners, the practicality of 33 learners
sharing 1 computer is questionable. At 76 learners per computer, it is even harder to imagine
the integration and application of ICT into curricula that require learners to complete tasks
individually. Although both Macassar Secondary and Marvin Park Primary had Internet
10
connectivity, access to the Internet was limited (MC_F32). For example, only Macassar had
full Internet connection. Here, both teachers and learners were using the Internet, though
however learners were only allowed to do so after school hours (MC_F33). Even then,
learners need to apply for permission before they could be granted access (ibid). During the
period of access, a learner is granted only a few minutes, which is hardly adequate to
complete an assignment task (MC_F33). Though the school seemed to have full Internet
access, time restrictions meant that access was not full and thus limited for learners. As if the
limitation of Internet was not inhibiting enough to educational processes, two additional
schools; Sithembele Matiso Secondary (SM_D27) and Kulani Secondary (KH_B38) did not
had no form of Internet connectivity, what-so-ever. As a result, some of the teachers had to
travel to nearest schools to access the Internet (SM_D27). If the main goal of ICT integration
is to improve teaching, learning, and ultimately, learning outcomes, limited access reduces
such benefits to learners. In this unfortunate situation, both teachers and learners are
deprived of the benefits are associated with the use of the Internet (i.e. fast information
distribution, anytime anywhere access, communication medium, administrative assistance,
accommodation of various levels of learning, increased learners understanding, distribution
of learning materials and etc.).
In terms of the analytical framework, deployment and integration of ICT into schools’
curricula are the goals that depend on key mediators to succeed: enabling policy, finance,
availability of basic infrastructure such as electricity and classrooms, competent coordinators,
skilled educators and effective communication between all stakeholders. Discrepancies in
mediating factors, including unclear communication channels between all stakeholders, are
correlated to the negative status quo.
Integration of Computers into School Curricula
Findings indicate that very few courses/subjects were facilitated with computers in sampled
schools. Only 3 out of 9 subjects in Marvin Park (MV_F59; MV_F62) and 3 out of 12 subjects
in Macassar Secondary (MC_F20; MC_F21) had a computer-facilitated aspect. Sithembele
Matiso only had 2 out of the 12 subjects (SM_D35; SM_D40) whilst Kulani Secondary had
only 1 out of 13 subjects (KH_B5; KH_B51) that had a computer-facilitated aspect. Mediating
factors towards this end according to Figure 1 would be the presence of infrastructure,
computer-based educational programmes, clear curricula and skilled teachers, supported by
activities where trainers provide adequate training to the teachers, suppliers provide
resources and coordinators do their part. Findings reveal a clear discrepancy in these
respects, which suggest loopholes in the e-Education policy implementation process.
ICT Skills amongst Educators
As has been mentioned, very few subjects in these four schools were taught using subject
specific learning programs (MC_F22; MC_F24; MC_F44). In Macassar Secondary, 3
11
subjects out of 12, maths, computer application and life orientation (MC_F20; MC_F21). In
Marvin Park, 3 subject out of 9 English, maths and science (MV_F59; MV_F62). In
Sithembele Matiso, 2 subjects out of 12, maths and science (SM_D35; SM_D40), and in
Kulani Secondary, one out of 13 subjects maths (KH_B5; KH_B51). In addition to a lack of
educational software for the rest of the subjects, a lack of relevant skill and access to training
opportunities among the majority of teachers is also a strong limiting factor. With regards to
training, most educators in sampled schools had only received basic computer literacy
training (KH_B13; MC_F11; SM_D14; MV_F18), which is did not help improve competency
in using educational software.
Findings reveal a bleak picture in terms of the student to computer ratio, and the progress in
terms of ICT integration into curricula in schools. Limited ICT literacy among educators in
sampled schools emphasizes this point. These three aspects are the key objectives of the
policy. Given the period in which the policy has been in existence (since 2003), the status
suggests clear failure in the policy implementation process. The framework (Figure 1)
suggests that successful deployment and integration of ICT into schools, and the high
computer literacy among teachers would depend on a number of mediating factors: enabling
policy environment, appointment of competent coordinators, clarity of the ICT component in
teacher training institutions, clear channels of communication between all stakeholders in the
activity system, basic infrastructure at school and a continued provision of relevant education
software in schools. Whilst the policy, the will and some promising initiatives are is in place,
there seem to be contradictions in terms of implementation priorities among national,
provincial and school-level stakeholders. For example, most coordinators were even
unaware of what they should be doing when there are no facilities, or when facilities are
inadequate or malfunctioning. The case of schools with facilities (computer and internet) but
restricting learners from using them clarifies this point.
6.1.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Considering the findings, we conclude that the goal of the e-Education policy to ensure;
universal access to ICT, full integration of ICT into school curricula, that teachers are
competent and able to teach using ICT, has hardly been achieved. If the inhibiting factors are
not addressed, learners in affected schools will continue to lack ICT access and the
associated opportunities towards quality education. This can hinder their progress in life and
their future contributions to the country’s economy. With a policy having been in place for
over a decade, it would be expected that supporting factors such as financial resources
would be available for this purpose. However, financial issues continue to be cited as the
main hindrances in schools. Within school budgets, ICT related facilities also appear to have
a very low priority. Given clear policy pronouncements however, this can be attributed to
poor coordination of human and financial resources than to a lack of political will. At the time
12
when the quality of school education at dire need for improvement, it is clear (unfortunately
so) that the current model of deploying ICT resources into schools is not working potently. A
recommendation therefore, is that authorities should revise the efforts made to deploy ICT
into schools and possibly appoint personnel to audit the process, including the funding
model. However, the problem in sampled schools is larger than just financial limitations.
There is also a clear lack of common understanding between school communities and policy
makers, with teachers and ICT coordinators not knowing the ICT deployment details for their
schools. As a recommendation, The Work Activity Framework in Figure 1 presents this
aspect as a key mediating factors whose presence of absence would determine whether the
sought outcomes are negative (failure) or positive (success). On this point, we recommend
recommend a revised communication process between the national, provincial and local
(school) coordinators on the full details of ICT deployment in schools. In other words, school
principals and coordinators must be aware, and be clear about the number of computers,
maintenance needs and procedures as well as specific software and connectivity details
required in their schools. These should be communicated to relevant government
departments, with these departments also playing an active role in monitoring and auditing
progress.
Other mediating factors are supporting technical and social environments (Figure 1). A
supporting social environment is a secure environment where facilities are not vandalized,
the wiliness of teachers and learners to make use of ICT in education. The actual delivery of
tools: computers, Internet, educational software, printers, scanners and copiers etc.) and its
integration into educational programmes are also emphasized in the framework.
The causal factors for the poor status of ICT integration according to the educators were; a
lack of educational software and relevant ICT (KH_B49; MC_F29; SM_D53; MV_F21).
Furthermore the organisations involved in deploying ICT into schools mainly focused on
specific subjects and not into the full curricula (The Khanya Project, 2010). In this regard
there seems to be a misunderstanding of priority aspects in of e-Schools phenomenon.
Teachers tend to limit ICT relevance, only to maths and science subjects (KH_B5; SM_D9;
MV_62), with a complete neglect of other subjects. With the e-Education policy advocating
for a full integration of ICT into school curricula it would be expected that funds have being
allocated to achieve this goal. However, funds allocated for the acquisition of ICT resources
(i.e. education software) are cited as inadequate, lacking, or completely unheard-of, which
suggest unclear guidelines in the activity system. Nonetheless the problem seems to be
bigger than poor coordination of financial resources. There also appears to be a lack of clear
guidelines for implementation. We recommend for stakeholders in the e-Schools activity
system (authorities and e-Schools coordinators) to liaise with schools to ignite the
implementation process. Educational authorities should also invest in teacher training
13
programs and ensure that competent facilitators are appointed to train educators. Also the
training programs provided should be constantly revised. Further, whilst tools are important,
the work activity framework presents a need for technically skilled teachers as a basis for a
successful integration of computer technology into curricula. In other words it is only when
teachers are skilled that they will be able to use educational technology to facilitate teaching,
therefore emphasis should be placed on helping teachers to master subject specific learning
programs, before expecting them to use them in their classes.
Limitations of the Study
Due to time and budget constraints the researcher could not study many schools. Therefore
only 4 under-resourced schools in Cape Town, Western Cape were the focus of research.
Acknowledgements
We thank the people and institutions that contributed to the successful completion of
this study: the Western Cape Department of Education (WCED), the sampled
schools, the interview participants, your time and contribution is appreciated.
14
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