Challenges and opportunities of integrating technology in education in Tanzania
Challenges and Opportunities of Integrating ICT in Education in TanzaniaPresented at the workshop on teachers’ TPACK forScience, Mathematics and English in Dar es salaam- December 2011. Ayoub Kafyulilo DUCE
The Development of ICT in Education in Tanzania• The process to introduce ICT in schools started in 1997, when the first official syllabus for school computer studies was introduced• Since 1997, several programmes (example “e-school programme”) were developed to enhance ICT in education in Tanzania• Despite these initiatives a study by Vesisenaho in 2007, shows that majority of schools are not integrating ICT.
The development of ICT in education inTanzania• According to Hare (2007) mostly private schools in the urban centers, are the one which are using ICTs• Ottevanger et al (2007) found that, even in private schools, ICTs are mostly used for administration purposes.• In most of the schools and education programmes teachers are not yet using ICT as a tool for enhancing teaching and learning in their subjects.
The Development of ICT in Education in Tanzania• Efforts to develop ICT in teacher training colleges started in 2002 through the ICT-connect-TED programme.• In 2004, the project managed to provide 44 teachers training colleges with computers and networking infrastructures.• Although teacher training colleges had the necessary ICT facilities since 2004, teachers graduating from these colleges are not able to embrace ICT use in teaching (Kafyulilo, 2010)• Its not yet established from research why these teachers can not use technology despite the training they attended
The development of ICT in education inTanzania Some studies report that, the delay in ICT development in education in Tanzania is caused by the apparent lack of commitment by the government, schools and teachers. However, Kafyulilo (2010, 2011) reports that the challenges that have been hindering technology integration in science and mathematics in Tanzania secondary schools are such as:
Inadequate resources from the government for ICT Most of the schools, particularly government schools in Tanzania, experience a shortage of technological tools Some schools have computers which are not working, while other schools have computers only for administrative purposes There are also schools which do not have even a single computer or a radio or a TV for teaching and learning process
Limited teachers’ technologicalknowledge• Majority of teachers acquired their diploma and degrees at the time when computers were not used in education• The idea of ICT integration in education did not take into account the teachers’ knowledge (ICT push).• Schools have computers but teachers don’t know how to use those computers to support teaching and learning• Majority of teachers can use computers for administrative purposes: writing tests (MS word), preparation of school database (Excel) and communication (Internet)
Limited teachers knowledge of integrating technology in teaching Although some of the teachers have the basic computer operation skills, majority of them do not know how a computer or other technological tool can be used in teaching and learning. To majority of teachers, it is difficult for them to establish the relationship between technology, pedagogy and content
The curriculum Some teachers tend to rely on the syllabus in the preparation of their lessons. Unfortunately our syllabi are still old and do not address the issue of technology as one of the teaching resources Some teachers complain that students who are oriented to learn with computers might not be able to answer the question more appropriately in the exams
Teachers attitudes Some teachers have negative attitudes towards ICT in education Majority of teachers claim that students who are used to work on ICT, can not produce a good output without an ICT tool Some teachers believe that with the use of ICT students can engage in some unethical acts, thus, teachers ban mobile phones and internet use among students.
Absences of Electricity in some schools It is estimated that only 13% of the Tanzania population is connected to electricity. This is as well true for the percentage of students and schools that enjoy electricity in their context Even the few schools to mention, have electricity only in the administrative blocks and not in classrooms. Since most of ICT tools requires electricity for their operation, it becomes difficult to implement them in such schools.
Power rationing problem Some schools are connected to electricity, but being connected to electricity is no longer a big deal in Tanzania. Teachers are discouraged from using ICT due to untimely and uninformed electricity cut down To avoid inconveniences that are caused by the sudden electricity cut down teachers avoid to prepare lessons that requires the use of ICT
Lack of internet connection in schools Teachers always find it very easy to use internet based animations for science lessons, than making their own animations.
Opportunities Despite the above mentioned challenges, there are still a lot of opportunities that the government, schools and teachers can use to enhance their technology integration Such opportunities includes:
Presence of ICT in education policy In the previous ICT integration in education was being done without a policy framework to guide the implementation. Since 2007, Tanzania has the ICT policy for basic education which provide the framework for ICT integration in education.
Presence of highly motivated teachers For any education policy or innovations, to be successfully implemented it needs to be accepted by teachers In Tanzania, teachers agree that ICT is a useful tool for transforming classroom practices. This can be a good instrument towards a successful development of ICT in education in Tanzania
The development of TPACK As said earlier, majority of teachers do not know how a computer can be integrated in the teaching and learning process. The development of technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) framework which guide the integration of technology, can help teachers to understand how ICT is used in education Learning of TPACK can have a far reaching impact in the development of technology integration competencies among teachers
The growing concept of teacherscollaboration Teachers have for a long time worked in isolations, whenever they face any difficult as they work with technology they use to give up. The idea of teachers collaboration in design team is a useful opportunity for teachers to share their knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences as they design their technology integrated lessons (Nihuka, 2011).
The increasing accessibility to Mobilephones The increasing access to mobile phones among people of all levels brings up new hopes of having technological tools available in schools. A mobile phones can play a role of a radio, a TV, a computer, a digital camera, ipod or mp3 (Kafyulilo, 2011). Newly emerging mobile phones supports programs such as Ms words, Excel, PPT, etc. Most important, Most of the modern mobile phones have internet.
The increasing accessibility to internet All mobile phone companies now days are offering an internet service through the modem which are sold at the cost of approximately 30000 Tsh. Through this modems, the problem of internet in schools can be solved If more teachers will have access to internet through their mobile phones and laptops, more internet use in teaching can be expected.
Conclusion If we look on the challenges and opportunities, we realize that most of the challenges related to materials can be easily worked out through the available opportunities. However, our current opportunities do not address the problem of teachers’ technological knowledge and technology integration competencies Thus, more effort should be put on this aspect. We are glad that the Ministry of Education in collaboration with other organizations such as GESCI are investing on this attribute